(Promotion)* The music of the Finnish folk band Trees, from Savonlinna, is inspired by classic folk rock of the sixties like The Byrds or Neil Young. But the four musicians give their songs their special own “Savonian touch” too. And because their music is also inspired by the blue lakes of the Saimaa region and the green forests of Southern Savonia, they call their music also “Saimaa Folk”. I talked to leadsinger and songwriter Santeri Vänttinen about their debut album “Trees” and their plans for the future.
Interview with Santeri Vänttinen from Trees
Nice, to meet you! Tell me more about your band’s history and your music. How did everything start?
Well, the birth of the band was somewhat organic. I had written songs and was searching for an outlet to process them further. Then I met our drummer Jani who had been playing with Joose (guitars, backing vocals) in his first records in the early 2000’s. Jani also knew Teemu (bass). The friendship of Jani and me goging back many years.
We quickly realized that the four of us were on to something, and after that there was no looking back. We have a good combination of players and I’ve felt almost blessed to have these guys with me giving life to the songs I’ve written. Arranging is loads of fun for us and all the members have abilities to take part in it.
How would you describe your music style and how do you get all the inspiration for your songs?
Someone somewhere coined the term “Saimaa Folk”, when describing our music, which I think we are now pretty keen on. We all are living by the lakes here in our hometown of Savonlinna and I think that this place has been essential to my songwriting. Tall pine trees, blue lakes and lush forests are just something that are in me.
I am now living just a kilometer away from my childhood home, though I have been living all around Finland in between. So there really is something in the soil of Savonia and especially our hometown of Savonlinna that without, there would be no Trees.
In our music you can find traces of americana and anglo-american folk and folk rock, but still I feel that there is an ingredient in there somewhere coming from Finnish folk songs and our nature. All members in our band are living lives in families with young children, so that is also a trait that has to show too. I have been pondering a lot about siblinghood, being a parent and naturally about the shape of our globe and challenges we are facing.
(VIDEO: Santeri Vänttinen) “Forest” ist one of the songs of the debut album of the band Trees from Southern Savonia.
In December 2018 you released your debut album with the same title like your band’s name “Trees”. What is the title and the album about? Which kind of songs do we find on your debut album?
I don’t think we even considered naming the debut album anything else but Trees. There are hidden meanings behind the band name and the album title, that we wish not to bring forward too much, but as I said earlier the connection with the surrounding nature is something that we value greatly and we are a “tree-huggin” bunch. *smiling*
Songs on our debut album deal for example with memories of childhood (Forest), love and relationships (Lovers & Tomorrow Decides) and fears about the shape of our planet and how it’ll all end up (A New Day). The songs are in many occasions built around a sudden moment of wonder, realization or fear. I’ve been writing songs with bigger stories in them, but the ones that seem to stick out are these smaller and more ingrown things.
The sounds are peaceful and mellow, we like harmonies. All of the album is recorded live with only a few overdubs like string, pump organ and piano. That really gives it a similar feeling to our live shows.
One of your songs on your debut album is called “Out in the Open”. For this song you have already made a nice music video. Tell us a bit more about the storyline of the song and the video.
It is hard for me to say anything specific about the tune. I guess it’s just about the longing for something more simple and beautiful, to a mindset different from our daily lives.
Our good friend Lauri Ainala, who is known for his work in Paavoharju, directed the video. It was a beautiful summer day on a field filled with sunflowers. Also the location, where we shot the band playing was mesmerizing with the evening sun coming in from the lakeside. I feel, that Lauri captured the feeling of the song for the video magnificently.
(VIDEO: Lauri Ainala) The video to the song “Out in the Open” has been shooting in the beautiful evening sun at the shores of lake Saimaa)
And what kind of songs do we find on your EP “Daydreams”, which came out in 2017?
The songs on Daydreams we recorded in two days, actually Joose wasn’t part of the band back then. Joose did the recording and mixing and was featured on some songs too.
I feel, that we took a big leap from the EP to the album, but there is something raw and incomplete that really serves the songs on the EP. Actually we brought one song (A New Day) to the album from the EP as well. We had been playing together for just six months before the EP and actually we had a different bass player back then too. Teemu and Joose joined the band soon after recording Daydreams.
(VIDEO: Lauri Ainala) The song “A new Day” on the first EP can also be found in a new version on the debut album “trees”.
You have been on tour in Finland several times. Did you already get the chance to play some live gigs abroad? Which is the country, you would love to go on tour in the future?
We took part at Tallinn Music Week last March, that was our first international gig. So you could say we are just starting out with the gigs abroad. I’ve been to Germany loads of times and seen many gigs there. The live music culture is great in Germany!
We are planning to tour the Baltic countries and middle Europe more extensively, perhaps some time next year.
Are there any live gigs soon? And what are you plans for the next months?
We are doing gigs in the summertime in Finland, but in the early fall we are coming to NORDEN festival in Germany, the date is Sunday 15th of September. We are really looking forward to our first performance in Germany!
What was the oddest or most amazing place, you have ever had a live gig together?
There is this small and old villa that serves as a café on one of the many islands surrounding our hometown. We have played there many times, but it is just as fun always.
What’s your favorite place in the Savonian region?
I would say the lakes, especially the rocky lakesides. There’s this rocky bay just near my home where I go often, Mustalahti. It is such a special place for me.
Do you have some special travel tips for us? What should we absolutely see, when travelling to the Savonian area in Eastern Finland?
It’s nice to just wander the forests and parks and go for a swim in between. Savonlinna is the pearl of the region, obviously. There’s a lot going on in July in Savonlinna; opera festival in St. Olaf’s Castle, the market place. People are more outgoing during the summer months.
The Savonia reagion is a stunner in fall, winter and spring too. And even more peaceful and quiet. One good way to spend the time is sipping on some craft beer. Besides the band I brew beer at my brewery “Mustan virran Panimo”. I started in Savonlinna some years ago with my brother and cousin. We’re coming to the “Grüne Woche” in Berlin again next year!
Thank you guys for the inspiring interview. Looking forward to seeing you live on stage at Norden – the Norden Arts festival in Northern Germany.
Thank you! It’s going to be great to visit Germany for the first time with Trees.
About the Finnish folk band “Trees” from Eastern Finland
The four guys from the Finnish folk band “Trees”, Santeri Vänttinen (singer/songwriter), Joose Keskitalo (guitar, backing vocals), Teemu Muikku (bass) and Jani Lamberg (drums) come from Savonlinna, a region in Eastern Finland. Their music style can be described as Finnish folk with influences of US folk rock of the 60s like The Byrds, Neil Young or Simon and Garfunkel. But the four musicians still give their music their really special own Finnish touch. And because their music is also inspired by the untouched nature and landscapes of the Savonian region, they call their music style also Saimaa Folk.
In 2016 the band released their first music sampler, an EP with the title “Daydreams”. Two years later in December 2018 their debut album “Trees” was published with several melodical and rocking songs like “Out in the open”, “Scarlet letters” or “Indian summer”.
(VIDEO: Lauri Ainala) Indian Summer is one of the songs of the debut album of the Finnish folk band Trees.
Upcoming Live gigs in Germany 2019
The band is playing on September 15th 2019 at the Finland-Highlight Day at the Norden – the Nordic Arts festival in Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein.
More live gigs of the band will be announced soon on the Trees website.
Other articles about Finnish musicians and bands from Finland
- Alex ja Armottomat from Helsinki – Finnish music with the special dark “twist”
- Amira – A talented musician and blogger from Turku
- Dark Ride Brothers – A debut album and a German concert tour in summer 2019
- Johanna Juhola – Colourful accordion melodies from Finland
- NEØV – Dreamy indie pop-rock meets Finnish melancholy
- Perillä – Ein Album voller Mystik und Melodien zum Träumen
More about Finnish music, will be found here.
Saimaa Folk Quiz
What about winning a debut album „trees“? Answer the following two questions below, write your answer in a comment under this post until August 25th 2019 and you will automatically take part in the “Saimaa Folk Quiz” prize competition. And maybe soon, you will be the lucky winner of one of three studio albums “trees” of the Savonian folk band Trees!
- How does the band describe their music style? (You will find the anser in the interview!)
- Which song of the debut album “trees” do you like the most and why?” (Just check out the songs on Spotify!)
Have Fun and good luck!!
Inken, Janne-Oskari and the Trees
Applicable Law for this prize competition is the law of the Federal Republic of Germany. If individual conditions of participation and/or competition guidelines be or will have become invalid, the validity of the remaining guidelines will remain unaffected.
Terms of participation
The competition is open to any person aged 18 years or older, who is primarily resident of the Federal Republic of Germany, or another country of the European Union or of the following countries: Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Great Britain, Switzerland or countries like Australia, USA and Canada.
The participation in the competition is only possible online via this blog post at www.finntastic.de. The participation is free of charge. The participants will not incur any expenses (not either for packaging and postage)! All lottery prizes due to the fact that they are not high-priced, will be send in general uninsured.
Each person may only enter the competition once. Multiple participations e.g. with different name profiles or e-mail addresses are not permitted and will automatically lead to an exclusion from the competition, in case it becomes obvious.
To participate in this raffle, all participants must answer the following questions and have to post their answer in a comment under the blogpost:
- How does the band describe their music style?
- Which song of the debut album “trees” do you like the most and why?”
These are the prizes, provided by the Finnish folk band Trees, which will be raffled among all participants of the „Saimaa Folk Quiz“:
3 x 1 debut album “trees” of the Finnish folk band Trees from Savonlinna
Material prizes are not paid out in cash and are excluded from exchange. Winnings cannot be transferred to third parties. There is no warranty or guarantee claim on the prize. Legal recourse is excluded.
The competition runs from July 11th 2019 until August 25th 2019 exclusively on www.finntastic.de. The closing date for a participation is August 25th 2019 at 11:59 p.m.. Subsequent solutions and comments, which will be send after this date, can not be considered for the prize draw of this prize competion.
The determining of the eligibility of the participation as well as the prize draw will take place on August 26th 2019. The prices (see section: prize/profit), provided by the Finnish folk band Trees, will be raffled among all participants, who fulfill the terms of participation. The winners will be selected at random. All winners will be notified by email.
In case of winning, Finntastic needs the correct first and last name as well as the postal address of the winners. These information will only be passed on to the Finnish folk band Trees or the PR agency Backseat PR, who will be shipping the prizes later on. If a winner does not reply within seven days after being notified by e-mail, the claim to the prize will lapse.
Exclusion of participants
Finntastic reserves the right to exclude or delete participants from the participation, if they fail to complete the task or violate the conditions of participation or the competition guidelines. Participants, who manipulate the raffle (e.g. by entering several e-mail addresses or name profiles) can be excluded from the prize draw, when noticed. If a manipulation is figured out later, prizes can even be subsequently withdrawn and prizes already delivered can be reclaimed. And also the misuse of foreign names will lead to an exclusion from the raffle too!
Cancellation/ Suspension of the competition
Finntastic reserves the right to cancel or interrupt the competition if she becomes aware of any manipulations or if it is no longer certain that the competition will be carried out properly. This applies for instance in case of hardware or software failures, program errors or unauthorized intervention by third parties (e.g. computer viruses, cyber-attacks) or if legal problems exists.
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Person in charge of the prize competition
This is a private prize competition, organized by Inken Paletta, Josef-Brix-Straße 42, 65187 Wiesbaden, Germany, the site operator of www.finntastic.de (For more information: see imprint ). The prizes (see also section prize/profit) was provided to the site operator by the Finnish folk band Trees from Savonlinna. The raffle is not connected to any other companies or persons and even not to social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
The recipient of the personal data and information provided by the participants, thus the contact person and person responsible for this prize draw, is only the website operator of www.finntastic.de. All questions, comments and complaints concerning this competition should therefore be directed to email@example.com.
Disclaimer/Exclusion of liability
The organizer (which means the website operator of www.finntastic.de) as well as the Finnish Folk band Trees are not liable for the shipping risk. Moreover, the organizer of this prize competition (which means the website operator of www.finntastic.de) is not liable for direct or indirect damages resulting from the participation or the inaccessibility of the internet server. Unless they are due to gross negligence or wilful misconduct for which the organizer is responsible. Legal recourse therefore is excluded.