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Last Day In Finland

It’s my last day in Finland. Tomorrow at 6:30am I’ll be on a plane soaring over the forgotten clouds, heading to B-town.

This trip has been truly amazing. Played 4 shows with great audiences, met, hung out with and opened for Beats and Styles and IMPPU, went on a day trip to Tampere where we watched ducks and made jokes:

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wrote two new songs, recorded a new song with IMPPU about driving through the city at night, hung out at a school with tons of tiny Finnish kids:

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Went to a flea market and bought new sexy clothes and many pairs of multi-coloured underwear, talked for 4 hours with a fascinating theater-girl/ singer about everything from Taoism to the joy of cults to fun facts about Moomin and much more.

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This trip was good for my soul. It was good to connect with my Finnish friends, make new ones and feel that burst of creative energy explode in my veins.

In general, there is something private about Finns in the sense that they don’t expose everything going on in the interior. They don’t necessarily talk to strangers (in fact, that often gives them panic attacks. I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of Finns waiting for the bus – 2 meters between each person waiting), but when you really get to know a Finn, there is so much going on beneath the surface. Every time I come here I end up having some pretty great conversations and a lot of laughs.

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun and I have a feeling I’ll be back soon.

Much love to all of my Finnish fans and for those of you who came out to the shows, partied, danced and celebrated life: Kiitos.

Now I’m off to make more music with IMPPU.

Love Stephen

Everything I Love Dies

Seeing as I’m in Finland, I thought it’d be cool to post a video that is more in line with the Finnish mentality: dark, brooding and pensive.

This is not my usual sound. This is more post-Folk/ Dreampop.

It’s a song I wrote and recorded six years ago. I was still in Trike at the time, but this is a solo song, pre-SPT. Hope you enjoy it.

Peace

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My Finnish Friends Are OBSESSED With Moomins!

Have you guys heard of Moomin? A famous, fairytale family of Finnish trolls who hang out in Moomin valley.

I’ve seen so many Moomin images over the last few years, as I’ve gotten to know many Finns. On this tour, I’ve been staying with my friends IMPPU and Mirva and I was amazed to see how many Moomin cups and bowls they own. Take a look at their cups:

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Bear in mind, each cup costs between 18 and 30 euros. Collecting these cups is more than just a hobby. It’s a passion. They told me about friends who have vast collections of cups, bowls, spoons etc. Who knows? Maybe they’re considered collectibles. Much like my friend’s transformer collection. He’s been collecting transformers for years and now he’s selling them at exorbitant prices (enough to live, eat and pay rent – and he lives in super-expensive Vancouver!)

Few facts I found about Moomin:

  • The first Moomin to publicly appear was on the cover of an anti-Hitler magazine
  • Tove Jansson, the artist, drew her first Moomin on the wall of her parent’s summer cottage during a childhood argument about philosophy (it seems that pretty much every Finn I’ve met has a family summer cottage. And every Finn loves to talk about philosophy, especially the nihilistic variety)
  • Moomin was originally published in Swedish (Jansson spoke Swedish fluently)
  • In the beginning, Moomin was called Snork (hahaha) and was thin and very depressed-looking
  • There’s a theme park called Moomin World in Naantali, Finland (damn, I should check it out!)
  • There’s a Japanese-Dutch feature film of the Moomins, a Polish-Austrian puppet-animation version, two Soviet versions… Moomin’s are freakin famous, yo
  • The Swedish and Finnish recordings of Moomin Voices, and their respective musical scores, have been used as course material at Berklee College of Music
  • There is a band called “Moomin Voices Live Band”. They perform Moomin songs and stories onstage.
  • The first image of Moomintroll was of his butt, in the very first cartoon strip
  • There’ve been several theatrical interpretations of Moomin. The earliest was in 1949.

Anyway, there’s tons more Moomin material online. Take a gander.

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In non-Moomin news – My four-city Finland Tour is now over. I’m staying in Lahti to record new music with the ever-creative Imppu. Yesterday we went to his family’s cottage, played Monopoli (Finnish spelling) with Mirva’s kids, went to sauna and ate fish. Hopefully I’ll have some new music emerging after this trip.

Thanks for all the love and support, you beautiful people. Yesterday’s blog did exceptionally well… nothing like writing about Police brutality to get some views (I kid. They weren’t brutal. They just took FOREVER… yawn)

OH and I wanted to share this with you. An artist named Danielle Johanson drew me playing in Boxhagenerplatz Park a few weeks ago.

I love fan art. If you ever have any, please share it with me and I’ll post it

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Stopped By The Cops In Finland!!!

We played in Vaikkola. It’s a small city an hour from Helsinki. It was after my show in Tenho in Helsinki. Both shows went well. The audiences were enthusiastic, attentive and crazy in a way that only Finnish people can be.

Anyway, I met the dudes from Beats and Styles. B and S is an electro-rock-pop band from Finland. They have some solid hits like “Renegade” and “Dynamite” (check ’em out, you lazy fool).

We were in Azmo’s battered and well-worn little car (lead singer of Beats and Styles) on the way back to Helsinki when the cops stopped us. They did drug and alcohol tests on him. He had ritalin in his system (which he takes due to his ADHD – at least that’s what he tells me … hahaha). He had to search through his glove compartment to find the papers to prove that he takes ritalin for his ADHD. Eventually he found it, the test results appeared and we were able to leave.

Luckily, they didn’t know about the 10,000 tabs of LSD in the trunk!

Kidding. Gawd!

But still… being stopped by cops in Finland at 3am – not a pleasant experience. I have enough experience with cops to know that the best thing is just to remain calm and be compliant. Azmo said the same thing. He chatted with them in a friendly, jovial fashion, slapped them on the back, shook their hands… and then eventually we left, happy and not-arrested.

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So one cool thing about this tour is that I started playing my only Finnish song, “Kiitos”. I got the crowd to sing “Ole Hyvva!” (“you’re welcome”) in response. It was super fun to do it again.

I also broke out a song from my Synthpoperetta entitled “You Manipulated Me”. It went over well, far as I could tell. Nothing like adding new songs to the mix to keep things fresh.

Here is IMPPU and Mirva’s fluffy cat… with me:

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and this is the note I woke up to this morning… I like notes like this:

 

And of course, pictures from my show in Lahti:

 

 

 

Don’t forget, my live album is now available through Bandcamp. Sixteen songs to rock your world.

SPT’s Finland Tour 2016: Tampere

This is the first picture of me in Tampere.

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This is Vastavirta. It’s the pub we’re playing in. IMPPU and I. I know one other person in this city: a charming 80’s-rock-style musician I met mere days before coming. That’s it! Hopefully more people will come. Friends of friends or friends of friends of friends. Okay, gotta soundcheck now. I’ll write more momentarily.

Okay. Just ate a chilli dog with Imppu and Mirva (his wifeywife – she is also a performer/ singer. Her band is called Varjottaret).

Imppu has an amazing setup. He plays (also) Eighties’ style Synthy GoodnessPop. Check out his red light:

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POST SHOW:

It’s 3am now in Lahti, Finland. I’m going to crash. I’ll try to blog every day whilst I tour this fine country. Needless to say, the first show went off SMASHINGLY well. It was pretty full. I sold heaps of CDs, met lots of likeable peeps and now we’re back.

So thank you Tampere, for a stellar first show. I’ll be back, for sure…