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A Dirty Dozen with SAMI MUSTONEN from THE VELVETS – August 2021

| 19 August 2021 | Reply

According to the band’s bio: “Velvets have released a new single, titled ”Loved by You”. The Finnish rock n’ roll duo once again embraces the sweet and tender side of classic-sounding rock. Smooth guitar licks, warm melodies, and memorable lyrics set the mood of ”Loved by You”, a love song dedicated to one of the band members’ soon-to-be-wife. VELVETS are an endless summer night dipped in a bucket of rock, blues, schlager and funk with a cool breeze coming at you from the south. All set in a timeless space, where the past, present, and future are fused into one. The songs will take you on a journey of love and longing, speeding on the highway and taking off to a place beyond the stars. Velvets was born in January 2021, when the duo Sami and Sakke were desperately in need of creating new music. With too much time on their hands after finishing the second Rokets album, the Finnish band where the two first met each other as members. The first idea for Velvets was to write love songs and stick to them, kicking things off by listening to a lot of Moon Martin.” We get Sami to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Velvets is a new two-man project consisting of myself, Sami Mustonen, in vocals and Sakke Vänttinen handling all the instruments and backing vocals. Our upcoming self-titled debut album is eight songs of classic rock, with songs about love, longing, boogieing and woogieing. We wanted to try out different approaches and combine elements of rock, blues, schlager, funk and pop to get a unique sound for Velvets. It’s all there, no secrets, just straight forwarded good times stuff!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

For me personally it just kinda happened, never really planned for it. I was at a right place at a right time since I was the only one of a group of friends who could sing a bit. I started my vocal duties in a heavy metal band called United Seafood back in 2011 and joined Rokets, a rocking and a rolling band in 2017, where I got to know Sakke. He has been playing all sorts of instruments pretty much all of his life with the electric guitar being his main instrument. He’s also experimented in different ways of recording and mixing and is actually studying audio engineering at the moment. He’s truly a one man, do-it-all-yourself, powerhouse.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

It was Hurriganes and Stray Cats that got baby-Sakke into rock’n’roll and he’s been on that path ever since. I started off with rap. Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday was the first album I ever owned. Got it as a present from my older brother when I was 9 years old and started exploring more music ever since. The first time I heard Mercyful Fate, I started leaning towards heavy metal and checking out more guitar-driven music. Later on came rock, bands such as Hurriganes, MC5, Motörhead, Stooges, Ziggy Stardust, Grand Funk Railroad, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the list goes on.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Well, that’s a tough one. That said, it would still have to be Cisse Häkkinen, the ultimate Finnish rock’n’roll hero. He was the foundation of Hurriganes. As far as bass players go, he’s the perfect choice with the style, attitude, presence and obviously the bass playing. You can wear a leopard jacket, but you’ll never wear one like Cisse did. I think Sakke will approve of this opinion. RIP to a true bass legend!

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Spending time at home with my wife and our little devil cat. Seeing my family and friends, going for walks, jogging, bicycling, cooking, watching movies and listening to music. Relaxing in any way possible. Being alone in our rehearsal space and discovering new music works also perfectly for me to leave all the stress behind.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We’re still in beginning of our journey, so haven’t had that much of reviews yet haha! I would describe our music as soft-hard-rock. Classic rock with a twist! It has its more mellow and sensual moments without forgetting the rocking and the rolling. If you like Moon Martin, Hurriganes, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Thin Lizzy, chances are you’ll like us too!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’ll do the cooking for sure. Sakke is happy to eat whatever could be described as food. He also takes the lead with getting the drinks in and I’ll do my best keeping up with him. No singalongs for us. A new song or two might happen though if Sakke is near a beer and a guitar.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Couple of weeks ago at our wedding when I saw Sampo Kääriäinen rocking out to songs like “Children of the grave”, “Send me a postcard”, “No class” and “Hot nite in Dallas” among others, partying all night and then announcing the next morning that he’ll have to go and play two gigs with his band Kissa. He’s such a good sport. Check out Kissa and Kaleidobolt to capture some of that Samponian magic!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is that it’s not my job. Never wanted it to be. I’m happy keeping it as a active hobby/side job. I’m studying cultural management and would love to have a venue of my own someday here in Helsinki. There would be a proper stage for both up-and-coming bands as well as bigger names. At the moment I’m doing an internship at a Finnish record label. Super happy to be doing that for now.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Why do you do music? The answer would be “I don’t know of that much else besides it.”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Everything we’ve done so far with our bands have taken us to where we are now. I’m very grateful of everything we’ve got to do and experience and really excited about our futures. So much more to come, thrilled about that! No missed opportunities or bad decisions here. Wouldn’t have it any other way!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Easy, I would need to get myself into San Francisco in July 1969 when the recording for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s album Déjà Vu started. It’s hard to pick an all-time favorite album, but I’d say that one is it for me. Been listening to if for hours, days, weeks, years. The vocal harmonies really hit the spot for me, not to mention the songwriting skills of these four fellows. The songs on the album just never get old. Love every moment of it. Everyone should listen to it! Thank you CSNY! We love you!




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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