2021 IN MUSIC: Juhis Kauppinen (Merta)

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Finnish alternative rock band MERTA released their second full-length album, “Minä,” via Playground Music in November, alongside a release show in Helsinki in October. We talked with singer Juhis Kauppinen about how 2021 has been for the band. Read the complete interview below…

What musical goals did you set for 2021? Did you achieve them?

Well, the year 2021 was all about making our new album and preparing ourselves for the release. Also waiting for the green light to be able to tour again. And YES, we made it! Our new album “MINÄ” is finally out and we have done a bunch of amazing shows. Feels so good to tour again, to see all the people who come to see us live and watch them enjoying live music.

Were you able to dedicate as much of 2021 to your project/band as you had hoped?

I have always felt that there is not enough time when it comes to music. I’ve always found music timeless in some weird way. When we were writing the new album or playing the new songs with the dudes, time strangely disappeared. It felt like we had all the time in the world while writing and recording the songs, but the reality kicked in and we found ourselves in the middle of tight time schedules, productional decisions, worn-out jeans, and the playoff beard. After all, I think that all the phases are important to go through while the creative process goes on. So, the answer is yes and no at the same time! 

What were some of the highlights you realized in 2021?

Definitely two things: when we got the new album ready and released and heard that we are able to play the gigs (not all what was planned, but luckily most of them). The essence of making music is to present it live to people. I had almost forgotten the feeling, what pure interaction with people felt like when performing the music. And after-show small talk with fans, so hyped!

Is there anything you learned during 2021? 

Well yes. I learned the hard way not to be too hard on myself and not let the bad things overcome my thoughts. There were too many moments when I had the feeling that this pandemic will destroy me. 

Have you (re-)discovered any new music during 2021?

Oh yes! The most recent new finding is a band called THE HALO EFFECT, just amazing music. Old guys from IN FLAMES have set my ears on fire. In 2021, I re-discovered my childhood favorite band called KEMOPETROL. I was delighted how the songs sound so fresh although it’s been nearly two decades since the latest release in 2002.

What can we expect from you in 2022? 

2022 will be full of live shows. We have already started to make new music but let’s not spill the beans.

Written by Laureline Tilkin