2021 IN MUSIC: Juho Jokimies (Blame Me, Thy Row)

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2021 has been a busy year for bass player Juho Jokimies. Not only did he release the debut full-length record of the alternative rock act BLAME ME, but he also released the debut effort with heavy metal band THY ROW. We asked him a few questions about how he experienced the year. Read the complete interview below…

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

The biggest goal, of course, was releasing the debut albums of both of my bands, BLAME ME! and THY ROW. “The Invisible You” by BLAME ME! was released on June 11th and it got a really good reception. It now has over 300k streams on Spotify and our singles have been playing on the Finnish national radio stations for over 800 times. 

“Unchained” by THY ROW was released worldwide on September 24th via Rockshots Records, and exclusively in Japan by Rubicon Music. Since the release, we’ve had tons of great reviews from all over the world and made it to 5th place on the official Finnish physical album chart and 25th on the main album chart.

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

At times, it felt like I was even too dedicated to my bands. I made six music videos and several video clips and promo photos for social media, so the workload was really massive. My bands aren’t that big yet, so I have to somehow finance this by having a day job – sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in a day. But I am not complaining! I love my bands and bandmates. I really love making music and all the related activities.

What were some of the highlights you realized in 2021?

First of all, I have to say that it was quite amazing to see a photo from a record shop in Japan, where THY ROW’s album was next to IRON MAIDEN’s Senjutsu in a same sized stand (even though behind the stand there was a massive IRON MAIDEN poster).

For BLAME ME!, the highlight for this year was definitely the amazing album release show at On The Rocks. We had such a good time with the most wonderful bands, LUNA KILLS and EDGE OF HAZE. Also, an unexpected highlight for us was the nomination for the best Finnish rock song of 2021 by Radio Suomirock. All the other nominated bands were big names such as BLIND CHANNEL, AMORPHIS, and APOCALYPTICA, to name a few.

Is there anything you learned during 2021? 

The most important thing I learned is that music needs patience. In these challenging times, you can’t rush things. Of course, you need to be efficient and hard-working but you shouldn’t get too frustrated if the first results aren’t the ones you expected.

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

From my old favorites, the most positively surprising releases for this year were Aphelion by LEPROUS and Dark Connection by BEAST IN BLACK. Both are excellent albums from superb bands.

I like to keep my ear to the ground with music. Two new super good and promising groups that I’ve discovered this year are Finnish STONED STATUES and LUNA KILLS. Both doing their own thing with different influences from rock and metal music – you should check them out! My guilty pleasure for this year is definitely Lil Nas X and his debut album “Montero.” I’m a sucker for good rap music and massive bass tunes.

What can we expect from you in 2022? 

A lot! Both of my bands are working hard on new material and we are eager to release new music. If you can keep a secret, I can reveal that BLAME ME! is going to release a new single quite early in 2022 (with a music video by me, of course). Also, I’ve been working with the incredibly talented guy, Marko Salonen, who has this new project called MARZE. We’ve recorded bass for a few songs and we’re going to release new music next year. For now, you should check out his first single, “The Nation Will Bow.”

Oh, and one more thing. I’m involved in a metal cover project called COMETRON by Rami Nykänen (the man behind the sound of BLAME ME!) and Miksu Lahti (ONE MORNING LEFT). Last summer, I played saxophone in their music video for “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Keep your ears open because the song is going to get a follow-up in the near future.

Written by Laureline Tilkin