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Minus SF

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The Scandinavian countries always guarantee a fresh supply of young and promising bands. One of the newer bands coming from Finland is Minus SF. This skaterock-band recently celebrated their success in the Reader's Poll 2000 of HM Magazine. Time for Art For The Ears to find out what Minus SF is.

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Discography: Self-titled single (2000); Self-titled EP (2001). Available through:   Minus SF. Official website: Minus SF. Interview by:  mpo. Date: 14-29 January 2001

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First of all, congratulations with the band's success in the HM Reader's Poll 2000. You ended in the top five of the Favorite Indie Band section! As I never heard of the band until recently I'm surprised to see this. How do you explain this success?

Thanks. It was a huge surprise for us all in the band as well. We can't actually explain the logic in what's happened, but we guess (and it seems that) some pretty awesome things have started to happen with us.

As I'm totally new to Minus SF, tell us about the history of the band. Introduce us to Minus SF!

First of all, Minus SF consists of Roy (guitar,vocals), Juha (bass), Ariel (drums) and Jonas (vocals, guitar). Three of us (Jonas, Ariel and Roy) used to play in a punk rock band and as we were putting together this new band we ran into Juha. He's great.

How would you like to describe the music and sound of the band?

We prefer to call it skaterock. Basically it's just a new, fresh rock sound.

I think every band wants to say they have a fresh sound. What makes Minus SF special?

I donīt know, perhaps that's a question for the fans and critics, but when it comes to music we definitely are one of those bands that spend a lot of time and energy concentrating on the writing process. Trying out different studio techniques, and just getting better as musicians without any tricks and gimmicks. Just by being ourselves I guess. Message-wise we have incorporated some political ideas in our lyrics, but we don't have that typical defying mentality that maybe some political hard-line bands have. Our lyrical approach is a bit more poetic and hypothetical, but at the same time, thought-provoking and encouraging.

So, if you had to describe the essence of Minus SF in three keywords, what words would you take?

Healthier than sports (laughter). Those aren't really keywords, but go to our page (www.MinusSF.com) to read more about the band and its concept.

Though the band doesn't exist very long, you've done quite some gigs. How were those experiences and how does the public respond to the band?

Well, our music probably isn't as popular in the underground scene as maybe hardcore or whatever. But our music has been said to be respected for the songs themselves rather than for the movement to which it's related. What comes to the gigs themselves, people have liked our shows enough to ask us to play at their places again.

Can you give a story about one of the shows? Something you've experienced, seen or heard happening?

Wow, that's a hard one, cause we've had the privilege to experience so much in the short time that we've been to together. I guess one of the real standout moments was the Plastic Pride mini-tour in Finland. They are an amazing band to see live, very intense, and they seem to be very purposeful about their cause. It was nice to get to know them as people and to exchange ideas and stuff, hang out and travel together. This was all new to us, so it was great. 

There was a Finnish tour with Blindside starting on the 24th of January. How did you get on this tour?

Actually it's a Minus SF tour featuring Blindside (laughter). Juha met the guys in Sweden last spring and they talked about Blindside coming over to play some shows in Finland. The whole tour is mostly put up by Juha, who also works for the Finnish record label/booking agency Sitruunamaailma.

With the start of this tour you've finally released the EP Gathered Guilty which was supposed to be out in September. Will this EP also come out through a label or are you doing it by yourself?

Actually it's just another self-titled. The name Gathered Guilty came up when we were planning to do a split with the Swedish Umeå hardcore act The Prowse. Anyway, we have received some quite intriguing offers from both distributors and record companies, but we decided to do it in the spirit of D.I.Y.

You say you had some intriguing offers from record companies. Why do you decide then to do it yourself rather than releasing it with the support of a label?

Actually, there weren't any labels that would have been ready to support us financially. The intriguing offers were mainly labels or distributors with an interest but without the necessary capital. One label was prepared to sign us but then lost their main distribution with House Of Kicks so it became practically impossible for them to even consider signing any new bands at that point. D.I.Y (do it yourself) is the way it's always been for us, so I guess it's the only natural thing to do. It can be exhausting at times but still, there is nothing like the rewarding feeling afterwards. Accomplishing something on your own, and on your own conditions.

The EP also contains a music video for the song New Colours. I'm told MTV3 showed interest in the video and the band. Why did the band decide to shoot a video for the EP and how is the video like?

The video was simply a nice zero-budget project, but we liked it enough to put it on the EP. MTV3 (A Finnish national broadcasting network) wanted us to appear in their music show "Jyrki", and we I guess they thought the quality of the video fulfilled their standards.

So, how is that video like? Just a shoot of the band playing live or in the rehearsal room? Or something else?

It has material of the band rocking out plus some stuff that our friend and video producer, Jani Kaatrassalo had collected. Heīs the guy that made it all possible, cuz basically we just did it all on intuition. We didnīt really plan the video in advance at all. The only clear concept on the video are some images taken from foreign countries. Those images kind of portray people in poverty and difficult conditions, but people that, nonetheless, manage to live happy and care-free.

Do you have any final comment?

Well, all you nice people over there, bring us to your hometown. We love sitting in the car for thousands of hours to be able to play just for you ;-). Minus SF can be contacted at www.MinusSF.com or contact@MinusSF.com.

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