Joensuu Finland 15th–17th Jul 2016

Propagandhi raises hell on stage and enjoys Finland

Punk act Propagandhi prepares to work on their new album and thanks Ilosaarirock for their effort in being eco-friendly.

Canadian band Propagandhi celebrated their 30th year playing punk by performing in the Tähti Tent on Saturday. The gig is the only one they will play in Europe this summer.

Chris Hannah embraced the crowd. Photo: Inka Nevalainen

The gig went very well. We’ve played in Finland a few times before, when we did club gigs in Helsinki and Turku. We really liked Finland. When we last drove around here, the scenery looked idyllic and natural compared to some of the more isolated areas in the US, singer Chris Hannah tells us.

Finland, which is known for snow and ice-hockey, shares certain similarities with Propagandhi’s native Canada.

Geographically, Finland reminds us of our home province Manitoba. Culturally, it’s difficult to say how Finland and Canada differ from one another. Canada is a capitalist shithole, although there are great people living there. Here everyone has been very friendly and hospitable, drummer Jord Samolesky ponders.

Ilosaarirock will be the only major gig for Propagandhi in 2016.

We chose Ilosaarirock, because the festival has few sponsors and the artists’ expenses are paid fair and square, which we think is very generous. Our guitarist Sulynn lives far away from the rest of us, so we wanted to have a chance to play with her. We decided to do one big event before moving on to work on our next record, Hannah says.

We don’t do festivals very often. Years ago we made a deal among ourselves that we are not going to play on events backed up by big corporations. Sure, Ilosaarirock has sponsors, but not in the same scale as many others. We’ve been on these types of big festivals maybe four or five times before. We’re happy to be given the chance to come and perform here, Samolesky thanks the organizers.

Here people obviously pay attention to eco-friendliness and there is a push towards making everything bio-degradable, Hannah remarks.

Pretty cool.

Propagandhi’s musical style has shifted from punk rock and skate punk to a heavier direction over the years.

The records from the types of Canadian bands we listened to growing up all sounded different. That has also been our way of doing things. Each and every record does not need to sound the same. We explore music and experiment with new things. It’s not good for the audience if you sell them the same shit they’ve been sold for 20 years, and thus have never really pushed their boundaries, Hannah points out.

Sulynn Hago. Photo: Inka Nevalainen

The change in music also reflects upon change in one’s personality. It’s important to challenge yourself and produce something that comes as a surprise to you as well, guitarist Sulynn Hago says.

The band released their latest album in 2012, and the next record is planned to be released in 2017. The band hints that you can expect to hear fast double bass action, among other things.

– We’ve been working on songs for years, because none of us is a natural song writer or even a musician. We try to do something that you can’t hear anywhere else. The next step is taking the existing material and turning it into songs, Hannah describes.

Todd Kowalski. Photo: Inka Nevalainen

The fact that new technology has made it easier to discover new music is not exclusively a good thing, because it can also result in losses for bands, bassist Todd Kowalskin points out.

– On one hand, it’s great that people can discover bands that they never would’ve found out before. On the other hand, it’s unfortunate that people don’t have the patience to sit down and listen to entire records anymore. Back in the day, if you ordered a record abroad for $27, you would listen to it until you liked it, Kowalski explains.

The band can’t name a single song that would be a clear crowd favorite, since the song requests vary depending on the audience. The favorite album is easy to name, however: it’s the next album released in 2017.

– Some people want to hear old material, while others like the newer stuff. Our new record will be a fucking killer, Hannah states confidently.

Please also read the Propagandhi gig report and watch Netti-TV’s interview with them!

Text: Niina Turunen
Photos: Inka Nevalainen
Translation: Mika Alaoutinen

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