It’s a particularly busy time for the Helsinki based artist, who is on the verge of releasing her second solo record Kukaan ei oo kenenkään as well as preparing to hit the main stage of Finland’s Flow Festival to celebrate the ten year anniversary of her band Regina‘s debut album Katso maisemaa.
To find out more about what’s in store, we invited Iisa to join us at the Nordic Playlist to tell us about the exciting times ahead, as well as delving in to a fantastic selection of her most loved Nordic artists.
Click the ‘speaker’ button just above and select your favourite streaming service to tune in to Iisa’s hand-picked Nordic Playlist!
Hello Iisa! Some of the most exciting news that we’ve heard all year is that Regina will be making a one-off appearance at this year’s Flow Festival in Helsinki! Why did you and the rest of the band decide to return to the live stage now, and what do you have in store for your fans?
Iisa: Our debut album Katso maisemaa was released in 2005. We wanted to celebrate the band’s 10-years-anniversary. After not having been active since 2012, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than meeting our fans face to face. Flow Festival is going to be a big reunion for us.
What have been your favourite things about reconnecting with Regina for this performance? And should we expect any more from the band in the near future?
Simply remembering the great times we’ve had with the band over the years and how much fun we’ve had playing together. That is something you shouldn’t take for granted. It’s quite emotional too because it really is a one-off appearance. We don’t have more live shows planned for the future. It’s not like we’re officially calling it quits. But, honestly, there are no plans whatsoever for Regina after the Flow Festival performance.
We saw you performing as a solo artist at Flow Festival last year too – what do you like about the festival, or what makes it different to others?
It’s more than a festival – it’s an institution. The Finnish festival scene would be quite different without the hard and passionate work done by the Flow Festival people over the years. I think that Flow Festival has created the standards for the modern festival culture in Finland. Each year they bring one of my heroes to my neighbourhood. This year it’s going to be Beck.
As well as being a member of Regina, you released your first solo album in 2014 – and we’ve heard that you’re heading back with more solo material soon! What have you been working on lately?
My sophomore solo album, titled Kukaan ei oo kenenkään, comes out in August (August 28th, to be precise). I’ve spent the entire 2015 working on that. I actually started to write the songs really soon after the release of my self-titled solo debut, which was in early 2014.
While we were touring with my band my vision about where to take my music started to crystallize. I couldn’t hold myself from starting to write new songs since I felt so inspired. The past year has been a very creative and productive period for me.
My sophomore solo album, titled Kukaan ei oo kenenkään, comes out in August (August 28th, to be precise). I’ve spent the entire 2015 working on that. I actually started to write the songs really soon after the release of my self-titled solo debut, which was in early 2014. While we were touring with my band my vision about where to take my music started to crystallize. I couldn’t hold myself from starting to write new songs since I felt so inspired. The past year has been a very creative and productive period for me.
Can you tell us more about your new album, and the story behind it?
It’s an honest and sincere album. It’s mostly about love. I wanted the production to be simple – like my songs, they are really simple. The album was produced by my husband Mikko Pykäri, and we spent lots of time trying to figure out how the production should be and sound. The album reflects the books I’ve read, the things I’ve experienced and the thoughts I’ve had during the last year. I love life, as beautiful and lovely and brutal and hard as it can sometimes be.
As you might’ve noticed, we love playlists and mixtapes here at the Nordic Playlist – have you ever made mixtapes for anyone?
In my early teens I was constantly recording mixtapes with my tape recorder. I listened to radio and desperately chased after my favorite tracks or tried to find new interesting music. I recorded the same tapes over and over again – each mixtape was a never ending process for me. ‘If You Don’t Love Me’ by Prefab Sprout and ‘Drive’ by The Cars are a couple of treasures taken from my early 90’s mixtapes.
We’d love to hear why you selected each of the songs in your Nordic Playlist – can you tell us more?
Adna – Beautiful Hell: I found Adna this spring and I’ve been listening to her album Run, Lucifer a lot. I’m definitely going to have my eyes on her in the future as well.
Amason – Clay Birds: Sky City by Amason is also one of the most important albums of 2015 for me, and ‘Went to War’ is a perfect song.
Lasten hautausmaa – Tuulipuut: There’s a sense of danger in Lasten Hautausmaa (Children’s cemetery in English) that appeals to me, and the Finnish lyrics of this song are strangely magical. I haven’t seen them live yet – one of the Flow Festival’s domestic must-sees this year.
Teksti-TV 666 – Kaheksan päivää viikossa: The genuinely free spirit of Teksti-TV 666 is charming.
Múm – Green Green Grass of Tunnel. Múm reminds me of the early days of Regina. We all listened to the Finally We Are No One album a lot in those days. Happy memories.
The Sugarcubes – Regina: I couldn’t resist picking up this song. It’s such a current combination right now coming from a fan of Björk who happens to be a member of a band called Regina.
The Raveonettes – Summer Ends: There’s no need for a summer song to be irritatingly catchy and happy.
Efterklang – The Living Layer: Another band that reminds me of the early years of Regina. I remember playing with them at a Czech summer festival in Prague in 2008.
Which are your all time favourite Nordic artists and influences, and why?
I’m a huge fan of Stina Nordenstam. I’ve kept listening to her albums probably for 15 years and I still get inspired by her. Both her lyric writing and the unique way she uses her voice have affected my music. I’ve also loved Björk right from the start of her solo career. She’s a superhero. I was deeply moved by her latest album Vulnicura. It’s almost impossible to listen to it without crying.
And finally, what does the rest of the year look like for Iisa?
I can’t wait my album Kukaan ei oo kenenkään to be released at the end of August. The next single, also titled ‘Kukaan ei oo kenenkään’, comes out on August 14th with a beautiful video directed by one of my absolute favourite music video directors Miikka Lommi (he also directed the video for my very first solo single ‘Perjantai‘ two years ago). Me and my lovely band start touring in September, which makes me really happy. There are other interesting musical collaborations taking place later this year too, but my lips stay sealed for now.