Interview with Guitarist and Vocalist Lasse G of Flush (Finland)

By Mick Michaels 

The Cosmick View: Hello, Lasse and welcome to The Cosmick View/MBM Ten Pounder! Thanks for taking some time to chat with us! 

CV: Describe your definition of Flush’s sound and style and how does that definition uniquely describe the music?
Lasse G: Musically, we have grown up with many decades of rock music of all kinds. As kids we heard 60s and 70s rock, we started finding our own favorites in the 80s, the 90s was our golden era, and we’re still finding so much new stuff in the last decades too. Genre wise we are typically placed within alternative rock, punk rock, or hard rock buckets, but some of our recent material has more metal elements than before. We write on the darker side of life, sometimes through irony and sarcasm, and sometimes by just straight up saying things as they are.

CV: Today, everyone talks about artist and audience connection. Is such a level of connection actually achievable for an artist and if so, how have you made the connection to your fans?
LG: In the end, we are all just people and we connect with each other in various ways. This connection is influenced by many factors: language, culture, demographics, technology, values, socio-economic status, and, yes, also the dynamics of there being an “artist” and a “fan.” I don’t see us being any different from our so called “fans.” I am a fan of others myself, but still first and foremost just a person like anyone else. Why should we separate ourselves from what we are underneath? Sometimes it does feel a little awkward when people approach you in what appears like admiration, but I always try to steer the conversation to the music, the situation, the context and any other thing than our or my artistry.

I can see that there are situations where an artist needs to some separate or protect themselves. For example, right before or straight after a performance you’ve got other things on your mind and your brain chemicals are mixed in exceptional ways, but other than that… We’re just humans. Ask me again though when we are super famous and cannot go anywhere without being recognized, and I’ll probably have a different response!

CV: Is fan interaction an important part of the band’s inner culture?
LG: I love this question! Especially the part of a band’s “inner culture”. I don’t think anyone has ever asked about our band’s culture, whatever that even means. How do you define culture? I guess it’s in everything, in how we are and how we behave? If I reflect on our purpose as a band, which primarily is to play live music, then I reckon fan interaction is essential to our being and our band’s culture. Just like most other small bands, we have played for practically empty rooms, but as long as there is at least one person there paying attention, it’s worth doing it. Hence, fan interaction must be at the core of our culture.

It does not mean that we write songs to please our fans or think much about what our fans would like. That is not the case. But as a band that wants to play live music, fans are essential to us, and we see our gigs as social events. We want people to have a good time and be entertained, and we also want to hang out with people before and after the gig. Sorry, that was a long and winding answer to a great question. I guess the short answer is simply, yes, fan interaction is important to us. It’s at the core of the bands being, which is to play music live for fans.

CV: Can a band truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of personal privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal space” in your opinion?
LG: In the previous question I just said we don’t write songs to please our fans, but privacy is definitely a consideration when it comes to lyrics and how much is OK to share with others. Mostly I write from my own perspective, but I also write about events and emotions that involve others, and that is where I have to think about privacy and protecting personal elements. It’s not OK to write about someone else and make it so recognizable that a listener might be able to connect the dots and identify a person.

We are not so big that we need to worry about too many people knowing or recognizing us, so this consideration applies mostly just to the songwriting, and there especially in the risk that lyrics expose other people. With the internet and social media though, you always need to think about what you say and do, for example in an interview like this. We all have other jobs, families, etc, and the internet will connect those dots, even if you don’t intend for anyone to do so.

CV: Is music, and its value, viewed differently around the world in your opinion?  If so, what do you see as the biggest difference in such multiple views among various cultures?
LG: Sometimes, probably more often than not, it’s useful to go back and think of where music comes from. In our discussions about streaming and digital revenues, business models and mega-global corporations, we often forget why mankind created and still enjoys music.  It’s a social ritual that is both emotional and physical. Music was created to be danced to and to share a social and emotional experience.

Especially, in the Anglo-American world, and increasingly in Asia too, popular music has become a commodity. It’s a commercial product or service designed to create engagement, and subsequently revenue to someone. When music becomes a commodity that is decoupled from its ritualistic heritage, it also loses its artistic aspirations. Today songs are created by teams of writers thinking about which rhythm pattern will generate most streams, and soon those writers will be replaced by artificial intelligence that can create songs and imitate art at a lower cost and higher pace than ever before. Popular music has lost its danger and excitement trying to please a busy listener who isn’t willing to engage in all the ritualistic aspects of music. Music used to be magical, and still is in some places, but mainstream Anglo-American music is too often just a plastic commodity designed to soundtrack 10 second video clips and create engagement on large commercial platforms.

CV: Do you feel that a band that has an international appeal, will tend to connect more so to American audiences? Would they be more enticed or intrigued to see the band over indigenous acts because of the foreign flavor?
LG: We’re from Finland in Northern Europe and have never played in the US. Obviously, most of the music we listen to is American and we follow media like everyone else. From where we look at the US, it looks like a country with lots of different cultures and scenes, some more inclined to welcome “strangers” than others. From reading about the very tight hardcore scenes in the 80s to hearing of the country scenes today, I really don’t have a clue of which geographies or scenes non-American bands should invest in and where they would be welcome. All we know is that if you want to make it in the US, you need to focus all your attention there, and spend all your time and money on the US market.

CV: Has modern-day digital technology made everyone an artist on some level in your opinion? Have the actual lines of what really is an artist been blurred?
LG: A lot has changed with easier access to creative tools and distribution. It’s important to note that these are two different things, and both have changed drastically in the last 10-15 years. Anyone can create music on their laptop, and anyone can distribute it to the whole world completely on their own. These are great things, by the way. Just to be clear, I have no issues with lower barriers of entry.

The problem is that the surrounding mechanisms of media and business have made everything extremely commercially focused and capitalistic, and we’ve lost the fact that music is – or should be – an art form. Today it’s all about promotion, attention, and money, when it used to be about art, creativity, a message, and playing great shows. You can now be an artist without much musical merit to back it up. Don’t get me wrong. There are many insanely talented pop stars out there, mostly female nowadays, but there are also lots of pop stars who are just commercial products with very little artistic merit. Do you qualify as a “musical artist” if you can program a simple drum pattern with a few clicks on the mouse, or if you can read words in time for a plugin to add a melody or fix the pitch? At least make the lyrics matter and aim for some poetic value in the music!

CV: How would you describe the difference between an artist who follows trends and one who sets them?
LG: Do those have to be mutually exclusive? I can think of artists who take what they see and hear, and then blend it into something new.

Another question to consider here is whether artists actually are aware of current trends, and do they intentionally follow or create these trends? Or are they just doing what they do, and then outsiders like media and the audience define it to be a trend. I would like to think that most artists create music the way they like, without thinking about if it’s part of a current trend or aiming to conquer some new space.

I could be totally wrong, and am only speaking from the perspective of an artist who has very little commercial or business interests driving our work, but I genuinely believe most real artists don’t think about what trends or genres their music falls into when creating the music. Trend definitions and classifications are usually (unfortunate) afterthoughts.

CV: Has music overall been splintered into too many sub-genres in an effort to appease fan tastes in your opinion? And has such fan appeasements, in actuality, weakened music’s impact as a whole by dividing audiences?
LG: I wrote a blog post sometime ago on our website promoting the use of genre tags and references instead of genre categories. Placing artists and songs into just one bucket has become pointless, especially now that there are hundreds of sub- and sub-sub-genre buckets. Bands even need to invent their own genres to stand out and find their own space. We also know from history that most of the interesting art happens when genres collide and something new is created. If a band like Faith No More was getting started today, would they stand any chance of breaking through the genre definition barriers?

Instead, I would like to see critics, reviewers and other media using concepts like tags and references – or whatever else we want to call these. “Tags” are like genre descriptors, and they can be quite rich and diverse, but the point is that you can add many tags to one artist or song. You should be able to be both punk and metal or black metal and hardcore. “References” are artists that you can use to describe the music and again you can use more than one. You could say that someone sounds like Nirvana, Deftones and Idles, and we would all be OK with that. This would be helpful to the listeners who need to know what to expect from the music, and it would be helpful to the artists trying to describe their own music in more meaningful ways.

CV: What can fans except to see coming next from you?
LG: We have an EP coming out early November and we think it’s the best work we’ve done so far. The EP is called ‘Conspiracies, Treats and Chaos,’ and two singles are already out (‘Entertainment,’ Weak and Wrong’). Venues are only slowly opening here, and we don’t have any live shows booked at the time of writing. But there will be live shows in our own Helsinki area and hopefully somewhere a little further away too.

CV: Thanks again Lasse for taking some time and talking. It is greatly appreciated.
LG: Thanks for having us! This was a refreshing interview and some of the best questions we’ve faced so far!


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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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