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Interview with Lassi Nikko (aka Dune, aka brothomStates)


Well, not too much. Everyone, who knew Lassi Nikko by handle Dune, Dune/CNCD, Dune/Orange and such (he was involved, i suppose, into too much demogroups to list them here), and who is interested in his "brothomStates" project (which could be found at, might find this interview a bit interesting, though it's much more philosophical stuff rather than musical... Everyone who don't... check his new brothomStates project at the addy behind and check his old (but still block rockin') mods at
Lassi is from Suomi Finland, btw.

About the interviewer - well, it's Frown / rcd (Anthoon Outkine), formerly russian scener, now... well, just art-related person, being editor-in-chief of newly open server and former tracking musician (now switching onto MIDI stuff). My humble bilingual page is always open at (or for russians).

The interview itself is just a polished version of IRC chat. I purposely left some server messages (time, date, etc.) However, most spelling mistakes, word order and several sentences are now corrected to fit the interview. Some [Ed] markings show up where i did some serious surgery.

The interview

"lassi" = Lassi Nikko
"Frown" = Anthoon Outkine

Session Start: Tue Apr 25 16:57:43 2000
Session Ident: lassi (bstates@[ip_addr_here - cut out for security reasons][Ed])

Frown: hello there. have some time to talk ?
lassi: cant be sure. for what?
Frown: hhhmm... brothomstates is your project, eh ?
lassi: yeah mine mostly. there's a few good mates involved in it too. more or less
Frown: well... i'm here on behalf of (which is up and running and we feed it with all the proper stuff at the present moment) and it'd be absolutely great if i could interview you...
Frown: if you please, ofcourse...
lassi: well what the heck, why not. i've never given an interview did you know? :D
Frown: yeah. being a legendary person (at least, for the russian part of demoscene) :)
lassi: 'legendary' hoh :\
Frown: irc chat could go well for an interview.
lassi: irc's bad tho. but it should be ok. just make sure you just don't ask predefined questions. i'd rather talk about something real than .... well.. you know :D
Frown: it should be ok. maybe, wednesday of thursday ? no predefined questions, i promise. just you and your music. i'll carefully translate it into russian, and the english version should be also available. just everything about tracked/multitracked/professional/nonprofessional music.
Frown: okay ?
lassi: k. cigarette break!
Frown: okay, i'll come later :) c ya around
Session Close: Tue Apr 25 17:04:08 2000

Session Start: Sat Apr 29 20:24:04 2000
Session Ident: lassi (~bstates@[ip_here][Ed])

Frown: yo lassi... how'z it goin' ? :)
lassi: yea. chillin' at home
Frown: so to say ? have some time ?
lassi: yeah i've time now if nothing crucial happens
Frown: okay. me too
Frown: so let's start, huh ?
lassi: why not. lemme get some water
Frown: oki, waitin'...
lassi: so

Frown: so some formal stuff first. your real name, etc - for the protocol
lassi: yea, it's lassi
Frown: so how are you feeling lassi ? at the present time ? at the present state of mind ? :)
lassi: dizzy, woke up at 1800
Frown: was busy all night ?
lassi: i was working on some remix tracks for esa (lackluster). well anyway it was a night well spent. at least it wasn't for nothing - hopefully
Frown: ahah... okay then. now let's start diggin' the history. you're a musician, eh ? (rhetorical question)
lassi: you could say that, but i dont consider myself as one. i just love music

Frown: okay, music lover :) you're well know as a (former) tracker. where and when it all started ?
lassi: hoh i remember back in 88 or so when i ran soundtracker on my mate's a500. then i just had no choice, really :P i was mostly just messing around but it was fun hearing the top-of-the-shit mods back then was really something different, cos i had no clue you could make such music on such platform. and practically have any sound available (virtually). before that i just played around with my dad's cassette recorders, home organs and such. 88 was pretty quiet i think.
Frown: aha... amiga.... that times - what kind of music you've listened ? i mean, what influenced you to start typing some notes ?
lassi: i think i was into some heavy shit and stuff like vangelis
lassi: and of course some finnish people like m.a. numminen (who still rocks btw) ( - all russians should definitely take a look [Ed]) oh yes and i think the note business was mostly caused by the curiosity of getting some weird shit out of your gear what was available at the time. whatever that was then (back to basics)
Frown: well... evangelos can inspire, i can say... later on (talking of trackers) - what you've used - what trackers ? st2, st3, fasttracker2, it ? you're music could be found as .mod, .s3m (mostly), .xm, .it :)
lassi: hmm trackers. there was good trackers and bad trackers, i think i've tried out most of them, but in the end it was st2, st3, it and ft2. i mean from the point i got a pc. nowadays i don't find tracking that interesting anymore, although the technology is really wicked. it's just that nobody really bothers to make a good up-to-date tracker nowadays.
Frown: and your gear - what you've owned back to the tracker times ?
lassi: the essential gus max, mostly :D plus my beloved k4 (which i still have). i couldnt sample a thing off it though cos gus max had so crappy line inputs. so when i did i usually ended up having some sounds buried in a noise. that was before 95 i think.
Frown: kawai k4 ? :) whoa :)
lassi: yea i use the k4 on every song i make nowadays
Frown: yeah, talking of noise, your tracked samples are shit :)
lassi: shit?
Frown: yeah, 8 bit, and they're noisy :) nothing personal, man :) gus' inputs really suck. 8bit samples too :) and you're still quite happy with that k4 gear ?
lassi: k4 is a nice addition to the other stuff i have (or vice versa). and i didn't have a choice back then, really. it was 8bits or nothing.
Frown: but we're talking of no samples, but the music. your music was always considered strange - demosong stuff (older, i think), some jazzy tunes, some absolute weirdness... aphex twin was keen on snare rushes. you're famous with your overloaded bassdrum. what... hmmm... inspired you to do such things ?
lassi: i just did stuff i felt comfortable with. or stuff reflecting something which was going on at the time (in my life).. that's all

Frown: aha... so - music is emotions for you ? or, reflections of those emotions ?
lassi: yeah purely. music is nothing without emotional content. it's a channel to release your feelings. there's so much unknown things in music. things which cannot be explained
Frown: okay... sounds just like klaus schulze :) you have a track... one of my (and nearly everyone's) favourites... "nang"... "nang.s3m". could we talk about that module ?
lassi: could you whistle it a bit? i don't remember how it went. i've tracked SO much, there's stuff i don't even remember. like. nang. it was for some kind of a tracking compo am i right. yeah it was. ok now i remember.
Frown: aha... whistle a bit.. yes. some leads, then bassdrum with hats, and then chipsynths panned left-to mid-to right. why "nang" ? :)
lassi: yeah i never got those chipsounds go right actually :) and it still bothers me. four arbitrary letters. why not? if i had continued on the tune it would've been "nanh" most probably.
Frown: nang is ok :) the tune... you've expressed your feelings, right ? could you remember, what you were expressing, or it's just too far away in your memory ?
lassi: uhoh that was years ago. most of the stuff from that era was angst i think :) i wish i still had some
Frown: angst :)
lassi: yea angst is good

Frown: okay... talking of your tunes... you had/have some idea about what it should sound like, or not ?
lassi: no i never plan anything when i start laying down some notes on tracker or sequencer . it's a natural process. i'm not trying to rationalize the music i do. do you ever know when you can do something and when you can't? i mean have this feeling
Frown: well, you won, i can't :) your music is irrational, and that's cool. but what's about the process ? leadlines first ? some chords first ? some drums ? could you remember (not in details) how'd you make a tune ? naturally ?
lassi: well of course it's something where i have to start
Frown: i mean, not the technical stuff - it's boring, and everyone knows this. i mean, how the IDEA moves in your head as you're tracking/composing :)
lassi: it's usually ANYthing. it can be a sound. or a mood, an atmosphere. then you just sum the elements to make it whole. i never 'think' when i compose
Frown: but what do you do when you're composing ? consciously and subconsciously ?
lassi: it doesn't require conscious effort. its listening and reacting. i just keep repeating things until they begin to sound 'right'. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt. usually it does though
Frown: your tracks are fairly well balanced - dynamics / low end / mids / highs. on purpose / by "mistake" ? :)
lassi: in the end it's the same thing with composing and mixing (for me at least). so i just try everything. if you don't try anything, you don't get anything new. at some point it starts to sound ok and that's when i usually finish a track
Frown: :) yep. ever tried to sound like "someone" (purple motion, 4 e.g.) ? - no offence, just asking. you may lie :)
lassi: yeah you should see my collection of tunes which sound like other people :D lassi does PM uh oh :D but that was a great fun indeed
Frown: you have that collection or you're joking ? seriously ? :))))))
lassi: nono i'm not joking. it was great when you had heard some tracks by someone 'famous' and after a while you know his style. then you can make a copy of the particular style and have a good laugh afterwards :D music shouldn't be serious. not too serious at least
Frown: :)

Frown: okay. your nickname - Dune - read/watched Frank Herbert's book/movie_after_the_book or what ? :)
lassi: 'dune' is four random letters by the way. i've always been keen to writing stupid programs which produce random shit. [Ed]
Frown: yep. but then they mean something :)
lassi: yeah it was just a (un)happy coincidence
Frown: coincidence... ahah.... no i don't believe you :))))
* Frown is a great scepticist :)
Frown: and the inspirational issues... "inspiration" - what is it for you ?
lassi: inspiration is all you need
Frown: inspiration... how do you get it ? ever tried to analyze the process of getting / using / losing inspiration consciously ?
lassi: no, some time ago i tried to analyze it and decided it's not working out. it's zen stuff
Frown: Zen stuff... like Dao... okay :) so, you're working "subconsciously", eh ?
lassi: ha. i don't know if it's the right word. but at least i'm missing hours when i do music. suddenly noticing it's 8:00. wondering where did the last six hours go. that happens
Frown: :) i know that feeling :)
lassi: it's a great sensation
Frown: we're talking nonlinearly, that's ok ? :)
lassi: yeah
lassi: i think nonlinearly. a great sensation... hah :))) :D
Frown: we think nonlinearly. human beasts tend to think nonlinearly :) we're irrational by our nature :)
lassi: yeah and that's why i love us the way we are

Frown: but then... the "rumours" part
lassi: ahaha. you're having sections there. section four: Rumours. go ahead if you, please :)
Frown: no :) no sections.... :))) as i promised - no sections. i just occasionaly have a question :) i'll skip the rumours telling "dune is a group of people" or "dune is a girl", ok ?
lassi: haha no. let's get on with it
Frown: but then there's a rumour you've done thousands of tunes from which only several published are gems, and others are total crap. what's about it ? :)
lassi: yea i have over a thousand tunes. most of them aren't that good. some are ok. but it's been getting better really. i mean, 92 stuff compared to 96 stuff. it makes a big difference. cos it's a learning process. so i'd say the rumor is half true.
Frown: getting better - yes. we (humans) tend to make some progress. we have around 60 tunes of you, others are on your hdd/cd-r or somewhere on ftp or something ? :) never had a feeling to publish something (imagine the public crying "dune, dune, give us some more") ?
lassi: yea i've all my old modules backup'd on cdrs. thought about letting people have most of it some day. carefully selected though :)
Frown: aha, i see.
lassi: dune.... i haven't heard that word in a long time
Frown: so when you'll be publishing, please let me know, okay ? :)
lassi: maybe you'll hear the world cheer when it happens :) (eehhhhh)
Frown: yep. you're not lassi and not brothomStates :) you've picked up Dune. you go as a Dune now - most of time. that's a reality, man :))))) i'm half serious, but i'm serious...
lassi: well some day i'll just disappear
Frown: well most of people think they'll disappear
lassi: most demo scene stars have disappeared it seems
Frown: okay, they've dissapeared :))))
lassi: and for friends i am lassi. cos it's my real name and i always call people by their REAL names as well. assuming i know who they really are
Frown: yes, lassi :) but i see how your fans are crying behind your house/flat: "du - ne ! du - ne !" :))) i'm joking... no offence, man
Frown: (i'm, huh, Anthony, by the way - if you need that)
lassi: (address cut for... well, for reasons) [Ed], helsinki rock city, finland. come here anytime
Frown: let me hide that address from public, okay ? :))) but oh well, let's continue...
lassi: k:)
lassi: lets

Frown: (il)logically, to sum up your "tracking" experience - when you quit tracking, why ?... technology ? just bored ?
lassi: i never quit tracking (hint hint). i just tend to work on my gear, but it doesn't exclude tracking at all. trackers, for me, are still one of the most powerful tools for composing music. and laying down ideas.. sketching
Frown: i agree - a friend of mine, manwe/sands here tells that - "trackers are powerful". and he rocks, so he's right :) so... your last tracks are a little bit old. new ones - where are they ? unpublished ? or you just "mix them in" ?
lassi: hmm. i have new tracks. just waiting to get them out on cd or vinyl
Frown: commercially ?
lassi: yes
Frown: that's fine :)
lassi: it's not like any sony or emi shit. small stuff. there's some fine labels out there
Frown: yes, small stuff... hint - most of us dream/think about some small record deal :)
lassi: i'm just trying to get a decent deal somewhere
Frown: :) like Aisth ? :)
lassi: no comment :) it's different shit. i don't want to be a superstar. i just want people to hear and feel
Frown: "i just want people to hear and feel" - the very same thing i and most of my good friends want - but could you tell me - what for ?
lassi: wavelength. cousin souls. you know
* Frown smiles a little
Frown: now... your present software/hardware - in brief ? any MIDI stuff ?
lassi: i'm all midi nowadays
Frown: tell me more about MIDI :) the process of midifiziering the "virtual studio"
lassi: MIDI is slow, crappy and too restricted. but i gotta live with it
Frown: yep, MIDI is slow, but the soft/gear - what are they ?
lassi: sometimes i wish i had a bunch of modular synths i could work on:) the usual stuff, i usually don't talk about my gear too much cos it's not the purpose of music. but it's just a selection of various useful and useless things
Frown: well, i agree :) it's not the purpose of music.
lassi: samplers, synths, drum machines, effects and so forth
Frown: so, you think that music could be done with a half-broken flute in a small open house with open windows and empty door(way)s ?
lassi: some people seem to do music for the sake of technology and i don't see a point in that. music is in everyone's mind.
Frown: yep, music != technology. but then we come to a question - what is a music ? not from a technical sense - but in general... have any (non)personal thoughts 'bout that ?
lassi: music is harmonies. anyway about music. it's being too strictly labeled. you play something to people and they try to put it in some predefined box in their mind. ohwell im talking nonsense again
Frown: :) why nonsense ? :) you just simply don't have a "metalanguage" at your disposal, to express some thoughts/feelings you couldn't express with a spoken word, eh ? music can be some sort of such a prototype of "metalanguage" (such as a gesture/body language) to express your thoughts/feelings beyond the scope/ability of a normal, spoken/written language ? ah ? :)
lassi: yeah i was just about to say 'music' once again. music and sounds
Frown: haha... okay...
lassi: i'm not being too talkative today... it seems
Frown: well, you're okay today - at least for humble me :) huh :) but then - what's your ambitions in "music" ? not personal ambitions - "to get rich / to have girls", but musical ones ?
lassi: that can be only seen in the future. i'm just going along with the feeling. trying to do what's right
Frown: so how do you live then ? just "flowing" as it flows ? what guides you - ever tried to learn ?
lassi: well there's no real chance of living like that in modern world, it's so in your face stuff. but i'm living on the edge it seems. always out of money, don't know what's happening tomorrow and such. but i like it that way. sounds a bit zen'ish again
Frown: huh... we have much in common :) except for the thing that in my country 99.9(9)% of people are permanently out of money ;)))) not zen-ish. it's ok. you're just trying to see/feel a little beyond/behind a scope of an ordinary human... that shouldn't sound that i think that you're extraordinary :) that is supposed to sound that "you're just more curious that most of people around". am i right ?
lassi: well at least i look around all the time. it's this country
Frown: :)
lassi: it's sad
Frown: "tell me more"
lassi: being out and seeing all those men and women
Frown: you're going okay
lassi: they just walk. walk. they dont have the time to stop and notice the world around them. but it's their choice, not mine
Frown: aha... pick some Dao anthology book, read some first chapters... they describe such a situation when you see that people around are "just walking"
lassi: ahahah. great
Frown: but finally - it's their choice - to live PREDEFINED, EXPECTED, RATIONAL :) you've got the idea :)
lassi: at least living like that is 'safe' in this society
Frown: safe. you want to be safe or what ? :))))
* Frown laughs
lassi: did i say so ? no. maybe they're happy in their own way
Frown: a rhetorical question :) i meant you're not trying to be safe - you're about to feel the way...
Frown: okay, okay....

Frown: any tracked / real world influences (in music / etc) this times ? like aphex twin or something ?
lassi: old rj is great stuff. and misters booth and brown have been continuing on their great work. always evolving. and yes then there's friends. classical music has always something to give. i'm listening to all kinds of music nowadays.. the love for music - remember ? :)
Frown: hmmm... classical ? what names ? european ? maybe, russian - tchaikovsky, borodin, rimsky-korsakov ?
lassi: haha i 'ven't any classical records. i just have the radio on classic station(s)
* Frown smiles
Frown: okay
Frown: any tracked ones ?
lassi: i dont know any tracker musicians nowadays. i'm a bit out of scene
Frown: stupid question, but have to ask it - there's an interview behind this chat - or people won't get me right - "best song / best tracked song" ? :))) of past, and present...
* Frown is a bit out of scene too :) these times - full-time job, etc. :)
lassi: best song: m.a. numminen: tikkeri-takkeri (from parhaimmat lastenlaulut 2). best tracked song: ocean loader sid.
Frown: never heard of... suomi pop, i suppose :) and you're joking, i suppose :) have that sid handy ? :)
* Frown laughs
lassi: well i'm supposed to say something so ... no i dont have any sids

Frown: your interview (i believe) would be presented to a fairly broad auditory. have something to say - technically, or in general ?
* Frown assumes we're near end now. but if you have some topics YOU wish to discuss (in the aspect of i-view or out of it) - you're welcome...
lassi: i could say something but i think i can't
Frown: you don't want ? :) it's okay anyways
lassi: "remember your family and friends". forget who you are and all is lost. ohwell. i'm waiting for some friends to pop in soon
Frown: you've been fairly kind listening to all my bullshit and answering it - no jokes. so thank you
lassi: no, thank you
Frown: i wish i could've done all this in real life, but the situation... we're fixed to irc right now. thank you ever so much, Lassi :)
lassi: i hate irc
* Frown tries to sound polite
* lassi bows
lassi: yeah keep it real Anthony
Frown: :)))
Frown: thanks
lassi: boy... that was a long interview
Frown: :)
Session Close: Sat Apr 29 22:16:10 2000

Interviewee: Lassi Nikko
Interviewer: Frown

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Design and programming: Alexander Eljin aka Real/SandS     
Editor-in chief: Anthoon Outkine aka Frown/Rcd     
Creative and interface: Alexander Matchugovsky aka Manwe/SandS