Flush are a four-piece rock band based in Helsinki, debut album ‘It Began as a Mistake’ has just been released and singer/guitarist Lasse was kind enough to fill in the blanks on our introduction to Flush.
DGM: What are the origins of the band, and how long have you been playing together?
Lasse: The core of the band was formed long ago. It actually goes as far back as the last century, so we’ve known each other for a while. I (singer-guitarist) met Börje (drummer) in the backyards of a Helsinki suburb, shooting toy guns and wearing the coolest cowboy outfits available back then. Times were different, and being a child was a lot easier. When we reached our teens we decided to try rock music. By then we had gotten to know this local guy Janne (guitarist), who was recruited to join the first incarnation of the band Flush. That is how we got started.
The current line-up has been together since 2018, and this is by far the best version of Flush. When Eero (bassist) joined, things clicked; we found a new groove and became a lot more determined about this band stuff.
DGM: How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?
Lasse: Our first ever gig as Flush was at a church community event. We were using their hobby room as our practice space, hence they asked us to play at a “local youth event”. It was very odd and awkward to sing heavily Bad Religion influenced songs – about there being no God and the bible being a fictional story – at our local church. Luckily, we were loud and fast, so most people did not catch the lyrics!
Gigs are the best part of playing in a band. Writing new music is inspirational, arranging the songs together is rewarding, and studio recording is exciting, but nothing beats being on stage. Nothing.
DGM: What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourselves?
Lasse: We like to think that we provide a good mix of aggression, melancholy, sarcasm, oddness, and hope. The aggression is there to absorb all frustration and anger from within and into the music, instead of taking it out on people around us/you. Melancholy and sarcasm are our way of dealing with the sorrows and insanity that we all face in our lives.
People often say we sound like someone, but not quite like anyone. Our artistic ambition is to make music that is relatable and sounds familiar, but that still has enough oddness and surprises for it to be original and rewarding enough for both us and the listener. When combining all these elements you get Flush: a band on a mission to spread some hope in the dark period we live in right now.
DGM: The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent. In what ways do you feel a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
Lasse: You know what, the current scene is not very healthy when it comes to artistic aspirations aligning with commercial success. To be commercially successful you either need to focus on attention being your enabler, and this is typically through some non-musical ways of promoting yourself and your story, not your music, or you need to sound so familiar and safe that the industry is willing to place their bets on you because they think you sound just like all other mainstream music. Neither of these tactics inspires great musical art. However, there are lots of great artists and bands out there; some of them exploring new sounds and ways of creating music, others working on making the next song slightly better than the previous one.
I still believe in the combo of writing good songs and connecting with people when playing music live, but 2020 has not been a great year for live music. I hope that once the Covid period is over, local live music scenes will be revived. Small and midsized venues will start attracting people, live music will thrive again, and we will see new music scenes growing. One of the best current trends is the rock scene becoming more diverse and open to people with different backgrounds. There is still work to do, but guitar-based rock music is by no means dead. It just looks different than back in the ’80s when misogynist white dudes were the standard.
DGM: What are you working on at the moment that people can check out?
Lasse: We have just released our debut album, ‘It Began as a Mistake’, produced by one of Finland’s most esteemed rock and metal producers, Hiili Hiilesmaa. Some of our gigs have been cancelled but we still have two local gigs on the calendar, so those in Southern Finland should definitely check us out live in November. We have a couple of new songs in the works as well, so depending on what happens in 2021 with the lockdowns, who knows – maybe we’ll do more recording.
DGM: What band out there at the moment do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
Lasse: It would be great to open for Idles or The Menzingers. We’re not totally similar but I think it would work. If we went stadium size, then obviously Biffy Clyro. A personal dream-come-true would be opening for Bad Religion.
DGM: Who do you feel will be the next band to break out?
Lasse: I am rooting for Gang of Youths from Australia and Spanish Love Songs from the US. Both produce intense, melodic, organic, and powerful rock music.
DGM: What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that!”
Lasse: My dad was into The Rolling Stones, Slade, and Jimi Hendrix, so I was familiar with those sounds early on. My first real favourites of my own were Kiss and WASP, but what got me into picking up a guitar was hearing late ’80s and early ’90s punk rock. That was when I knew that there was something in this for me, and it was something that I could do. Writing songs and coming up with riffs felt like the thing I was supposed to be doing.
DGM: What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
Lasse: The Hold Steady in London, UK, right before the lockdowns started in March 2020. It was a dream come true to see this band. They are a very American band and do not really play Northern Europe that much, so this opportunity was pretty unique. They were sensationally good. The Hold Steady has been a big inspiration to my songwriting over the last 10 years or so.
DGM: What is the album that you have in your collection or Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
Lasse: Some would be surprised by there being experimental black metal there, but of the current music I think Run the Jewels is probably even more surprising. I enjoy good hip-hop every now and then, and Killer Mike and El-P have important things to say. Killer Mike is one of the most prolific commentators of the current times.
I have a jazz playlist too but rarely find time to give that a proper chance.
DGM: What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
Lasse: We intend to close the year off in style. One proper, loud live show with our buddies Ninetyfive50 on November 14th in Helsinki, and then we will do a special thing at the end of November, also in Helsinki. This special event is a small acoustic(!) gig. We are the type of band that does not do acoustic things, but now we will. Mostly because we can, but also because all bigger events are cancelled anyway.
DGM: How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
Lasse: Facebook is where we are most active. Unfortunately. I don’t like their business model and would not want to support it, but we don’t really have a lot of choice. You should definitely follow/like us there: https://facebook.com/flushmusic to stay connected and updated on what we’re doing.
Our official website at: https://flush.rocks is also a good place to stay connected.
Just know that being Finns we are very hard to read. We always look serious and we are very precious about our dark image, but you never really know whether it’s genuine or just tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.
We don’t always know either!