###can can heads is a band from Finland, heavily influenced by #no wave, #skronk, #free jazz, #hardcore punk, all things noisy. The brand new Butter Life LP (edition of 300) was released on March, 2014 by Karkia Mistika Records/Verdura Records/Bottom of the Pops. Butter Life is the second full-length from Finland’s Can Can Heads, the previous one Headcracking Lifestyle came out in 1999.
Can Can Heads: Raine Liimakka (guitars etc) Janne Mäki-Turja (drums) Tomi Nuotio (bass) Mikko Lehtonen (vocals) Janne Martinkauppi (saxophones)
Can Can Heads is a nest of contradictions, twists and surprises. It’s violent music with a gentle heart. The band’s front man doesn’t sing. Or play an instrument. He occupies the space on stage where a lead singer usually resides. And gyrates. Generally, the bass is as close as the band gets to a lead instrument. The music is convulsive and jerky, but manages to reach a hypnotic state. It’s like tribal music made by a quintet consisting of misfits and contrarians. Hailing from a barn in the flood-prone flatlands of Bothnia in western Finland, Can Can Heads has been kicking against the pricks for over two decades. They’ve managed to avoid all contact with the roaming searchlights of media attention by skulking from one margin to another: punk, no wave, free jazz, noise. All this goes into a blender and out comes something the band itself tends to call “Ramones meets Albert Ayler”. Others might call it skronk. Butter Life is not smooth and it’s not creamy. It sizzles and scrapes, raking its lo-fi nails from your scapula down to the small of your back. (Arttu Tolonen)
We have spoken with the band’s drummer Janne Mäki -Turja.
Futuristika!: Can you walk us through your creative background thus far? From 1993, you have only released two albums if I am correct?
Janne M-T: Yes, two proper albums and loads of other, smaller records. We also have hours of unreleased material. We started out as a trio, then later expanded to include a vocalist and saxophonist. We’ve never had an agenda or a goal. We just like to play and see what happens.
The band’s name refers to a wordplay but I just did not understand, is it possible to explain that?
Janne M-T: The name derives from the town of Kankaanpää where our guitarist went to art school. Kan Kaan = Can Can + “pää” translates to “head” in Finnish. It’s kinda silly, but we like the name anyway.
From Cop Shoot Cop to John Zorn, from The Ex to Swans I felt “anti-mental” and chaotic aspect in your music. It is as if JG Ballard is playing with you. What was your starting point? How was the Finnish music scene at those days and how is it nowadays?
Janne M-T: Not sure what you mean by anti-mental, but it sounds good. Thanks for JG Ballard reference, surely the first of it’s kind for us. Our starting point was to make music completely without having to worry about what is considered good or bad. To play the sounds that we hear in our head. When we started the Finnish music scene did not understand us, and they still don’t.
Anti-mental was foggy yes, I meant it is real experimental to me as no thanks to label system of contemporary music era, a lot of bands are called “experimental” but we see that most of them are quite inside the borders of “mental”. However your music just walks on the border between jazz and punk and what can you say about the making of it? Improvising? Mathematics?
Janne M-T: We’re not improvisers per se but we like to dive into the chaos at times. Maybe our style of making music is closer to instant composition, although we might lack some of the more sophisticated technical skills usually required in that style. Mathematics? We suck at math.
It is certain that your music demands specific listeners as “demand” for it will not be huge, which seems so punk attitude for us. Rare concerts, silence from mainstream media etc, we have similar bands just like you in Turkiye. Thank you for this joyful chaos and for our traditional last question, which albums, books, magazines, films are on your bedside nowadays?
Janne M-T: Hey, thanks for the chance for an #interview. The bands I’ve listened to lately: The Numbers Band, Talmud Beach, Glenn Branca, Califone, Moondog, BÖC, Slang, Disorder, Savage Republic and Sandy Bull. Movies…Re-watched The Hunt (Mads Mikkelsen) recently and it was as great as I remembered. About the only book I read for a long time was the biography of Little Richard.