Tommi Oskari on navigating the ever evolving electronic music world

Priya Sen

Tommi Oskari talks musical influences, playing with sound, and today’s progressive.

Ever since 2011 when Finnish Producer/DJ Tommi Oskari released his very first EP, there’s been no looking back for the articulate and intelligent music maker, whose productions delve in soulful, introspective, hypnotic soundscapes, all the while staying very close to contemporary yet classical dance music that makes a difference.

Appearing on Replug, Change Audio to Lowbit, he’s pushing the dance music grid more than ever with upcoming offerings out soon on ICONYC + more.

On top of that, he puts in ridiculous amounts of class in his radio show Sound Navigation on Frisky, that which takes one on a monthly excursion in to House music that crosses several styles with defying precision and creates breath-taking soundscapes for our aural pleasure.

We catch up with the very nice Tommi Oskari to know more about his life and times as a highly respected musician and what’s making him tick, so here goes…

Hi Tommi, glad to have you on the pages of Frisky. Can you give your fans a brief low down on how it all began, what got you hooked on to the style that you produce and play?

I grew up listening to whatever my parents were listening to at home. Especially liked the soulful R&B funk and disco sounds of the 70s and 80s, and I was hugely into Hip Hop by the late 90s. I happened to listen to “dance” music around that time too, but electronic music wasn’t really my thing until around 2003 or so when I stumbled upon some good, funky house. My own production career started with Hip Hop and mid-tempo electronica with nuances of House and Deep House later on. I still love jazz, funk, disco and everything influenced by it, but in the past couple of years my own productions have obviously gone into the Progressive spectrum.

Any early influences you can share?

Daft Punk (basically everything with Thomas Bangalter), Roger Sanchez, Junior Jack, Fred Falke, Alan Braxe and almost anyone in the early 2000s filter/French house era. That sound had a huge impact on me back then.

How’s the Turku night life, are you impressed with the clubs and the overall vibe?

We have a couple of nice, intimate clubs with interesting events, and I’ve noticed the best nights are usually the ones run by the awesome local talent. There are a lot of very good, experienced DJs and some promising younger artists in the mix as well. The scene is moving in a very interesting direction right now.

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Aside from releases on Replug, Change Audio and Lowbit Recordings, let’s for a moment talk about your remix works, you seem to enjoy doing that, as an example the one on Wide Angle Recordings for Antrim – “Lost In Space”, do you use the same methods while reworking another musician’s track viv a vis making your own?

I do enjoy making remixes, yes. It is sometimes easier to build sounds on and around existing ideas rather than starting from scratch. Aside from the starting point the method is basically the same. I usually play around with all kinds of sounds and weirdness, almost random stuff until I find the combination I’m looking for at that particular day and start building from there.

Do you play any musical instruments?

No. I like playing around with drums and synthesizers but I wouldn’t call it “playing”! I’m technically more of a programmer than musician.

Can you tell us what your studio setup is?

I’m working on a 13” MacBook Pro running Logic 9 with a pair of Sennheiser headphones.

I’m curious to know, have you ever played on vinyl?

Yes, I started deejaying with a pair of Stanton turntables in my bedroom. I spent a load of money on records back then, but have since moved on to digital equipment. I still love the feel of spinning vinyl though; it’s so much more hands-on than playing on CDJS.

Share your thoughts on the monthly show you host on Frisky Radio called Sound Navigation, any particular vibe you try to create in the mixes?

It’s pretty much what it says on the box: navigating from one place to another.

For me, a DJ set should be a spiritual journey and that’s what I always try to achieve in my mixes.

Give us your Top 5 tracks.

Cornucopia – Mountains of the Moon [microCastle] Vailixi – A New Hope [cdr] Emerson, Digweed & Muir – Fanfare, Darren Emerson Tokyo Remix [Bedrock Records] Siberian Voice – Impossible is Nothing [Bequem Digital] Tommi Oskari – Sri Lanka, Subandrio & Nishan Lee Remix [Juicebox Music]

Having checked out your two tracks titled – “Mind Tingle” and “Sri Lanka” on Juicebox Music recently, what else is going on. Can you give us any news on what you have on the pipeline?

To be honest, I’ve kind of been on a creative hiatus for a while now. I’m trying to get back to making music as soon as possible, but in the meantime I have an original track coming out soon on Cid Inc’s Replug Records as well as a remix for Fernando Olaya on John Johnson’s ICONYC (formerly known as 238 West) this October.

Any pursuits apart from music, what do you like doing in your free time?

I recently started studying archaeology at the University of Turku, apart from that I have a day job and then I try to spend as much time as possible with my girlfriend.

Lastly, do you think Progressive House and melodic Techno world-wise, is at a good space right now? Much thanks for taking time out and good luck with your future endeavors. 🙂

In my view, the scene is more dynamic and versatile than ever before.

Techno and House are doing well, changing shape and forming fresh, interesting results all the time. Almost every week I get promos from people I’ve never heard from before that blow my mind. The term “progressive” has always been a bit difficult, but right now it seems to actually reflect the state of electronic music as it’s constantly evolving.

And thanks for having me. 🙂

Check out his next episode on the 26th of October on Frisky channel:

Tommi Oskari – Sound Navigation

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