- born Aug 16, 1963 in Oulu, Finland
- artist, songwriter, producer
- B.A. in Music (1987)
- M.A. in Musicology (2000)
SPACER: "Where No Band Has Gone Before" (K-tel/Tace 1989)
TAPIO KANGAS : "Julia" (Audiovox 1998)
LÄNSIRANNIKON TÄHDET: various artists (2000),
LÄNSIRANNIKON TÄHDET2002: various artists (2002)
MITÄ SUOMI SOITTAA
TARJA LUNNAS: Oi, beibe oi
CAT CAT: Bye Bye Baby
JAMPPA TUOMINEN. Parhaat
TAPIO KANGAS HEAVEN SHAKES / Flight 5079 (Lion 1980)
LADY & THE TRAMPS STIFLING GIRL / No more loving (Fazer 1982)
VIENNA LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE / Dreams are untrue (Lion 1983)
SPACER 007 / Rosette (K-tel 1987)
SPACER CANDYAPPLE RED / Victim of the flame (K-tel 1988)
ATOMIC DOG FEEL NO LOVE / Stay by me (TopMan 1990)
TONI HARJU TUHKA TUULEEN / Pieni Ihminen (Selecta 1991)
TAPIO KANGAS VIIKONLOPPU / Kulkutauti (Bluebird 1991)
TAPIO KANGAS HUKATTUJEN HETKIEN HOTELLI /Kuuhelmi(Bluebird 1992)
ULTRABOYS POLIITIKKO / Armeijassa (Bluebird 1983)
RITA JOS RAKASTAT MUA / Lähde (Sea Sound 1985)
RITA AINA / Sateen Jälkeen (Sea Sound 1985)
TANYA HAILI HOO (EMI 1986)
TAPIO KANGAS JULIA (Audiovox 1997)
TAPIO KANGAS MAMA (Audiovox 1998)
- top 10 singles in Finland: RITA (Jos Rakastat Mua), Tarja Lunnas (Ilman Sua), Jamppa Tuominen (Musamies),
Cat Cat (hyvästi)
TV - Appereances:
OULU-TV- special (1990)
SYKSYN SÄVEL (1992)
LUONNON PUOLESTA ?konsertti (1993)
SYKSYN SÄVEL (1997)
LÄHIKUVASSA: TAPIO KANGAS (1997)
HUVIN VUOKSI (1998)
- 1st place in Levyraati 1992, 3rd place in Syksyn Sävel 1997
- lives in Gothenburg, Sweden
- children: Ashley, Taru and Satu
- mother Irja, father Taisto, brother Timo and sister Tuija
AND FIRST THERE WERE TWO
I come from a musical family. In fact I happen to be musician in the fifth generation descending on my father's side. I
don't know much about my mother's family because she and her siblings became orphans when my mother was 12
years old. My parents met in the Oulu School of Commerce. My dad was also alone in the city after finishing his
service in the army orchestra. They got married and got jobs like most couples do. I was born two years later.
My parents named me after a well-known Finnish artist and olympic gold medalist, TAPIO Rautavaara. Perhaps they
already foresaw that I was going to be a musician and a songwriter. The truth is that my father was playing with Mr
Rautavaara at the time I was born. Lucky me because otherwise they would've named me Kari.
I started out with piano at the age of eight under a strict supervision of an ex-nazi soldier who had stayed behind
after the Germans had left Finland in the Second World War. I hated practising piano and for that reason only I
began writing my own songs. At the fourth grade I was transferred to a special music class. It was sort of like in the
movie Fame, a class full of gifted kids although not many of them pursued music further. At the same time I began
studying clarinet at Oulu Conservatory thus following my father?s footsteps. Truth of the matter is that I was much
more interest in football than music as a kid.
Pop music started to interest me in high school. Up until then I had only been playing in orchestras and singing in
choirs. I even had a short stint as jazz musician. Anyhow, rock hit me hard in my teens. It was so different from
classical music. It had a beat, a clear rhythm. What's a good melody without a rhythm ? And I could write a rock
tune in a few minutes instead for days or weeks.
I joined my first real rock band YETS at the eight grade. It was an ambitious group with talented players: JUPI Hjelt
on bass, KEPE Pennanen on guitar, APE Putkisaari on drums and me on keyboard. We practically lived in our
rehearsal place, an old house in the middle of a suburb. We all wrote songs and we were always competing with each
other in one way or another. It strove us to be better and we had some success and near misses but we never really hit
the jackpot. We ended our short but promising career at Kuusrock- festival in front of about 6000 people.
I had always wanted to learn English fluently and when I was accepted to be an exchange student in the States I
didn't hesitate to leave everything behind. Besides I have always been academically good, usually the top of my class,
so, I couldn't pass on a chance to graduate from an American high school.
In the States I recorded my first single HEAVEN SHAKES b/w FLIGHT 5079 at the age of 17. My host parents
financed the whole deal. I did promote it even in New York where I met people from K-tel and Chappell Music but
nothing ever came out of it. The person at K-tel did put me in touch with with the Finland's division.
In high school I played saxophone in the marching band and bass in the jazz band. I did a lot of marching in parades
and football games in those days. I did also have a band with some schoolmates but it was more of a hobby than
anything else. I realized that I was better off doing my solo stuff. On weekends I worked as church organist and
wrote unmemorable tunes for the services.
I came back home for a couple of years to finish my school in Finland. I decided go to nightschool and work during
the day. I preferred that arrangement a lot better. I started working on some demo tapes and joined a band called
LADY & THE TRAMPS for a little while. We only made one single STIFLING GIRL b/w NO MORE LOVIN with
PAVE Maijanen for Fazer Records. The whole thing fell through for some reason although we had the biggest record
company and booking agent behind us. I had some top companies interest in my solo stuff but for various reasons
nothing materialized out of those so promising prospects even though I had help from people like TOMMI Liuhala,
RENNE Angervo, MATTI Esko and LIDO Salonen (CBS, EMI, K-Tel).
I moved back to the States in 1983 to acquire a degree in music at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. It was a
natural choice because Clarion was close to Knox where I spent my exchange student year. In the beginning I was
staying with my former host family. When my fiancee moved over and in with me six months later we got our own
place in Clarion. I concentrated on classical music especially composition. I composed three larger pieces: String
Quartet, Clarinet Sonata and Wedding March For A Symphonic Orchestra which all were performed in different
concerts. At that time I was also trying find my way around the right people in the business. It was disappointing to
realize that Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania in overall weren?t exactly happening places as far as music went. I did
check on New York City but I came back empty handed.
I took a half-year break from school and worked as substitute teacher in Kalajoki to earn some extra money. I would
later return to the same place to start up a radio station called Beach Radio (summer of 1989, -90,-91). I was trying to
run my band VIENNA in Finland, which released one single and played a few festivals. Again K-tel was going to
release the album but the whole thing fell through.
Through my advisor in school Dr McLEAN I got in contact with a local producer TONY Cook who hooked me up
with two promising musicians guitarist NORMAN Hall and keyboardist Gary "BUFF" Buffalini. We wrote "Victim of
the flame" the day we met. That?s when everything started happening and eventually caused the end of my
We called our band SPACER (Norm and I were real sci-fi freaks) and started writing songs seriously. We spent a lot
of time abolishing the songs in the studio. We had some top names working with us such as DONNIE "Play that
funky music white boy" IRIS and JONATHAN King from England who was at the time lancing off SAMANTHA Fox.
I remember hearing her demo and I thought it was pretty weak. Later on the Spacer crew was added with RUSTY
Kotyuha (bass) and KEVIN DeRose (drums). We started hitting the local club scene but it was not much to write
home about. BUFF left the group a little after.
Spacer won a local "Battle of the Bands" contest. We also won a local song contest with our tribute to Mr Spock of
STAR TREK. At that time we were working with JOE Bendo and JOHN Calhoune of the DAZZ Band. "Rock Mr
Spock" caught the ear of GENE Roddenberry who was the father and inventor of the whole series. We almost landed
a deal for the song in a movie. Naturally almost doesn't really count. But at least we got some well-needed ego boost
and self-confidence out of it.
We got our first two singles out 007 b/w ROSETTE and CANDYAPPLE RED b/w VICTIM OF THE FLAME through
K-tel. Candyapple Red went to number one at some local stations in Finland and in Pennsylvania. We also got some
music people interested in us but we never signed anything. The contracts were simply outrageous. Nobody in sound
mind would ever have signed them.
BACHELOR OF ARTS
I graduated in December 1987 with a B.A. degree in music and marketing. There wasn't really anything happening
in the beginning of 1988. Actually I was dying to move back home. Besides the army was calling me. They just
couldn't do without me. In April I moved to Finland and I pretty much swore not to move back to land of the free
ever again. Part of the reason was that I was having some personal problems with a girl who later bore my first child
Ashley Marie. Ashley is carrying the family tradition (or curse) by playing piano and clarinet.
I landed a job in an advertising company called AVEC Audiovisual. I worked with radio commercials, videos and
different campaigns. It was very interesting time. We didn't go by the clock but worked enthusiastically on different
projects 24 hours a day.
I did make a trip to the States to record the first and the last Spacer album "Where No Band Has Gone Before" in our
own Space Station studio. It was released through K-tel in Finland but it never took off. Although it helped us to hire
an attorney ROBERT Dorney (John Fogerty's ex-lawyer) in L.A. who started shopping it around. Unfortunately the
band folded soon after and so did the studio. I lost a lot of money on that venture. But I did still have the attorney. He
liked my solo stuff. Tragically Robert died of a stroke before we really got going.
I got interested in Finnish language (suomi) and started working as journalist. The next step was to start writing
songs in Finnish. It didn't take too long before I landed a deal with BLUEBIRD Records. I got to record a whole album
but it was never released for some strange reason. It still sounds good even today. Thanks to a great engineer named
Niksu. God bless his soul.
Bluebird did release two singles, though. One of them won Levyraati (HUKATTUJEN HETKIEN HOTELLI) song
contest and the other one (SYKSY) got me into Syksyn Sävel song contest in 1992. My second child Taru was born the
I was also involved with other projects such as Luonnon Puolesta- concert (4 Ruusua, Miljoonasade, Kirka, Neuman
and Pelle Miljoona) and Oulu Film Festival (OFF) which focused on film music. We had some interesting guests at the
festival: film composers Jerry Goldsmith and Trevor Jones, director Renny Harlin and actor Michael Rooker.
Unfortunately the city of Oulu didn't find the festival important enough to give it financial backing.
I also found time to write and produce music for ULTRABOYS, Toni Harju's album (with Kassu Halonen), Johnny
Francis, Cat Cat, Tarja Lunnas, Jamppa Tuominen, Francis Goya, Marianne and Huoposen Veljekset.
The recession came and I went into teaching music. My third child Satu was born in 1993. I was growing restless. My
music wasn't happening. I did regroup with my old friend Jupi and helped him to sign with Warner Records. He
made only one single JÄTIT MUT SATEESEEN b/w HÄN MENNYT ON. To support my family I played on
weekends in a dance trio. I was also organizing a huge happening for the school kids in Oulu when celebrating
Finland's 75 years of independence. I performed for an audience of about 10.000 people. My biggest ever (excluding
In 1994 year I met a Finnish producer in Sweden through a mutual friend EEVA Jaakonmaa. We decided to form a
record company in Gothenburg. On my brief visit in the town I also met SEPPO Ihme, TICK Chabakong and KAI
Tapani (I had been there once before in Gothia Cup, a football tournament). In November we sold our apartment and
car and moved to Sweden.
I worked on two albums for SEA SOUND: RITA (a girl from my hometown) and TANYA. They did okay but not
great. Besides it wasn't really my kind of music. With TONY "how swede it is" Jenhed I started working on some
demos. "JULIA" got me into the song contest Syksyn Sävel again and this time I came third (1997). It opened up all
kinds of doors for me. All of sudden I had 5 companies interested in me. I had my own TV-special made. But the best
part was meeting my manager TAPANI Hirvonen who had always believed in me over the years. It was like in
JERRY McGuire (rent the video so you'll know what I mean). Tapani started handling my things. We signed with
Audiovox Records and I started working on my album with Tony and SEPPO Ihme and his partner Martin "MARA"
Sventorp. Seppo and I had planned doing an album for a long time and most of the songs that we had worked on
previously ended up on the album "JULIA" which was released in February 1998.
WHAT TIME IS NOW
As I look back on my life it makes much more sense now than back then. I don't know if things have gotten any
easier, though. It's still about presenting and selling my music and being rejected more than being accepted. It comes
with the business. I think I've learnt a lot but there's still a lot more to learn. That's the funny thing about music, you
can always get better at it. Another funny thing is that I've pretty much made a full circle. I've come back to
instrumental music, which I started with. Hopefully I'll get to do more of it (like scoring a movie). But I do still love
writing lyrics, though.
Now I'm in the process of translating "Julia"-album into English and hitting the Swedish market with it. I'm also
deeply involved with studio 214. Hopefully we'll get it going soon. I have met some interesting people this past year
and I guess we'll have to wait and see what this year will bring. 1998 was very interesting to say the least. I'll keep
you posted !
- My influences consist mainly of songwriters and composers because ever since I was 9 years old I've been wanting
and trying to be a composer. Naturally I've listened to wide range of artists over the years and picked up influnces
here and there but the only one that I have really idolized was Sting and the Police. Although I don't think you can
hear their influence in my music. If I have to name someone, I would list these people as someone that I have great
respect for: Jean Sibelius, Ludwig van Beethoven, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Vangelis, Jeff Lynne, David Bowie,
Prince, Kojo, Rels, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. And bands like Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, U2, Led
Zeppelin and Duran Duran to name a few.
- Personally I feel that the best ideas come at night. I lose a lot of sleep over this fact. Although the ideas bop up
anywhere and anytime. Händel said once that inspiration is 90 % work and 10 % actual inspiration. I tend to
disagree with him. Sometimes ideas just flow out of you and sometimes not, that's why it's called inspiration.
- Naturally any professional writer can come up with something when he/she wants to, but the question is if it's any
good. Therefore I don't believe in actual writer's block, I'd rather call it quality work's block instead.
- The songs themselves are like my kids. I could never tell which one is my favorite. Besides I only write songs that I
like. What's the point doing something you don't like yourself ?
- My current project TUNDRA is a dream job. I can go any direction with it. The possibilities are limitless. And I can
use all the know-how I have acquired over the years mixing different music styles and ideas. I can die happy now.
- TUNDRA is ethnic music enhanced with modern beats and sounds. I have used different singers with multi-cultural
backgrounds on it. The whole concept comes with a story of a mysterious city called ARKTOSIA. It's the second story
of the trilogy.
- My ultimate dream is to turn ARKTOSIA into a movie. It would also be a great vehicle to promote nordic culture
and heritage, things very close to my heart.
STATE OF MIND
- In the summer of 1999 Marko introduced me to a local producer named Kareim who came to the studio to work on a song song called "Fridom" which eventually became Soulmate. Our collaboration lasted only one song but it was a beginning of something beautiful.
Marko and I had found a common musical ground. He played me an idea for a song which I named "Do What You Love". It was the countdown for I O N. We had found a comfortable way of working together. Songs started pourring out like Gothenburg rain. The details you can read in I O N 's biography.
- I have also been busy with a lot of local projects but I O N is the one I'm most interested in by far. - In the fall of 1999 I entered the college life again pursuing D-level studies in musicology. I took a course in film music and got more and more interested in writing music for film. On my my teacher's advice I applied for a school in England and got accepted to London College Of Music (Mmus in composition for film and TV).
- I think I have finally found my niche. My plan now is to pursue these projects and get them off the ground before I'll
turn 40. That's my 5-year-plan. Then I can retire in some secluded place and pursue my real aspiration: to become a farmer.
| back |