An interview by THE OTHER SIDE
Hail, Anssi! Introduce yourself in depth...
Achtung! I'm a man from Finland. I play electric upright bass, sing and I'm the (only)one behind DreamSpy. And do many other things in my life along with music. I'm patient and impatient at the same time - patient and relentless in a big picture but restless when I got something into my mind - I want it to happen NOW. I'm determined and want to improve things constantly. I think I'm a very sensitive person but all people don't see that. Some may think I'm quite serious and gloomy but there's always a humorous side present - life is a tragicomedy for me. I've been told I'm honest, innocent and foolhardy. I'm not sure about that foolhardy...maybe that I speak straight, no matter what.
I know there are people who fear me and in general people seem to avoid me. I've always been an outsider: it's mostly my choice but not entirely.
Hope that was deep enough.
What is the news from DREAMSPY?
I have given interviews, took part in some radio shows after the album release, and now I've been rehearsing a live set - there will be a studio live video shoot soon.
Tell me more about your debut release...
Quite open question..
DreamSpy is my music project. I composed, played, sang, programmed and made the whole production. Every song got born from a short bass riff or bass melody but sometimes the song got totally different direction from the starting point. I didn't make demos: I recorded everything freshly and didn't copy paste things. I wanted to retain human touch and it provided counterbalance to programmed stuff like the drums.
This was the first time I have made songs all by myself.
Where and how it was recorded?
I recorded, mixed and mastered the album at my home. I liked that freedom to choose a right moment to make and record my music.
Tell me more about your lyrics in it? Concept? Who is their writer?
I normally make the lyrics afterwards. I just follow the vibes my music gives me. I think I don't have any strict concept there but DreamSpy's lyrics are basically quite escapistic. I try to transmit and describe feelings - I'm not a storyteller.
A phrase "the dance of the subconscious and the superego in the world of distortions" tells all.
DREAMSPY - what is the story behind that name?
I had recorded the album's first song "Bitter Sweet" and it sounded big, spacy and cinematic. I started to think what might be the name of the project and DreamSpy just came to my mind. It felt right.
How do you describe your music style?
It's quite hard for me or other people to describe the style, but: dark rock, atmospheric rock and industrial vibes can be heard. Some bluesy stuff too. Experimental music. Art rock.
Is it released by a label or is it self released?
I had a label to release the songs for Spotify and other digital platforms.
I would have done it by myself if possible. Of course the label's mailing lists helped to spread the word but that's all. There are no marketing plans. It goes how it goes, I don't mind too much.
Do you have any plans for concerts and tours?
Not in this moment. I have done gigs with my bands in the past but I don't consider myself as a performer - I don't have a strong passion for that. But with this DreamSpy material it would be cool to make some solo gigs. First I'll do a studio live shoot for YouTube release.
You did a few official video clips and lyric videos. How does the audience receive them?
To be honest I haven't heard much comments in respect of the videos so far. But I'm surprised DreamSpy's been played a lot on radio stations and the album's been reviewed in several music web pages with quite good ratings. DreamSpy's music is not mainstream stuff so I didn't expect much attention, particularly because there's no marketing.
What about the cover version of "Like a Virgin" of Madonna?
In fact I had recorded that version couple of years ago but decided to
publish it now when I got an idea for the video. Nothing to do with the DreamSpy's album though. I've been told that I must have a weird imagination to make that kind of a version. That's a compliment.
What is your vision upon the underground rock/metal scene? What is the situation in your country?
I think I have always found more interesting stuff from the underground scene than from the mainstream. But I haven't followed music scenes closely for decades so I can't say much about the present time. I focus on my thing.
Do you know something about Bulgarian scene?
Sorry, I don't.
What are your general plans for the future?
I'll start to make new songs during this year. I have plenty of ideas and riffs ready for action. I will experiment with different bass tunings, new sounds and harmonies. I'm not sure yet if I will release them one by one or wait until I have done enough songs for an album release.
Did I forget to ask you something?
You forgot to ask about my web sites. Check out: https://www.dreamspy.org, https://www.facebook.com/dreamspyofficial, DreamSpy songs on Spotify and lyric videos on Youtube. Subscribe if you feel so, there's more to come. Thank you.
Last words? Your message for the readers of The Other Side...
If you are curious to hear experimental rock music played without guitars and you like melancholy but powerful music, just give DreamSpy's stuff a chance.
Please say something about yourself - anything you would like people to know about your biography. (You decide what you want to say here - maybe where you were born, what is your education, hobbies, bands you played in, projects except DreamSpy you've done etc)
Hello! I have borned 9 days after the 1960s, in Finland. Nowadays I work as a TV post production sound designer, drive my race car on time attack competitions, hit the gym, make videos for DreamSpy, Basstor Ansgarius and my race car YouTube channels. And I play my bass, sing and make songs every now and then.
How did you come up with the idea about your solo-project? Do you identify yourself with Mr. DreamSpy?
I think I'm quite introvert person, I've always been self-absorbed and like to do things alone. I started to play and compose songs when I was 15. I played with many musicians for 25 years but - though there have been many good times too - something was missing all the time, musically. Finally I lost my passion, quit the band and sold my bass gear. I didn't play my bass or make songs for 4 years.
Gradually I started to play again. I got an idea of playing bass with programmed midi drum tracks and create something all by myself. I made 9 bass+drums instrumental songs (you can find them from Bandcamp under Basstor Ansgarius title). I liked that industrial vibe I captured and it's a base of DreamSpy too.
I started to gather more bass riffs and finally had almost 100 of them to choose from. I wanted to regenerate that Basstor Ansgarius thing and add some harmonies and vocals too. I picked 15 most interesting riffs that worked with fast made demo drum loops and then started from the first riff. And didn't stopped after I had completed 10 songs.
I composed, played, sang, recorded, mixed and mastered the album at my home. So this really is a solo project. Me myself and I.
Do I identify with DreamSpy? Of course there's a lot of me but in generalized form. I don't always know where those songs and especially lyrics come from - I have also left there a lot of space to construe. I'm always searching for the ways to do things differently and so is DreamSpy too.
DreamSpy is entirely your project and drum tracks include both drum machine and actual drums. There are also sounds of piano and of course the bass that lures listeners in. So how many instruments do you actually play? If you had to choose only one between singing or playing, what would you do?
In fact all those drum tracks are programmed midi stuff. But sometimes they sound more traditional than machine. I don't play any other instrument than bass, fluently. So it took some time to get all keyboard tracks done. But it was great fun. Synth and piano tracks are very important emotional element in my music - they support vocals and complete the DreamSpy's world.
I think I'm much more talented singer than I'm as a bassist. I seldom sing but I'm always playing bass - it's the fountain of my creativity. Singing comes along as I start to make songs. By playing and singing simultaneously I can express myself completely.
One of the reasons that makes your debut album unique is absence of guitar tracks. Why did you decide to record all 10 songs without an accord played by guitar?
My bass sound has developed to be quite big and offensive but it was often too much when played with guitars. When I started to record layered bass tracks, I found out I can achieve in that way the overall sound I want. I enjoyed the freedom to do whatever I like with my bass. That freedom is more a sound thing than playing a lot of notes. The absence of guitars gave of course plenty of room for synth and piano sounds.
Who inspires and influences you? (Musicians, artists, politicians or maybe your family and friends?)
I was ten years old year 1980 when I heard the Stray Cats and a little later some psychobilly bands. No doubt that period of time has influenced me a lot and that's why I started to play double bass too. In the late 80's my music taste slided to darker genres and I was then hit by metal, grunge and progressive rock bands.
When thinking of musicians, Glenn Danzig has inspired me most - he's a very capturing character. In general I seem to get inspired by people who walk their own path. Movies and visual art influence me and my creativity too. For example I love the feel of scifi world as Bladerunner or David Lynch's movies and Twin Peaks.
What did participation in "Voice of Finland" give you? How did it feel to work with Michael Monroe?
I went there to get an experience. And got them - in good and bad way. I also wanted to challenge myself - I had just quit my band and tried to do something completely different...and I had performed as a singer(without bass) just once before VOF. In fact Michael's team wasn't my plan at all - I was there to sing something else than rock songs. There's a long story about what happened then but this is not a forum for that. VOF is much more entertainment and a reality show than singing competition.
How did pandemic influence you and your music? What did you do during quarantine? In your opinion, how can pandemic change the world of music? (Coronavirus already changed education system; offices became online, nearly 100% restaurants started to deliver their dishes if they didn't do it before, but what about music?)
Personally that isolation wasn't a big deal for me, just normal life. :) Of course I was concerned about what was happening near and all over the world. I'm not a professional musician and get my money elsewhere but I could hear, read and feel the pain people in music business were suffering during the lockdown. And are still, it's not over yet.
It's very common nowadays that musicians necessarily don't play together but do their tracks separately at home studio. This pandemic situation has also forced people to find new ways to keep things going on. I'm not a big fan of social media live gig streams but I guess they came here to stay in the future too.
What are your music plans for this year? For 5 years? (You told me about live shows - please include them into the answer! If you have any plans for particular festivals or collaborations with other musicians, please say about them too)
There are some plans, yes. I will update all of my sounds so I can create some variations here and there. My music goes and is allowed to go where it want to go to. I have some old never published songs I'm gonna remake and there're a lot of new riffs too. Wait and see.
I have a live set ready for action: 6 DreamSpy songs + 6 Basstor Ansgarius industrial vibe instrumental songs. There will be a one man studio live shoot soon(I will publish that on DreamSpy's YouTube channel) and of course it would be nice to do some live gigs somewhere with backing tracks. I haven't played my songs live for ten years now.
What musicians (Finnish or foreigners) would you like to work with in the future?
I don't have any plans to play with somebody. I'll continue in this way. :) But I hope to collaborate with some visual artists in the future.
What is your life credo? (Maybe some philosophy that helps you do things better and you want to share it with others?)
Music is not my only passion in life so I alternate where does my focus lie on. That's why I seldom get bored or become too strained. I can plan and make preparations for long time in backround and wait for the right moment and final inspiration.
Trust yourself, learn from your faults and give it all you got, whatever you're doing. Be and feel yourself free.