Sunday, 13 October 2013


As a Finnish band choosing to sing in Finnish, Regina might initially appear to have put limits on their appeal. As is always true though, language is no barrier. And, helpfully, their Mikko Pykäri was willing to answer a few questions.

It’s the right time to check in on Regina as, with Sami Suova, Mikko is one half of the terrific Shine 2009 who, a couple of months ago, signed with Modular. The duo have also recorded as Cup. This leaves Regina on hold, but not actually defunct.

Regina’s music, Iisa Pykäri's vocals and the atmosphere of longing generated is enfolding and seductive. Melodies are yearning, almost hymnal. That they do this by merging the organic with the electronic makes them all the more special. For evidence: the wonderful "Unessa" (below).

In addition to Iisa and Mikko Pykäri, Regina’s remaining third is drummer Mikko Rissanen, who joined after their first album. To date, there are four Regina albums: Katso Maisemaa (2005); Oi Miten Suuria Voimia (2007); Puutarhatrilogia (2009); Soita Mulle (2011). They chart an increasing confidence: an assuredness climaxing on the classic – classic if it were from anywhere – Soita Mulle, where a folk-like melodic sensibility intertwines with the lightest of nods towards Technique New Order. A beautiful, emotive and subtle sound.

It seems absurd that a band who have charted in Finland have such a low profile outside their own country. The US label Friendly Fire did work with them, but that appears to have not caught light.

Mikko Pykäri says he's currently “waiting for the Shine 2009 album release later this year, and also finishing Iisa's solo album which I'm producing. Regina is slowly starting to write a new album but it's going to take a while.”

Whether Regina’s music is geography specific – could it have been created anywhere else? – is a question Mikko (quite reasonably) dodges. “It's difficult to say and to be honest I don't care if we sound Finnish or something else,” he says. “ Finland as a country has a certain meaning for us, sure, but that's nothing to do with the message we are delivering. For us being Finns [singing in Finnish] is not unusual. Iisa is careful about the lyrics and feels she can be more exact when writing in her native language. I think we've always been what we are. It's more interesting to think only about the direction you want to go and to not care about others.” Iisa Pykäri is also currently writing lyrics for HMC Music Publishing.

On the development of their sound, Mikko explains “We've tried to simplify our music and to concentrate on the key elements and leave everything else out.”

Shine 2009’s progress and the release of Iisa Pykäri’s solo album might mean Regina become overshadowed. Let’s hope not.

Also only on Kieron Tyler worlds of music:

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