It’s been a while since we cast our gaze towards Finland’s capital of Helsinki. Lil’ Tony plays an integral part in the city’s nightlife as owner and founder of clubs like Kaiku, Kuudes Linja, Ääniwalli, Siltanen, as well as Helsinki’s own Flow Festival. His contribution to Residents’ Hour was recorded at Kaiku, warming up for Rush Hour’s San Proper. Hit play, and read on to see what Tony has to say about the nightlife in his hometown.
“There was a big gap in Helsinki for a weekly house club. In the late nineties, we had weekly house clubs like Kerma, then Rose Garden, then the famous Redrum and YK. That was our first mistake actually, wrong place on the wrong side of the city. That was an expensive mistake. After YK, we found this amazing venue in the Kallio area, just next to our old live venue called Kuudes Linja. We rented it as a pop-up project for Nokia, called Nokia Factory back then (four years ago). They did seven parties in one year there. After Nokia Factory, we knew we were going to keep the venue as a club. We started the building work and the plan was to host house-disco-techno nights on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday as a reggae and dub night. We are now open from Wednesday to Saturday, programming mainly electronic nights, with some disco, wave, Balearic, etc.”
“The main thing was for us to make a perfect room for music and dancing. I think we’ve done well, as it’s an old house with a wooden floor. We first had a Funktion One system, then we had a Void, and we now have Danley which works best with the venue. We still love our warehouse Ääniwalli with a Funktion One system. We keep lineups unique. Rather than looking for the biggest crowd pullers, we look at the interesting names – both new and old. We are always happily full, even if there are totally unknown new names on the bill. They’re often the most fun parties. People 100% trust us and what we do. The club is now recognised on a global level, with everyone wanting to come and play. We used to have one or two foreign guests a month. It’s more or less six-to-eight guests now, along with some very special local DJs.
“San Proper said it straight: ‘Guys, you have best sound in Europe. No joke.'”
“We are very happy with Helsinki’s scene. It’s growing. The people in it know what they want, and it’s quality. Banging techno isn’t too big here, whereas house and disco has been big for years. The scene is fresh, with young new DJs and promoters cropping up constantly. Clubbers also range in age, from eighteen to fifty. Equally, our parties see lots of art school kids and gay crowds sharing the dancefloor.
“Our night with San Proper started pretty early, as you can probably hear from the mix. It was full by about 11pm. I kept it quite deep and housey in the beginning, and later on it, went into more old school house, disco and some rare groove stuff – even with Dr. Proper himself. He always keeps it soulful and raw, which is a trait I admire in all of the Rush Hour posse. Lots of punters came down early. We’re lucky to have proper dancers at the beginning of our nights, dancing with their eyes closed and feeling the music. San said it straight: “Guys, you have best sound in Europe. No joke. But I hate this new Rane rotary mixer,” which I agree with. That mixer sucks.”
Stay tuned for our next instalment of Residents’ Hour, coming from an island on the St. Lawrence River at the foot of Mount Royal.
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