We catch up with TJH87, the Finnish disco duo making glittering grooves ripe for the radio.
Timo Jutti and Hector 87 are the Finnish duo and poster boys for the disco revival, reprising retro bass licks layered over optimistic snares to orchestrate their own brand of electronica. Under the ultramodern moniker TJH87, they affectionately describe their sound as “epic tragedies that are not just for clubs and big speaker systems”, while their latest release, Lost Into The Night, blazes with sun-drenched synths, whispery altos cruising through the chorus. We catch up with the boys behind your new summer soundtrack.
How did TJH87 form?
TJ: We’ve known each other for a long time, but used to be into different kinds of music so it took us until 2010 before we found the common interest towards French house and disco. Then we started by sampling huge amounts of old 12”records.
H87: It was the French Electro and Disco House movement that started to emerge around 2010. It was something we wanted to be part of.
What has been the highlight of your careers so far?
TJ: There have been a couple of great gigs here in Finland and the tour we did this summer was a lot of fun. We started our summer tour with a huge event that was broadcasted live to radio and TV by the Finnish BBC – that was a big challenge for us, but also lots of fun. The rest of the tour was great too but that was definitely the highlight. Now looking towards the rest of the year I feel the highlights just keep coming.
H87: It’s been a huge deal to be able to play on big venues – like a festival main stage right after Fatboy Slim! That was nerve-racking but awesome.
So, you’re definitely NuDisco, where does your inspiration come from?
TJ: We always trying to make the music not just for clubs, but for radios and even home listening too, and that’s a big challenge but also an inspiration and makes it all very interesting. I draw inspiration from a lot of things, not as much from particular artists but from different styles and phenomena both in music and popular culture in general.
H87: Yeah, we try not to restrict our music and resemble just one genre or movement but I guess we’ve been influenced by French House and Indie Dance.
What are the songs you can’t live without?
H87: Personally I’d have to say Around the World by Daft Punk, Good Life by Weezer,
Romantic Rights by Death From Above 1979, Intruder by Dexter and Stop by B.W.H.
TJ: Discovery era Daft Punk – surprise!
As a duo, what are the best things about working together?
H87: As a producer, I tend to be all over the place when I make music. Therefore it’s very important to get feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
TJ: Yep, we complement each other quite well. The best thing is to know you don’t have to be able to do it all by yourself – that both have their strong area and by combining those comes the best result.
Your sounds have been picked up by some big names. How does it feel to have that recognition?
H87:It’s cool of course! I guess recognition is something every artist seeks.
TJ: I think I get most psyched when a track gets picked up by very different types of DJs. Like, for example, our track Good Life was played by Nervo and Steve Aoki but also by Todd Edwards and Plump DJs, who all play very different styles of music.
What’s the dream, the end game, for TJH87?
TJ: We just want to get better in our game, make better music and to be able to bring it to a larger audience. We are planning a live setup right now, so that’s definitely one area where you can always improve.
H87: To be able to make music every day, to visit new places and meet new people.
Lost into the Night has racked up over 50,000 plays on Soundcloud, did you ever expect that response?
H87: We were very happy with how the track turned out, so yeah!
TJ: I can’t say it was a complete surprise, as we did play it out to a number of people before the release and it got really good feedback, but still, you never really know what to expect. It charted on Hypem, so that was obviously a really nice surprise.
What is the music scene like in Finland at the moment?
TJ: There are plenty of great musicians, producers and DJs in Finland struggling to get their music heard. The lack of industry makes it difficult to get international recognition, but I think it’s getting better all the time. We’re part of a new company called Youth Control which was partly founded for this very reason.
H87: It could be more versatile too I think but it’s getting there!
You’ve been on the rise since 2011, what can we expect from TJ87 in the next year?
TJ: We’re super excited for the end of the year as we’re releasing our biggest remix to date, and we’re also working on a new EP which we should get out by the end of the year. We’ve already been working on it for quite some time, and it looks like it’s going to be our best work so far. After the release, we’ll start filling our gig schedule again, and next summer hopefully touring with a brand new live setup.
TJH87 Lost Into The Night EP is out now on Youth Control.