The Spotify algorithm often blesses me with hidden gems. Roughly two years ago, I discovered the track “To the Moon” by Helsinki-based Indie Pop artist, Knife Girl. The track takes you through a whirlwind of emotions, as if we’re witnessing someone vocalize their racing thoughts. Recently Knife Girl began releasing a series new music, such as Metro Ep and “Why”. Each release was hit after hit for me, quickly becoming stuck in my head like a marvelous little earworm. I got the opportunity to exchange a conversation with the Finnish artist–Read the full interview below!
1) When did you get your start in music?
“When I was a kid I used to play with Garageband on my dad’s iMac. It was around 2013 when I got really into the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and its fandom, ‘Bronies’. That fandom produced tons of fanart, fanfiction, and music among other things. I was inspired by the music that bronies were making, and decided to try making music in Garageband, like I did as a kid. In a year I’d gotten so invested in producing music that I begged my parents to get me Logic Pro for Christmas, and they did (I was a spoiled kid). It was then that I started uploading music to SoundCloud, to the same account I’ve used to this day.”
2) Is there a story behind your stage name, “Knife Girl”?
“I wish I had a cool story for this, but honestly it was just a name I was using on Discord. I used to make music as ‘Olli’, but that was my dead-name, so when I came out as trans I really wanted to change it to something else. I thought ‘Knife Girl’ sounded cool and so I decided go with that.”
3) What is the music scene like in Finland? Do you have a favorite performance you have done so far?
“The music scene in Finland is unfortunately still mostly dominated by big label artists. There’s tons of indie acts, but they have a really hard time getting an audience. I feel like Finnish people mostly just listen to whatever it is that’s being promoted at the time. It’s gotten better the past few years, though. The algorithms on streaming services are helping independent musicians reach a wider audience.”
“My favorite Knife Girl live performance so far must be the one we did at my label, Soliti, at their 10 year anniversary event. It was hosted in Helsinki City Museum’s cozy little inner yard. It was the first time I played live together with my band and it felt really good to see all the work we’ve done so far come together. The audience really enjoyed it, and by the end they were dancing in front of the stage!”
4) In late July, you released the track “Why”—what was the inspiration behind this song?
“In Helsinki we had just had the municipal election, and once again far-right politicians had made their way into the City Council, like in earlier elections. I was just really pissed off from seeing so much support for politicians with vile, hateful views. A common thought I had during this time was why do people have to be a**holes? That was pretty much what inspired me to write the song.”
5) What motivates you to create?
“It might sound cliche, but music is sort of therapeutic to me. It helps me to make music inspired by the things I experience and the things that weigh on my mind. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I really can’t force the music.This might sound pretentious, but money’s not enough of an incentive for me. I’ve always struggled to make music ‘to order’. I’ve done commissions for personal use and for commercial use, and the experience is always more or less mind-numbing. I’m in a really privileged position though, to have the option of not doing those kinds of jobs.”
6) What is your favorite Knife Girl song?
“Pretty much all my favorite songs I’ve written are on my album that I’m still in the process of producing. Performing music with a live band has really changed the way I approach songwriting. If I had to pick a favorite song that I’ve already released though, I really like ‘To the Moon’. It was my first song with real lyrics and a song-structure. I’m still really proud of it, and I usually perform it at my gigs.”
7) Will there be more Knife Girl releases in the upcoming months?
“I actually just sent off the masters and cover art for my next EP to my label earlier today. I’m pretty sure that the first single comes out October 15th. It’s a bit weird though, it’s sort of a concept album. It has a totally unique sound and vibe from the rest of my work. I’m really looking forward to it being released!”
Interview By: Alexa Terry