This story has no moths landing on me during the full moon and whispering messages from my ancestors. There are no visions received after not eating or sleeping for a week. This is more like an ordinary story of how music was infused into a small-town boy in his mother’s milk and through his dreams as his father practiced his cello parts every night after bedtime. It’s about what happened after I got my first computer.
As both my parents were, and still are, musicians, my childhood was saturated with music. There were classical concerts every 1-2 weeks (my father played in a chamber orchestra) and hundreds of hours spent listening to my mother’s cello lessons (yes, the cello, too). Our Saturday evenings were accompanied by The Beatles records.
At the age of nine I started to play the saxophone. After a couple of years, I got interested in rhythm music and joined a big band where I was introduced to the secrets of jazz improvisation. The music school I attended for sax lessons was completely classical, and my teacher would roll his eyes as my sound became jazzier year after year.
My love for jazz finally took me to Helsinki, where I continued my studies at the Pop-Jazz Conservatory. Even though I hadn’t realized it back in music school, all those classes of music theory and ear training gave me a valuable base for my future, not to mention that I made my living by playing the saxophone for over ten years.
The year was around 1992, and the computer was an Intel 486. Even though my computer skills were superior compared to my parents’ or siblings’, they weren’t much to speak of. A friend of mine installed all the necessary programs he thought I’d need, including Cakewalk Professional for Windows 2.0, an old-school DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Those were the days when DAWs started to pop up, and although we had no idea how the “big boys” were using them, as there was no internet at the time, not to mention YouTube, every kid at school somehow knew something about how to make music.
Cakewalk quite didn’t respond in the way that I, an instrumentalist, wanted to create music. Thus, my enthusiasm for DAW didn’t carry on for long, which I’m quite happy about, as I focused on practicing the saxophone and playing jazz music. I learned music theory, improvisation, and how to truly play. This focus also determined my workflow for a long time: instruments are instruments, and the computer is the tool to record them.
Years later I checked out various DAWs, and after a couple of Fruity Loops years, I ended up using Cubase. It was quite powerful even on lower-performance computers. But it was not until 2006, when I got my first Apple laptop that I realized the true power of digital audio and DAW. With Apple’s Logic Studio, overpriced, but so rich in features, everything suddenly seemed possible. Not long after, I got into the department of Music Technology in Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (now part of the University of the Arts Helsinki). The technological approach to music making started to take over, and I began to spend way more time at the computer than practicing the saxophone.
Opportunities to work in theatre also presented themselves. The avalanche of possibilities when combining music and technology in very creative and diverse ways swept me away in no time. It is then that the concept of sound design started to dawn on me, and in couple of years I considered myself more of a sound designer than a musician.
I wanted to develop my skills in theatre, and was lucky to get into the Master’s Degree Programme in Sound at the Theatre Academy (also part of the University of the Arts Helsinki now). This education gave me knowledge about theatre as a whole, its history and tradition, but also the contemporary approaches to sound as an art form. Things started to merge, music came back, and I got interested in multidisciplinary projects—that is what theatre is, by definition. I started to discover in myself the identity of an artist (that must have something to do with age, too), and to perceive the multitude of things that I do as one single entity.
What it all boils down to is my current profession and entrepreneurship. I’m proud to say that in all I do, at heart I am an artist. This isn’t necessarily an advantage, as I keep having to explain to people outside my social circle what I actually do for a living. When it comes to the background work I do, I often find myself reaching for creative and artistic solutions, even though the task may be straightforward. On the other hand, I can trust my practical side to make sure that my set deadlines will be reached, whether they be a theatre premiere, finishing a mix or producing a soundtrack.
Aave Sound is my playground, my mental soundscape. Aave (a ghost in Finnish, also a wordplay from Finnish pronunciation of AV – audiovisual or audio/video) is the way I feel sound, something flowing through space and time, with higher powers, with higher purpose.