I meet Eki ‘Sienis’ Jokisalo outside the entrance of the Psychedelic Circus, a travelling carnival of psychonauts, general freaks and brain-twisting geeks. We pack ourselves to the brim with baby mushies and pelt headlong into the midst of the rabble. Right near the entrance is a sound stage where numerous DJs are lined up to play. Sienis inspects the playlist.
“Most of the music that labels release has become boring and predictable, I want to be surprised! And drop this “morning music”, “night music” bullshit and play the music that feels right at that very moment! I must say it’s the lack of true, pure, mindless, unpredictable fun that’s missing from the psy scene.” Eki dances for a bit then runs further into the throbbing crowds.
The first Sienis track I ever heard was Rubbabong, way back when. From the moment I identified the sample in the track as Rowley Birkin QC, a character from the UK sketch program The Fast Show, I was hooked. The combination of funny samples and high-BPM madness allows Sienis to pump some of that missing fun back into the musical scene.
“When I use samples, they are ones that I feel are connected to and that convey the same feeling or thoughts I want to express with my music, but many times I pick them out of context. The storyline should always be told mainly by the music and the samples need to jive with everything else, not just be there to fill the breaks with COOL.”
Sienis uses many samples from comedy, movies and from cartoons, such as The Simpsons and Invader Zim. “Invader Zim is the most intelligent cartoon I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. It has become a source of inspiration as well, it’s the most seriously unserious cartoon ever, and that’s how I got the name for my second album, when describing Invader Zim to my friends. I love the way Jhonen Vasquez builds up a mood with the massive tools of sound and visuals, just to then mess with you once he’s got your undivided attention, simply genius! The first time I saw it my friend had to pause it, cos I was hitting my knee and laughing so hard I could hardly breathe!”
We trawl through the swelling masses and from our brows sweat begins to drip. The mushrooms are kicking in and everything is cloaked in a fine, sparkly mist. I just saw a contortionist stick his head through his legs, and then he seemed to twist through an invisible dimension and disappear. Man, it’s hot. If we were in Sweden, Sienis’ home, perhaps it wouldn’t be so damn hot!
“Overall the people are very friendly in Sweden and you can find some really nice parties. I have to say that I prefer the outdoor forest parties in Sweden (to Australian parties). The club parties on the other hand can get a bit too commercial for my taste. So far I haven’t played at a winter outdoor party but there was one organizer from Finland once asking me to come and play at a forest party in the winter. It never happened probably because they were not sure if enough people would show up. I was really keen on it cause they promised a sauna and bar and everything, it would’ve been quite an experience!”
Sienis’ music is relentlessly upbeat. I saw him perform in the morning at the Metaphysics party last year. Atop the ridge, in the cold air, the sun just starting to come up… People seemed to think the music was going to get all melody-like, all soft and mushy. They were wrong. The beat kicked in and the dance floor lurched – some people left immediately, the tempo just too much. Sienis was playing tracks off the new album and they sounded sublime.
“I love the fact that, with psytrance, there are no rules as to what kind of sounds I can use or how I’m supposed to build my tracks. I love the energy most of it has, the momentum and the sheer power of it. It’s the only kind of music I can dance to without having to hold back one bit. But when I’m bored of listening to electronic music I usually fall into stuff like jazz, classical music, Reggae, World music, Finnish tango and any soulful pieces I might find.”
It’s good to see some of that carnival atmosphere coming back to psy parties. Getting the psychedelic back into psytrance. “What I really want to express with music is for people not to take things so goddamned seriously! Everything is at a constant change and I’ve noticed that putting people into a situation where they have to deal with something unexpected, it’s like shaking people into awareness out of the daily habits that we all fall into. Laugh at your own silly habits and reactions to music and daily impulses. In the end all that really matters is that we all have fun!”
Sienis should be back to perform soon, hopefully. We can at least rely on the fact that Australia has its hooks into Eki and isn’t going to release him from its clutches of awesome any time soon. “I love the fact that you’re generally so laid back and know that things don’t have to be so serious all the time. I like how the nature is beautiful, strong and keeps you on your toes. I like ‘The Chaser´s War on Everything’ and the fact that you guys have that show called ‘Rage’ that plays any music video you send them, at least once! And finally, you have one of the best upcoming labels in the world called ‘Peyotii Recordings’.”
We leave the carnival, our heads awash with colours and our ears ringing with amazing sights. Eki has won a plush Machine Elf and I have chilli ice cream in my pants. A good time was had by all.
Sienis’ second album, Seriously Unserious, is out next month through Peyotii Recordings.