Helsinki-based band feelswithcaps puts the incoming wave of winter depression on hold – a six song lasting dance of pure electro pop. But along with sophisticated synth-sounds come vocals full of Nordic melancholy and: feels. Feels of longing, love, loneliness. A full diary on a record.
We talked to leadsinger Sofi about deserted islands, the best positions to listen to music & how Absence sums up all the stories of her twenties.
You have been playing together since 2013 with great support from the music landscape in Finland, first live performances in the UK and recognition by i-D Magazine and London’s Soho Radio. Could you introduce yourself for everybody who hasn’t heard from you so far?
Sofi: We are feelswithcaps, a Finnish indie pop band, consisting of me, singer and songwriter Sofi Meronen, keyboardist Mikael Myrskog and drummer and producer Aleksi Kinnunen.
Aleksi: I think feelswithcaps is a band where the different strengths of each member are strongly represented – Sofi’s pop-songwriter-background, Mikael’s jazz skills combined with a passion of synthesizers, and my experience on house/techno music.
The first part of your debut album Absence is being released today. What makes this album so special for you?
Aleksi: We wanted to create a clearer sound for this album, and wanted the music to be a bit more dance-y, because it felt natural. There is a lot of space for instruments as well because Mikael’s synth hooks are an essential part of our sound. The album has a certain kind of dark, northern melancholy to it but is still hopeful and something you can dance to. A night drive that takes you to an intimate club in a small town, lit with neon lights.
Mikael: We all like: sweeps and explosions when entering the chorus, ace grooves that make you want to dance, hypnoticism, synth tricks, new and interesting ideas and details, without forgetting the song’s architecture and a traditional combination of good melody, chords and structure.’
Sofi: I think lyric-wise this album is kind of like all my diaries throughout my twenties put into one album. It’s about all the biggest feelings I’ve been through. I hope, when people hear the songs, they find something they can relate to and maybe find some comfort in these songs.
What would you say is Absence the ultimate soundtrack for?
Sofi: As Aleksi said, a night drive would be pretty spot on. As a teenager, I always used to buy CD’s and when I’d listen to one for the first time, I’d put it on in my room and lay down on the floor with my eyes closed, in x-position. I would recommend doing that. Or maybe go for a walk in the evening through your favorite spots.
While your overall sound is very uplifting and optimistic, your lyrics balance this out with a gloomy sentiment just as you were bringing together the good and the bad, the hope and the doubts of any situation. Feeling lonely or missing something are prominent themes like in Drains or Powder. Does loneliness scare you?
Sofi: Yes, loneliness and longing are something I’ve struggled with during the past few years. But I wouldn’t say that loneliness scares me. I’m hopeful about the future and I feel like I’ve always known, no matter what pain I’m going through and how strong it is, I will get through it with time.
How do you feel less alone then?
Sofi: I’m very lucky to have some very close, honest, loyal, fun, big-hearted best friends in my life. That makes everything lighter and better. So I would say the loneliness and longing I’ve felt have mostly been in romantic relationships, but there are other relationships in my life that are solid amazing.
Actually, last time my heart broke, I went to a desert island for a week. At first, when I got there, I felt like ”holy shit maybe I’ll lose my mind here alone with all this pain”. But it ended up being the most healthy thing ever and I definitely want to do that again.
When listening through your album, you can’t miss that every song tells a very personal experience. Which song on this album was the most healing to write?
Sofi: I think Coexist has a very kind, warm message. As I said before, I might have realized later that I was kind of writing it for myself as well. I think it’s a comforting song, and I hope our listeners will hear that, too. When you feel like you are in a dark place, know that I’m here, waiting for you when you make it out.
Would you say music can cure lovesickness?
Sofi: Ah, I think many of us have had purifying experiences with music. One I can instantly think of is when I went to see Robyn at Alley Palley, London, and she sang Dancing On My Own. At one stop they stopped playing while everyone in the audience kept singing for a long time. Robyn seemed genuinely taken. I realised that it’s such a universal feeling – love pain. I had tears running down my face. That moment definitely healed a piece of my heart!
What’s the first memory with music that you can think of?
Sofi: I remember hearing ‘Porilaisten Marssi’ (a Finnish march) on TV and going to the piano and finding the melody on the keys.
And the most memorable Music Moment – which song always hits you, reminds you of something particular and brings back the same feelings?
Sofi: At the moment it’s SOHN’s The Wheel. I have attached some strong melancholic feelings to that song. It’s such an amazing song but I was listening to it a lot while falling for this guy and things were difficult. I also remember the cold weather when I hear this song. It’s like winter – both outside and in my heart. We were actually just driving back from a video shoot the other weekend, and my friend Sara had a playlist going in the car. This song came on and it hit me hard and I instantly shouted from the back seat: ”can we not listen to this song please”. I hope I can clear my bad feelings some time soon!
You’ve lived in London for a year before returning to your home base Helsinki. Where’s your favorite spot to listen to music?
Sofi: Well, in London I have to listen to music every time I go in the tube because otherwise the noise kills me! I don’t know how people put up with it. When I go for a run, it’s nice to listen to a good playlist or a new album.
In Helsinki I love running by the sea at Kaivopuisto.
Or when I’m at home and feeling energetic and excited, something to boost me.
Or when I have friends over and we’ll listen to something chill.
Or when I’m completely in pieces howling on the floor and need something to help me (this hasn’t happened in a while though, thank lord) …
Who in the band is the one who always comes around with new music discoveries and what’s the latest find?
Sofi: I think we all post stuff on our WhatsApp group every now and then. Sometimes when we have sessions we might listen to some stuff we have found. Let me see what’s the latest thing one of us has posted! * Okay it was me, I’d posted a track called thor by push baby. Very fresh! No one commented though…
Now that Absence is out, what’s yet to come?
Sofi: Ah, we’re already working on new tunes. I have an idea how the vibe might change, I even have a title idea for our next one. But I’m not gonna tell you yet! The plan is to create one album a year, so watch out x