Samsara sings the blues. My rock/pop solo alias. This is the singer-songwriter, me at my barest. Releases “Blacks & Blues” and “misplaced” can be found from iTunes here and Spotify here. The 3rd release “Little Things” will be released in August 2023.

It all began with me wanting to sing (again). As a youth I had sung in bands but probably the insecurities of that tender age made me give it up. I then redirected my musical energies to playing guitar, bass and keys.

In the early 2010’s I decided to give it another go. Though never regretting that decision, there’s naturally been some challenges. One’s own voice sounds, to put it nicely, terrible…
Well, You get used to almost anything and one does learn while doing it, right?
In 2014 we had reached a point where the first SSTB album was being done. My all time favorite musician and production partner Teijo Tikkanen graciously agreed to participate, once again, probably not quite knowing what he had agreed to. Well, “Blacks and Blues” got done and for a first effort it’s pretty decent.
While I was busy working elsewhere, new sstb-sounding songs kept appearing and piling in the drawer. With Teijo I took them by the horns in late 2016 and we began to massage them into shape. We had a few very fruitful sessions at Teijo’s T-Sonics studio but “real” work once again interrupted our flow and it was late 2018 when we managed to get going again. Sessions at Perfect Sound Studio made the notes and arrangements settle into their final shapes and the package was ready to be delivered, this time to an outsider, to be mixed. This outsider, Aki Sihvonen from Finnvox Studios, proved to be an ideal addition to the sstb gang and he lifted the songs one step higher. After at least comparatively speaking very fast mixing the final stage, mastering, was once again Pauli Saastamoinen’s domain. He smoothed the rough edges at Finnvox and the album was ready. The cover image and layout by a true artist, Riikka Muikku, crowned it all. This one is called “misplaced“.
Little Things
My other projects, Liquid Wolf and Lighthouse Sparrows filled my musical schedule during 2019 – 2021. The Lighthouse Sparrows ep “The Deep End” was released in late 2019 and the double album “Aerials” early 2022. The production of Liquid Wolf’s “The Ark” has taken quite a bit of my time as well (and will still do…). While waiting for The Ark’s story to develop further (story by Jarno Sarhamaa) I noticed once again that a healthy pile of rock/pop oriented songs were waiting their completion. This time around Teijo was otherwise engaged so I approached Aki with the demos and we weeded out and refined the selection to 16 songs. I prepared more polished versions of those during the spring/early summer 2022. Of those demos 12 songs were selected to be made with a plan to drop 2 songs after completion. So I would have 10 strong songs and a nice lenght for an album. Aki helped along the way and Teijo played quite a bit of keyboards. I took care of guitars, basses and basic keys plus of course lead and background vocals. Drums are handled by two very capable musicians, Sami Kuoppamäki and Miri Miettinen. Sami, who has been my go-to drummer for Liquid Wolf and some other projects, plays on 8 songs and Miri, our Lighthouse Sparrows stickman, plays on 4. My very capable assistant, Valtteri Tuominen, helped with recording and editing plus he also sang backing vocals. Ella Eriksson aka ellaella 🙂 put a cherry on top with her lovely voice on backing vocals. The album “Little Things” will be released in August 2023 ( I still don’t know which 2 songs I have to drop…).

misplaced backstory:

Yes, the second SSTB release is done and released. It does seem that 3 years is a minimum for any of my projects. The compositional phase (2014-2016) was probably more or less simultaneous with the material of “Second Wind”, these songs were markedly different from the prog/metal genre of Liquid Wolf,  there being similarities of course. These, once again, found themselves in front of the positively critical ears and mind of Teijo Tikkanen some time during the summer of 2016. In one lengthy session we managed to go thru and weed basically all of the songs that later surfaced on the album. I might be repeating myself, but it always is a real hoot to work with the guy, he just finds the best ways to make these songs come alive.


Blacks & Blues backstory:

The journey has taken me back to the start. I’m singing again, after 30 years of silence. Strange, but fulfilling.
The songs kept piling up while I worked on other stuff. Some came out easily, some took more work, but it seemed important to keep doing them, this vocal stuff. By 2012 I had maybe 20 songs out of which 11 seemed to have what it takes. So I presented them to my partner in crime, Teijo Tikkanen. He nodded a few times, seemed to like the songs and announced that he would be playing drums on them. Well, ok, there went my plan of the ultimate power trio (sorry Kuoppis…). But what the heck, let’s have a power duo then!
The working title was “ Samsara sings the blues”, with tongue firmly in cheek. My tastes are quite varied but blues or jazz…no, sorry, I just can’t see the point. But actually, the songs are kind of…well, not blues but undoubtedly rock that knows it’s bluesy roots. As we say in finnish: “jäljet johtavat sylttytehtaalle”.
We straightened the songs into shape and convened at Perfect Sound Studio to record drums and guitars, it was the mid summer of 2013. And play and record we did, with Antwon taking care of the rec button. In two days we had basic tracks for 10 songs and one, “Futile”, that proved to be more difficult to tame. After some consideration I managed to whip “Futile” into form as well and honed all 11 into shape for the next part, the bass sessions in Nurmes. We decided to split the bass duties evenly, Teijo playing bass for 6 songs and me 5. Teijo played most of the keyboards and sung b voxes as well. For some of the songs I had a Dark Side of the Moon -choir vibe in mind (surprise!) so I asked Anu Wuori, Satu Wilkman and Riikka Muikku to be my choir of soul sisters. And they did!
Lastly I sang the songs by myself, and resung them and…You get the picture. Actually, it wasn’t that hard but since I hadn’t sung lead in quite a while, it took some time to get into the groove. I’m still bit undecided on the end result but on the other hand; who else would have sung these songs the way I wanted them to be sung?
So, we’re on the brink of summer 2014 and I’ve premixed the songs and waiting for Samu Wuori to polish them and then we’re off to….who knows where. See You there anyway!


The first release is basically done, some vocals need to be remade, but the mixing will start February 2014 anyway. Release either in May or August. All the playing and singing was done by yours truly and Teijo Tikkanen. Some soulful bvoxes were sung by three gorgeous ladies: Anu Wuori, Riikka Muikku and Satu Wilkman. Stay tuned!

SS, TT. SSTB session @ Nurmes, summer 2013.
SS, TT. SSTB session @ Nurmes, summer 2013.
misplaced session, Nurmes 2016

Little Things backstory

This time it’s a bit different.

It was slightly over a year ago I noticed I had some extra time on my hands. My other musical activities were more or less on hold. The second SSTB release, “misplaced” in retrospect feels like a divider and/or the end of an era. The “rock-first” attitude of distorted guitars etc was maybe coming to an end. Some inkling of things to come could already be felt on it, but not enough!

The demos had been piling up, I once again needed a second pair of ears in order to judge the potential of them. Aki Sihvonen, who mixed “misplaced”, felt the right choice this time around. So I took maybe 30 bits and pieces and we went through them weening the selection to 15 possible song germs. I took the seeds and cultivated them into songs during the spring and summer of ’22. By intention or by chance the songs evolved into a more “modern” direction. The sounds and arrangements clearly lean more towards modern indie sound than to my basic 80’s tinged comfort zone. And I’m so glad that they do! Of course it’s still recognizably me but it shows a definite path towards new vistas. Well, you of course will judge for yourself but I’m very satisfied!

In August we convened again and had a second listening/weeding session. One quite potential song, “Catch” had emerged during summer so we had 16 songs to choose from. The agreed goal was to keep the total duration of the album at around 45-50 minutes, so we needed to drop quite a few songs. 4 were found there and then, so it was 12 songs. As my songs usually are a bit longer than the norm, somewhere around 5 mins, it was obvious that some of the selected songs would not make it to the album but that decision was luckily somewhere in the future. All 12 would be made all the way to the end.

We discussed the personnel required: guitars and vocals would naturally be my purview, Aki felt at first (and me as well) that maybe we should hire a bass player but the demos quite clearly told that I should do the basses as well. Ok, so who would play the drums? I had 2 obvious choices in mind, Sami Kuoppamäki and Miri Miettinen. Sami and his musical approach to drumming and unbeatable (!) groove has been my #1 choice since PS. and Liquid Wolf. Miri, the low key groovemeister,  had shown his capabilities by playing on all of the Lighthouse Sparrows songs. Few others were bandied as well, but those two were settled on pretty quickly. Luckily both were willing and able as well! Keyboards? A no-brainer: Teijo Tikkanen would be the one to play all the “real” keyboard parts and I would do the basic stuff. So we had the guys in the band, let’s go!

The demos provided quite a solid backbone to lean on, so it was just a matter to do them better where required, actually quite a bit of the original playing was kept. The arrangements were fine tuned with Aki’s help. When it came the time to do the drums, I had came across Valtteri Tuominen, whose assistance proved to be invaluable to the process. He recorded Sami’s drums @ Finnvox Studio B during one intense weekend (with the micing supervising done by the unimitable Risto Hemmi), did the session prepping, necessary editing and other recordings plus sang backing vocals! Quite a find. Other “real” recordings were done at Finnvox Studio F, we did acoustic guitars and Ella Erikssons backing vocals there. We had one more guest, Vilma Peltokangas on cello. She did 2 tracks, “Promises” and “On a Sunday” (Finnvox Studio B, Valtteri recording). Some electric and acoustic guitars were recorded at my studio by Valtteri, but most of the electric guitars, basses, keys and vocals I recorded myself in my lair.

Once the recordings were done, it was time to mix. As I is usual nowadays, the songs were being mixed along the way and so the final mixing was a pretty straightforward procedure, first rounds at home and the final tweaks in a proper monitoring environment of Finnvox Studio F.

Mastering, as always, was done by Pauli Saastamoinen at Finnvox. I had the opportunity to check the mixes at studio G (Pauli’s mastering suite) and did some necessary but quite minor tweaks accordingly. Now was the time to decide on the running order and to drop the 2 songs in order to keep the running time under 1 hour…Not easy, but after some discussions with Aki it was decided that “Confessions”, the other instrumental and “No Real Reason” would be dropped.

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