In 2019 Sami and his sound designer colleague Olli Huhtanen finally moved from idle chat to action. Lighthouse Sparrows was born: a laboratory for our experiments on modern rock, be it progressive, deep pop or art rock. We brought our individual strengths to the table; Olli’s impeccable sense of melody and lyrical prowess met Sami’s sense of production, balance and sound. License was given to be silly when needed and all reservations were discarded. We decided to make music we liked without sandboxing it to any particular genre. Of course our love of “high brow” shows, there’s no denying that bands like Porcupine Tree, Pineapple Thief, Leprous, Rush or Tesseract have a special place in our hearts. But there’s the rich heritage of 70’s and 80’s more pop oriented stuff to bear in mind as well; Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Tears for Fears, Radiohead and Talk Talk to name but a few.
2020-2021 – Singles, AERIALS
As “The Deep End” was received quite warmly, we were encouraged to continue our efforts. We took some time to compose bits and pieces separately and when we had around 15 ideas we began the process that would lead us to our first full lenght album tentatively named “Avian Refugees”. Our process was simple: take one song idea at a time and together twist it one step furher. If the idea didn’t for one reason or another please either of us, it was swiftly discarded. Pretty soon the weeding was done and we had 11 song frames to nurture. Early on we decided to try to be “modern” and release songs pretty quickly one by one. By the end of 2020 we managed to release “Safe and Sound” featuring Olli’s daughter Ella Eriksson on vocals and our trusted brother in arms, Miri Miettinen on drums.
“Elephant” was the next one out in June 2021, by this time we noticed that our audience might not prefer the modern way of releasing one song at a time, but required more at a time, so it was decided not to release single songs after this one. We had fun making video for this one and some help for the first time as well, the video was shot by Jenni Holopainen with the help of Jarno Sarhamaa, Sami’s son.
The final edit was also by an outsider for the first time (and yes, it looks more professional, no doubt), editor is Jenni’s and Jarno’s friend Iiro Peltonen.
While “Elephant” was being mastered and video being made, we continued to plow on. The nine song took their shape, some easily, some took their sweet time. So in June/July 2021 we had the album’s songs Assimilate, Bates, Itinerant, Kibitzer, Like Blood, Moodswings, No Still Moment, Percolator & Youth ready to be mixed. Sami had a lucky break from “real work” and could concentrate on the mixes in August and September. While Sami mixed, Pate was contemplating on the cover, during this process the name of the album changed to AERIALS. Pate had some ideas based on the spores of dandelion, which we liked very much.
2019-2020 – The Deep End
Guys initially took two songs under their microscope, these were Olli’s songs that had the basic outlines, some chords, some melodies. Sami “got it” very quicly, got excited and inspired, so it didn’t take too long for the two songs to take their shape. This motivated us to move on and in few months we had 5 songs. That felt a right amount of songs for an an ep, the songs of course were slightly more ambitious from the get go and their combined running time was a bit over 30 minutes. While vacationing in Crete, Sami came accross this:
As we already had a song named “Shallow End” and an unnamed instrumental, it was only logical to name it “Deep End” and by extension to name the whole ep “The Deep End”. Sami had already discussed drumming for some project with a well known finnish session drummer Miri Miettinen. As luck would have it, Miri proved to be a perfect match for us. He is a more mainstream drummer at heart but had no problem with our curvy arrangements, he probably brought to our music that much needed “down to earth” attitude.
The ep was released on the 1st of August, 2020, here’s some info on “The Deep End”:
Progressive-, art- or just modern rock
We noticed we’d worked intensively together for over ten years in all kinds of sound design projects for features, documentaries, shorts and contemporary art projects.
And every moment had been fun and full of creativity. We learned we also have same kind of tastes and interests in music. Shouldn’t we try making music together? The question was stated aloud in July 2019 and Lighthouse Sparrows was born. We started writing music instantly. Would it be progressive rock, art rock or something else? We decided just to let things flow with no limitations whatsoever.
First were sketches, themes and riffs – they were done in our own studios. Later sessions at Sami’s rehearsal room/studio. We decided not to hesitate – just write down all the ideas, pieces of music or lyrics coming into our heads; decided to avoid unnecessary self criticism at that point. And the same time being open to frank and honest discussion of developable ideas. We did not know how many songs we were going to compose and in what time (pun intended!). We were just having fun. Things advanced at their own pace. We both had lots of (real) work to do and we didn’t want to feel any pressure or create any deadlines.
March 2020 and covid19-pandemia changed the situation. Work projects were delayed or cancelled and suddenly we had a lot of time and five promising songs to produce.
Once again withdrawn into our own studios due to the quarantine we kept in touch via phone, Whatsap, Zoom, Evernote….You name it, we used it. Later in Spring we started to do the necessary recording sessions for vocals, acoustic instruments etc. We collaborated with wonderful musicians: Miri Miettinen on drums and Trio Tingo on backing vocals. Sami did the premixes at home and together we finalised them @ Finnvox Studio F. Our trusted mastering engineer Pauli Saastamoinen made the package whole
The process led to this first EP of ours called ’The Deep End’; thirty minutes of music we are very proud and excited of.