• The New Counterculture

Interview: Maajo 

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

Maajo is a rare tropical breeze from the cold north combining West African beats.

1. Tell me more about yourself and how you guys started your band?

One could say we've all gone through separate paths on our musical history but eventually come together feeling the same sounds. Some of us are childhood friends who all listened to Bomfunk MC's and then got all interested in different things. Jon released this 12" called Maajo in 2015 and invited the brothers (Tuomas and Juhani) and Janne to jam with him for the record release parties. We liked it and felt like we could do more stuff together. The time was right as Jamie (Russell from Hypercolour) contacted Jon asking for demos. We did some and send it to him and he liked the stuff and a single became an EP became an album became eventually a double album, Tropic of Tulli. Our percussionist Jussi came along by asking Jon after his DJ gig if he could play percussions with him sometime. In the making of an album heavily influenced on West African music a percussionist who had studied drumming in Ghana was more than welcomed along. Mitja was sent in to help with finalizing the album. A house head studio engineer was a real golden find who was able understand the aesthetics of eclectic mix of influences Maajo is. He quickly became non-replaceable part of the group.

2. What does Maajo mean? And why is it the name of your band?

Maajo is a name of a single I released on my Herman Prime alias. We thought that as we first performed that song it would be a good continuum to link the projects together. Maajo apparently means May, which we thought in some way describes the feeling in our music. The starting summer, hope for good times etc. That is something which relates to the fact that we are Finnish. The short summer is special time. Outside of that we dream about holidays in warmth. Wanderlust plays a big role in Finnish music. I guess Maajo’s music deals not directly of African or tropical music but maybe more the wanderlust interpretations of it. Think about Toto’s Africa for instance. It is how we see it from here.

3. Your music is very tropical and you all are from Finland! What was the inspiration for that? Why this type of music?

Our goal is to try to collaborate more with e.g. African musicians and vocalists and with them musically travel to different locations. We all have a broad knowledge of wide variety of western music and this is a great opportunity to move beyond.

Maajo- rehearsal

4. What music did you all listen to growing up? What music do you gravitate towards now? We also want to be identified as music for dancefloors. Our live shows have tended to have more energy to dance to when our releases have been a bit on the laid back side. In future our releases will definitely have both of these elements.


5. What is Finland dance music like? What American music // dance music is popular there? you guys started your band? To answer your last question, the dance / club music in Finland is very American. It's also what Maajo has its foundation in, we all love New York disco, Chicago house and Detroit techno.

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