Based in San Fransisco, California, Antenna is a band with some strong roots in the music that has shaped and is still shaping their home city. This is music that we love. Music that is made independently, with the passion and attention to detail we addicts crave. Antenna is comprised of musicians who bring to this new project of theirs, talent and experience, from a multitude of fantastic bands we already know and love. Brothers from Finland, based in San Fransisco, California, are hard at work fusing a strong garage rock base with elements of jazz, blues, and soul. Ville and Jaakko Vilpponen are quite experienced and accomplished at what they do (guitar and bass, and drums, respectively): they have been playing since their early teens. Practically lifetime-musicians, these guys now work with the amazing Mr. Leigh Gregory, after working with the very well-known and well-loved band Dora Flood. Antenna is their own project, a completely different sound than what they have been doing. The brothers are looking for a third permanent member, but do have their demos on their MySpace page, so we can check them out now.
A nice little interview with Ville, who so kindly gave me some insight into what he and Jaakko are up to with Antenna:
How long have you been involved in San Fran's music scene? How long have you and your brother been musicians?
I started playing in bands around San Francisco in 2003. Joined Dora Flood very late 2004 I believe. I’ve been playing electric bass since I was 10, guitar from the age of 14. Early bands in Finland were in various genres of heavy metal. Jaakko has played drums since an early age as well… He was in Dora Flood from 2007 until the end. And as you know, we both are in Memory’s Mystic Band these days
How many albums did you make with Dora Flood?
Two: 2007’s We Live Now and 2008’s Dream out Your Window.
From the 3 projects I know of that you have worked with (Dora Flood, Memory's Mystic Band, Antenna), all have completely different styles of music. I love this, as diversity is key in keeping your edge, and showing your talent. What direction do you want to take with Antenna?
Nothing too polished. We want to mix driving beats and/or psychedelic atmosphere with the grittiness of 60s garage rock and UK rhythm and blues. Noisy or quiet but with a certain sense of threat if pulled out right!
While listening through headphones to Antenna's demos, it's clear to me that you know how to compose a catchy garage rock groove that needs no mood to enjoy. These 'demos' sound like finished songs!
Thanks Terri! They are recorded in our studio in Berkeley , CA . I went to a recording school in Los Angeles and even though it never became a career I’ve been very interested in all aspects of recording music since.
What is important to you, and where do you find your inspiration to make music?
More than anything I think it’s important to keep going. Sometimes it feels that I just started writing songs yesterday and since I just want to get better, it doesn’t make sense to stop. You can never really master an instrument or songwriting- there’s always more to learn and enjoy. Subject-wise, one can find inspiration in most banal things like the decline of mainstream culture into one big reality TV-show and the pursuit of empty celebrity, which I find fascinating. A lot of Antenna’s songs draw from that. Still, even though they may seem cynical, there’s a good deal of humor in the lyrics. I’d like to think that it comes through.
What kind of music do you yourself enjoy listening to these days? What artists do you find inspirational to you?
Obviously it depends as there are Saturday night-records and Sunday morning-records. It’s a cliché but there’s really too much good music to mention. I love both PiL’s Second Edition and The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo but not necessarily back to back. When it comes to this particular project I’d like to think that we’ll find our sound somewhere between post-Syd Barrett, pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd and The Stooges with Ron Asheton on guitar. Spice it up with some Can-esque krautrock grooves and a dash of Velvet Underground maybe? Would be great!
Spoken like true independent, serious musicians. Ville also says they have so many great ideas for songs, they'll just keep on making them as Antenna and getting them out there for us to enjoy in the years to come. Check them out, and stay tuned.