Songs In The Key Of… Finland

Satellite Stories
Satellite Stories

Satellite Stories: the perfect people to take us on an audio tour of their homeland. Pic: Michael Mac

Who better than Finland’s most-successful indie band Satellite Stories to introduce some of the musical highlights of their Nordic homeland

Cut Out The Lights, the new album from Finnish indie-pop troupe Satellite Stories, presents them in all of their synth-soaked glory. The group’s fifth and final record took shape when Esa Mankinen, Marko Heikkinen, Jyri Pesonen and Olli-Pekka Ervasti locked themselves away amongst the Nordic landscape in search of inspiration. The album’s melodic beauty suggests it was very much mission accomplished and makes them the perfect people to take us on an audio tour of their homeland…

“Finland is a small country with thousands of lakes and forests and a fresh indie culture. Lot’s of cool cats making beautiful music. Our band members come from the opposite sides of Lapland and far eastern parts of Finland but our current home is the harbour town Oulu, where the morning begins with the scent the seawater. Here are 10 songs we think represent the Finnish music we are listening right now.”

To listen to these songs in one go, check out the playlist on YouTube or Spotify

“We did our third album in the Kentish countryside in the UK and our fourth album mostly in Brooklyn New York so for our fifth we wanted to do something different again. We rented a cabin in the eastern part of Finland, near the Russian border. We remember the landlord being wasted on his ‘locally drafted’ vodka when he gave us the keys to the cabin. During a weekend we recorded a couple of high energy indie tunes and had lots of sauna time to unwind (a sauna is a hot place Finnish people sit in and where they don’t speak anything). Coupons was one of those songs.”

“Finnish people are really good at silly but catchy electronic songs, ever heard Sandstorm by Darude? Olli’s Kiss You has an eclectic mix of atmospheric acoustic instruments and cheap-sounding virtual synths. The story seems to be about a girl who comes back from the dead to visit the singer, but the singer is okay with it. It’s a very Finnish thing to cope quietly when the walls around you are crumbling.”

“The Holy is a band whose music has a very movie-like quality. They have this huge sound that comes from an honest love of music. When we see them live we’re always impressed how they blend their songs together in a set.”

“LCMDF always have this honest edge in their pop songs. Their songs never feel processed or without life. Another Sucker is a track which could have been killed by making it sound too slick or too safe, but LCMDF can make pop songs exciting. They have lots of other hits like Something Golden, which has one of my favourite guitar lines in Finnish music.”

“This is a track that’s pure ear candy for us. It’s such a smooth production and arrangement with lots of life. Easy to listen to but with lots of depth. The music video really shows off the best parts of Finnish nature in an epic way that’s rarely seen.”

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“This Finnish rap song was tremendous club banger a couple of years back and we always come back to it to relive that era. This artist brought back a lot of smarts to Finnish music, it’s like people rose from a deep sleep and understood that not all songs need be about drinking beer (the most common topic in Finnish music) if you want to make popular music.”

“We really enjoy this pumping mix of indie-electro and bedroom RnB. In current electronic music, the chilled out vibe is a really big thing. I think this song hits the right mix of being in a club but feeling really relaxed about it.”

“This is an indie gem that we always come back to. Ten years ago, UK-style indie disco was a big thing in Finland so there were lots of bands in that style. We don’t think this band ever released an album but the singer arranged our first ever show in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. We started in the same scene as this band so it’s good to remember where you came from.”

'Boys And Girls' by Yes Please!

“This is a Finnish traditional song that was an unexpected YouTube smasher and it best represents the Finnish quality of music making. Just be your honest self and put out stuff you believe and the right people will appreciate that honesty. Ievan Polkka is just a fun song that was made to impress your village or something and it became a phenomenon because it communicated the fun in a way that wasn’t blocked by a weird language. And that’s pop.”

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Carried Away was our summer single and the highlight of the track is Jyri’s cool bassline. It gives the track a sense of dread that rare funky indie songs have. One of our favourite indie tracks is Metronomy’s The Bay which sounds a bit like it could be for an indie disco or for a horror movie. For some reason, it feels like a cinematic and a cool mix.”

Satellite Stories’ new album Cut Out The Lights is released on 7 September via Playground Music. For more information, head to

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