Olli Aarni
Born in 1988.
Lives in Helsinki.
Master of arts (Finnish language), University of Helsinki 2016.
Makes sounds, music, video, sound poetry and other things.
Does tricks on a skateboard.
Works as a publishing editor, though quite selectively these days. 

nature, “nature”, chaos, ︎13+11, simplicity, preserved black beans in chili oil, switch hardflips & the irregularity of ︎

Hey! (っ^з^)♪♬

I made a new bandcamp site for my old projects and new side projects: it's called "Olli's World" and it can be found here: ollisworld.bandcamp.com

To celebrate this I wrote a little history of that stuff for any of you who might be interested in my past adventures:

I used to make music under different monikers in 2008–2012. That old stuff seems to still have a following, because some people have been messaging me about it – especially now that a couple of releases were taken down from streaming services, as the label Preservation closed its operations. I've been promising to make a

I came up with the moniker Ous Mal probably in 2007 or 2008, when I was still living in my hometown Oulu, Finland. I decided it was time to come up with an artist name, because I felt like I was ready to start playing shows and releasing my music. The practice of making music had already been going on for a good while before that – I had been recording music to cassette tapes and later on the computer since I was 9 years old or so.

In high school I played a couple of short electronic music shows in 2005–2006, using a sampler and a small cassette player. Those were in school concerts. I was also making EPs and albums for my own enjoyment, and I always made 1 cd-r copy and never really showed them to anyone. But at some point I felt like sharing these activities might be something I could try out.

In the 2000s I was heavily influenced by hip hop producers such Madlib and J Dilla, and I was hoping to do something similar. I got a summer job at a landfill, and used the money to buy a Boss SP-303 sampler and a cassette 4-tracker. I soon realised that all the flea market record crates in a small city in Northern Finland were filled with mostly classical music, religious choir music, etc. I stubbornly started buying and sampling that stuff to in hopes of making something nice out of it, and that was the basis for my sound back then.

I played my first actual public show in Kuopio in January 2008. It was a big moment for me, basically it made my adventures in electronic music feel real and somewhat official for the first time. I started to work on a bunch of tracks in a more serious manner, hoping they would be eventually released. I wasn't performing alone though – Iiris Tötterström played the cello on the live rendition of my music, and many of my recorded tracks featured some of her playing too.

I moved to Helsinki to study in the autumn of 2008, and I put out my first album Riioraa in 2009 with the Finnish cd-r label 267 Lattajjaa. Most of that music was something I was already working on while living with my parents in Oulu. I was excited to get the cd-rs out in the world, and I think I did a couple of shows in Helsinki after that. Even though the work was somewhat public now, it still felt like a very private and isolated practice. I asked a few of my friends to play some instrument takes on my tracks here and there though.

(This is where Riioraa, Viime talvi and Nuojuva halava were mostly recorded.)

My next album Viime Talvi consisted of music I had mostly started working on after moving to Helsinki. There were some recordings from Oulu too, such as the pump harmon that loops throughout "Tähdet", which was recorded in the attic of an elementary school I was working at for a couple of months in early 2008. I always wanted my music to contain some sounds and moments that felt like my own little secret. Viime Talvi was released by the UK label Under The Spire.

At some point Andrew Khedoori, who was running the Australian Preservation Records, contacted me after hearing some of my work. He wanted to put out my next album, and that was the beginning of a long collaboration with him. I want to mention him here, because he was a driving force for the Ous Mal and Nuojuva records people are likely most familiar with. I was sending him versions of tracks, and he took the time to listen to them very carefully and send me feedback. I feel like I can't ever thank him enough for all the effort he put into working with me.

I feel like the next album, Nuojuva halava, was the magnum opus of the Ous Mal project. We should have credited Andrew as the executive producer or something. He came up with a lot of crucial ideas – he suggested I'd make a longer centerpiece track, so I made "Kumiseva", and he suggested we added the standout track from my first cd-r to this bigger release, so we put "Merilaulu" on the album.

The album came out on CD in 2010, and it was received well. I was doing a lot of interviews, often for the Australian media. The time difference made me wake up at absurd times of the day to talk about my music. I especially remember one occasion, where I had to wake up at 4 or 5 am after a night of partying to talk about the album. I remember feeling nauseous while trying to understand the thick Australian accent so I wouldn't need to ask the interviewer to repeat the questions. The lag on the calls was always seriously long.

My last release as Ous Mal came out on the Petrozavodsk label Full Of Nothing. I met Ivan and Anna from the label when they were playing in Helsinki, and that felt like something new: I had actually met these people, and I wasn't just working on my music alone at home and sending it out to the world. The release was a split tape with the Petrozavodsk artist Bedroon Bear.

I didn't really like the name Ous Mal anymore. Back when I came up with it, I wanted to have something fragmented and non-meaningful as an alias, maybe to have some sort of anonymity. I decided to change the name to Nuojuva, which was taken from my previous album's title – essentially a silly reference to what Phil Elverum did with changing his moniker from The Microphones to Mount Eerie. I had started to gain some following (especially after my album Nuojuva halava being awarded as the "Album of the Year" by The Silent Ballet webzine), so it was probably a dumb move, and I kinda enjoyed that aspect of it. Later on I realised I had a problem with the whole concept of using a moniker or a name for my music – it always felt a little bit uncomfortable.

Andrew suggested we'd release a remix project to celebrate the death of Ous Mal, so we released the album "Ous Mal Is Dead Long Live Ous Mal", which featured many great Preservation-affiliated artists. I'm not putting it up on this new bandcamp site, because it is all other people's work.

After ditching the old name, I kept on working on my music just as before. It wasn't all that different, but the new material was leaning more towards folk than before, at least in my mind. I had moved to a new student studio apartment where I only had space for my bed and my music equipment, and I associate the album heavily with that room. I feel like I was working on the album literally all the time, only taking breaks to study and go skateboarding.

The album "Valot kaukaa" was released in 2012 by Preservation records in Australia. It also gained a fair amount of interest, and it even landed on the front page of Pitchfork twice, first on the singles series and later in form of an album review. I was bummed though to read that the reviewer was associating it with the current wave of laptop music, because I wasn't using computer at all. It was all made on a bunch of crappy hardware, and I took pride in the technical approach that I had chosen. For example, I didn't have a proper microphone so I was most often plugging some old headphones into the mic input to record instrument or vocal takes.

(The pic is from the only Nuojuva live show ever. I played the Frameworks Festival 2012 in München. Pictured is me singing into broken headphones.)

All Ous Mal and Nuojuva music was recorded and mixed on Boss BR900CD multitrack recorder. I feel like it makes sense to mention it, because the device affected my music making a lot. For many years I didn't know that you can turn off the preset reverb of the device when recording. I didn't like the reverb, so I felt like I'll need to mask it somehow. That's why I started to drown my music in a lot of textural layers. I was also heavily affected by Lauri Ainala's work with Paavoharju. At some point I dived into a few menus and learned to turn it off. But it was too late: I was already in love with making these textures, and they felt like a science to me. Learning ways to mask the preset reverb started to feel more interesting than making the tunes themselves. I feel like there's a string of works throughout my discography that stems from this practice: you can maybe hear it in my later albums under my own name, such as Yö näkyy, Loput, Nielu, Koittaa aika, Ylitse, and Pohjoisen kesä.

Otavaiset otsakkaha, the final EP release under the Nuojuva moniker, concluded this part of my music making. It was released on the US label Hooker Vision, and it consisted of mostly of tracks I was working on while making Valot kaukaa. I felt like it was the moodier little sibling to the album.

After the Pitchfork coverage I was approached by a big indie label. They were asking me to send tracks to them, and I think they were considering signing me. That sort of attention started to build up pressure, and for a good while I couldn't produce anything in this ambient-pop format I was working with.

I had started putting out more abstract music under my own name almost as a side project in 2011, and that approach was slowly taking over all of my music-making. I was moving on from the song structure I had been working with as Ous Mal and Nuojuva, because other aspects of sound and music had become way more attractive to me. I was still trying to make a new record as Nuojuva for a good while, but it started to feel like a burden, and my heart wasn't in it anymore.

While compiling all of this old music for the new Olli's World site I decided to release a few of the unreleased tracks that were going to be on the second Nuojuva album as a release called Heipat. Back then I felt like these tracks would benefit from vocals, and for many of them I tried to record my own singing, but I didn't like it enough. That's one reason I could never finish this project.

You can stream any of these releases as much as you want – I turned off the setting where it lets you stream a track only a limited number of times. I might release some other side projects there too, so go ahead and follow the page, if you're interested in any side projects of mine.

Anyway, thank you for reading and listening <3