Finnish foursome Mumrunner blend the best of dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz rock into a sonic experience that only they can provide. In the year since their first release, the band has toured and found time to put together a second record of genre-defying sound. We talked to Sauli and Jukka about the EP, Gentle Slopes, their musical inspirations and being Finnish hillbillies.
To me, Gentle Slopes seems clearer and slightly less alt-rock than Full Blossom; the sounds from one track to the next make me picture still water, night time starry skies, etc. How do you think the sounds have progressed since your first release?
Sauli: Thanks for the nice description. The sound of it might be a bit more dream pop than our previous EP. That’s because of Finland’s shitty economic situation. We had to sell some old boutique distortion pedals to get more money for rent. “Cascais” is a pretty fast paced fuzzy rock though. I still have my Big Muff but I use it more sparingly.
Full Blossom is a bit over a year old. With Gentle Slopes released not too long after, could an LP be next?
Sauli: It could. Depends on how creative these coming autumn nights will be.
I assume The Shawshank Redemption inspired “Shawshank.” Is there a story behind that?
Jukka: You are correct about the reference. Although the lyrics are more about how life throws a bundle of opportunities at you, and you never know beforehand which of them are worth grabbing and which of them get you in to trouble. The irony is that if you end up not choosing to take any of them, you choose to miss out on life.
You included the gorgeous instrumental track, “Turn,” on this EP. Is that something we can expect more of in the future?
Sauli: I see “Turn” more like an outro for “Cascais” than an actual song. We just wanted to cut it off of “Cascais”, so it’d be easier to make a music video for it. We are going to shoot it in a couple of weeks from now. We’ve actually written a couple of rad psychedelic instrumental space surf anthems that we’ve never played live anywhere. Maybe we’ll do that someday. Maybe next year when we’ll tour with Germany’s finest instrumental band.
Gentle Slopes is the album name and the title of the last track. What do those words mean?
Sauli: It basically means that we all have a need to feel secure.
Will there be any European dates once the album is out?
Sauli: We and some German dudes are (hopefully) working on it for the first half of 2017. If you can help with shows, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. All the help is needed!
Who are some artists you were inspired by when discovering your sound and beginning to write music?
Sauli: It was pretty much everything from Joy Division to Nirvana to DIIV. I think we just started jamming with Jukka and our old drummer from my other band, Revival Hymns, which is a more post-rock-ish band, so we wanted this to be a bit more straight forward kind of stuff.
Jukka: I always wanted to play in a straightforward post-punk influenced indie rock band, so bands like Placebo, Interpol and The National were big inspirations for myself personally and I have tried to bring some of those vibes in to the mix.
Are there any certain effects and pedals that you regularly use?
Sauli: Quite basic stuff from Line9, Big Muff, RAT, Holy Grail, different kind of Boost pedals and choruses etc. And all of us have some Joyo’s on board. Those are really great!
This EP was released very close to the first – it’s really impressive. What is the process of creating an album like with Mumrunner?
Sauli: I do most of the demoing and after that, the whole band will arrange it and squeeze all the useless shit out of it. When the song is supposed to be ready, then there’s usually still a lot of articulation training ahead for Jukka and Kati cause we are Finnish hillbillies.