Finnish producer 501 most recently graced our ears with his Belle Humble-featuring Never Say Die “Headrush” release, but newcomers to his music will be glad to know he’s got a pretty stellar back-catalogue. He’s probably one of my favourite producers of the moment, and his track “Falling Skies” has been one of my 2012 anthems. Thankfully, I got a chance to pick this guy’s brains about his music, upbringing and masquerading as a lawyer by day. Catch that, along with some of his best tunes, below. Love this guy, and you can follow him on Twitter HERE.
Hello! Introduce yourself and what you do…
My name is Jussi and I am a music producer from Finland. I write bass music under the name 501.
Where did the name ‘501’ come from?
When I was a teenager all the kids around the block had a nickname and mine came from the jeans manufacturer Levi’s which remotely resembled my last name and when I signed my first dubstep single I needed to come up with a name quickly so I stuck with that.
For all the producers out there, what’s your set-up?
I have a small PC based living room setup and I’m currently using Ableton . I also have a couple of guitars which I’ve used more on my recent works (“Hush Now” remix for instance) but other than that all of my sounds come from within the box.
Something that I’ve discovered recently about you is that you’re actually a lawyer by day, yet still manage to produce such great tracks… Do you find it difficult to find enough time for music because of your job?
Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t. Essentially it just means I sleep a little less than the next guy. But the upside is that I enjoy being able to concentrate on many things at the same time. I find that I feel more satisfied when I have different kinds of things going on in my life.
Did you have a musical upbringing?
Not as such but I had a good teacher later on. Essentially, it wasnt until my early teens that I wanted get into playing an instrument and so I got my first guitar for christmas when I was 11. I was shocked to find out how hard it was and I hated it at first but luckily my parents didn’t let me quit that easy and made me take some private lessons. As soon as I learned to play a song that was actually on MTV at the time (I think it was “Free as a Bird” by the Beatles) I got hooked and knew that I wanted to be involved with writing, playing or producing music in one form or another. I ended up taking guitar classes until my early 20s.
What was your first experience with producing music? Any embarrassing first attempts? We’ve all had those…
There’s been plenty (most of it not released in any format, thank god). Before getting into the production side of things I was quite active in playing in different bands and I think I had my share of awkward moments during those times and so I was better prepared to start producing on my own after that. I still have a few cassette and CD demos from back in the day which are pretty hilarious…
Who are your main inspirations when it comes to creating music?
For inspiration I listen to stuff from different eras. I might listen to Megadeth or Rustie, Led Zeppelin or Nero, Vangelis or Smashing Pumpkins, Pharcyde or Daft Punk, Prodigy or Jimi Hendrix.. Well you get the idea but right now I’m on a synth music trip looking for more and more epic synth music to absorb and be inspired by.
I also find that having a day job and other goals and obligations in life helps to create an organic platform of inspiration for writing music. I guess it’s about balancing between opposites. I think I would go crazy if I would write music 24/7. Some people say its restrictions that spur creativity the most and I believe in that.
What’s your favourite set that you’ve ever played?
It’s a tie between playing in Webster Hall, New York with Nero and the recent Untitled! 5 years birthday in Antwerp, Brussels. Both were very unique in their own way.
Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you…
I think most people still don’t know that I’m from Finland. I get that all the time, even from the local crowd there’s always someone who’s surprised by the fact.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be?
Thats a tough one but right now if I could collaborate with anyone I’d collaborate with Vangelis.
It’s a pretty hot topic right now, so what’s your view on illegal downloading? Particularly in the EDM scene…
I think the term ‘illegal downloading’ sort of answers your question. I mean as it is illegal I wouldn’t endorse it any way. I’m sure everyone’s done something illegal at some point in their lives but I don’t really see the reason why everything should be given out for free. I’m not making music for money but I know some people depend on it and I guess its only fair to ask for some kind of compensation for the hours put in to the product. The problem is that downloading is technically so easy these days that the morals have changed a bit and there’s a lot of people who reckon music should be free. I’m not here to condemn anyone either though, each to their own. I personally buy the music I play out (unless its sent by the producer/label of course).
You had the “Headrush” release earlier on in the year, but what else can we expect from you in 2012?
There’s a few remixes coming up next. “Hush Now” remix from D&B act LAOS’ debut album will be out on 26th of March on Bass=Win records and I recently did a remix for Interscope records’ artist Far East Movement (“Jello”) which should be out very soon too. I’ll probably release a few new original tracks towards the summer but I havent planned anything beyond that. More 501 music is what I can guarantee.
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