Get lost in AVES’ transformative experience with their latest album

"I see life itself as this long process where, at least for most of us, we experience moments of transformation—some more than others"
9 April 2024
Photo by Eino Manner

Enter the realm of Helsinki-based ensemble Aves (Eino, Juntti, and Antti) as they reveal their captivating new album, Transformations. This musical bliss encapsulates the collective evolution of the band members, delving deep into themes of mental health, addiction, inner healing, and metamorphosis.

For the focus track, Aves have collaborated with director Terézia Halamová

Collaborating with renowned artists like JFDR and Lydmor, Aves presents a profound yet joyous expression of freedom and change.

For their album the band collaborated with esteemed producers and mixers such as Jonas Verwijnen (known for his work with LIIMA and Colin Stetson) and Grammy-nominated, Mercury-winning producer Luca Buccellati (renowned for his work with Arlo Parks, Tei Shi, Paris Texas, and SZA).

Dive into the transportative soundscape of electronic pop fused with introspective lyrics and learn more about the band’s creative process, collaborations, and upcoming projects in this exclusive interview.

By making music that is of high quality and timeless we hope that we’re able to connect with people and make them want to come back to our music time and time again

What inspired the creation of your new album, Transformations, and how does it relate to the personal journeys of your band?

Joonas: When we started working on this record we didn’t know that it would take this long to finish it. There are so many years of writing and producing the album that it’s hard to remember exactly what we were meaning to create at the start thematically speaking. As the writing continued and some songs started to make their final shape we ourselves also had changed and grown up.

Antti: We decided pretty early on that we would make an album without an actual lead singer. However, because we wanted to include vocal melodies, we decided to collaborate with featured artists for the vocal parts. In the first sessions, we listened to a lot of ’60s music and were inspired by that—the writing from that period is something quite special to me.

The concept of ‘transformations’ emerged later, as we all underwent various experiences and also because we were getting older. I see life itself as this long process where, at least for most of us, we experience moments of transformation—some more than others

Collaborating with artists like JFDR and Lydmor on Transformations must have been exciting. Can you share how these collaborations came about and what each artist brought to the album?

Joonas: We were very fortunate to have JFDR and Lydmor be part of the record at an early stage. It gave us confidence that the music we were trying to create was good.
Their voices suited the songs and the vibe we were going for. They’re both so good at interpreting and conveying the emotions we were going for in the songs.

Antti: It was really exciting to work with both of them. Two very different personalities, both very nice and really talented. JFDR was someone whom Jonas had already been working with, and she has this lovely, sensitive, breathy vocal sound, so she was a natural choice for the first single ‘Gem of the Ocean’. As for Lydmor, we were looking for talented Nordic artists to collaborate with, and it was great to have Lydmor feature on the track ‘Doubt’. The session went well, although at that time, we were contemplating a lot about the direction of the album. Anyway, it turned out to be one of my favourite tracks from the album.

How do you create your immersive and transportive sonic experience, especially when merging electronic pop with introspective lyrics?

Antti: It comes pretty naturally to us for some reason.

Photo by Harry Güler

Working with producers like Jonas Verwijnen and Luca Buccellati on Transformations is impressive. How did their contributions shape the album’s sound and production?

Joonas: Their professionalism and knowledge about music and the music industry helped not only with sound shaping but also helped us with finding some of the talented artists featured on the record. Jonas is like the fourth Aves, he’s been there from the start of this record and we couldn’t have made it without him. I’m sure he’s gone through the same kind of transformation that we all have during this process.

AnttI: Well, Jonas was part of the project from the beginning, and he’s more like the fourth member of the group. With him, we are also already working on some new material. He’s quite a genius when it comes to riffs and cool, weird production tricks. As for Luca, what can I say? He’s a Grammy winner, so he brings some special skills in sound and production. Both of them had a significant impact on the songs they worked on.

The themes of mental health, addiction, and inner healing are prominent in Transformations. How did these themes influence the album’s creation and lyrical content?

Joonas: I’m not sure the theme’s influenced the album or at least the song writing because lyrics usually come after the chords and the melody. But we had ideas of what we wanted the songs to be about so when I wrote lyrics to Antti’s melodies I knew what kind of direction I should be going towards. It’s hard to describe which came first. I kind of just feels what a song should be about or at least what feeling it should convey to the listener.

Can you delve into your collaboration with screenwriter Tim Koomen and director Inka Rusi for Neon Cross? How does the film’s theme of conversion therapy intersect with the message in your music?

Joonas: As the project hasn’t yet been put into production we can’t really comment on that right now but we’re really excited about the project and hope that it will come to fruition in the near future.

Your focus track, Not Go Home, features a collaboration with Lake Jons and explores themes of identity and resilience. What was the creative process behind this track?

Antti: I aimed to create a song with four simple elements—drums, bass, synth (chords), and vocal melody—produced in such a way that it feels like a band playing together with purpose, yet without too many restrictions. Additionally, I wanted to incorporate modern production techniques to give it a retro-futuristic feel.

Photo by Juho Istolainen

What difficulties have you come across in the music industry, and how did you manage to overcome them?

Joonas: The sheer volume of music being released can make it difficult for artists to stand out and for listeners to discover new music. By making music that is of high quality and timeless we hope that we’re able to connect with people and make them want to come back to our music time and time again.

Do you have any upcoming projects or collaborations that your fans can anticipate?

Joonas: Beside Neon Cross we’re just about to go into a writing phase. We are thinking of making an ep after the overwhelmingly long process of making a whole album. So fans will hopefully hear new music from us sooner in the future.

What do you think about the role of technology, including AI, in shaping the future of the music industry and how do you react to these changes as a musician?

Joonas: I’m sure we’ll see a rise in AI generated content as a whole. Some will be better at using it than others. It can be used as a tool but at least for now it feels that it lacks a point view. Music is so much about feeling and that is something computers are not good at yet but who know what the future might bring.