Mosaic 2012 Interviews: Architecture in Helsinki

By Zaki JufriEvents - 27 February 2012 3:00 PM

Mosaic 2012 Interviews: Architecture in Helsinki

With a name such as Architecture in Helsinki, one would expect to hear sweeping majestic soundscapes evoking the Scandinavian fjords, snow-capped mountains and breath-taking vistas.

But when you hit the ‘play’ button, instead of being embraced with luscious tunes, you’re instead assaulted (in a good way) by a pastiche of sounds, one that instead conjures up images of neon lights, busy streets, the commotion, and buzz of the street.

“The name is just that: Just a name. It wasn't about the buildings in Helsinki at all. It was more about finding beauty in something you had never seen,” explains Cameron Bird of Melbournian experimental pop act Architecture in Helsinki in an interview with

Known for their unique brand of experimental indie-pop, the quintet of multi-instrumentalists makes genre-defying music with a diverse range of sounds.

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Bird first met founding members Jamie Mildren and Sam Perry in high school in the late 1990s where they first rocked out as a teenage funk-grunge band under the name, The Pixel Mittens. The trio ended up moving to Melbourne in search of bigger and better things: To go to art school, “That was when we met the rest and how Architecture in Helsinki came to be.”

The band will be performing in Singapore on March 9 for the Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade.

The group released their debut album “Fingers Crossed” in 2003, and their 2005 follow-up “In Case We Die” cemented their reputation as one of the most promising and idiosyncratic indie pop acts around. Their third album “Places Like This” in 2007.

The band’s latest album, “Moments Bend” is a throwback to the 80s, utilising that era’s sonic palette of synths, surf guitars and New Wave though the poignant melodies, synth and hooks they consistently employed in previous efforts are still present. The press release describes it as “equal parts Italia ’82, California ’79 and Melbourne 2011.”

“(We want people to leave with) a feeling that they are listening to something that was made with the utmost degree of love and care,” says Bird on what they want their listeners to take away from the new album.

He adds, “We have always aimed to made music for people that are into music as opposed to casual listeners.”

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Fans of Architecture in Helsinki's earlier albums may look on the latest offering with confusion on their faces as the band have abandoned much of the earlier abstraction and glockenspiel for more polished beats, but the band says that “Moments Bend” is one worth listening to as it shows that the they’re ‘”ever evolving”.

“We are huge music nerds and really love making music. So each album represents a chance for us to try new things and to change, to get out of our comfort zone. Running out of ideas is never a consideration,” Bird insists.

“We spent about 2 years making the album in a space we renovated above a Thai restaurant. It was the most fun and rewarding of all our album making processes. The songs were created in a very intense and rigorous process. We wrote as we recorded so a lot of the performances were the first performances; so it feels really honest to me,” he reveals.

Surrounded by their own gear in their own space, the band was able to indulge in their love of synths – which is the chief reason “Moment Bends” sounds the way it does. “We all have collected synths over the years and they have not always been in the same space. Having a studio where we could put them all meant that we were surrounded by synths,” Bird explains

Catch Architecture in Helsinki on March 9, 2012 during Mosaic Music Festival. Tickets $40, $48 available from Sistic.