Interview with DJ Orkidea (2004)

We spoke with DJ Orkidea from Finland about life, music, and his new album Taika.

Interview with DJ Orkidea (2004) Orkidea

Tell us about yourself, who is Orkidea as a person as-well as a DJ?
DJ Orkidea is 27 years old Tapio Hakanen from Helsinki, Finland. I started as a DJ some 12 years ago. I've been promoting Unity and Renaissance parties here in Helsinki for the last 7 years. I've been also producing music and released Unity, Melancholy and Beautiful -singles on Steelfish and Black Hole labels and made some remixes for Anjunabeats, Black Hole, Hooj Choons etc... My musical taste and DJ sets are based on trance music, but I like to combine elements from progressive house, breakz and techno too.

Your are one the men behind the Finnish music-scene since the past 10 years, how did you start out ?
I was a member of Oranssi - an organization taking over houses - here in Helsinki. We all got excited about electronic music in 1992 and started to arrange illegal warehouse parties in those squat houses. It was quite wild and anarchistic back then. If there wasn't enough room in the houses we would tear down a wall for the next event:) In the mid nineties we had three illegal, regular underground clubs in Helsinki down town. In 1995 the police started raiding the illegal events and the club scene became more public.

What would be your profession today, if you didn't start DJing and making parties/clubs ? What would you be doing ?
I am working also as a sound designer and have made music and sound effects for TV-advertisements, theatre plays, radio, computer games etc. I've also composed and produced score music for three movies. I have my own radio show on Finnish National Radio, so I guess I would be concentrating more in those areas if I wouldn't be DJing.

How would you say that dance-music has changed since you started and how has the Finnish music scene evolved ?
I think one the biggest changes has been "electronic music" dividing into thousands of sub-genres. Back in the day DJ would just "play techno" - meaning in the one single party there would be house, trance, break beat, hardcore, ambient, all kinds of music. I nowadays try to bring back that vibe of combining all kinds of electronic music in my sets. Of course the last years MP3 revolution has also radically changed the ways we use music. I still hope that at the end the results of these changes would be positive...

Finnish music scene has changed pretty much during the last five years. The were very few recording artists 10 years ago but now there are tens of new, talented and young bedroom or professional producers making releases every month. It seems that as Finland is far from the big "techno-metropolis" the internet has brought Finnish producers closer to everything.

Your Album "Taika" could you tell us a bit more about this album and how it came about ? Which track is your personal favourite ?
I realized at some point that there were actually quite a few tracks and releases that I had made (with quite many collaborations too) and wanted to gather some of them to one CD. Some of them, like 'Unity' and 'Stage One' remix were also very rare (and only on vinyl or promo) so it was nice to get the more widely available again.

It's very hard to pick just one favourite, but I think 'Unity' and the 'Flight 643' remix are the most special ones for me for many reasons: it was amazing to hear that Sasha, Oakenfold and Digweed were playing 'Unity' and also remixing Tiesto, who is one of my all time favourite DJs, was also a very special thing for me.

Which is the BEST memory you have from a dj/live gig ?
There are too many to mention!! DJ gigs in Tokyo, Berlin, Ibiza, Amsterdam and Toronto have all been amazing experiences and I've made many great friends during the years. Playing at Roskilde Festival in 2001 (between Basement Jaxx and Tiesto) very special for me. Also getting to warm-up my "heroes" like BT, Paul van Dyk, Sven Väth and Jose Padilla have meant a lot to me. From experiences here in Finland maybe one of my 16 hour marathon sets will be something I won't forget. It was that exhausting!!

Which is the WORST memory you have from a dj/live gig ?
I don't have that bad experiences or memories. DJing is almost always fun!

What is more important to you, when it comes to skills and DJing ? Ability to please the crowd or music choice ?
I think it's a question of finding the balance between entertaining and educating. DJ has been for the past 50 years someone who is there to make the crowd dance and have a great time while listening to music they like. Still progress of music and finding and introducing new music, new styles to people have been basic foundations of electronic music. I think combining those two things will give the best results.

What do you have planned for the summer/autumn of 2004, where can we hear you playing ? Any large events planned ?
I have some summer bookings to Ibiza, where I'll be staying for a month this summer. During the summer and autumn I'm also probably playing for Scott Bond's Ahead night in UK, in Athens during the Olympic Games and some gigs in Toronto and Thessaloniki coming up. Here in Finland I'll be arranging some events with my friends with our Club Unity and playing some of the big summer festivals.

Please list your favourite all time top 5 tracks that have changed you and your music ?
1. Age of Love: The Age of Love (Watch Out for Stella mix) (React)
2. Sasha: Xpander (DeConstruction)
3. BT: Flaming June (Perfecto)
4. Opus III: A Fine Day (?)
5. Slusnik Luna: Sun (Unity Records)

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.