Finnish DJ / producer Jesse Kiis always had a passion for music. From the age of 5, Jesse began playing the piano before eventually going on to compose his own songs at the age of 7 – quite a feat for someone so young. Now a classically trained pianist who has gone on to play with orchestras across his native Finland, Jesse was initially never that interested in the more mechanical, production-focused side of music, preferring instead to concentrate on composing. However, as he got older and on the advice and support of his then music teacher, Jesse soon moved into production.
‘Internet Killed The Video Stars’ is the first EP from the Finnish producer, and it features four rock/electro-influenced tracks that caught our interest, so we decided to contact Jesse to discuss his music.
First question: what's your real name and where are you from?
My real name is Jesse Kiiskinen and I’m from Finland, living currently in a city here called Tampere.
I see that you use the hashtag “rockhouse” on your Soundcloud tracks. How would you describe your music style?
I guess it started with a track called ‘Jail Rock House’, which is twisted from Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’. And Rock House described the two styles I was combining. I also have a rock band background in which I played guitar and keyboards so combining these two styles always feels natural for me.
So I guess you have been very influenced by rock music...
Absolutely. Rock, funk and disco are the main genres I shuffle into the electronic sound.
You have released two groovy-influenced tracks on Sosumi, The Heist and Thriller pt.2. Are you still producing groove-house tracks?
Yes, and I will always be proud of The Heist, as I managed to make a saw signal sound like a guitar. A weird thing to be proud of but maybe a fellow music producer will understand haha. Also Thriller pt.2 had a nice idea on the final drop, which is what kinda inspired some of the sounds I have on my new EP Internet Killed The Video Star.
But yes, I will continue on producing groovy house tracks, I have some ready already.
Before discussing your EP, let's talk about your track with NEW_ID, Aftermath.
Well, me and my good friend Devi have been skyping our ideas back and forth ever since 2014. Just giving feedback to each other’s tracks. And one day (I think it was like over a year ago) I sent a jazzy piano chord idea with some of the Anabel vocals on it – Devi liked it and we started working on it together. We came across a lot of different variations of it but decided to keep it jazzy and different. Took some time but it turned out to be a great tune for the clubs!
Now let's get back to you and your Ep. It really sounds as a whole, I mean, I think you came up with the idea of making an EP, and you did. Am I right?
It was my goal to make a distinctive atmosphere through some tracks and I think I succeeded. But at first I actually just started to make some music that felt natural. Threw my brains away for a moment and went with a good feeling. ‘Internet Killed The Video Star’ was the first to be ready, then I made the others with an EP in my mind. And also I think EPs and albums should sound more like a story rather than random tunes here and there.
I know that you are signed on Refune, but you never released anything on it.
Yes, that’s mostly because Refune as a label changed a lot after I came in. My tracks just haven’t been in sync with Refune’s new sound direction, but they are helping me a lot in other areas of course. We have a good relationship, they are my publishers and my management is elsewhere. They help me a lot.
How do you produce your music?
The DAW that I use is Cubase 9, while my favourite VST-instrument is Omnisphere.
The key part in my sound nowadays is real instruments in the beginning phase of the music making. I set an organic touch to the project with electric / acoustic guitar and bass and after that it’s so easy to move along and add electronics. Also, my main instrument is piano which I’ve played as long as I can remember, and a lot of my raw ideas are channelled through that. One of the main thing in my style of production is to not have gazillion vst-instruments and sounds. Just to be confident what sounds good. And an understanding of how I can design the sound further with effects.
Which artists would you choose for your dream collab?
That’s an epic question! My absolute dream collab would be with Daft Punk, Trent Reznor as a co-producer and a 25-year-old Michael Jackson as a singer. That would be a proper combination to remember!