February 24, 2020 / musicians

How to start out as a musician with Riku Annala of Recue

Hi Riku. How would you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you?

Hi there! I'm an audio geek, producer, soundscapist and studio technology enthusiast from Finland, operating on the left field of electronic music under the pseudonym Recue.

I've been lucky to have released music for some interesting boundary-pushing labels, a bit sound design for TV and theatre, and do collaborations and remixes for inspiring artists. I'm currently preparing for the release of my next solo album.

Can you talk about the importance of good branding for the modern musician?

I'd say that now, at a time when there's more music available than ever and different social media services are the places where the majority of the interaction is done, it becomes more important to differentiate from others and have something that's purely your own, a brand if you will. Raising the bar from hopping on bandwagons and/or going just with the templates helps to avoid downing out in the noise.

As romantic as the thought of good music being eventually found as long as it's available sounds, it might not be the case anymore, and that's where branding comes into play. Though it doesn't necessarily have to be anything too complicated and definitely not what the term branding means in the most commercial sense, especially if it means to artificially make up something that you're not.

My personal preference is that it needs to be true to who you are and work around emphasizing that. Just something simple that makes you YOU.

Have you ever had the experience of not being able to come up with anything useful, how do you deal with that?

We've all been there! The easiest thing is to accept the fact that the more you create, the more you will end up with something that you don't like. No artist is able to create only fully polished gems and never end up with anything useless. Embrace that. Save those "useless" works anyway and you might realize later on that the thing you made a few months back actually has a nice beat, a little snippet of melody or a soundscape that's useful. Another option is that you never get back to it, and that's ok too.

You might be making the mistake that you're comparing yourself to others, not realizing that you're only hearing the filtered output; the polished gems. You don't get to hear the folder of useless stuff that everyone has lying around. Just keep creating and enjoy the process.

Do you think that great composers are born or made?

Great composers, producers, writers, coders, photographers or football players are definitely made. There might be a hint of something that you're born with, whether it be a good ear for certain stuff or you're mathematically inclined or maybe you've just sparked an interest in something, and that's enough to get you digging deeper into whatever you're striving for. The rest is just hours put in.

What are some of today's most exciting changes in the electronic landscape?

Music technology-wise we're living a golden age of synthesizers at the moment. Manufacturers are releasing all sorts of inspiring tools left and right, whether your domain is analog, digital, modular or virtual. And the good thing is that all of this is happening in lots of different segments and price ranges. For example, if you're a beginner and getting into making music, it's a lot more accessible now than it's been for a long time and that's only a positive thing; anyone regardless of the thickness of your wallet or musical background should be able to pick up an instrument and start experimenting. That's how I got started as well.

Music-wise I'm sensing a bit of scattering of genres at the moment. There are few dominant ones still absorbing people, but especially the underground is kind of dissolving by getting rid of the necessity to tag everything with a different micro-genre, and I like this direction as it stirs things up.

Which animals describe you the most and why?

Ha! I think I have to go with a capybara. Just look at those things! They just live a peaceful life hanging around with other animals, chilling and not having beef with everyone. I think that's a life goal worth having right there. Also shortlisted: quokka, meerkat, and otter.


Listen to the latest single of Riku Annala, Fathoms / Akrasia, on Bandcamp.