Sumia Until We Shine Again

Right now, Sumia is thriving on the same rich musical backgrounds that caused the group to form in the first place, and have influenced its members ever since.

Olli and Samuli have been playing together since secondary school, where they met in the mid-’90s. Jussi joined later, after moving to Jyväskylä to study. Thenceforth, from the depths of a dark garage, began to emanate a heady mixture of melodic punk and hardcore, which began to take the form of various line-ups, two of which were Caitline and Kid Chameleon. Both these groups were guided by a DIY-ethic throughout their active gigging and recording careers. The result was concrete and physical proof that what they played and sang about sprang from a sincere musical passion and addressed topics that really meant something.

But it was only after Joni joined the band that Sumia actually got its name. His wide range of musical backgrounds has effectively brought more of an electronic influence to the band, as well as a versatile, original and insightful approach that has always featured heavily in his various performances. The number of alter-egos he’s used in the past (‘Joniveli’, ‘Jonny Bro’ and ‘Jonny Wanha’) give some indication of this. But nor can Joni be pinned down to one particular field, as his verbal dexterity and production skills have also been praised. At first the band was called ‘Joniveli & Evil Noji’, but before long the band felt a need, perhaps beyond their control, to develop new and different material that would be greater than the sum of even their very best individual parts, and so Sumia was born… and with English lyrics to boot!

Although the members of Sumia are all very close in age, live in the same Finnish town of Jyväskylä, and share the same friends, this is weirdly enough not the most important thing they have in common. What is more deeply shared, is their faith in the power of music and all the levels it works on. They are quite aware of the restrictions that genre and musical preference can in fact inflict. It can be all too easy in these situations to not see the wood for the trees. But by holding back a bit and, perhaps unusually, recording a whole album before playing their first gig, Sumia have endeavoured to overcome those genre-based restrictions. The album came together over a period of about two years, recorded and mixed with Tuomas Kokko at Electric Fox Studios, and mastered at Virtalähde. The end result is something that perhaps other people around the world might enjoy, irrespective of geographical boundaries. What are borders for anyway?