May 9, 2020 | Guest Mixes

#85 Newhouse for Deeprhythms

Mixed by: Newhouse
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Mixcloud Soundcloud

Jussi Uusitalo aka Newhouse is one of the unsung heroes on the Finnish electronic music scene. You know the type - been there, done at it all but not making a lot of fuss about it. Touted by many as a walking Wikipedia of house music, Newhouse's massive record collection, knowledge of music and DJ sets delight and move many.

Luckily Jussi said "yes" to my invitation and he sure does not dissapoint with a 2 hour early morning mix filled with deep house gems that'll keep you occupied either by dancing around with a big grin on your face or by filling up your Discogs wantlist. Or both.

Hi there Jussi, how’s things? What’s been keeping you busy of late?

Hi Timo and thanks for inviting me to do a mix! Well, it has been a weird spring for everyone this year but it has given me a lot of time to listen to all kinds of music, new and old. 

I’ve been going through my record collection and really listening to stuff (not just going through records quickly to pick records for a gig). So despite everything that has been going on in the world, the quarantine time has also been somehow entertaining.

Can you give us your biographical details before we dive in deep - you’ve pretty much done it all during the years from DJ’ing to event organising to running a record store.

I’m originally from Turku, Finland where I started DJing in the early 90’s. Over the years I’ve been really lucky to have been able to play mostly at non-commercial parties and clubs where I could play whatever I want (except for the first year when I played at this hotel nightclub when I was 19). 

I’ve also had a couple of my own club nights in the past and been involved with various collectives organising club nights, events, party cruises etc. In the late 90s I used to work at Mind Records in Turku and from 2016 to 2018 I was in charge of running the Mind Records store in Helsinki. (Timo’s note: Mind is dearly missed)

You are a well-known figure in the Finnish electronic music scene - currently in Helsinki, but you made an impact already in the turn of the 90s in Turku. How did you get introduced to electronic music?

When I was a kid my father used to run a DJ agency and there were always a lot of records and music around the house and at my dad’s office. Back then DJs didn’t bring their own records to gigs. They played from the club’s own collection of music. My dad was also a record buyer for the clubs covered by his DJ agency. So every Friday he'd get the week's new releases from 2 or 3 record shops to check out over the weekend and then he'd place the orders the following Monday. 

I was often there during this weekend routine when he would listen through the week’s new releases. He also had a subscription to DMC’s monthly tapes in the early to mid 1980’s and they were playing in the car. Thinking back it was a huge privilege to be exposed to all this (electronic) dance music and pop at a very young age. It definitely had an effect on my music taste later. 

Speaking of the early ’90s - do you have any memorable experiences to share from your early days as a DJ?

Most of the parties we organised with friends in the early 90s were memorable just because it was all so simple and naive and we didn’t always know what we were getting into. We just wanted to play music that wasn’t played at any regular night clubs or bars in Turku at the time, period. We just thought “We have 2 turntables, a mixer and a small sound system with 2 speakers. Let’s book a venue and throw a party.”

Then we would print the flyers and distribute them and not earlier on the day of the event we'd start thinking “Is there anything else we need like someone to sell the tickets, a door guy, someone to work at the kiosk, decorations… Do we need a fog machine? Yes, we definitely need a fog machine! Can you go and buy some balloons before the store closes in 15 minutes! Etc.”. 

There was a learning curve - so when we did that 10 times without knowing anything about anything, things started to run more smoothly. It was an important learning experience. So, to this day as a DJ there’s nothing you appreciate more than going to a gig to a club or party where everything is ready and works smoothly and you understand that someone really took the time and extra effort to make it so. 

As a DJ, you’re known for your extensive knowledge of music. How has your collection expanded over the years - is your approach systematic or organic?

Growing up I was exposed to a lot of pop, disco, soul and all kinds of dance music. So my interest in house and hip hop in the early 90s was a natural progression of that. The samples in hip hop led me to soul, jazz etc. I’m sure it’s a very common story for many DJs of my generation especially. 

Having developed your interest organically over a period of 20-30 years, you end up with a room full of records from many genres and you learn to like and appreciate everything from house to Brazilian jazz to psychedelic rock to electro to dub to techno etc.

I just need to ask, how’s your vinyl record collection organised? 

It used to be a mix of sorting them by country, city, label, artist, style. You know... Detroit labels/artists, Italian labels, disco/boogie, New Jersey house, New York house labels, jazz, whatever. It didn’t always make perfect sense but at least I was able to find quickly what I was looking for. 

Now my records are in boxes (and quite mixed) because I just got a new storage room for them and had to move them around twice during the past year - but I’m slowly getting back to the old system again. It’s hard to keep them organised though because I always end up with piles of random 12”s all over the place after a while of playing and listening.

Let’s talk about Mind Records, the Finnish UG record store that unfortunately ceased to exist 2 years back. “Hot! Tip!” will resonate with anyone buying records from the Mind catalogue in the mid-90s. How did you get involved?

Photo: Marianne Kurki

Mind Records is Marko Laine’s company that he started in 1995. Back then we already knew each other through his and Jori Kuusinen’s earlier record shop Groovy Beat Records, which was an important hangout place for electronic music heads in Turku in the early 90s. 

Marko was running Mind by himself and at some point (1998 if I remember correctly) things got really busy for him when he was juggling between running a busy mail order operation/record shop and family life with small children. I used to hang out a lot at the small shop he had in the old train station building of Kupittaa in Turku

I don’t remember exactly how it happened but I guess one day Marko asked me if I would like to help him write one of those mail order lists with record titles and description texts so he could go out for a while and run errands. So I did that and the next day some more and after a while I worked there regularly because there was just too much to do for one person. After a while the shop moved to the city centre and also Tatu Peltonen (of Mr Velcro Fastener fame) started working there. My involvement ended around 2002.

Fast forward 14 years: Marko contacted me with an idea to re-open Mind Records in Helsinki and asked me if I would be interested in working there and running it. It was a 2-year project that I enjoyed doing very much. It was a privilege to work there alongside Samuli Kemppi, Hannu Ikola, Olli Koponen and Mary Young who are all great DJs/artists in their own right. It was also great to see the impact the store had on the local electronic music scene in Helsinki. Quite a few young aspiring DJs came to the store to buy some of their first vinyl records, became regular customers and are now established DJs in Helsinki. How great is that?! 

Share a good story from your days as a record store clerk?

Oh, there are way too many good moments to mention! We had around 100 in-store gigs so I got to meet so many talented people, share stories and even become friends with some of them. Plus I got to meet many international DJs who dropped by at the store while visiting Helsinki.

As a record store guy it is always satisfying to learn the regular customers’ taste in music so you can give spot-on recommendations for them. You know, when some of the people who are in there browsing and you put on a record hoping/knowing that it will create a reaction “What's this? One copy for me, please!” - then you know you've done your job right. 

Also, you participated in the Red Bull Music Academy in 2002. How did that happen and in retrospect what were the most important take-aways?

I just filled in the application form (that was 5 times longer than this interview with really in-depth, sometimes personal questions :D ) and recorded a 30 min mix. RBMA took place in Sao Paulo that year so it was an experience for me to see Brazil and its culture for the first time. Back then the concept of RBMA was more orientated towards DJing and general music culture than producing. 

So basically it was 30 music nerds from all over the world doing everything together for 2 weeks which was a mind-blowing experience in itself. Each participant was really passionate about their own thing, ideas were flowing and the atmosphere was very creative. 

In retrospect I would say the main take-away for me was learning about and getting into many music styles that I hadn’t had the time or interest to explore before that. And also realising the magic that can potentially happen when you are around really creative and enthusiastic people and spend time together and just talk and vibe off of each other.

What’s your take on the current state of electronic music?

In a way it’s at a very healthy state but at the same time it’s at a point where nothing radically new has happened and taken over for a really long time. We’re at a point in history where as a club DJ you have a timeline of roughly 50 years of electronic music that you can choose from and still manage to make sound current at a club/party. 

So in that respect it’s understandable that it has been more or less nostalgia for the past decade or so. Most genres are imitating the sound of the golden era that made that genre what it was 20-30 years ago. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all, it’s just interesting to see. Hey, I always play a lot of old house, so... 

But in the end nostalgia is a double-edged sword. You can either win big or go horribly wrong with it. 

Name a few local DJ’s/artists that you think should be on people’s radar?

There are so many talented DJs and producers (both newcomers and old dogs) in Finland nowadays that I feel I’m leaving someone out if I don’t mention at least 30-40 names. I’ll just briefly name a few producers that sound interesting to me at the moment.


Trevor Deep Jr. - True deep house soldiers. Consistent quality. Extraordinary DJs too.

Sansibar - Superb futuristic electro with the perfect amount of classic notes from the Drexciyan playbook. Also, Katerina (and her label Émotsiya that just released Sansibar’s EP). Truly original and emotional stuff.

Vuo Records crew - Seriously deep dub techno vibes.

And finally from the techno side of things, check Perkka Jerkku’s album “Capture” on Basement Grey. Proper techno from Turku.

When you select records for your set, what’s your approach like?

The venue, set time (warm-up or peak hours?), who else is playing that night... I’ll just try to make sure that every record in the bag and every track on the memory stick is 5/5 in my opinion. No fillers. 

Name three to five secret weapons that you almost every time carry in your bag?

Hand sanitiser, painkillers for headaches and a spare plug adapter for headphones. Those 3 will take you far.

Music-wise… Not so secret but it’s a weapon and it hasn’t left my bag in 28 years. Davina “Don’t You Want It” on Happy Records. Still as fresh as when it came out.

So the mix, can you tell us a little something about that? 

It’s part of a session when I spent the night at my “studio/office” where I have all my records. There wasn’t any plan really. I had just pre-selected a pile of 200-250 records beside the couch and started playing for fun around midnight. T

The mix here is the part from around 5 to 7 in the morning. It’s a vinyl mix (not to make a point or anything, I only have SL1200s and no CDJs there at the moment). Soulful early morning deep house vibes - enjoy!

Many thanks again Jussi!

My pleasure!

Photos by Marianne Kurki, mix cover photo by Tomi Esaias Hyyppä

playlist

01 - Blackjoy - "Untitled" (Project Recordings)
02 - Dionne - "The Xchange" (Terpsiton)
03 - N'Dea Davenport - "On! (F-Thing Vocal)" (Bootleg)
04 - Daphne - "When You Love Someone (The Reconstruction Mix)" (Maxi Records)
05 - Pépé Bradock - "4" (Atavisme)
06 - Larry Heard - "Missing You" (Track Mode)
07 - LHAS - "LHAS Attack" (Push II Shove)
08 - UC Beatz - "Untitled Track 11" (Entrepôt Records)
09 - Tikkle - "Movin' On" (House Jam Records)
10 - Storm & Herman - "K-rel's Boogie" (Strictly Rhythm)
11 - The Untouchables - "Just Da Way U Want (Way U Dubb)" (Strictly Rhythm)
12 - Trus'me - "Narda" (Prime Numbers)
13 - Lil' Louis - "I Called U (Why'd U Fall) (Moton Edit)" (Moton)
14 - Kerri Chandler - "Hallelujah" (King Street)
15 - Chez N Trent - "All About You"
16 - The House Nerds/City People - "Keep Your Promise/Brother James" (House Nerds Audio)
17 - Daft Punk - "Around The World (Masters at Work Mellow Mix)" (Virgin)
18 - Abacus - "We Cookin' Now" (Guidance)
19 - Ian Pooley - "Don't You Be Afraid" (Scenario)
20 - DJ Silver - "Misery" (Light Channel Recordings)

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DJ profile
Newhouse

Location: Helsinki, Finland
Mixcloud | Soundcloud

Newhouse has been an active record collector and disc jockey since the beginning of the 90's and he is known as a walking Wikipedia for all things related to house music.

Full profile

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