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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition – an interview with Husky Rescue

An interview with Marko Nyberg and Antony Bentley of Husky Rescue, describing the process and inspiration behind their new album.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Husky rescue the long lost friend album cover
The latest album from Finland’s Husky Rescue celebrates ten years of releases with Catskills Records and is a continuous musical exploration, blending Marko Nyberg’s melodic electronica and folk-tinged vocals with compositions by Antony Bentley and charismatic vocals by Johanna Kalén. The album is accompanied by a high-concept instrumental collaboration with Bentley, made to coincide with a New York exhibition by designer and long-standing Husky Rescue collaborator Kustaa Saksi. Husky Rescue describe the inspiration behind The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition.

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What states of emotional intimacy (or lack thereof) have informed the current album?
Tricky question but, oh, many – and in many ways.
In our case, rarely does any certain event or emotional experience get translated to a song as such. Sometimes it happens fast, sometimes slow, but it takes a while for things to find their place and context… And finally it’s like the album is telling you that it’s complete, thematically speaking or as a musical entity.
There’s all these experiences that are gathered along the way, maybe forgotten but lying around. And then a melody or sound comes along, then a weaving of sounds and then you suddenly realise what prior experience or feeling of yours the music is beginning to convey.
In the case of this album, it perhaps ended up conveying feelings of nostalgia and longing, musings about the unquestionable force of friendship and also about struggling to remain a child, despite being caged in an adults body.
Finally, of course there’s a remarkable level of intimacy in sharing a creative process. It takes a lot of trust and affection from your peers for you to be able to bring bare-bones lyrics or some early formless musical idea to the table in the first place.

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Who is the long lost friend of the album title and how did you get back in touch? 
I’m sure all of us have a slightly different take on that. But the album title came to Marko during the making of the album, after he got back in touch with a friend of his after a really long silence. But just as well it could be any childhood friend you used to build tree houses with, or a lost loved one, or – as in the case of the title track – the long lost friend trapped within yourself, the true you, that you’ve been waiting to come out with a bang.

How was it produced and who was involved with its making?
The album was produced in studios – or wardrobes or pencil factories – in Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin and New York. The core was us three: Marko, Antony and Johanna. The three of us work in a remarkably seamless formation where anyone can bring in any little fragment and it often would end up taking us somewhere special. But to generalize a bit, Marko is definitely the producing mastermind, Antony wrote most of the lyrics with some key contributions from Johanna. And everyone brought in their share when it comes to melodies or arrangements but Marko is most organized in keeping it all together.
Also we had some wonderful friends helping us out here and there: A close friend and long time Husky member and collaborator Ville Riippa and a string duo called Akkajee, just to mention a few.

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Your longstanding collaboration with illustrator Kustaa Saksi has produced some amazing album artwork – in what way have you worked together on The Long Lost Friend?
It is a long-term friendship I’ve been lucky to have in my life. We’ve known each other for over a decade now. We start working together in the early stages of the process, sometimes sending some sketches and demos back and forth and I think we’ve both inspired each other. We always have. Recently Kustaa has been working on a large project called Hypnopompic, involving dreamy and surreal tapestries and rugs, which he has exhibited around the world. When he opened his Hypnopompic exhibition in New York, he asked us to make a music performance for the exhibition which turned out really inspiring. At last the process kind of turned upside down: first came Kustaa‘s artwork, then music to go with it.
Kustaa had complete freedom regarding the illustrations on this album cover. I like the way nature is portrayed. There’s also all these insects and other inspiration that are a kind of continuation on the world of the Hypnopompic project.


husky_rescue
How has Husky Rescue evolved over 10 years of music making?
If one were to listen to all the albums I’m sure it’s quite clear that the evolution has taken many turns. But it comes from a place of freedom of form, there hasn’t been effort to keep it within some certain constraints. Even this Special Edition release alone contains quite a sonic journey in itself.

What have been the biggest highlights and pitfalls?
The biggest pitfall must of been when the tyre on our tour van broke twice on the same trip.
The highlights… the release of the first album – and actually every release after that. It’s never self-evident that it all comes together – that an album gets completed, then released – yet so far one release has always happily led to the next one.
 
Kustaa Saksi-Husky rescue
What is it about extreme countrysides that is so appealing?
There’s nothing more fantastic than experiencing big cities while knowing you can soon escape to the wilderness or to the silence of a countryside cabin by a still lake and stare at the open fire. It has a grounding effect. It’s a place of low disturbance, of sharpening of the senses and calm. It can make you stop and look at a dewdrop in awe. And it reminds you of who’s the boss, how in fact it’s Mother Nature who is in charge. Quite like surfing does.

Where do you hope to work and live next with your travelling studio?
Many places!

The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition by Husky Rescue is out now on Catskills Records.

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