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It was 1989-90 when I started to feel interested in music. I had a stereo that you could pick up by stirrup and walk around and thanks to that I discovered a Finnish radio Radio Maffia, I still don’t know was it a pirate radio or does it still exist. In the eighties I was only into heavy rock, but this Radio Maffia gave a chance to even listen to hip hop or breakbeat, I had a big crush on breakbeat.
In 1991 I went to high school – Kopli Kunstikool (Kopli Artschool), we did a band there, I played the drums even though I had never had any lessons and well… I was quite awful. Anyway Indrek was the rapper and Tõnis played the bass, he was the only one who had got some music lessons. He also was a crazy computerman, he built a soundcard in the end of highschool, it was a big thing back then. We also had a sampler with a keyboard, but for now all the technics got lost somewhere. Then again, our equipment got damaged too, sometimes got beer poured on it or something.
Then we heard some very controversial thoughts that electronics will ruin the soul of music, but actually the computer is an instrument just like a guitar. When the electric guitar was invented, everybody thought that it’s the end of acoustic guitar, but what do you know, it didn’t happen. There’s nothing bad about electronics.
The reason for doing music was very simple, we just wanted to do something! There wasn’t any vanity, it was pure love. And anyway music didn’t spread that much at that time, when you even taped half a song, you were sooo happy and if it was a complete song you were extra happy. So when you knew that kick-ass music is made somewhere, but you couldn’t get it, the only solution was to do it yourself!
Those times people actually shared a lot of music. I met the owners of record store Kosmos Control and they let me to take a big box full of records home and after I listened to them I brought them back. Lauri from Psühhoterror introduced me to Aivar Tõnso, which was also a good thing for my musical development. I also taped over some of Lauri’s Aphex Twin, Wax Doctor and random breakbeat stuff.
Well, it was the same gang from highschool: Indrek Tamm, Tõnis Valk and I. Tõnis was very creative and talented. Unfortunately it got exhausting for him at some point, he found religion and so on, difficult times ’til he died in 1997. I went to university in 1997 and didn’t have so much time anymore to do music, but still… besides studying I did all the promo for Lu:k, arranged for us to play at events. In 1998 Joel Tammik joined, he was the fresh blood for Lu:k. Played bass on the album “Tallinn-Nõmme-Keila”. In 2001 there was an important performance in Leigo. After that there started some bigger conflicts between me and Indrek, because I wanted to do breakbeat, but he had different interests.
In 1996 Koit Raudsepp came up with this idea to make the first Estonian electronic music vinyl. On the A-side there was 2 Robo’s songs and on the B-side 2 Lu:k’s songs. A mystical thing happened with this vinyl. They pressed only 300 copies, but somehow Gilles Peterson managed to get one and he played it in his show “A Thing Called Jazz”. Nobody knows how he got it. I have 2 copies of this – one is more damaged than the other.
The first parties were organized by Raul Saaremets and Aivar Tõnso, these were basement parties in Tallinn’s oldtown from 1991. They played music from cassettes, for example they played LFO.
In 1994 Lu:k played in the lobby of EKA (Estonian Art Academy) at a party called Džunglikellad (Junglebells), but it was soon baptised to Persekellad (Buttbells) because of the shitty sound. And there were electronic music parties in the Tallinn Olympic Centre in Pirita. The biggest events were held in RET, an abandoned building of the radio electronics factory in Narva Road. Unlike Britain’s raves, Tallinn’s raves were totally legal, rooms were rented. Also raves in Zelluloos. But the parties in club Wimbledon were the greatest til its roof got burned. They were held in 1997-2004.
Bel Air was also an important club. People kind of thought that it’s a drug parlor, well maybe it was yeah, but I didn’t hang out with that crowd. It was all ages ago and it’s intresting to give a thought to the people who used to do drugs. Some of them are totally lost, some are simple people who don’t do drugs anymore, some still do occasionally, but haven’t lost their track in life.
I didn’t need drugs, I went to raves just for the music. We danced from 10 to 6. The society has a tendency to think “Oooo, there go the junkies”, but I guess drugs have always been part of good music, it works differently for everyone and every person comes to their own conclusion. But there are so many stupid people out there, if drugs were be legal, the society would fuck up. Stupid people just fuck up.
Lots of layers describe the present Estonia. Everyone has found their genre. Plus superficiality is deepening, lots of noise is being made, but sometimes I find suprisingly good stuff. But yeah, there is more stupidity and superficiality and the good things are adulterated. It’s important to understand what’s going on, it’s important that you and others are feeling well.
I didn’t go to work, I lived from making music and performing. I liked and still like it a lot, I still haven’t gone to work.
As a youngster I couldn’t understand the importance of making music, but it is much more understandable right now. I’m like a middleman, modeller and being in the present is the most important thing. Process is significance, joy from making, you may never think about the result, being in the present has the most importance. Just be and do. In the end there is some kind of result and it will work out. The experience with Lu:k showed me what is right – live in the moment, do what you love and everything else will work out by itself.
A person makes decisions all their life… I went to university to study metalwork, I did jewellery and stuff. I went there mostly because of the people. There was an interest for art too, but that is the way it went. Emotions and rationality have to be in balance, then you achieve a lot. I’m not afraid of change, but understand people who are, it’s because the safety goes away.
Marika has studied semiotics and history of art in Tartu University and Technische Universität Berlin and wants to specialise in art history. In past few years she's got involved with street art - particularly in cuprocking. At the moment admires sixties' garage rock and prepares an exhibition in Tartu that involves Estonian street artists.
1989 acid house Aivar Tõnso Aphex Twin Bel Air dance music Estonia Gilles Peterson Indrek Tamm Koit Raudsepp Kopli Kunstikool Kosmos Control Psühhoterror Radio Maffia Raul Saaremets rave culture Tallinn Tõnis Valk Virko Veskoja Wax Doctor
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But Lu:k’s music.. yeah i know, it’s the flava!
Reader feedback – fuck me, this is GREAT MUSIC :) Kudos, man!
Ops feedback. Using latest (nov 2009) version of Firefox on a Mac (OS 10.5.8) – vid links (the one with the music and the cool dancing I saw earlier today on your PC) don’t appear….just info…annoying as I have insomnia and the headphones plugged in, waiting :)
Great article though!!
LA:V video was filmed in Estonia, Tallinn Botanical gardens in autumn 2006 by http://www.virkofilm.eu
The girl dancing is cute in LA:V, where was this filmed and when?