JOHN FOXX WEEK XTRA: Jori Hulkkonen pays tribute
We had so many bands paying tribute last week we couldn't fit them all in! Here's Finnish house music legend and Foxx collaborator Jori Hulkkonen paying tribute...
How and when did you discover John Foxx?
‘It's a bit vague. I remember hearing ‘Underpass’ and ‘Europe After The Rain’ in the early/mid 80's, but it wasn't until later in the 80's, maybe around '88 when I was 15, that I came across the album Metamatic which totally blew me away. At the time I was getting more and more into acid and techno, and starting my own attempts at making music, and to realize there was a record like that out already in 1980 was just amazing.
Do you think early Ultravox were ahead of their time - recording tracks such as 'My Sex' and 'I Want To Be A Machine' back in 1976?
‘After finding John Foxx I started to dig a bit deeper and discovered pre-Midge Ultravox. Again this was a time when I was just getting over my purist electronica teen-years in the late 80's and discovering a wealth of music from all genres, and the original Ultravox albums made a really big impact, not just in terms of the material but also because they really stood out from what else seemed to be released at the time. So, even though I wasn't there when those records came out, in retrospect they really did seem to be ahead of their time.’
Do you have a favourite John Foxx track or early Ultravox track and why?
"Just For A Moment’ is probably my favourite Ultravox track. From solo material harder to choose, perhaps ‘Blurred Girl’.
Any album that you feel has been particularly important to you and others in terms of inspiration?
‘Metamatic for me is one the best albums ever recorded. Even if released today it would still stand out and sound ahead of its time -over 30 years after the release! It's one of those records I just keep going back to. It's so well thought out, very focused.’
Has his influence been more than musical? In terms of design, artwork and so on?
‘Yes, the iconic artwork and press photos of the Metamatic -era are a sort of a blueprint for me how things should be done.
What was it like working with John Foxx on Dislocated and Never Been Here Before?
‘When you get a chance to work with the people who originally inspired you to start making music in the first place, it obviously is a bit overwhelming. The tracks themselves came together very easily, ‘Dislocated’ being something I wrote with John in mind, that being an updated tribute of sorts of the Metamatic sound. While ‘Never Been Here Before’ was a co-write, and therefore maybe a bit more interesting for me at least.’
Why do you think that many people are only just discovering John Foxx's music now?
‘Even if the industry is suffering financially from file-sharing and services like Spotify or You Tube, they do seem to work in favour of artists like John; those whose records were ahead of their time and shaped the things that came after, but maybe never crossed over to mainstream. Nowadays it's so much easier to go and dig and see who actually made what and who was first. So people who actually had their own vision and followed it finally get the respect they deserve. It's quite comforting.’