2016 is Finnish sisters LCMDF’s tenth year in the pop game, but their music still has the bite of artists that are just exploding on the scene. ln infectious electro-pop current single “Rookie,” band members Emma and Mia Kemppainen half-sing, half-shout a punky chorus of I’m so done with the metal scene/ I’m so done with the dudes who think they’re better than me in a short, sharp 'fuck you' to asshole men with attitude that hits you with the force of an 18-wheeler. FADER contributor Michael Cragg turned me onto "Rookie," and described it as the best Scandinavian pop song since Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” He’s not wrong! Watch the neon-lit video above, where the Kemppainen sisters smash vases, race around on shopping carts and munch on pizza. While they’re well-known back home, "Rookie" has the feeling of a a song that just might go stratospheric. If it’s not, maybe it'll be your personal summer jam, 'cause I think it might be mine. Band member Emma Kemppainen explained more about the song and video to The FADER via email below:
The lyrics to “Rookie" discuss sexism in the music business. Do you think things are getting better in 2016?
Emma Kemppainen: One of the most common interview questions we’ve got during our career is, “How is it to be a female musician?” We’ve felt that we wanted to be referred to as musicians, artists and songwriters without the need to comment on our gender. The idea was to be role models by doing. But after seeing what Kesha is going through, the gendering of martyrdom (case: Amy Winehouse), and that nobody is talking about the issues we have in Finland, we wanted to share our true experience of how we feel.
Things are moving very slowly, and we feel like there should be more alternative role models for women. Girls who are strong, girls who are doing stuff their way. Last summer I made a public statement on the low percentage of women performing at summer festivals. It got picked up widely in the news, and I got a lot of personal messages from other women in the music industry. A scary thing is that these women are still too afraid to speak about it in public, because of the attitudes of the masses. The reaction was quite paradoxical; someone responded to my statement that we should spread our legs and we’ll do fine, another claimed that the issue doesn’t exist. So yes, I think stuff will probably get better but we need to address the issue first, even though it’s kinda tough to be a pioneer in addressing these issues.
The song says I'm so done with the metal scene. Was this inspired a real-life experience of metal culture in Helsinki?
Emma Kemppainen: When we sing about the metal scene, it stands as a symbol for old school attitudes in Finnish music business. Finland is internationally known for its heavy metal scene, so that’s what we have been compared too when it comes to Finnish international success. The metal scene is ruled by dudes, just like the Finnish music scene in general.
The same issue exists in hip-hop, EDM and a bunch of other genres. It’s about the low percentage of women performing at summer festivals and grouping female musicians into one genre. Girl is a gender, not a genre. And it’s about thinking forward regarding what Finnish music could and should sound like. Rookie is written as a motivational song for ourselves as much as it is for our fans.
When did you record “Rookie,” and who did you work with on it?
Emma Kemppainen: “Rookie” is produced by Anton Sonin, who was part of a successful EDM group called Heavy Weight DJs. It was recorded in one session in January 2015 after a long discussion about the Finnish music scene. I had been [insulted] by a music biz dude about my songwriting skills the day before. We just walked into the studio and the song was made and demoed in 10 minutes. The first demo vocal take ended up on the final recording—we tried re-recording them, but the original take had something special about it. I really meant what I was singing.
What’s currently happening in Helsinki’s music scene? Which artists should we know about?
Emma Kemppainen: There is a new wave of experimental hip-hop happening that is very interesting. Artists like Noah Kin and View are leading that pack. EDM is also growing, Lenno is a super exciting artist with his disco inspired dance music. Venior and KASPERG are very promising newcomers in the electro-pop scene. Us being part of a Swedish minority in Finland has definitely flavoured our sound and attitude in our songwriting. Even though we’ve been around for a while, there is not yet a other Finnish band like LCMDF.