Earlier in the year some friends and I were putting together a covers compilation and most of the covers we added we already knew, but we all dug deep to find ones that none of us had heard of before. That was when I stumbled across Rules’ cover of Nirvana’s ‘Lounge Act’, totally repackaged as an electropop piece – it was magical and totally took me by surprise.
Having recently got to know the people behind Soliti Records in Finland, we managed to get hold of Rules who are on their label.
Tell us who you are and what is your sound?
We are Rules, an indie synth-pop duo from Helsinki. Our self-titled debut album came out this August and has been well received. We have an irresistible and shameless pop sound with some depth and mystery in it as well. Our lyrics are based on characters from world literature, which has contributed to each song having a distinct world of its own.
What exciting projects have you got coming up?
We are preparing and aiming for a summer 2021 with (hopefully) lots of lovely live gigs, so if anyone’s interested in booking us, get in touch! New songs are of course brewing already, and as our brilliant producer is in London getting some world class education, we are sure to reach new heights with the upcoming material!
Where did you grow up and what music influenced you?
We both grew up in the outskirts of Helsinki, in smaller towns, listening to Nirvana and Spice Girls. We met in high school (also with our producer Oskari Halsti), and have been close friends ever since. Together with some other close friends Iiti formed the successful indie band Pintandwefall already in high school, but for Sarra Rules is the first dip in to the world of music. Bands that have influenced first Rules album: Chairlift, Depeche Mode, The Knife, Pet Shop Boys, Tegan and Sara, Warpaint, Grizzly Bear, The Ark etc.
What cool places do you recommend to visit in your city (bars, restaurants, etc)?
One of our favourite places is Riviera, a small independent movie theatre and bar in the Kallio district. We definitely like to hang out in pubs more than any noisy bars, and there are lots of great ones in Helsinki: Panema and Tenho in Kallio, for example, and the cozy “fish restaurants” such as Kaunis Kampela, Janoinen Lohi etc. all around the city. One chic and cool place is Trillby & Chadwick speakeasy near Senate square – they only give out the name of the street and then you have to find it! They have the BEST drinks in Helsinki.
We love recommendations – what have you been listening to, watching, or reading recently?
Sarra: The Queens Gambit in Netflix has been a favourite for us both recently, that’s a strong recommendation if you haven’t seen it yet. I’m already impatiently waiting for the new season of The Crown, as well. I am currently reading an old classic that also has been made in to a Netflix series called The Haunting of Bly Manor: Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. Also on my night stand at the moment are Marie Antoinette’s biography by Stefan Zweig, Karl-One Knausgård’s My Struggle part 2, and Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster.
Iiti: I adore Barbra Streisand in musicals, such as Hello Dolly, I watch this clip really often..
I like to read travel diary novels, currently Kyllikki Villa’s books. Vasili Suksin short stories recently made me laugh. Lately I’ve been listening to first two Weezer albums a lot and I’m really really loving that sound and Rivers Cuomo’s sense of melodies and composing in them.
Finally, what was the last thing that made you swear out loud?
Sarra: Yesterday when I was making white sauce fro lasagna from scratch. It worked out fine but MAN is it nerve-racking!
Iiti: Just a few ours ago I dropped my phone under the car seat. It was almost impossible to get it out! Aaaaargh!
Interview by Alex Minnis