Tämä on artikkeli on poimittu NKVD Recordsin nettisivuilta.

This article originally appeared in NFH #22 in the winter of 1992.

Pojat's bass player Jussi Santalahti paints a picture of the Finnish club scene of two years ago. Rap bands. Speed metal bands. And here are Pojat playing a whole set of Boys covers with lyrics translated into Finnish and trying to make headway. Seems like no way they'd have a chance, right? But with help from their spiritual mates Ne Luumaet and Luonteri Surf (not to mention Klamydia), they've turned the Finnish scene on its ear and now it's to the point where Jussi is ready to state that this summer will witness the entire country going nuts for Ramones-styled rock and roll. Summer means festival time in Finland...each weekend there are four or five outdoor festival around the country with several bands at each. The sun's finally out, and out late into the evening every night, it's warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts, and everybody tries to cram a year's worth of living into about 3 months. Pojat plays as many festivals as they can; usually there are about 5 really significant ones, and this summer one will stand out above all the rest because the Ramones are due to play. Jussi thinks this festival will blow the dikes out.

Pojat (pronounced Poy-ot) means "the Boys" in Finnish. The band was started by Jussi and Miika in the spring of 1989 to have some fun in some university clubs. They played a short set of Boys songs while singing lyrics translated from the original into Finnish. It wasn't meant to become anything serious. But a funny thing happened...they found that this stuff was really fun to play, so they recruited a permanent drummer (Manu Ojanen) and second guitar player (Mikko Holmstrom)

"The first gigs were in Helsinki and in Tampere", says Jussi. "Today we do some ten gigs per month all over Finland. And that's really all over Finland...in the first year we mainly played in clubs in big cities. Well, what's a big city in Finland...in Helsinki and Turku and Tampere. But soon after that, about one year ago, we started playing in all kinds of places, and during the summer we have many festivals here in Finland and we are playing in some of them."

Though they still play the occasional pizzaria, they don't play so many Boys songs anymore; now their set is mostly their own material, which is of a similar style to the Boys or Ramones and rivals either band for brain-eating catchiness. They keep three or four Boys songs in their repertoire, of which they might play two in a typical gig. They also toss out a Ramones cover now and then. Their Irti lp has one, "She Belongs To Me", which evolves into "Siipi Lonksuu Niin", a translation chosen not because it makes any literal sense but because the three Finnish words are pronounced in a way that makes them sound very much like the English words. "We and Ne Luumaet were sitting in a bar when the dj played "She Belongs To Me". We all agreed that it is a fine song", says Miika. "So we decided to do it also by translating the chorus line directly to Finnish. Makes hardly any sense but is still a fine song."

Irti is Pojat's second lp; the first one is just titled Pojat. There's also two or three singles...all I've been able to track down is the Irti lp, and I can say that it's a great one without reservations. Twenty consecutive songs of catchy punk pop.

"It's a bit difficult to explain what Irti means", says Jussi. "We thought when we got the name and the album cover that it would be something like when you are stuck with something and people thought that we are just another Ramones band and we have a straight line to go that way, and we thought that that's not how it will be after this album. Irti means something like "get away" or "get loose". Something like that. One of the ideas was Jailbreak in English and maybe Jailbreak and the Finnish word Irti has something to do with each other."

All the songs on Irti are sung in Finnish, but it doesn't set things back at all...the good time feel of the music has a pull that translates in any language. And it's gotta be helping Pojat's cause in Finland to play this sort of thing in a way that Finnish kids can relate. For me, it's a real kick to hear a song like the great Radio Stars hit "Dirty Pictures" reworked with these huge guitars and strange words.

But as I've said, their own songs, written in the same spirit, are as good as the classics they cover. Miika translated the song titles for me and said a bit about each...for example, there's "Sheenako Se Todella On" ("Is It Really Sheena"), which is about Sheena (from the Ramones songs) coming back to Finland from California and wandering about the streets of Tampere. Then there's "Hankeen Seisomaan" ("Standing In A Snowdrift"), a anti-surf/summer song that Miika says he must have written while suffering from a fever. Or "Thaimaa" ("Thailand") which has lyrics that Jussi wrote to go with the Ramones' "Time Bomb", but they didn't like how that worked out so they wrote new music around the words. It seems that a lot of their song ideas come from extending themes in punk classics in this way. It's an effective way to write a tune, judging from the results.

Strangely, although the Ramones and Boys are such a strong influence if you ask Jussi what other music he likes the first name that pops out is AC-DC. He'll then rattle off the Jam and Clash, but then declares that he's very interested in 70s heavy rock. ZZ Top gets a mention. Very unexpected given Pojat's sound. But then Jussi has to be broad minded as he works booking bands in a pub. So when asked about the local scene he has this to say: "Of Finnish groups, I don't know. I have no favorites. I have lots of things to do with music because here where I'm sitting and talking right now I'm working here and I book bands and I have to listen to all kinds of music. So about Finnish groups, there are good ones and there are not-so-good ones as all over the world."

Jussi doesn't buy the idea that Finland (and Europe in general) is suddenly experiencing the birth of a great scene. "I think that all the time there have been good groups in Finland and Sweden and all of Europe", he says, "but the possibilities to get to know about them have been poor. Today the situation is better and you are interested in European groups, to get in touch with them. So we know a lot about European groups today. Ten years ago there were only two or four Swedish groups that came here to play and got a name here. Today there are lots more and people are more interested in other music, too, not only American and English rock and roll, but also European, French, German, Swedish and so on. I'm sure that good bands have always existed, but today the situation is better; bands send tapes and get in touch with other people."

The possibilities for Pojat to cross pollinate within the European scene haven't been so great yet. Miika and Jussi have played Sweden with a previous band, but the crowd was almost all Finnish ex-patriots living in Stockholm with the result that they felt like they really didn't get the foreign gig experience at all...it was more like they were still at home. Maybe that will change as their music hits a wider audience. This summer they record a new single in August and then a new lp for release in the beginning of 1993. In the meantime, they prepare to unleash the summer of Ramones-punk on unsuspecting Finland. Good luck to 'em!