Music, lyrics, pr
Erkki was a shy kid, but somehow he came with an idea to start planning crosswords. At first it wasn’t easy. His first crossword was published as he was 13, so his career is over half a century long. He has constructed tens of thousands of crosswords till this day. Music has always been an important part of his journey. He bought his first electric organ at 16. He had no education but it didn’t take long before he made his first song. He has always liked various kinds of music. ”A good song is a good song, regardless of the genre”.
Besides making crosswords and music he has done books, Ristisanakirja, Sanaristikot, Nimivisa (with Pekka Joutsi) and a series starting from EVVK — Erkki Vuokilan Vuosikirja 2020 and continuing every year. He started a family business Sanaris Ltd in 1986 and it’s still going strong. His leisure and work are an interesting combination where his children’s and grandchildren’s paths cross every day or at least every week. His wife Eeva and son Sakari are his closest working mates and there are about 40 others doing something for the company regularly.
Erkki’s achievents in music can’t yet be compared to his main career. He has done lyrics (and sometimes also music) to Taljanka, Puolikuu and Jyrki Härkönen. With Jyrki and the HiSQ band he made a record of 15 of his songs in 2018. It could be named a starting point to HiSQ as he felt he had found just the most innovating musicians to mold his songs. He has a lot of songs ready or half ready or just ideas fos songs and the ideas pop into his head anytime and anywhere. He is an absolute music lover and he loves to hear his own songs performed by such talents as the HiSQ band. Erkki is now extremely happy while waiting for the reactions from the other music lovers.
Markku started to draw almost every day when he was just a kid. His first jobs were on docks and at construction sites. Soon he had had enough of the hard physical work, so he started to earn money as a freelance drawer. He has mostly made his living drawing crosswords but he has also made advertisements, posters, comic reliefs and books. Nowadays most of the crosswords he draws are constructed by Erkki Vuokila and Teemu Pallonen. Markku is often considered the best Finnish crossword artist as his drawings are funny, inspirational and unique.
Markku likes to play guitar as a hobby. Occasionally he also enjoys woodwork and renovating his family’s house. His favourite music is blues or 60s, 70s and 80s heavy rock.
Arto is a long-standing IT man. He studied to be a Radio and TV mechanic in the 70s. In those days, the first analog synthesizers came on the market. Arto was interested, but when he didn’t have the money, Arto designed and built one himself, from plywood, parts of old radios, etc. The used keyboard was found in a music store, although he had to make contacts from steel wire himself. When micro computers came on the market, Arto transformed the device into a computer-controlled one in the early ’80s. Unfortunately, he has not had time to learn to play!
Arto then studied to be a Measurement and Control Engineer in the 80s. It began a 37-year career as a software designer in many companies in Finland and Silicon Valley, California. Arto has developed CAD systems, warehouse automation, paper machine measurement systems, paging systems, telephone network managements, crossword publishing systems, urban planning systems, automation designs, road marking systems, etc. He has recorded the blade breaking of a machine tool blade, crawled inside a paper machine in Florida, changed microcircuits at the top of the Eiffel Tower, sat in the morning in a road marking car in central Sweden, and in the meantime wrote a few hundred thousand lines of program code. At a mature age, he got a vocational education indata processing, just for fun.
In addition, Arto has been involved in e.g. lyrics. Arto has been in the finals of the Seinäjoki Tango Market’s composition and lyrics competition a couple of times with his lyrics and came second in the ”Kutumusakisa” (Erotic music competition) with the song ”Chilly P*ssy”. Arto has made a couple of tools online to help lyricists: ”Riimirenki” and ”Troppituutti”. He has published the book ”Riimitarjotin”.
For the past seven years, Arto has focused on video editing. There are twenty of his videos on Youtube and Tiktok, a lot of music videos for Jyrki Härkönen’s songs. Arto has made HiSQ music videos based on Markku Mäkelä’s funny illustrations.
Peter is a Finnish guitarist and producer and the main man behind the HiSQ sound. He has already worked with HiSQ’s Erkki Vuokila for a decade helping Erkki with his songs.
Peter studied at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, where he learned from Scott Henderson, among others. He graduated from the jazz department of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 2000.
Engberg works mainly as a freelancer. He has recorded and given concerts with Sakari Kuosmanen, Samuli Edelmann, Timo Rautiainen, Pepe Willberg, Laura Sippola, Johanna Kurkela, Kaija Koo, Tapani Kansa and Sonata Arctica, among others. In 2000, Engberg’s first solo album Tori was released, in addition to which he has released the solos Poems (2009) and True Lines (2010). Ira Kaspi and Peter Engberg have made the duo albums Standards (2003), A Rose (2007), Ystävien kanssa (With Friends) (2009) and Mustavalkoisia sävyjä (Black and White Tones) (2010). All the above-mentioned records have been released by Engberg’s own recording and production company Impossible Music Oy.
Peter is also the longtime guitarist in the house band for the super popular music program Vain elämää on Finnish tv. He’s also a member of RNO (Riku Niemi Orchestra) and Jukka Eskola Orquesta Bossa
Janne began his musical life at the age of eight by playing drums, after which the main player changed to bass guitar. In addition, he also plays guitar and keyboards. As a gig musician, he has played in the background of several artists (including Heli Kajo, Jonna Kärkkäinen, Hanna Maaria) and in cover and party bands (for example, Metropolis and Tailor Made).
Now Janne is a Finnish producer, recorder and musician. Oinas’ professional career began in 2006 after he produced Aleksi Ojala’s record Homeless Man. Since then, his partners have included Suvi Teräsniska, Jari Sillanpää, Jippu, Heli Kajo, Ufo Mustonen, Laura Sippola and Sansa. The biggest list successes have been Teräsniska’s Täydellinen elämä (Perfect Life) and Sillanpää’s Sinä ansaitset kultaa (You Earn Gold).
Janne has played a significant role in arranging and producing songs for the TV series Vain elämää together with Leri Leskinen, such as Irina’s Ihmisen poika (Son of Man) and Elastinen’s Naurava kulkuri (Laughing Hobo).
Janne was making Paula Koivuniemi’s duet album about which Yle produced the documentary Paula Koivuniemi@studio. He arranged and produced Diandra’s New Music Competition 2013 finalist song Colliding Into You together with Leri Leskinen. He has also mixed songs by Yön, Reijo Taipale, Ismo Alango and Paradise Oskar, among others.
Janne has composed the film series Juha Wuolijoki for Zarra’s Law with Leri Leskinen. He has also made music for TV series and commercials.
Record company, pr, Singing
Bablo is a long-standing rock and pop singer, a songwriter known for his stunning hoarse voice. Bablo has been delighting music lovers with tours for over 30 years and recording amazing songs, best known of these are King of Alanya, Kauas vuorten taa (Whiskey in the jar), Reissumies, Taivas sinivalkoinen (Jersey girl) and Murtumaton. Bablo has performed in several different bands, e.g. Kultakurkut and F.A.M. The sound of the last ”titan” has only matured in 30 years and this year salutes a strong return to the top of the industry.
In 2020 Bablo founded the record label Ässä Records with his wife Jaana and initially focused on producing his own music and today also produces and releases music for other artists and bands.
Bablo’s most beloved project at this moment is the HiSQ record and the whole awesome project. He is grateful to be involved in this.
Risto Niinikoski is a Finnish drummer (born December 31, 1979), percussionist and session musician. He has recorded with a wide range of artists and has been a first call player since moving to Helsinki in the early 2000s.
Risto has recorded and toured with Finnish artists such as: Egotrippi, Lauri Tähkä, Cheek, Kaija Koo, Hanna Pakarinen, Juha Tapio, Johanna Kurkela, Hector, Mikael Gabriel and Vesa-Matti Loiri.
Risto is also the longtime drummer in the house band for the super popular music program Vain elämää on Finnish tv.
Mikko plays piano, Hammond organ and keyboards. He is a versatile professional musician from Helsinki, Finland. He loves playing different genres, anything from pop to rock, jazz, musicals, you name it.
He has worked in various tv-shows as a sideman or musical director. Vain elämää, BumtsiBum, Idols, Tartu mikkiin and Tuttu juttu -show to name a few.
A big part of Mikko’s work is playing musicals/show&dinners. ”It’s really great fun. I love that music and every time with a new show you find yourself in front of new challenges. So every time you’ll learn something new and get paid for that, everybody wins!” Recently he has co-produced and arranged a couple of shows at the Casino Helsinki and currently is working at the Helsingin kaupunginteatteri (Helsinki City Theatre) playing a show Niin kuin taivaassa. Other recent musicals that he played in are We Will Rock and Mamma Mia (Swedish theatre in Helsinki and Amfi/Messukeskus).
Towards the end of the year Mikko’s main project is arranging and rehearsing for duet concerts with Anna Eriksson. Mikko has played in Anna’s band for almost 15 years, but now for the first time working as a duo, they both are really excited over these concerts.
Mikko also works as a session musician. He works a lot in his home studio recording and arranging keyboard parts for different projects. ”It’s great to work remotely from/at home. It’s great to have that creative freedom and working hours of your own choice, but I sure really love playing sessions in big studios together with other musicians as well. I really love the atmosphere of the E-studio where we did the HiSQ sessions, all the cats playing at the same time. Other my favourite studios in Finland are Finnvox, Petrax and Sonic Pump. A few years ago I was hired into an international project, we did sessions at Atlantis studios in Stockholm and Abbey Road in London. It was amazing to see these legendary rooms and play the same pianos Abba and Beatles (and many more…) have recorded with.
He also composes music and is currently working on his solo debut album.
”I’m also really looking forward to what happens with the HiSQ. It’s a really interesting and inspiring band to be playing with.”
© Copyright Alina Ainola
Iida ”Iitu” Häkkänen, formerly from South Ostrobothnia, has moved permanently to Helsinki. She’s a versatile musician, songwriter and singer and a luminous performer. As a charismatic and actively performing singer she is at her best in front of an audience. She has sung background vocals to Janna, Ufo Mustonen, Jippu and Bablo on their records. In 2010 she was seen in Kuorosota (Choir Battle) in Emma Salokoski’s team and later as a member in the band Emma Salokoski Voices.