This was in February 2020, and we all know now what was about to happen next. For a world conquering touring band everything just simply ground to a halt in a matter of days. After being shellshocked for a fleeting moment the guys started to think outside the box. Ok, no gigs, no nothing – but wait a second, the Eurovision Song Contest IS still on!
”What we really needed at that low point was an anthem for ourselves, a song that gives the finger to life itself,” one of the two vocalists in the band, Niko Vilhelm, recalls. ”That’s how Dark Side came into life. It really was an instant anthem.”
“Dark Side is a song that’s meant to be performed together with an audience, as a kind of communal experience. Now we needed to find that audience – and we knew that there were lots of people out there who felt exactly like we did.”
Blind Channel entered Dark Side into the UMK (Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu = New Music Competition), the Finnish qualifying round for the Eurovision Song Contest itself. They came out on top in style: theirs was the highest total score of all time and Dark Side was the first UMK entry to hit the top of the charts.
Niko and his vocal partner in crime Joel Hokka claim they weren’t all that surprised by the outcome.
“We know our work ethic, the dues we have paid and the mistakes we have made. Deep down inside we were sure that something like this would eventually happen.”
”We give everything our 100 %, all the time,” Joel nods before breaking into a wide smile. ”But, I mean, this whole thing! One moment you are lying amongst your shattered dreams, truly desperate, and the next thing you know you’re on top of the world. It’s like a movie script!”
Blind Channel was formed in 2013 in the city of Oulu, way up in the North of Finland, by a group of five talented, determinate and ambitious guys - Joel, Niko, drummer Tommi Lalli, guitarist Joonas Porko and bass player Olli Matela. This fivesome has stuck together to this day, in the spirit of their 2018 sophomore album Blood Brothers. They are also collectively responsible for the songwriting.
Last year saw the addition of a new member, as longtime friend Alex Mattson joined to play keyboards, samples and percussion. Alex has made his name as a solo artist, producer and DJ in the electronic music scene but admits having led a nu metal childhood. All and all, he brings his own spices into the mix Blind Channel refers to as violent pop.
Dark Side is anything but gloomy. In its own twisted way it’s jam-packed with joie de vivre. It might be the perfect anthem for this mess we find ourselves in but it is also absolutely timeless.
“It’s a party in the darkness,” Joel declares. “A party for outsiders, you don’t have to be perfect!”
“Yeah, it’s ok to feel like shit, and it’s very important to be able to say it aloud,” Niko stresses. “Just give your troubles the finger – it’s very liberating!”
As the old saying goes: free your mind and your finger will follow.