Interview with Johan Koskela
Discography and Biography: Paralyze Johan Koskela
Hi Johan, it is a pleasure to do this interview with you. First of all let's start with a presentation of you. Tell us about yourself.
You were born in Finland like many other musicians in this genre. Tell us about your childhood and where you have lived so far.
I learned music from my grandfather when I was 9 years old. I try to learn playing piano by notes but I discovered that it was a lot easier to play without looking at the notes. I moved to Sweden in 1981 because of family changes. My two sisters and my father left back in Finland and sometimes I visit them and they use to visit me too.
Tell us about your music career. How did it all started?
My music career started when Amiga 500 was released and when I discovered Soundtracker 1.0, I thought that it was really awesome to make music on the computer at this time. I only play keyboard today, but I also can play a bit guitar.
How did you get in contact with the spacesynth genre for the first time?
I met a friend that had an album of Laserdance and I started to like them because noone sounded like them. I was fascinated by the sounds they have aspecially the bass and athmosperic sounds but my favorite sounds was the synthbrass.
What is your favorite music in that genre?
My favorite artists are Laserdance, Koto, Rygar. I like the atmosphere and sounds.
You have released songs for Hypersound Productions on their album serie Synthesizer Dance (volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6). How did you get in contact with Hypersound Productions for the first time?
A friend of mine also known as Mindwipe knew MindXpander who had contract with Hypersound so it was this way I got in contact with Hypersound for the first time.
What was your musical inspiration when you made the songs for those albums?
Inspiration came from me within and from Laserdance.
Almost all of your songs have a high tempo. Have you made any slow songs or do you prefer the uptempo style?
I had but those are not released. I like mostly uptempo style.
We like your spacesynth material a lot. The songs have good variation of sounds, interesting melodies and lots of details. Did you get any feedback for those songs?
Most feedback I got from Distant Fantasy and that was really a surprice and nice to see even if I could do a better version of that today. Maybe I do. :)
Did you have any contact with the other spacesynth musicians at that time?
I think I saw Gustaf Grefberg at some Demoparty in Sweden a long time ago. But I have no contact with him today. David Lilja is my friends friend which I got to know as MindXpander.
At that time there were discussion forums about spacesynth music at Yahoo, Laserdance.de, etc. Did you visit those discussion forums?
No I didn't visit them, I'm aware of those forums and sometimes I visit them.
Have you made any co-operation with other musicians or have you only worked with solo-projects? (On the backside of SD2 it is written "Thanks to Mindwipe". Was that a co-operation?)
Yes a bit co-operation, he recorded some of the synth leads in the song.
Can you tell us about the musical equipment that you used on the Synthesizer Dance albums? (what did you use for Drums, Bassline, Strings, Melodies, Effects, Mixer, Vocoder, Robotic voice, computer software, etc.)
At that time I used: Clavia Nord modular, Roland Juno1, Roland Juno106, Roland SH-101, Roland JV1080 expanded with dance, ambient, techno cards, Yamaha Digital Mixer board ST1.
Do you have some studio pictures from that time that you can share?
Check out www.paralyze.se I add some pictures there later.
At your website paralyze.se there is a video of the song Timescape from 1993. Can you tell us about that live performance?
It was partly live and partly playback. I composed the song with a little help from Mindwipe. The song was popular after the performance. Many in the school where we performed liked them.
In 2004 when you released your tracks on SD6 you wrote at your website that you were anxious to buy a Roland MKS-70 and some other hardware synths. Are you a true hardware fan or do you also like software synths?
I like both of them, but I have the admit that the feeling of playing an old hardware synth with your fingertips beats any software synth in the world.
On SD2-SD4 you used your own name but on SD5 you started to use the artist name Paralyze. What is Paralyze all about? Is it pure spacesynth music or a mixture of techno and spacesynth music? Have you planned to release the music under different project names to make it easier for the buyers to understand what kind of music they are buying?
I decided to put this name because I was doing so many different types of music and wanted to market the paralyze name because I wanted people to discover the paralyze.se website. I didn't have any more plans than that.
On SD5 you contributed with the songs Fysical and Subsonic which are updated versions of two Amiga songs that you made back in 1992. Also your song Analogic was made with material from an Amiga song from 1993 called Digital Power. Tell us about the Amiga music that you have made. Were those songs published or distribute somewhere and under what artist name?
I have made too many Amiga songs and the plan is to some day release many of them but I'm not sure when. The songs are not published yet.
Have you earned some money for the music that you have composed?
I have not earned so much. The fun of making it keeps me going on.
Which one of your songs do you like most? Why that one?
Timescape Instrumental version. I think I really got an special sound with help of juno 1 filters which make the sound cool in the last part of the song, if you don't mind to say it to myself and when I hear the last melodie in the song I use to think back in the first time when I heard Laserdance, it sounded similar like their melodies.
Around 2004 after SD6 was released it became quiet around you and your website went offline. The last updates at your website showed some pictures of you and your wife when you visited Thailand for vacation. Tell us what happend after that?
After that I got married and my music composing had to rest.
Your previous website paralyze.nu has now resuscitated under the name paralyze.se and you have published a video at youtube called Away Mission. Can you describe what Paralyze is all about nowadays?
I'm currently planning to rebuild my homepage and soon an paralyze.se app is coming into the market, so keep looking for news soon! Sometime in the future I plan to release remakes of my synthesizer songs.
Your video Away Mission is available at youtube. Is that your first music video (except the live videos)?
Yes that was the first music video and a second one is still coming.
Your website also contains performance pictures from Stockholm, Írebro, Umeň, etc. You seem to like performing. Is it possible to see you performing spacesynth music in the near future?
Well due to my family situation it is difficult right now but you never know, LOL.
Can we expect some more music videos from you?
Music video 'Infinite' will be released some time in the future. Similar to the Away Mission. Perhaps I release it when I reopen paralyze.se to get some visitors!
How is your studio setup today? Can you share some studio pictures of your current studio?
I'm reconstructing my studio and it's kinda messy right now, LOL.
What do you think comes first - rhythm or melodies? Why that?
Always rhythm first, It would be difficult to make melodie without rhythm, because it sets the tempo of the song. Sometimes I can do melody first but not often.
What are your influences when you compose music nowadays?
I haven't made a song for a long time so I have to pass that question.
Try to describe how you do to compose a new track.
Good rhythm and strings and a good melody is a good start. I used to start with Laserdance bass sounds and then brasses to get an start.
Some people thinks that the music of today doesn't have the same warm feeling as in the 80's and 90's, because of the software synths, and that the musicians are using too much compression which makes it sound quite cold and hard. What do you think about the result?
That is really true, the sound of an analogic synth is so much natural and the filter sounds really better too. But some digital software synths sound really good too.
Have you listen to the new albums that have been released in the spacesynth genre?
No I haven't had much time for now.
Have you listen to the free spacesynths songs that are available on the web, and in that case, what do you think about those songs?
Some of them are quite good some are mediocre.
Are you still an active musician that are planning to release songs on albums?
For now I'm sadly to say not so active, but I plan to release songs when my app is ready!
What are your musical plans for the near future?
To release some old work.
What is your favorite music of today?
I like to listen mostly to trance music, ah.fm (afterhours.fm)
How is the feedback now compared to the time when you released songs for the Synthesizer Dance albums?
Yes I think its quite easier to get in contact with other musicians, and to get some credit for what you have done, which is good because that keep you wanting to make so many more tracks.
Thank you for participating in this interview. You are welcome to participate in the discussions at the spacesynth forums. Before we end this interview I wonder if there is something that you would like to say to your fans?
Keep looking for news at www.paralyze.se! ! ! I N F I N I T E I S C O M I N G ! !