This week we had a chat with Mikko Pettinen & Happy People. See their BTA Artist Profile HERE!
Please introduce yourself/yourselves.
I am Mikko Pettinen, a singer, trumpet player, keyboard player, composer, arranger and producer from Finland. I´m specialized in jazz, soul, funk and gospel music. My band Happy People is a big (11 musicians) soul band and it features a 4-piece horn section and an amazingly soulful vocal trio TriSis. Happy People´s little brother is Happy People Combo, which has 5 musicians.
How did you end up playing together?
I recorded my debut soul album 2Happy in 2012-2013 and I invited some of my dearest colleagues for the recording sessions. Happy People was born right after these sessions and the members of my band mostly the as on the album.
Can you tell us little about your creative process?
It varies a lot. I think about music all the time, even when I don´t want to. Sometimes I have to record my song ideas with my iPhone on the car while driving. Sometimes I jam with my piano and record the jam sessions and then listen to them afterwords and compose a song based on those jams. Sometimes I think about a certain groove and start working from that. Sometimes I start composing to the lyrics that I´ve received from my collegue/friend. Sometimes I write my own lyrics after the song is finished.
Any tips for aspiring musicians?
Practise a lot, be nice to people, don´t be late, be honest an never give up.
Biggest musical influences?
Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Tower Of Power, John Coltrane, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donny Hathaway, Sly Stone, Steely Dan, The Beatles, D´Angelo, Billy Joel, Anthony Hamilton, Larry Graham, Weather Report.
What is the best thing about doing shows with a band of 11 musicians?
The joy and energy that we give to each other, to the audience and that we get from the audience. The communication and the togetherness. We all support each other and that makes the best out of us. When the audience leave with smiling faces after the show, that´s the best reward. We want to make people to forget about their worries and problems and feel happy for even 90 minutes:)
What is the most challenging thing about doing shows with a band of 11 musicians?
To find a day to rehearse or even find a date for a gig that everyone will be available. All the musicians of my band are very busy with other projects, so that is quite a challenge sometimes. That´s why it´s easier to work with my smaller group Happy People Combo.
If youcould choose, which artist would you like to see live? Dead or alive.
Prince, Miles Davis (yes, he is dead and I never got the chance to hear him live), Jimi Hendrix, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder (I have seen him live 3 times, but it´s never enough. I´d like to meet him some day), Snarky Puppy, Jarrod Lawson.
Any future projects you want to tell us about?
I´m gonna release a new album as a cd+dvd next September/October. I started a crowdfunding project for that at www.mesenaatti.me/happy-people. The album will feature 8 new tunes all of them recorded live at the studio. All the performances were also filmed with 4 videocameras. My songs will be arranged for a big band this summer, so my plan is to sing and play Happy People songs with different big bands next year.
Which artist would you like to see being interview by BTA? Which one question would you ask them?
Maybe Jarrod Lawson. He did hundreads of gigs last year playing jazzy soul/funk tunes and didn´t think about the radio play at all. He didn´t sell his soul to the music industry, he didn´t write any simple 3-minute and 3-chord tunes to get his music played in radio. But he is still travelling the world and doing all the festival gigs you can imagine. I truly admire that.
Thank you Mikko and keep it happy! See you guys next week for another BTA Artist Interview!