Meet Lope & Kantola: Disco is love and love is disco. That’s the mantra of Lope & Kantola, a Finnish producer duo on a mission to make colorful, energetic and first and foremost fun dance music. Supported by the likes of Darude and Don Diablo, Lope & Kantola are surely showing that they are a one to watch. As loving parents, daytime for the duo means family time, but when the sun sets and the duo hits the studio, oh boy it’s go-time.Source: About Lope & Kantola – Spotify.
My kind of Music, with Lope & Kantola.
WILD AND FREE, Just Keep a PAINKILLER Ready.
After Akara’s Spotlight, I was a bit at a loss as to who could be next. Not because there aren’t enough options – there are too many. So I did what anyone would do, I asked around for suggestions. Akara gave me a shortlist with some great options, some of them already on my wishing list for some time. I even got a promise for a second interview from one of the previous Spotlights (a Spotlight 2!), when their new album is released – Yeeey. Click the pics 😉
Because I have to keep reality in check here, some of the options on my wishing list might be beyond my reach unfortunately – for now, who knows what the future might bring. So after sending out some requests, nothing came back. Or so I thought – I am not known for my patience lol – but I’ll save that for the next Spotlight 🤐
However, having had to go through the whole TJMC playlist as well as my own, one duo caught my attention again. When I found their pretty hilarious advice when suffering from a writers block – in their Instagram story – involving a Duplo building set, that was the icing on the cake. I sent my request and their answer leads us here.
When I told a couple of my previous Spotlights who was up next, they were just as enthusiastic as I am, mentioning their great music and also, their curiosity about the duo. One of them already expected the article last week… Impatient much…
Since their Instagram account is fairly new, I needed to search a little further. Their Facebook page helped though, so I did some digging there. I really liked what I had heard so far and when YouTube fed me another one of their tracks just a couple of months ago, I was convinced. Doesn’t happen too often, but yeah…
Diving into their music I’ve found my initial feeling was right. I was literally Laughing Out Loud, when I read their Bio on SoundCloud ; ‘Disco dads‘. I couldn’t let that one pass, even more so because I am a mom of two very grown up kids and as I mentioned in my last personal article ‘Age is but a Number‘, I sometimes worry about suffering from a midlife crises 🤪 – just trying to get over myself…
So when I asked them about the story behind that one, this was the reply I got and I quote; ‘The disco dads tagline can be understood as multilayered metaphor. In straightforward sense it sums up our recent disco vibes and funkyness, paired with the hectic married life as fathers of two sons, each. On much deeper and stupid level, we also love dad jokes – a lot’.
I love that. I love how they put together in just a couple of sentences, their family life means everything to them and they are not afraid to tell the world. And for a duo that has been on this road for so long already, which shows their true love for their music, that is saying a lot. The world definitely needs more love like that to be shown, without being worried if it would dim our level of cool in their eyes.
Anyways, when they do get to making music, I have to agree: their sound is enough to jump-start your day, with synths that you should be able to recognize anywhere. Waking up was never so instant and though that’s coming from an early riser, if ever you need an actual wake-up call just try this:
There were 3 Lope & Kantola tracks in my playlist at the start. I think the first track I added – Thank You TJMC 🙂 – was ‘Over Me’ about 2 years ago. And isn’t it funny what a name can do – or in this case two names – because they actually stuck with me. And this is coming from someone who has repeatedly confessed to be really bad with names…
The second song I added was ‘Holiday’, straight after I got the notification it was uploaded. What can I say, if a song hits you on the first couple of beats, you’re just obligated tot do so. Same story for ‘Wild and Free’, not long after that. By then their name was one of the few I actually recognized immediately. So there might be hope for me still.
Their Facebook page (‘Lope & Kantola is a Finnish producer duo, or you could just call them two dads and a laptop – guess that makes a trio’ – Source; About Lope & Kantola) was the place they seemed to update from the start on a regular bases, I went through all their posts and I was impressed by what they’ve already achieved so far. To keep things interesting for such a long period of time, next to staying connected in a positive way as well as daring to evolve to new things, deserves respect.
Giving each other space to also work on personal projects might have been one of the best things to keep the (work-) relationship interesting. Personal growth is most often rewarding also for ‘the greater good’. It also speaks of the trust that they have in each other and the lack of animosity, by cheering each other on. I quote:
‘Sometimes it’s good to freshen up your mind and work with other people once and awhile. Something fresh and successful can emerge when exposed to new ideas and workflows. Batgirl is a prime example of that. Marko took some time to do a solo collab with our longtime collaborator Kahikko ( a Finnish DJ and Producer). The end result is something that was somewhat of a hidden gem. Not anymore – now it’s place to the trailer of upcoming US series Hightown. Congrats guys, well deserved!’ – Ville
When I sent the email to Lope & Kantola with the below questions and they confirmed to having received it, they also added: ‘I’ll get back to you once I get the kids to sleep’. Priorities. Integrity. I said it before, let’s all chew on that…I promise it won’t hurt, but if it does:
I am sure Lope & Kantola have a lot more tricks up their sleeves, like a new album they seem to be working on. But I guess it’s time to leave the rest up to the gents. Before we go to the interview I would like to give a BIG Thank You to Lope & Kantola! Your music is one of a kind and surprising and I am very much looking forward to any new stuff from you guys. I will keep following you, to update on the Spotlight page 😉
Let’s start with the obvious: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about who you are and when did you get started? Also, please tell about your music: the synths are pretty recognizable, what was your first project and how would you describe your music?
‘We are Ville Lope and Marko Kantola. Music Producers by nights and weekends, dads, husbands and humble tax payers by day. We actually live 500 km apart, that’s something that seems to surprise people quite often.
We go way back: we met when Ville was working for Finnish label Finity Recordings around 2005. After the label disappeared, we kept working together on Subtraxx Recordings, Ville running the label and both with our own projects. Marko remixed quite some original tracks of Ville’s and eventually the label owners from Bonzai headquarters suggested that we should actually work together.
The first sessions were done in late 2011, after couple of releases on Subtraxx we decided that we would drop our solo projects and would work as a duo from ever since.
The first releases like “Lonely Ranger” and “They Have Nothing On Us” are totally different from the stuff we make these days, although our “trademark sound” can be heard in these well hidden tracks too’.
Who were your biggest influences? Where do get your motivation / inspiration from?
‘These days we bow to the masters of modern 80s sound, Ian Kirkpatrick, Oliver and our fellow finn Lenno for instance. Haywyre is also someone to watch – he is a musical wizard and his lead sounds are freaking amazing. MXXWLL’s name is also popping out when talking of ear catching productions.
A lot of influence comes from the pop scene these days. What is going on in K-pop scene is fascinating. The production standards are freaking insane there’.
From your comments I understand you are working on an album, but taking it one song at the time. Can you share something about the process, how you go about things? And do you have an idea when it will be released?
‘Producing and releasing an album has been in talks, and we actually had a rough draft of a long play ready already back in July 2019, but then things happened and didn’t happen. Suddenly our production standards got higher and should it be called self-awareness or self-doubt, that kind of shit kicked in.
Marko being a perfectionist and Ville being highly pedantic in many cases, the project just didn’t proceed. One thing affecting this was that we don’t have a label backing us up and kicking our asses at this point. Nor is there a manager or an agent. It’s just us two – all alone.
The idea is thrown out there and it’s highly tempting. Perhaps with the backing of the right team or getting the confidence boost somehow, somewhere, it will result in a finished album. Some day’.
Is there a track that has a special meaning or history you can share? Maybe some special collab?
‘I think there’s a story behind every song or track we’ve made. We tend to discuss about the story we want to tell with the instrumental track – rarely we’re in a situation where we are in a writing session with the topliner (lead melody & lyrics writer) at the same time. In most cases we’ve written the instrumental on top of which the topliner delivers his or hers vision. Luckily oftentimes the initial idea is well received and the we have the song ready quite soon.
There’s quite some names that we’ve worked a lot with. Pipo Fernandez, Jwell and of course Lucas Marx are always delivering some proper heat! There’s been talks of writing some new tracks with these fellas, but there’s nothing ready at this point.
All in all, our tracks and songs being released are finished quite effortlessly. Not that finishing songs would be easy, but in those songs the decision making just seems to be a tad easier and faster. Also, those songs usually seem to be also fan favorites.
For instance the first song written together with Lucas Marx, ‘Undercover’: the topline was originally written for another track of ours, but we felt that the track wasn’t paying enough justice to Lucas’ amazing performance and writing. We ended up producing the track around the vocal and it took us one night to get it to a point that we knew this would be the right fit. That song is now our most streamed song with over 350k plays in Spotify’.
How has this whole corona period been for you? Were you able to benefit from any extra time to spent on your music?
‘We’re not one of those touring DJ-Producer acts, so we aren’t missing any shows. We haven’t been asked to play anywhere in couple of years.
So, the time in the studio hasn’t gone up because of alleged free time. The studio time clocked in has actually gone down as the family time has grown during the now lifted (thank god) lock-down. Also, because of the pandemic we haven’t seen each other in person during the past 6 months – it’s all been online communication’.
You have quite some musical years behind you already, what is your vision for the future, what dreams are waiting to be fulfilled?
‘Artist wise we’ll just keep grinding and releasing music. Perhaps we’ll end up with some ultra cool label of find a family of like minded people, that would be awesome.
On top of that we keep playing the publishing game and trying to get more placement in the Asian market. We already got one song released in Japan and we’re working to get new placements in every now and then’
Is there anything else you would like to share, anything you want to tell your fans?
‘Here’s one odd thing about us, a fun fact, if you will. Those sun-kissed epic beach-housey anthems are usually made within the first days the snow starts to fall in Finland. Summer is a state of mind. Our minds are just a little bit crooked’.
Again, Thank You Lope & Kantola!
I really hope some of the curiosity about them has been satisfied, if not, why not contact them and have a chat? After receiving their answers, I asked about their remarks regarding the backup of a label and what they were looking for. Their answer was: ‘Extra value. Network. See, self releasing isn’t hard. Getting your music heard is’.
I can only hope this helps a little. For now, I wish you all a great weekend, I am off for my next Spotlight, to be published sooner than I thought 😉
Okay, that’s it. Honey I’m Coming Home, to Be With You Tonight 🙂