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Backstage with Blind Channel: Music, Business, and the Road Ahead

Updated: Apr 25

Blind Channel is a Finnish nu metal band who gained wider recognition after representing Finland in Eurovision 2021 with the song "Dark Side". Tuomas Asunmaa interviewed Joonas Porko (guitar) and Olli Matela (bass) backstage, right before their concert in Poznań. They talked about the music business, expansion plan, and shared roots in the grand Kello village.


From the left: Olli Matela, Tuomas Asunmaa, Joonas Porko. Photo by Spondeo

How’s your tour so far? You have 9 gigs on this one?

Yeah, we have done three, yesterday we were in Dresden and tomorrow we have Gdańsk. Last autumn we also played in Warsaw and Kraków.


So you have seen some of Poland already, any thoughts?

There are always big parties. People at gigs clearly come to have fun and enjoy the music, and everyone is really nice and friendly. You can even compare Poles to Spaniards a bit, there is always enormous energy and people come close.


You’re saying that Poles are mid-Europe Latinos then?

You could say so, yes! And our bus driver is from Poland, we definitely wanted him back again as he is so great.


When it comes to revenue streams for the band, how do ticket sales differ from merch sales?

Gigs provide us with a guaranteed income that we share with the promoter. If ticket sales exceed the breakeven point, we start earning a commission.

As for t-shirts, it depends on the venue's rate of commission. It can be as much as 25%, leaving us with minimal profit. The guaranteed income essentially covers our expenses, as touring is very expensive. 


Yeah, you have a big crew with you.

That’s right and it means the merchandise income is really important to the band. With 25% commission, it's hard to make a profit while maintaining good quality and reasonable prices. In some venues, especially in the UK, merch can’t even be sold by people from our crew. Many fans prefer to buy online to ensure the money goes directly to the band.


I must admit your merchandise is very nicely done.

We wanted to have products that you can wear and that don’t necessarily look like a band shirt!



Blind Channel concert in Poznań. Photo by Tuomas Asunmaa

You have six guys in the band - how do you make decisions if it’s 3 vs 3?

We can consult managers and others but... very rarely, if ever, has it been 3 vs 3. We have been together for 10 years, so we discuss a lot and have quite similar opinions. We may disagree while composing new songs, but we usually find a solution easily.


Considering industry trends, how do you see the next five years? What will be the biggest changes and innovations, Blind Channel as a Service?

Platforms like TikTok are a hot topic now but we're still exploring how they can fit into the band/music context. Things have gotten more difficult – album sales have largely vanished and for bands that don't have radio or TV presence, it's basically touring and merchandise. Perhaps some other angle will come along, social media or corporate partnerships.


Then you need to tour all the time?

When you reach a point when you're selling out large venues consistently, you also make gig income. For us, the Finnish market is important for revenue, Europe is also pretty good. The more audiences we reach, the more streams we have, it’s investing.


In Poland you have 20 cities the size of Oulu, so if you make it here, it’s a big market.

Yes, definitely. We are also focusing on the German market now.


If all goes well, who would you like to support you on tour in five years?

Hmmm... my first thought would be the bands we have now as "special guests" – Electric Callboy and I Prevail. They are arena-level bands. It’s been very nice to tour with them! Realistically, our target is stable growth to the top.


What would you say to your 15-year-old selves going to Kello junior high?

Go on and be faithful to your passion. Practice a bit more! And remember, you don’t need a plan B, you just need to have a really good plan A.



 

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