Janne Hyöty Interview

Janne Hyöty has got several J-POP cuts including popular boy band’s single continually since last year. He is a co-owner of his publisher Sugarhouse Publishing, and renowned songwriter in his country Finland, some of his songs have been nominated for Finnish Eurovision contest. This time we interviewed him about the origin of his rich melodies, how big the Eurovision is for Europian songwriters, and his view for J-POP.


Janne Hyöty

—- Is this your first time to visit Japan?


J.H.: No, its my second.  I was here two years ago for a songwriting session with Musex (Music Export Finland). Its been really good.  Its my fourth day and we have four songs done already. I’m really happy with the songs so far.  I have to take it back to Finland and do some production and recording but I think its going to be good.


—- Can you tell us your musical background?


J.H.: I started as a guitar player.  I worked professionally as a guitar player in Finland.  I’ve always been writing songs for fun.  In my teens I had all sorts of band, but that was not on a professional level.  I’ve been a musician for a long time.  My career took off 2004 in Finland.


—- What was the trigger for this?


J.H.: I had 3 or 4 songs in the Eurovision song contest in Finland.   That was kind of a turning point for me as a songwriter because we got second place in Finland.  After that I got much more into song writing.  Artists and publishers started calling me.


—- How much impact did you get for your songwriting career from Eurovision contest, because we don’t have a contest like that in Japan?


J.H.: Its certain people that like this contest.  For me it was very good because there is a lot of promotion around it.  Its a TV program.  Papers write a lot about it.  It was very good for me, I got my name out to the people.


—- What made you try writing J-pop?


J.H.: When we had our first meeting with Sound Graphics at Midem in France Hide found some stuff that he thought sounded J-pop.  I didn’t really know back then how to write J-pop but I worked with Daichi and we wrote our first song which became my first cut.  At that writing session I learned from him what J-pop is all about.  It suits me fine, that style.


—- What is the difference between European pop and J-pop?


J.H.:There is much more music in J-pop.  Much more melodies, chords.  I had a background as a musician and also a jazz player.  You can use things from that in J-pop which is nice.  In Europe and America you have to stick to the same 4 chords but in Japan there is much more freedom.  Its nice when you can throw unexpected things into songs that you can’t do in European music in the same way.


—- Could you tell us how you work on J-pop songs?


J.H.:When I wrote my first J-pop cut, I didn’t understand J-pop and I was a little confused.  I produced a demo in my studio and it took 2 years to get cut.  While my Latest cut, I wrote with Caroline Gustavsson from Rostinghouse in Malmö for a J-pop camp.  I remember struggling with it a lot.  We had a lot of ideas and spare parts for like three songs haha.  We also had some problems with the key the range and the melody.  We had to tranpose some parts a lot to get the final sound.  Actually the chorus is a mistake because it starts from a different key.  It was a mistake that sounded really good.

the second one was made during a long period in Vaasa with a writer from Sugar House publishing.  The other guy made the song and I did a lot of changes and final production.  Its a Christmas song.

Its different from time to time when you write songs, you don’t know whats going to happen.  With J-pop you write the songs faster of course.  It depends on what you’re targetting.  You have to write in a way that works for a particular artist.


—- When and how you started Sugar House Publishing?


J.H.: It started out in combination with a success in the Eurovision song contest, we decided to start this company to keep our own publishing.  Before that I got a lot of offers from other publishers but I thought it would be nice to keep it among ourselves, so to say.  It started in 2004 and has been growing since then.  Now our main target is Japan and asia.  But we also have cuts for Finnish artists.  A lot of TV stuff too.


—- Could you tell us about the pop music scene in Finland?


J.H.: Its pretty much that same across Europe.  They have a lot of these talent finder TV contests like “Idol”.  Finland is also very heavy metal like Nightwish. Finnish music is kind of dark but rich in melody. We also have “Schlager”, traditional Finnish music.  When I first heard J-pop I thought there was similarities with traditional Finnish music.  That may be why I can write J-pop because the melodies are similiar.


—- Do you have different music culture in Vaasa?


J.H.: Vaasa is close to Sweden so you hear a lot of Swedish music there.  Its a Swedish speaking area.  I also speak Swedish, but I’m born “Finn-Swede.”  We watch a lot of Swedish TV.  I’ve actually heard more music from Sweden than Finland.  Thats a difference between Vaasa and other cities by the coast by Sweden from the rest of Finland.


—- Do you want to write for other types of artists in Japan?


J.H.: Yes, that could also be cool at some point.  I’ve actually written one or two songs with female singers on demos.  Yeah, why not?


—- You are very influenced by rock music?


J.H.: Yeah, but not only.  The cuts I hear in Japan, some are pretty rock but I do all kinds of stuff.


—- What is your favorite Genre?


J.H.:I listen to all kinds of music.  Pop, Jazz, instrumental music, everything.  When you are in the business you have to listen to different things to keep up with the market.  Otherwise you might think you came up with something that already exists.


—- What is your advice for young Japanese song writers.


J.H.: Do what you feel is good.  Many song writers try to copy things that already exists, take a song and change it a little.  If you trust what’s inside of you and get it out there, personal stuff, is good.  Try to get that into your songs, then its your song.  Listen to all kinds of music and get your influences from all kinds of stuff.  If you combine different things you can develop your own style.

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