Joonatan Järvinen aka Jodi Wild is a young multi-talented creator from Turku. He’s the guy with a vision and ability make dreams come true. During the last couple of years Jodi has been working his ass off, pushing pixels around for gig posters, album covers, music vids and whatever he goddamn feels like. Most recently he has done that amazing clip below for us to enjoy. Jodi also released a new EP featuring a mind-blowing video on last September. On top of his work ethic, he’s one of the gentlest souls that I’ve ever met and I’m so proud to call this young wizard my friend. Speaking of the devil, let’s have chat with Jodi.
How is life?
Life’s been giving lemons lately, but it is what it is. I have been recovering financially from the last lockdown, like really surviving and calculating how many DJ gigs I have to play in a row, that I’m able to pay my rent. And boom, now we are again in the lockdown. All of my DJ gigs just disappeared.
But if you look at this situation on the other hand, the last couple weeks have been just an extra holiday, because before lockdown I played gigs every weekend two nights in a row. Now I have been playing my synthesisers and guitar, watching movies, listening to tons of music (as always) and being with my girlfriend. Not stress at all about where I have to be tonight, I’m here. So life is actually pretty good.
So, you have clearly found a silver lining in all of this. Hopefully we'll soon be back on the dance floors and seen our mates. It’s lazy music journalism to start by asking about artist names. So... how did you end up with Jodi Wild? Hmm, we go ten years back in history to the year 2012 when I was in junior high school. Back then I started to make music, so I needed a name under my music alias. There was just one condition, it had to start with the letter “J”. At the time we were learning about the periodic table, and as you know; Iodine (Jodi) is one of the elements. Jodi was a short and kind of cool name, so I ended up being Jodi. Ever since then everybody has called me Jodi.
The suffix “Wild” came years later, somewhere around the end of 2017. I got this idea that I needed a two part artist name, like Mura Masa, King Krule, Tame Impala etc. Something dynamic to balance with Jodi. Perhaps some kind of adjective. One night I listed my choice of adjectives and “wild” was laying there.
I actually remember when I was walking with my homeboy Haid and I told him about the intention to change my artist name. I got his blessings to use the suffix “Wild”.
I’m not such a wild person in real life, but my beats were as wild as George of the Jungle. And there’s a cool tone in Jodi Wild. It creates an image inside your head.
Tell me a bit about your journey to this point? Damn boy, do you want the long or short version?
The long one ofc!
Okay, I think I have always been into the concept of using imagination and since I remember I have always been a fanboy of different bands or artists. The music was always around me when I was a young one. So it’s natural how things ended up being. As a boy from the small town of Perniö, Salo, my journey to this point has been long.
As I said earlier, I started making music around 2012 when I was 14 years old with a demo version of Fruity Loops. One year before I had found reggae and hip hop, after that jazz, funk and soul came around. First I was just writing rap lyrics about how this society is broken. I needed a beat under my vocals. So I started making beats similar to beats I heard on those songs I liked, then I rapped on them.
Back then listening to hip hop was weird (don’t even talk about reggae, jazz or funk), but I listened to it and I was trying to do that. And my beats, fire as hell, at least back then it was something.
I wanted to be a rapper, but beats were actually my main thing. In 2013 I started in high school, closer to Turku. Back then I met this bad ass misfit with a spiky mohawk, Haid. He was also doing music with his computer. We ended up being friends. At the time I was younger and discovering myself as a person and as a producer, there was a lot going on. My beats were really more like instrumental songs than pure hip hop beats, made with Fruity Loops demo version. As whoever used the FL Studio demo knows that when you close the project file, you can’t open it again, that’s it. Every time I started to make a beat, I made it ready in one sitting without closing my laptop. That changed when I bought Maschine by Native Instruments and after a while I moved using Ableton Live.
How long have you been releasing music?
I have been releasing individual songs on Soundcloud since I started to make music, but around winter of 2016 I released my first collection of songs; “Blueberry -EP”. Seven instrumental songs influenced by indie-electronica and hip hop. Blueberry -EP is actually great. Sometimes I go back to listening to it and every time I am surprised how good it is. If you put it in perspective. I was 18 years old and actually I didn’t know anything about music theory, but then I started to transfer my feelings into music.
After high school I moved away from my parents house to live alone in Turku. Started a new school, studying photography. But that’s not the point. The point is my first student loan and diving into the analogue world of music. I bought my first synth “Microkorg” by Korg, an effect processor/sampler “SP-404SX” by Roland and sampler “MPC500” by Akai. I even sold my Maschine because I wanted to do fully analogue beats with my new hardware. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. My dive into the awesome world of analogue music was four years too early.
Then I fully found the sampling. I was using samples that really expressed how I felt at the time. And as you know when you start doing something new, you really go 100% with the flow. The thing is even if your samples are pure as gold, but if your drums and other elements are really off, the vibe ain’t no right. First you can’t hear that off beat, but after a while you’ll realize that the beat you 're working on is all over the place. And how you're going to fix it, is a different thing.
As for myself, my military service put things in perspective. Nine months in The Conscript Band of the Finnish Defense Force, I was a media guy sitting in front of a MacBook almost everyday. One of the first days I said that I was producing music with my laptop to 90 skilled musicians. Couple days later one dude came up to me and told me he was also doing music with a computer. If you buy FL Studio there are some demo project files and one of the demos is his. At the time I didn’t even know any musical scale. So I really started to grind, watched a lot of YouTube tutorials, and listened to a lot of music and made a lot of beats and songs. After my service I was better at producing. Time well spent.
The real grind started at the end of 2017. I bought more and more records to sample. We went digging almost everyday records with Haid and everyday I made a new beat. We used to do beat sessions with my homie Riiko at my place. Life was good, it really was a naive and experimental time. But even though life was good, emotionally I was somewhere else. I found myself inside my beats, that’s where I escaped when I was feeling down. I really did put emotion in those beats, the samples that I used, the emotion is strong.
And suddenly there were enough good beats for my first beattape. I released “Lights Tape” via our record label “Manala Records” in the spring of 2018. Lights Tape was heavily influenced by such names as J Dilla, Nujabes, Knxwledge, Karriem Riggins, Madlib etc. People really liked it. Even Chydeone wrote in his blog about the tape. It really felt amazing. I made a small patch of cassettes of Lights Tape, last year I sold the last one of them.
A year later in 2019 I released the second beattape “Jubilee -97”. It was still sample based instrumental music, the sound was more technical and bigger than the organic sound in Lights Tape. And there was a concept in it, but was there so much emotion than in my first beattape, I don’t know.
At the time the lo-fi scene was blowing up, every kid with a laptop and FL Studio were releasing sample based beats with a rainy mood and sad piano samples. Perhaps because of that I really got bored of sample based beats, the hype really oversaturated the market. It’s been three years since I started to do my latest album. I started doing it right after Jubilee -97 came out. I wanted to make an album without any samples. There are many different versions of it, a lot of songs that I don’t ever release. But at the time of the pandemic in the late summer of 2020 when my last student loan dropped to my bank account, I bought my second synth, my dream synth; “Moog Grandmother”. That semi modular synth really shaked my world upside down. First time I was really feeling the synth and heard how the sound was always changing. I was just sitting in front of the Moog for many hours just twisting different knobs and doodling around and the sound was never the same. After feeling that warm analogue sound, I knew that I was hooked on it. The piece of hardware really defined my new sound and how to approach it.
Back then I was living with my boy Saku Mellow, but the dude went to study abroad and I moved from Lonttinen to this side of the river, Martti. After moving to my new home, I really challenged myself, I wanted to create a new sound, the sound of Jodi Wild. The last two years I have been listening to mainly music from the 60's to 80’s, trying to subconsciously adapt to the way of making music. I have been practising to play piano/synths, guitar and bass. Now I’m living inside the wonderful world of analogue music, five years since buying my first synth. And here I am, sitting around a bunch of different synthesizers and drum machines. My head hasn't ever been so lost in the music than now. But I must have to say, my upcoming album is almost ready, it’s coming this spring.
Was there always a clear vision of what you wanted to be as an artist, or are you only now getting the chance to realize it? There’s definitely been many different visions of myself as an artist. The problem is that I do a lot of stuff, like the music isn’t the only thing that I’m interested in. Sometimes the vision has been blurry, sometimes more focused on, sometimes I don't even know what I’m doing. But mostly it's been about finding myself. And finally it feels like I'm finding myself. I just do my thing. If you do your thing and you believe in yourself, nothing can stop you. To answer your question, the more I’m growing as a person and as a human being, the more I’m realizing my place as an artist.
Sounds a bit cliché, but that's how it goes, man. Never stop the madness, life's journey and so forth... Yet, another interesting detail that I, and maybe others who have ever been to Turku night life, know about you: you're a top notch DJ. You’ve been DJing for a long time and you have been responsible for the banging tunes at some of our pop ups. What do you love most about doing that and how long have you been doing that? For me being a DJ was always a dream since when I was a youngster. And can you believe me, I have played in 30 different bars and clubs here in Turku since 2015. And the fact that I'm playing great tunes and I'm able to make people dance with those tunes, is just unbelievable. Perhaps it's an egocentric aspect of why I'm doing what I'm doing; people must have to listen to the music that I'm spinning or go somewhere else. But first of all, it's all about the sound and passion. I love music and I hope people who are listening to my sets feel the same way. If people are staying on the dancefloor all night, my mission is done. If people found new songs from my set, I'd be happy. Oh, and the energy between the fully crowded dance floor and me playing those absolute bangers, that's amazing.
Jodi on the decks at our KBC Pop Up.
Wow, that's a lot. You must have a quite collection of funny events and mishaps below your belt? Is there any legendary stories that you would like tell me?
Oh, there's been many different mishaps. You're not a DJ if you don't fail sometimes. But the most common mishap that happens to me is when I'm playing the wrong song at the wrong time and the fully crowded dance floor is suddenly empty, and I can't bring the vibes back. Happened to me once or twice, perhaps more often.
On my first DJ-gig with Haid back in the day we emptied the whole bar during our set. They had to close the place like two hours earlier because there weren't any customers left. It really let me down. After the gig I took a six months break from spinning records. This was just the start of my career. But here I am years later better than ever, always learning. Last time when I was playing at Dynamo, the place was packed and the vibe was big.
Aah...I wish we would be able to go dancing again. While trapped inside we just have to occupy our time by doing something else. Like doing some dope ass vids for instance. Or at least you could. I bet that many don't even know how bloody brilliant you are in video making. You've also made some banger flicks for us last year. How did you become this video making wizard? I have been making visual stuff since elementary school. Me and my buddies were making short movies with complicated plots when we were ten or something. I got my first phone with a camera at the age of 12. With my phone I filmed short movies and put them together in Windows Moviemaker. Then I got my first pocket camera and after a while I bought my first SLR camera. I spent a lot of time playing with Photoshop when I was young. I was always photographing or taking videos or manipulating the images.
I started to make music videos in 2016, first for myself and Haid. Then for Leevi Elias and Haid, but it really did hit me when I made my first music video for my friend Fetti. After that music video, I've been making music videos with different artists, and I'm getting better and better after every video, always learning. The video is good, if I think it is the best one yet.
Which one came first, the music or the visuals? Visuals came first, after that music and ever since they've been together.
I really love how you have created such a great combo with the visuals and the sound, they really complement each other. When you're doing the vids, do you have any main sources of inspiration? Hmmm, this may sound a little bit corny and cheesy, but life itself is my greatest inspiration and how I feel about it or how I want to feel about it. For me inspiration is everywhere, in music, in movies, in music videos, somewhere in the internet, in different people, in art, in little or big shapes that I find around the city. Actually the big inspiration is trying to challenge myself and not to stick in the same old, or another way; go with the hype. Hype is just a passing moment. Be yourself and do your thing.
Words to live by, I just wish I could always remember that or mute the doubt within me. Something that don't need to be muted is your ne EP, Blossom EP. Now when it's finally out there, what should everybody do with it? Yeah it took a while but it's out, actually it’s been out since last September. People should definitely listen to it and watch the music video. It's a long term project, which I have been making since December of 2020. And the music video is the most beautiful thing that I have ever created. So I hope people will listen to the EP and watch the music video. Share it and vibe it. Blossom is a single from my upcoming album.
Can you elaborate a bit who is this NEW Jodi Wild, what's the main difference between your old stuff compared to this new project? There may be a rebranded Jodi Wild, but I don't believe it is "new" Jodi Wild, same guy but different kind of sound. But the main difference between the old and new sound is storytelling. Nowadays I'm telling stories with my instruments. My sound is more poetic than it was before. I’m trying to make the listener think and feel something. Like when I played Blossom to my mom, she said the song transfered her in the 80’s and she saw herself driving through the desert of Arizona, even though she never had been in Arizona. I want my music to be as beautiful as it can be.
What’s the future look like for you, man?
Bright and shiny, summer is coming soon.
My mom and all of the people I respect.
Lovely, can't wait, man. You’re a class act. I wish you nothing but good fortune and blessed times for your future and your endeavors.
Jodi has also curated a playlist for us that you can listen here.