Produced, Recorded and Mixed at Kaiku Studios Berlin
Karina are Karin Mäkiranta & Helmi Tikkanen, an indie-folk duo from Helsinki.
Karina are set to release their second album ‘2’ via GEMS . It follows their Nordic Music Prize-nominated and critically acclaimed debut ‘Karina’, which was championed by a handful of tastemakers in the UK including BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2, and more, and set them up on a European tour supporting Beirut.
Their music is a stunning blend of ethereal vocals and intricate instrumentation, with lyrical themes that deal with “self-acceptance, going to therapy, letting go of ego, facing fears, breaking habits and making up one’s mind”.
‘2’ is predominantly an indie-folk record with sonic influences that range from Julia Holter to Cocteau Twins. Each of the tracks on the record has a wonderfully rich atmosphere that is made from very few moving parts. Their voices carry so much weight that the music can swing through a range of different genres and sounds but remains succinct and unified.
“We were longing for some rock and rhythm after our first album, which was a bit more minimalist” explains Helmi. “I think Karin and I have a mental connection when it comes to our sound. We tend to have similar ideas and they find their way on to our music naturally. I think with this album we were longing for some massive sounds and great feelings and the end result of that is what is now called ’2’.”
This can be seen when comparing ‘Auta (Help Me)’, a gorgeously melodic, folk-infused dream pop track about “lifting up someone who feels lost”, with ‘Claus’, a track of two halves that breaks down from an ethereal folk track into a rousing three minute metal breakdown: “Claus was so much lighter before” says Karin. “We started to jam this doom metal part in the studio. Turned out that it fit to the song very naturally, emphasising the lyrics. This song is about a person who goes to therapy and reveals one’s feelings to the other for the very first time.”
Other highlights from the record include the triumphant, seven-minute indie epic ’Teko’, bubbling, bass-heavy album opener ‘Tunnustus’, and the bittersweet lament of ‘2000’.
In each case the tracks lyrics relate directly to the atmosphere of the track. ‘Teko’, a song about “total freedom, dreams and finding yourself”, ‘Tunnustus’ covering “jealousy, it’s forms and reasons” and ‘2000’ “about a young person is leaving home and mom is left wondering what she did wrong”.
“Lyrically this album really took the greatest influences from the discussions we had, considering self-reflection and the power of being really honest about your true emotions” says Karin. “We’ve tried to build a narrative that flows naturally from start to end” says Helmi. “There are many ’breaking points’ that have a special place in that narrative, for example the endings of Tunnustus, Claus or Teko, but I see the album as one huge track that has many layers.”
These lyrical intricacies are more relevant on the record as the album is sung entirely in Finnish. The duo utilise the language’s wonderful semantics and subtleties in such a way that they that the record’s vocals almost act as an additional instrument, from percussive rolls to sweeping string-like arpeggios. That holistic style of song writing encapsulates Karina’s natural talent.