Transcendence – An Interview with Luminous Mind

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Many thanks to Luminous Mind for answering this interview, and sharing stories about their lives as a band, and more. LM plays cool progressive atmospheric rock, and creates music without paying attention to usual limits such as song length and genre.

About the Band

Luminous Mind is a five-piece band from Tampere, Finland. We play atmospheric, progressive rock that is influenced by bands such as Porcupine Tree.


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Can you tell us more about your name, Luminous Mind?

Of course the most important thing was that the name would sound cool and genre appropriate, but Luminous Mind is a Buddhist term that means enlightenment and transcendence, which is something that every person should be striving towards. And music, in our opinion, helps reaching that place.

How did you guys get together as a band? 

The band was established in early 2017. The bassist (Sami Kepsu) and the drummer (Touko Lehto) had just broken up their previous band Johdanto and were looking to form a band where they could express their musical interests better. The guitarist (Antti Soini) had just moved to Tampere and was looking for a local band to join. Literally within 24 hours after putting up a notification to find a band, Kepsu and Lehto came across it and were impressed by the array of pedals in Soini's pedalboard and noticed he was influenced by bands they also admired: bands such as Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. One jam session was enough to convince everyone that this was a beginning of something special. Later on, after a feverish search for a keyboardist, by a chance Kepsu's old acquaintance, Aleksi Korkee expressed interest in joining the band and finally the lineup was completed when the lead vocalist Teemu Laukkanen joined in. While Laukkanen and Korkee had little to no experience in playing in bands, Soini has been playing in one band or another for over 10 years.  

Can you tell us more about your latest album, Seas to Sand? 

We had a handful of songs that we wrote since the beginning of the band, and decided to record and mix them in our own rehearsal room. It was important to us that the album would be a coherent piece and that it would flow well from one song to another, though there is variation between songs as the band is still in process of finding its musical identity and sound.


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How did you start out as musicians? 

We are not trained musicians as such, none of us have degrees in music. We approach playing music more as a passion than a profession. Laukkanen has a bit different background compared to the other members, as he has some experience of DJ:ing. The rest of us come firmly from a rock/metal/prog background.

How do you write songs? 

We write the songs together as a band. Usually someone brings in a riff or a chord progression as a starting point. Other times we start together from scratch by jamming and a clever idea presents itself on which we then build upon. Everyone gets to weigh in on the writing process to bring their personality into the songs. The most important thing is that everyone is happy with the outcome of the finished song. We do not concern ourselves with matters such as song length or if the song is heading towards a "wrong" genre. As long as everyone is happy with a song, it can sound like anything. Our vocalist writes his own lyrics and vocal melodies most of the time.

What does music and being an artist mean to you?

For us, music is everything. It is a necessity, like air or food. Being an artist means that we are able to express ourselves in a way that comes naturally to us, and hopefully those who listen to our music can relate to what we are trying to say with it. 

Can you recall your earliest memory about music? That one thing that made you want to be an artist / musician?

Kepsu has a memory of being about five years old, blasting Uriah Heep's Easy Livin' through his parents' boombox. His defining moment of wanting to become a musician might have been playing his first gig ever at 14 years old in his school's band project. 

Whats the best thing about being in the studio and making music? 

The best thing about being in a studio is being able to perfect your vision of the music you have written. The possibilities in the studio are limitless, and you really are trying to create the definitive version of a song.

Can you describe your best gig so far? Whats the best thing about playing live?

Hopefully, our best gig is still ahead of us. But so far, we would have to say that our first gig as a band has been the best one. It was a milestone on the band's career, after almost a year of just writing songs and rehearsing. The feedback from the people that came to see us was overwhelmingly positive and gave us confidence going forward.

Playing live is one, if not the most gratifying thing of being in a band. We spend so much time among ourselves in our rehearsal room bubble that it is very refreshing to go out there and play in front of people. The interaction with the crowd and the added pressure of performing makes it easier to immerse ourselves in the music and become a singular entity instead of five separate musicians.

Most memorable, weird, interesting, or funny thing that ever happened to you as a band?

The most memorable thing for us as a band was probably our first gig outside of town in Jyväskylä, a 2 hour drive from Tampere. The venue was awesome and we played great, but also the journey itself, being "on the road" was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

If each one of you were a fruit, what would you be and why?

Soini would be a dragonfruit, as dragons are cool. He also plays some fiery licks with his Strat. Korkee would be an apple, probably because his keyboards rely on an Apple. Laukkanen would be a lemon, because he is such a sour loser. Kepsu would be a honeydew, because his bass lines are so sweet. As a drummer, Lehto wouldn't be a fruit, but rather a beet, because, well, you know.. he keeps the beet.


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