The City of Turku Youth Services has organised the Turku Rock Academy for five years, and this year, the Academy will start cooperation with Radio Rock in March. Band coaching has been amped up with managerial activities and future cooperation with the Concorde Music Company, as well as the NEM Agency event production company in Tampere.

Turku Rock Academy is a band operations development model created in the City of Turku Youth Services in 2011. In 2013, the project received a three-year grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture and in 2014–2016 the operations spread to seven other cities. With the help of the additional funding of EUR 100,000 awarded by the City of Turku in November 2016, the Turku Rock Academy was able to continue, and it was established as part of the operations of the City of Turku Youth Services.

Rock Academy and the national radio station Radio Rock will start their long-awaited cooperation in the beginning of March. In the future, one band from the Turku Rock Academy will be presented on radio on the first Sunday of each month.

“Rock Academy is doing valuable work and we are glad to be supporting young people and their hobbies, as well as their musical development,” says Osku Nurmi, Programme Director at Radio Rock.

“It is great to be able to help young talent with their career. We need fresh faces on the band front and we are now able to be the first to break future stars,” says Laura Vähähyyppä, radio host of the new music programme on Sunday nights.

The first band to be featured is Awake Again.

Manager Jani Wilund to manage two bands

The other great development in the operations of the TRA is managing. At first, manager Jani Wilund will start to manage two bands from the Turku Rock Academy and look for contacts, shows and record companies for them. Wilund is known for managing Santa Cruz and Brother Firetribe.

“Rock Academy is creating a foundation for future national and international success stories. It is great to see how everyone is fully committed to this project and especially how enthusiastic the young people and bands involved are,” Wilund says.

The bands Awake Again and New Fashioned will be the first to participate in this cooperation. They have been involved in the Academy for a long time. The bands have already released some material and gathered lots of live show experience.

Cooperation with record companies and event producers supports professionalism

The third new cooperation project has been initiated with Concorde Music Company headed by Hiili Hiilesmaa and Jaakko Tarvainen. Through Concorde, Lemmen kätyrit will release a full-length album in April.

“First, Turku Rock Academy is in charge of honing the bands’ music and recordings, and then we take the project over and see to the record’s release and promotion,” Hiili Hiilesmaa says.

Concorde is a new type of record company, where artists or bands can purchase record company services according to their needs. They offer mixing, mastering, and digital and physical distribution of the records, as well as promotion, among other things.

“When the bands only purchase the services they need, the rights to the music remain with the band. This is a good thing, because a good record can later be licensed or sold to a bigger record company, for example,” Hiilesmaa says.

In addition, Rock Academy has made a cooperation contract with NEM Agency, an event production company based in Tampere. NEM Agency will book several Turku-based bands on gigs outside Turku during the spring and summer. Getting gigs outside their home towns is a challenge for bands, but it is very important.

“We need acts like the bands from TRA – this allows us to be a part of promoting them and new music in general,” says Rowan Rafferty from NEM Agency.

Already this Friday, Harmi, Versaille and Lemmen Kätyrit, all bands from Turku, will take the stage at Dog’s Home in Tampere as a result of this cooperation.

Image: Juha Kurri, Ruisrock 2016.

Tomi Arvas

Executive Manager, Turku Rock Academy

Youth Services

Recreational branch of the City of Turku