Gongs for a.o. “Best International Album” and being heralded as “one of the best international bands we’ve ever heard” by the Los Angeles Music Critic blog, radio air play in the US, UK, Germany and New Zealand, overwhelmingly positive reviews in the blogosphere around the world – all because Finnish-German (he prefers Helsinki-Hamburg) singer-songwriter Jon Eden decided to press “Share” under an upload form containing music he’d recorded in his Helsinki bedroom for the simple joy of seeing his release pop up beside his heroes on the iTunes Store.
This unexpected success turned into a crash course into the modern music business and inevitably led to exactly that – a crash. After committing three years of his life to a seemingly small dream of his, all of the new requirements, social media algorithms and ins and outs of the music business as well as juggling three jobs at the time had taken its toll on him. “After a couple of things didn’t pan out after our 2019 album release show I realized I’d burnt out. I didn’t want to touch a guitar or talk to anyone” Jon now openly confesses.
So the main takeaway from those three years for Jon turned out to be the band he’d now formed with Karza, Tuukka, Joel and Tommi – each of them joining one by one during those years. In 2020 the band started to work on the follow-up to debut “The Hurt & The Humour”. The lighter and softer sound of the Loota cajón drumkit that gave the debut album and its accompanying EPs its distinct “bedroom record” sound was replaced with Karza’s hard-hitting live kit whilst recording commenced at the studios at Suomenlinna sea fortress, a short boat ride outside the centre of Helsinki.
But like anything in the world, the COVID pandemic also halted the recordings for the second album that had only just started in March 2020. Jon, never one to drag his feet for too long, seized the freed-up time and recorded an EP called “Songs from Tuesday” at home that he released only to the band’s e-mail list fans around the globe in May.
What also became apparent to Jon – while 2020 was ever so slowly dragging itself from lockdown to lockdown – was that he needed to address the big elephant in the (bed)room: What happened with his burnout in 2019 and what caused it? So eventually he channelled the frustration he’d felt back then, and a new-found loathing towards Big Tech companies making musicians adhere to their marketing rules, towards a new project. “Good music should always be about rule-breaking, and so I felt this sudden urge to expose and mock the rules that all of these gigantic, wealthy tech companies have imposed on indie musicians during the last years” Jon muses. In October 2020 he started the writing and recording process of impromptu album “Botify The People” while livestreaming a weekly session on Youtube, showing the viewers his songwriting process from the inception of a song idea to the complete and final recording.
“When I’m angry, I’m a snarky bastard. So the whole mindset behind ‘Botify The People’ is sarcastic: I wanted to write seven songs because that’s the minimum amount Spotify will classify as an album instead of an EP. I wanted to write an album because that’ll be favoured over singles and EPs in the Spotify algorithm. I even mapped out a release schedule by which to best exploit the Spotify algorithm to my advantage” Jon recalls. But while the anger and frustration is still prevalent in the songs, a world of good things came out of this “soul cleansing” process, as Jon describes it. Seven songs became eight; a seemingly random batch of polemic demos became an album with such a strong story arch you might even want to call it a concept album now; lyrical themes that first seemed like indie musician navel-gazing now actually resonate with any listener unhappy about how their autonomy is being eroded by Big Tech trying to monetize on all of their personal behaviour.
“The album closer ‘I Owe An Explanation To Myself Now’ is about all of us. It’s anyone of us going ‘Stop! How have I wasted all of this time staring at my phone doing things I think are more important than anything else?! Let me get outside and talk to real people again’” Jon explains.
Not a bad sentiment for a year where lockdowns are finally being lifted.
The acoustic version of “Botify The People” was released as a nod to fans and without promotion efforts on June 4th, 2021. The finished version of the record will release later in the fall of 2021.
“Beggar Princess” EP (2017)
“Stuck With A Rhyme” EP (2017)
“I Can’t Alone” EP (2018)
“Christmas On A Mountain” digital single (2018)
“The Hurt & The Humour” album (2019)
“The Bear & The Bird” EP (2019)
“The Hula Hoop Shakes” digital single (2019)
“Songs From Tuesday” EP (2020)
“Botify The People (Acoustic)” album (2021)
“Botify The People” album (2021)
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