This is a Wikipedia-style comprehensive bio.
The Fisherman & The Sea are a Finnish indie/art rock band formed in Helsinki, Finland in 2017. The band was founded as a one-man project by Jon Fisherman, but quickly grew to a trio and finally in late 2019 into a five-piece. The name of the band describes the Baltic sea connecting Jon Fisherman’s parental hometowns Hamburg, Germany and Hailuoto, Finland. The band have been nominated four times at the Los Angeles Music Critic Awards and won “Best EP by an International Artist” for “I Can’t Alone” in 2018 and “Best EP/album by an International Artist” for debut album “The Hurt & The Humour” in 2019. They have also been nominated for “Best Alternative/AAA Song” with “Beggar Princess” at the 2017 International Acoustic Music Awards.
Origin: Helsinki, Finland
Genres: Indie rock, art rock, singer-songwriter, indie folk
Years active: 2017-present
Labels: Neck of the Woods Records
Associated acts: Those Fine Young Men, Kia, Capital Beat, Jukka Poika, Lyrae, Blickfang, Valtavirta, Dub Vallila
Prior to the release of debut EP ”Beggar Princess” Jon Fisherman recruited former band mates Kari Härkönen and Tuukka Kauppinen of Blickfang to play acoustic shows in support of the EP’s release in August 2017. Joel Himanen was recruited later in the year to, on occasion, fill in on drums for Kari Härkönen. In 2018 the band played their first acoustic gigs as a four-piece with Kari Härkönen on drums, Joel Himanen on keyboards and Tuukka Kauppinen on lead guitar. For their first gig as a five-piece in early 2019 they recruited Sara Suvela of Valtavirta on bass to play at the ”The Hurt & The Humour” release party at Semifinal in Helsinki. Tommi Ranta of Jukka-Poika joined the band in late 2019 before rehearsals for the band’s second album commenced, replacing Sara Suvela on bass.
The band’s recording sessions for the second album came to a halt in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020 Jon Fisherman released another self-produced EP ”Songs from Tuesday” to the band’s e-mail list members exclusively. Recordings for the band’s second album were picked up again in the summer of 2021. Meanwhile Jon Fisherman released the acoustic version of a new concept album ”Botify The People” in June, with the "electric" version following suit in April 2022. The band played a handful of homecoming shows after the 2,5 year COVID break in support of the album. By late 2023 the band had concluded recording their third album "Be More Boldly You" set to be released on February 2nd 2024. The album was preceded by singles “Stranglehold”, “Soar” and “Agents of the Change” as well as the EP “Anthems for the Nerds”.
In 2000 a teenage Jon Fisherman formed Finnish rock group Kia with Kari Härkönen, Matti Suvela and Sami Domisch. Tuukka Kauppinen replaced Sami Domisch on lead guitar before the group released their first official demo ”Sukeltaja” while Sami Domisch’s guitar playing still featured on the release. Releasing three further EPs and two music videos as well as touring the Helsinki metropolitan area extensively, the group disbanded in 2005 when Matti Suvela left the band to join Valtavirta, leaving a TOP 10 final placement in 2003 at the prestigious Ääni & Vimma band competition the groups career highlight.
Jon Fisherman, Kari Härkönen and Tuukka Kauppinen carried on as Blickfang starting recordings for their first album in English in 2005. The recordings were never finished while Jon Fisherman wrote some early The Fisherman & The Sea songs uploading them to MySpace under the pseudonym Your Favourite Villain between 2007 and 2009. He also wrote and produced two musicals in German in 2012 and 2015 and subsequently wrote and released a demo with Those Fine Young Men – then a loose group of friends – in 2015.
After having spent several weeks in bed with severe pneumonia in 2016 Jon Fisherman decided it was time to officially self-release some of the music he had been working on since 2007. Modeling his approach after his favourite band as a teenager, Oasis, he decided to release four four song EPs in support of a debut album including all the lead tracks from the EPs.
Formation and debut album ”The Hurt & The Humour” (2017-2019)
Two four song EPs ”Beggar Princess” and ”Stuck With A Rhyme” in 2017 and one five song EP ”I Can’t Alone” in 2018 were released prior to the release of debut album ”The Hurt & The Humour” in January 2019. Four of the 13 EP tracks feature on the album. Christmas single ”Christmas on a Mountain”, released in November 2018, did not. A five song EP ”The Bear & The Bird” followed in April 2019 as well as another standalone single “The Hula Hoop Shakes” in July 2019.
The band made their live debut as a trio featuring Jon Fisherman on vocals and guitar, Tuukka Kauppinen on lead guitar and Karza Härkönen on drums and backing vocals at the Night of the Arts festival in August 2017. Joel Himanen first stood in on drums for Härkönen at the SW Agency Christmas party festival, subsequently becoming a full member of the band on keyboards the following year.
The band played their first gig as a five-piece in January 2019 with Sara Suvela of Valtavirta on bass and backing vocals at “The Hurt & The Humour” release gig. Tommi Ranta joined the band as their permanent bass player later in 2019 after seeing them play at the Rööperifest street festival in August.
During the period of their first album the band primarily used a “Loota” drumkit – a Cajón based minimalist set – instead of a regular drumkit both on their records and at their live shows.
“Songs from Tuesday” and “Botify The People” (2020-2022)
The band had just started to rehearse and record their first album together when the COVID lockdown forced them to take a break from the sessions after four songs had been tracked at the Suomenlinnan Studio on the sea fortress Suomenlinna outside Helsinki.
Jon Fisherman used the downtime to record a five song EP “Songs from Tuesday” comprised of five songs he had written and demoed on the same day, Tuesday, December 18th 2018, within the space of 45 minutes while on a longer break from work. The EP was released only as a limited CD edition on the band’s webstore in May 2020. In September an abridged version of closing track “The Burglars Are Back In Town” was released digitally to coincide with the band’s first livestream gig on Youtube where they debuted some of the songs they had been working on in Suomenlinna.
In late 2020 Jon Fisherman began writing songs for the album project “Botify The People”. He livestreamed most of his creative process on the band’s Youtube channel.
In May 2021, an acoustic version of “Botify The People” was released both digitally and as a very limited special edition on cassette.
While recording with the band picked up again at Suomenlinna for their joint album, Jon simultaneously continued laying the finishing touches to the final version of the “Botify The People” album. In January 2022 the titular album track was released as the first single. Second single “Scream Into The Void” was chosen to follow in February whilst the album and third single “But The Boy Is Dead!” would be released in April.
Mirroring the story arc of the album itself Jon Fisherman wrote and directed a three part short film, with its visuals a nod to Robert Rodriguez’ “Sin City” and Zack Snyder’s “300” films. Each of the three acts of the film served as the respective music videos for the singles.
"Be More Boldly You" (2023-2024)
The band started recording their third album – the first one featuring all band members – in early 2020 but studio sessions at the Suomenlinna Studios were delayed due to COVID lockdowns. While recording of the album was picked up again in 2021 Jon Fisherman finished mixing the album in October 2023. At that point four songs from the album had been released in 2023: singles “Stranglehold” on February 3rd and “Soar” on April 7th as well as the EP “Anthems for the Nerds” on August 16th. Preceded by teaser videos on their social channels the band surprise-released the single and music video to “Agents of the Change” on January 1st 2024.
Be More Boldly You was released as a Special Edition both on CD and as digital download with the special edition including amongst other things an interactive booklet, Jon Fisherman's pre-production demos to all of the album's songs as well as bonus track “You Can't Make Me Most of People” from the album's demo sessions.
The Fisherman & The Sea are usually described as indie rock, but they also incorporate many more genres into their music including art rock, indie folk, singer-songwriter and even grunge and heavy metal. While debut album “The Hurt & The Humour” relied mostly on folk, singer-songwriter and art rock elements, “Songs from Tuesday” saw them introduce a heavier drum sound to a more distinctly art rock approach. 2022's concept album "Botify The People" saw the band whole-heartedly embrace their art rock leanings with not only a story arch for the album but also a 15 minute music video short film featuring distinct visuals and a scripted story based on the album story arch. “Be More Boldly You” saw them broadening their sonic palette to a new high with all of the band members contributing their influences equally. The album's genres range from singer-songwriter folk to 80's and 90's rock all the way to indie dance rock and country. Jon Fisherman describes the band's music as follows: "We're all music nerds who like very different kinds of music, but we're magically able to agree on the music we're making together. I'm both a music fan and some sort of musicologist, I suppose – I like everything from The Beatles to Nine Inch Nails to Slipknot – and I like that to show in our music. Sometimes the influences are very subtle, sometimes more obvious up to a point you might call it a pastiche."
Jon Fisherman – lead vocals, guitar (2017-present)
Tuukka Kauppinen – lead guitar (2017-present)
Karza Härkönen – drums, backing vocals (2017-present)
Tommi Ranta – bass (2019-present)
Sara Suvela – bass, backing vocals (2018-2019)
Joel Himanen – keyboards, backing vocals (2017-2024)
Beggar Princess (EP, 2017)
Stuck With A Rhyme (EP, 2017)
I Can’t Alone (EP, 2018)
Christmas On A Mountain (Single, 2018)
The Hurt & The Humour (Album, 2019)
The Bear & The Bird (EP, 2019)
The Hula Hoop Shakes (Single, 2019)
Songs from Tuesday (EP, 2020)
Botify The People (Acoustic) (Album, 2021)
Botify The People (Album, 2022)
Be More Boldly You (Album, 2024)