Influenced by wines from South Africa, Catalonia, Hungary, Greece and Israel and featuring songs named after bottles of wine had when writing, “Musta III”, the newest grand opus from Brittish / Finnish artist Sami Tuohino finds his project OENOS on top of his game.
“I wanted to push myself further in terms of complexity, soundscapes, musicality, and include more vocals. I learned to play some piano and a bit of saxophone in the process.” – says Sami, who proves to be able to develop a project with no boundaries, expertly blending different shades of dark & heavy music. Today, we’re thrilled to give you the first full hearing of the record, through a special video featuring the author himself, contemplating each and every note of “Musta III” to an accompaniment of a fine wine.
I wrote the song whilst consuming a cracking dark red wine from South Africa’s Babylonstoren vineyard which I visited in March 2019. I vividly remember having a sample of it at the vineyard as it gave my tastebuds something to look forward to with the whole bottle. It wasn’t cheap but very well worth it, what a wine! Enjoying the whole bottle didn’t disappoint and gave me ample material to write most of the song in one night.
The lyrics for Nebukadesar were borne out of frustration. I had been watching in disbelief these egoistic world ‘leaders’ using organised religion, ancient constructs and gods to drive their agenda and their twisted worldview forward. I mean, believe what you want but stop following these snake oil salesmen, these charlatans. They sell you a lie. I thought that as a human race we were getting over gods and imaginary beings. I thought they belonged to the past as we have been making such incredible progress for the better. And now instead of the world becoming more reason and evidence based, and more secular – all very good things – it seems we’re regressing because of these greedy con artists.
I found out after I had written the song & the lyrics that Nebuchadnezzar was an important character in the religious scriptures. The king of Babylon, the longest reigning and the most powerful monarch of the last Mesopotamian empire, was also called the “destroyer of nations” in the Old Testament. This is a total coincidence. Fits somewhat nicely though, doesn’t it?
Alges is named after a wine I bought from a shop in sunny Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain in December 2019. Deep red, as deep as the story that inspired the lyrics. I read this piece of news once where two people had started seeing each other and demands did not exactly meet. I am going to call these characters Cork and Screwtop.
Cork had texted Screwtop for a late evening meet up for some physical activity – if you know what I mean – but poor Cork meanwhile had fallen asleep on the sofa missing the messages. Screwtop was not fucking happy. In fact Screwtop was really really pissed off and set off on a vengeance. Driving to Corks house, they stopped by a petrol station and picked up a canister of petrol, strolled over to Corks house and lit it on fire. Cork luckily survived the arson attack with some burns. Screwtop got locked up. The news article did not elaborate why Screwtop was in such a state, but please don’t do these sort of things and seek help if you’re thinking about it whatever your needs are.
Perafita is a Catalan wine from a beautiful vineyard near the coast which I visited in March 2019, just before covid hit us. It was an extremely windy day. The lyrics have nothing at all to do with this stunning place, but the main riffs got written under the influence of this gorgeous full bodied red wine.
I’ll translate some key words as it’s unlikely you’ll know Finnish;
Maailman mestari = Master of the world
Maailman mestaaja = Decapitator of the world
I once engaged in a conversation with an old colleague of mine about the EU. They were very good at pointing out what doesn’t work – but had no solutions to offer. Their opinion was mostly based on false facts and something that they had read in a shitty newspaper and hadn’t bothered to fact-check. Another time I got talking to a (well actually, he came over to talk to me) dude who was very quick to blame others for their own plunders and misfortune. Their arguments had zero ground, and were not based in any sort of reality.
I think we as a human race have made, and are still making, incredible incremental progress. We do not thrive under authoritarian leaders, we do not thrive when isolated from everyone else, from the world. We certainly do not thrive on hate and fear.
These conversations got me thinking. The folks that support some of these far-right parties seem to want a strong leader, someone who will lead us all to some sort of salvation and fix all the world’s problems magically with usually inhumane, racist, questionable ‘solutions’. And they, persuaded by a ‘master of the world’, even smirk at the joy of someone else’s suffering. And then things come crashing down. Then they realise maybe there are better ways of solving problems and the people they have supported are the decapitators of the world.
And then after writing the lyrics – we’re entering slightly weird coincidence territory here – I heard that in Finland some of the right-wing party voting people actually call the party leader “Mestari”, Master. What the actual fuck?
Bock is a Hungarian red I purchased from Budapest airport (-30% off sale, whippeeeeey) all the way back in 2016 after sampling it in a restaurant when in a restaurant whilst there. Call me lucky to have a wine from 2011 in 2019. Truly great stuff. Also, why isn’t Hungarian wine a well known thing? Madness.
Dwelling on the past is a bitch. We all have our shit. We all are a little bit mad, in our own lovely ways. And it is so hard to let go of our past mistakes and shit that has gone down, shit that has happened in our lives. It’s a constant, repeating struggle for me. This is a song about being held captive and trying to let go of mine.
I was in a bit of a state when I wrote the song and lyrics for it. I thought I am pretty mentally resilient until one day I was not and started having these doubts, thoughts and weird feelings. From some dark place of my mind because of my past experiences they resurfaced and hit me hard. On repeat. Like a story you hear over and over again.
Enstikto is a Cretan wine I had the privilege of sampling at a wine bar in Athens, Greece in 2018. I bought the last bottle they had from the bar immediately. Such a great wine.
This is a sad love story, really, a song about a broken person. I’d actually rather not get too into the lyrics. It’s nothing grim, but it’s a bit personal. Ask me more when I’ve had a bottle of wine to drink perhaps ;-)
There is a reference to forest fires in the song. I have never experienced these ravaging fires wildly out of anyone’s control that consume everything that comes in their way but have been told first-hand experiences of them. They are extremely dangerous obviously but one thing I hadn’t thought of before was that you may have thought you have put out the flames, but then a small spark can reignite them and all hell breaks loose again. Much like our past personal experiences sometimes come back to haunt us, given sometimes the tiniest trigger.
Yet another Catalan wine. I bought loads of inspirational wines from there seemingly :-) Very nice one too.
Spiritual continuation to Enstikto. It takes a long time to get to a better state after things have gone south, and to get over things, recover. What else can then a 36 year old man write about than heartbreak eh?
This one’s a Greek wine I bought from the maker vineyard in Corfu when visiting this beautiful island on the Ionian sea in summer 2019. Fun fact: It’s the only white wine on this record.
I wrote the lyrics to reflect the feeling of loneliness during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. I said was fine – but fuck me I was not. It was tough; the world being turned upside down and the isolation really took a toll on me. imagined a gathering, a party, ending and the sinking feeling that follows; alone again.
I used to go for long long walks during lockdown, after it was allowed in the UK, when I bumped into a wine shop I had never noticed before. I went in and purchased this full bodied red blend from Israel. Gorgeous thing and yet not even my favourite from the same vineyard. The song was written while I was consuming this nectar originating from the fertile mountainous region of Galilee I’ve yet to visit. One day.
I wrote the music & lyrics still during semi-lockdown though when I was feeling very insecure. And that’s what I wanted to conquer. So, I set myself on a journey to write a song with just a piano (that I can’t really play) and my voice (that I don’t really like).
You know the saying “It’ll get worse before it gets better”?. Alma is lyrically about that. Things will always get better. Always. Never give up folks.
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