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Janne Halmkrona

Janne Matias Halmkrona
Born April 19, 1968, Tornio.

Master of Arts (Musicology), 1996, University of Helsinki

Musician, CMX, 1990- , Sapattivuosi, 2000-
Production Head, Sony Music Entertainment Finland Ltd, 2005–2012
Founder/Programmer, Njet Communications Ltd, 1999–2004
Programmer, 1996–1999, ICL Data Ltd
Radio DJ, Radio Helsinki, 2000–2006

Publications, Awards and Special Achievements
CMX: 14 albums, 4 compilations, 16 Gold and 3 platinum records
Sapattivuosi: 3 albums
Encyclopedia idiotica (ed. Tuukka Hämäläinen): book based on CMX’s website’s forum, together with A.W.Yrjänä
Second form, Tornio inter-schools skiing competition, Silver Medal, 1976

Photo: AJ Savolainen
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by John Calton

The artist at work and on stage

Janne Halmkrona has had a diverse career. After graduating, he worked for an IT company for a few years, after which he and five of his colleagues founded a programming firm of their own. When the IT bubble burst in the early 2000s, he became an executive producer at Sony Music Entertainment Finland. He has also worked as a freelance disc jockey on the radio. On top of all this, he has managed to lead the heady life of a rock musician.

– There was nothing wrong with programming as such. I was alright at it. It’s creative, too, but I needed a change of scenery.

Halmkrona began hosting radio programmes after he accidentally met Axa Sorjanen, a Finnish journalist and radio personality, in Haiti. Sorjanen asked Halmkrona to host a weekly programme in an independent radio channel that was soon to be founded, Radio Helsinki. His programmes had a heavy emphasis on music, and he interviewed many people involved in the music industry. Later, his programme, which was called Sabotage, focused mostly on progressive rock.

– The radio stuff was a nice hobby to complement my other jobs, recording and gigs. I never even meant to become any kind of serious journalist. But it was hilarious to go through my record collection on air instead of just late-night parties at my place.

When Halmkrona became A&R manager at Sony Music Entertainment Finland, he even made use of his degree.

– The degree itself had nothing to do with my work, but the skills that I learned during my studies did. The University taught me above all to think, to search for information and to see things from a broader perspective.

During his Sony years, Halmkrona was behind many successful Finnish bands. He was involved in Lordi’s victory in the Eurovision, and the bands that rose to the top during his tenure include Happoradio, Pariisin Kevät and PMMP. The work of an A&R manager is busy and the financial situation increased the pressures of the job.

– In 2012 we were supposed to start making a new album with CMX. I realised then that it was no longer possible to combine work and playing in the band. The previous album had already been a very clear indication that a day job and making a record are too tough a combination. I wanted to concentrate on music and handed in my notice.

When CMX was taking a break from gigs in 2000, Halmkrona and friends founded Sapattivuosi (‘Sabbatical year’), certainly the most academic Black Sabbath cover band, whose line-up includes Master of Social Sciences Antero Aunesluoma playing the bass and Finland’s first professor of disability studies Simo Vehmas playing the drums.  Even the band’s original singer, Hannu Paloniemi, has a master’s degree in Finnish literature from the University of Helsinki.

– I just had to make music and throw gigs. Luckily, in the end CMX also got back to performing. Now I have the chance to make music in two bands. I’ve also tried to write music for other artists, but it’s surprisingly difficult, because the style of CMX has left a deep mark. I have been able to make some tracks for other artists under a pen name.

Janne Halmkrona still enjoys every gig, and each one is unique. There have been bad ones over the years, though.

– You spend the whole day of the gig preparing, getting ready – and waiting. There’s automatically an adrenaline rush when you get to the venue. The feeling on the stage is something really special when you see the reactions among the audience. You can’t explain that feeling. That’s the thing that still makes me want to do this.

: Janne Halmkrona playing at a CMX gig in Pakkahuone, a performance venue in Tullikamari, Tampere on 14 March 2015. Picture: Tomi Palsa.​
: Janne Halmkrona playing at a CMX gig in Pakkahuone, a performance venue in Tullikamari, Tampere on 14 March 2015. Picture: Tomi Palsa.​



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