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Olli Vänskä

Olli Yrjö Antero Vänskä
Born June 1, 1981, Riihimäki

Bachelor of Arts 2014 (Musicology), University of Helsinki
Bachelor of Business Administration 2006 (international trade), Lahti University of Applied Sciences

Journalist 2011– Talentum Oyj
Musician 2002–

Publications, awards and special achievements:
2011 Best Band – Finnish Metal Awards
2011 Best Album (Stand Up And Fight) – Finnish Metal Awards
2011 Best cover art (Stand Up And Fight) – Finnish Metal Awards
2010 Artist of the Decade, Terrorizer magazine 1/8
2009 Cultural prize of the Arts Council of Häme
2006 Best New Band – Metal Hammer UK ( readers’ poll)

Photo: Jari Tomminen
Written by Olli Vänskä (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My best memories from the University of Helsinki

During my time at the university, I wasn’t much of a model student. Having completed my previous degree, the studies in musicology were a great supplemental activity, since I spent at best 200 days a year on the road.

So far I’ve only completed a Bachelor’s degree, but doing a Master’s degree isn’t totally ruled out. However, when it comes to music, I’ve always liked making music more than studying it.

I fondly remember the premises of the Musicology Department which were on Vironkatu at the time: in the corridors steeped in history, I somehow felt like a part of the legacy of musicology. I’m sure I vexed my more serious colleagues many times in the lecture room on Mariankatu.

Being brought up in the tradition of classical music but becoming enthralled with heavy metal, I perhaps observed musicology and the academic circles slightly from an outsider's perspective.

In those years Lordi’s victory in the Eurovision song contest turned heavy metal into something like folk music in Finland. Even the prime minister made the sign of the horns in press pictures.

We had come to a significant crossroads of high and low culture, which many found strange. Even the professor of musicology, the esteemed semiotician Eero Tarasti, admired the success of “Nightwash.”

Even so, my best memories are the encounters with different people at parties and student events.

Arts students are constantly cautioned that their degree doesn’t prepare them for a particular job. Many of my study mates have found interesting career paths, some more often in music than others. Networks and borrowed perspectives into theater, the gig circuit, and the music industry, are invaluable and don’t develop in a vacuum but only by getting to know other people.

Olli Vänskä enjoying student life in 2007.


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