In 2006 Top Billin made themselves a household name in Helsinki with bootleg remixes, hot mixtapes and a monthly club night that was packed every single time. Their first 12” EP became the number one selling item at Turntablelab.com, and Top Billin has since become a well oiled party machine, rocking shows around the globe from Paris to Berlin and Moscow to New York, with the likes of Justice, Sany Pitbull, Feadz and countless other club favourites. Dazed meets the Helsinki legends before their hometown gig at Flow festival.
Dazed Digital: Your gig at Flow was amazing. The crowd were going wild, unlike with a lot of the other acts, where the crowd have been somewhat sombre.
Sir Nenis: The other acts like Kraftwerk attract a different crowd. We play club music. It’s not too deep.
DD: You’re a household name here. Are you looking to push yourself onto the UK/Europe market?
Fiskars Flipperi: We’ve played UK maybe 3 times? The scene is so different there, they’ve been doing the club music scene for so long, so the people know what they want and expect a certain selection. Last time I played, people were scratching their heads when I dropped the tempo to hip hop. It must have something to do with the fact that people do a lot more drugs there. People want to drop every three minutes, it’s like a trance gig. That’s not our thing really.
DD: You have your own stuff as well as being remixers and DJs. Do you see yourself in the future continuing these two parallels?
Sir Nenis: Yeah - the remixes make you hungry. When you make remixes, that shows you are a good DJ. I don’t know anyone that isn’t a DJ that makes good remixes. But I’ll be producing more – I started the album yesterday.
DD: Not a mix compilation?
Sir Nenis: No, a full album that I’m producing. But I’m going to DJ to keep the profile up.
DD: What music do you play if the energy’s low?
Sir Nenis: This summer has been about dancehall and not so white rave-ish, more bass heavy.
Fiskars Flipperi: Right now in Helsinki it’s all about dancehall. We do hip hop in the warm up slot.
DD: Is this the direction the album will go?
Fiskars Flipperi: I think we’re going more into straightforward electronic music, but I would like to see something a bit Joy Division.
DD: Like what you did for your Vice / Bloc Party remix EP?
Fiskars Flipperi: Maybe, yeah.
DD: Let’s talk celebrity affiliations. Touring with MIA...
Sir Nenis: Somebody couldn’t make it – one of her crowd – not Diplo, but someone from their group. They couldn’t make it so they called us.
DD: But I know you’re still in touch.
Sir Nenis: We’re not necessarily going to work with them because they have so many big projects coming up, but Diplo gives constant play to our tracks. And I know that all that crowd love our stuff, and we love their stuff, so there’s a little bit of a family thing going on.
DD: And then there’s Madonna.
Sir Nenis: Who? Who’s Madonna?! HAHA. It was the official party for her tour but she wasn’t there, she was with Paul Oakenfold somewhere, probably listening to Darude and trance.
Fiskars Flipperi: It’s business men coming to his gigs so what he does makes sense.
Sir Nenis: It’s like Lady Gaga for them. It’s totally a different ball game. We were playing remixes of her old stuff at our gig.
Fiskars Flipperi: My favourite Madonna track was 'Everybody'. Paul Oakenfold wouldn’t play that.
DD: What do you think of her new stuff?
Fiskars Flipperi: If she came to us we wouldn’t have taken her in that direction. I’m not saying they did a bad job on the last album, but I think, based on her previous early '80's stuff, she’s got way more groove than her current producers.
Sir Nenis: A dubstep Madonna would be sweet.
DD: Will you champion local artists for new album?
Sir Nenis: More international, starting out with friends and connections. I don’t want to go into a thing where we’re working with someone we admire as an artist and then they turn out to be assholes.
DD: Well Flow is the perfect opportunity to network for your new music. Grace Jones, Kraftwerk, Lily Allen...
Sir Nenis: Oh yeah, just some guest vocalists, no big deal. I’ll pop over to Grace’s tent now.