Produced by a Girl Artist Interview - with Tuulikki Bartosik! Currently listening to Playscapes
Produced by a Girl Artist Interview -
Hi! I see you are part of a very few (female) accordionists in the world writing and producing your own music and pursuing an international career with it - what has been the most rewarding part of that journey for you?
It feels that the sky is the limit. Nobody expects anything or has a clear picture of how I should sound, that is a very liberating feeling and it makes me to navigate freely in my creative work. No boundaries. Just ideas and unexpected creative processes.
When did you know you wanted to become a producer and composer?
There was a reel to reel tape recorder at home as my dad is also a musician and we had a lot of instruments and other musical stuff at home. One of my earliest memories go back to 80ies when a little me was listening to Boney M from this very tape recorder and singing along with Bobby Farrell "Bahama, bahama mama". I have always loved to sing, dance, play music, so that kind of is my call, I guess. And my main instrument free-bass accordion is such a versatile and multifaceted instrument that it has still not stopped being interesting. I have been creating music as long as I can remember, from small instrumental pieces to sad teenage singer songwriter songs to arrangements for bigger groups and nowadays I have also added electronics. This work is just never getting boring.
What was it like creating music in different parts of the world?
I have created Playscapes from my memories and experiences during the last about 20 years in those five countries - Estonia, Finland, Sweden, The UK and Japan which have been in some ways significant to me as a musician and a person. My everyday life is taking place simultaneously in different countries, so I am used to move between countries and all those expressions and prints affect my music making. It fell really naturally to make an album like Playscapes.
What’s your biggest dream in your music journey you’re looking to come true?
I would like to perform at BBC proms playing my own music, to meet Terry Riley as my music has been said to have influences from his work, to play together with Polish pianist and composer Hania Rani, to compose film music and to just embrace everything life has to offer me with open arms. I have never had just one big dream, more like different things I wish would happen and usually they do happen if I have a clear vision in my head.
Please explain your creative process.
Oh, it can happen in many different ways. There can be a melody which plays in my head and then I start to compose from there. It can be a sound from the nature or urban environment, basically any sound which can trigger a whole tune or lay a foundation for a couple of tunes. Sometimes I just sit and play my accordion and record everything and choose the best parts from the recordings to compose a tune from there. Or I just play the piano and get some inspiration from there. Robertsfors, the first tune on Playscapes was born from an Estonian zither riff I recorded and then added some other stuff rather spontaneously. I tried to rerecord it in a proper studio environment but the vibe was never the same, so we used the original recording for the album.
What’s an average day like for you with music?
I can play the whole day both acoustically and mixing it with electronics when I am practising alone. I love to experiment with my gear and to test new settings, follow tutorials. But I still need to have some kind of framework to keep it all on the track, so usually I will structure my days after whatever projects I am working on. But I also love to just make music without any tasks or deadlines. I think that both those processes are needed for the creativity.
What’s your favorite performance been and why?
There are a few of them. Once I played a solo concert in over 40 degrees Celsius outside in a festival tent in Milano. I was soaking wet on the stage but the audience was great and there were cool urban sounds happening around me during the concert, so that was quite special and inspiring. There was also a concert in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff with Finnish pianist Timo Alakotila and Welsh guitarist Dylan Fowler where we played my music and somehow got the vibe just right. We are all still talking about that concert. I also did an acoustic solo live on top of the old lighthouse on the little Estonian island called Ruhnu will forever stay in my system too.
Do you have any big projects or shows coming up?
The biggest project right now is to get the Playscapes live going on with all the live videos and lights. I will also release a film in my social channels from the release concert in April 2023. At the end of March I will release a music video for the Reval:Pettäsaamislugu song. Under meantime there will be some gigs in Europe and hopefully Asia too. The album making process was really intense, so I am letting it all sink before I get properly into touring. I am also writing some new music to a little show premiering in the Maritime Museum in Stockholm in April.
What are you working on next?
I have many ideas but I am not in a rush to push them into something visible and hearable. There is definitely a new album forming itself in my head already, the development of my live solo set is quite a lot of work, I am still working on choosing the most suitable gear and setup to be able to tour comfortably. I would also like to play my music together with a chamber orchestra. I am learning how to work without putting too much pressure on myself and my colleagues so I like to be here and now in everything I do and first feel the vibe and the go with it.
What does the term Produced By a Girl mean to you?
I hear support and sisterhood. It reminds me of Keychange project where I had the honour to participate last year. Keychange is a movement fighting for a sustainable music industry and it supports talented but underrepresented artists and encourages organisations to take a pledge for gender equality. I think that everyone has an equal right to be heard and seen regardless the gender, age, nationality, etc And I very much want to work towards those values in the industry and I choose my collaborative partners according to those values. We are all in this together.