A Fan's Notes

Jean Sibelius not withstanding, I think it’s fair to say that as a rule, Americans are not overly familiar with Finnish music. Whether Sam Huber can change that remains to be seen, but Huber is off to a good start with the release of his new EP, Turn Around, on Brooklyn’s True Groove Records, and an accompanying video for the title track.

While it is clear that the Helsinki-born Huber is out on the cutting edge musically with contemporary hip-hop, soul, and funk beats, there are echoes of artists like David Bowie and Prince from whom Huber drew inspiration. He readily admits that his sound is still evolving.

Huber came by his musicality honestly. As a child, his mother exposed him to classic music by the Beatles, Hendrix, Miles Davis, and Pink Floyd, and saw to it that Huber studied classical piano for nearly ten years. He also plays guitar, bass, drums, harmonica, and saxophone

”The elements have always been here,” Huber said. ”But it’s like the Legos I played with as a kid—the excitement is in finding new ways to combine those elements.”

So while you might hear an unexpected banjo here or there, or what sounds like the voice of Peter Gabriel being channeled, the sum of it all is a sound, call it Future Funk, Trap Funk, or Electro Funk, that is all Huber’s. And you can dance to it.

Huber is no neophyte, however. He has toured all over the world, playing for crowds as large as 60,000 people, and appearing on bills with the likes of George Clinton. When Conan O’Brien took his show to Finland, Huber was there to welcome him on the red carpet.

Huber realized the importance of bringing together all of the different sounds he was hearing and that job fell to Tomas Doncker, guitarist extraordinaire, globally known producer, and founder of True Groove Records. The first single, which became the title track of the EP, was “Turn Around.” The song, featuring a heavy trap beat, embodies the blend of retro and contemporary that Huber aspires to. Inspired by the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Huber plays the part of an oppressive tyrant as he emotes:

”I don’t care about the consequences/I’m the meanest SOB on the planet/It feels so good when I shake you down.”

The track features JSwiss, along with a powerful solo from former Parliament Funkadelic guitarist Michael Hampton. The video was shot by Dylan Mars Greenberg of Troma Films. Eventually, Huber and Doncker hope to expand the EP into a full-length album.

Huber first visited New York City in its worst moment, right after the 9/11 terror attack. Somehow he found a second home amid the despair that was so prevalent in the city at that time. Funk was certainly not a major part of the Helsinki music scene, but Huber felt right at home musically when he was surrounded by the rhythms of the city.

Popdose is proud to host the exclusive premiere of Sam Huber’s video for “Turn Around.”

About the Author

Ken Shane

Ken Shane lives in Narragansett, R.I. He is a freelance writer and far and away the oldest Popdose writer. In fact, he may be the oldest writer, period. He wants you to know that he generally does not share his colleagues' love for the music of the '80s, and he does not forgive them for loving it. (Ken passed away in November 2022. R.I.P. —Ed.)

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