Visit Finland and Apocalyptica create music from Finnish DNA Authenticity and extremes make Finland a desirable destination
On Monday 13 November in Helsinki, Visit Finland hosted the world premiere of The Symphony of Extremes, a unique new piece based on Finnish DNA and composed by Eicca Toppinen from Apocalyptica. The song and its accompanying video fuse art, science and travel in a completely new way, emphasising the Finnish mindset and the land’s strong contrasts.
Finland’s centenary and numerous recent accolades in tourism have brought along considerable attention. In fact, Finland is a hot destination right now, as the country’s tourism is growing the fastest in Scandinavia. Overnight stays from abroad grew a stunning 15% in early 2017*.
“Finland is an appealing destination, especially thanks to the authenticity and extremes that visitors can experience here. These extremes are everywhere: in the people and seasons, our light and darkness, cold and heat – as well as water in all its forms”, head of Visit Finland Paavo Virkkunen from Finpro explains.
He sees that distinctive marketing is exactly the right way to set Finland apart from neighbouring countries.
“We wanted to tell Finland’s story through an experiment that unites art, science and travel. This symphony is a brilliant example of Finland’s innovative spirit. Also, music brings people together: we want to reach altogether new audiences through the campaign”, Virkkunen explains.
A story of fascinating extremes
The Symphony of Extremes was composed by Apocalyptica frontman Eicca Toppinen. The song combines cellos with metal music.
“It was extremely intriguing to compose a song based on the Finnish genotype. It took time to find the right approach, since the DNA sequences don’t really sound like anything by themselves. The end result combines DNA in many forms, even as riffs. We wanted to create a distinctly Finnish feel to the song, which I hope the audience can pick up as well. This highly rewarding project is our tribute to Finland’s centennial”, Toppinen says and adds that Apocalyptica will also perform the symphony live at their shows.
The music video is designed to showcase Finland as a uniquely appealing destination. It is a combination of impressionistic cinema and diverse visuals of nature in Finland. The video inspires the mind and imagination, creates new associations and builds a coherent story that interlinks Finland’s nature and national character.
A union of art and science
The symphony required DNA samples to be gathered from Finland’s extremities: Nuorgam, Hattuvaara and the Hitis archipelago. The nitrogenous bases found in the samples have been converted into sounds with the help of Jonathan Middleton, guest professor at Tampere University, who has developed a specialised program for the task.
Also on hand were experts Päivi Onkamo, professor of genetics at University of Turku, who specialises on DNA in and around ancient Finland, and Janna Saarela, head of research at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, who was in charge of gathering and analysing the DNA samples.
“The finished symphony is incredible, and we’re extremely happy to be part of this union of science and art”, Saarela rejoices.
SEK is behind the creative idea of The Symphony of Extremes. SEK also produced the introduction film and profile films for the campaign. SEK is the oldest and one of the largest advertising agencies in Finland and has been ranked 3rd in GREY’s 26th Global Council ranking in October 2017. Visit Finland has been SEK’s client since 2008.
The music video was directed by Musuta, an internationally acclaimed designer and director duo formed by Timo and Jopsu Ramu. Their clients in Finland and Japan include Issey Miyake, New Balance, Muji, James Bond 007, Star Alliance, Shiseido, Nokia, Finnair, Iittala and numerous other international brands. The music video was produced by Directors Guild Helsinki.