Though popular in their homeland of Finland, Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? have yet to receive as much widespread recognition in the rest of the world – despite the noteworthy name, and despite deserving a truckload of credit by making addicting music and being generally awesome. If this is the first you’re hearing about them, then we’re tickled to have the honor of introducing you.

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Abdellah Ihadian, Bitchslap Mag

 

It’s a bit difficult to pin down Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? because they’re a bit of everything. With influences from pop-punk to motown to 80’s synth to garage and so on, simplistic genre definitions just don’t work. They’re not any better at it themselves, actually–with no pretenses or posturing, they’re just out to play what they like and have a good time doing it. It can be seen as antithetical to the stereotype of Finns as introverted and timid, but according to them, they’re well aware of this contradiction and it’s precisely what they would like to dispel with their music. The wild, loud, fuck-it-I’ll-just-have-a-beer-and-dance-a-bit vibe is clearly transmitted, and got the crowd dancing the last time they played in Denmark, at Roskilde Festival. We caught up with them the next day, before they headed back to their hometown of Kouvola, Finland, to shoot the shit about their time at Roskilde and to try to convince them to come back soon.

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Abdellah Ihadian, Bitchslap Mag

 

The Jane Fonda band, as they’re colloquially known, is made up of Susanna, who sings and plays bass, Ekku, who covers keys and some additional vocals, and Janne, who is the chillest man in the world because he takes out all of his frustrations on the drums. Altogether they form a tight little family, clearly super comfortable with each other and so close that throughout our interview they often finished each others’ sentences. And as any self-aware family is wont to do, they couldn’t let an opportunity for some good-natured jabs about embarrassing past experiences slip by without a bit of teasing.

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Abdellah Ihadian, Bitchslap Mag

 

BITCHSLAP: Almost everything about you online is in Finnish, and even Google Translate doesn’t understand Finnish. So why don’t you give us a little introduction to start with.

Ekku: Well, we started as a side project in 2012. The drummer and I, we had this little indie-rock band, which was pretty good, but nothing really happened, and we wanted to play something like 80’s synth-pop. And Susa came along to play bass, and she’s normally a guitarist – we have two guitarists in the band but no one actually plays guitar in the band….

Susanna: We’re the band with no guitar.

Ekku: And then we just started playing these silly tunes, and soon it became like this 80’s synth-pop group sort of, but also influenced by a lot of other things–garage, punk rock, there’s some motown influences and 60’s girl groups’ sound–and for some reason people liked it, and now here we are.

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Emil Møller, Bitchslap Mag

 

So playing at Roskilde was a dream for you, even in Finland?

Ekku: Yeah, when we’re like 10 years old or something like that, because at the time it was like the biggest festival in Europe or Scandinavia or whatever. So it’s kind of like a “dream come true.”

 

And now that your dream has come true you can just retire?

Susanna: Not until we’ve played in America.

 

You’ve never been?

Janne: No, not yet. But next summer.

Ekku: And another dream is to record on Burger Records. But um, I think we’re gonna break up before that.

Susanna: (laughs)

Ekku: Well we’re like best friends….

Janne: …but not anymore! (laughs)

Ekku: No, not anymore! Haha. Susa and Janne used to date–or whatever–they were a couple for three years. So we’re very close…like TOO close. But it’s good in that way, because you can say whatever comes to your mind, like if someone’s pissed off they can show it. And usually at least one of us is pretty pissed off! But of course you can’t hear it from the music.

Susanna: Janne’s left the band like, every other day.

Janne: (still laughing)

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Emil Møller, Bitchslap Mag

 

You have a second album coming out soon, right?

Janne: Next week. Maybe. Haha.

Susanna: It’s always next week, and nothing happens.

Ekku: Now we have about 20 possible songs for the next album. Some of them aren’t rehearsed yet at all, but there’s plenty there to choose from.

 

Sounds like you’re busy.

Susanna: Sure, it sounds like we’re busy. Other than the band, we’re all unemployed. We have all the time in the world.

Ekku: But it’s coming along. Now we can just start recording at our rehearsal space. I don’t know if it’s any good, but uh…

 

It’ll be great! I know it already.

Susanna: That’s a good attitude

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Emil Møller, Bitchslap Mag

 

I have a friend from Helsinki and he’s says that in Finland, when people go out drinking on the weekends, everyone just sings karaoke and gets in fights.

Susanne: Basically that’s it! We sing karaoke and we fight.

Ekku: It’s partly true though. I mean the stereotype is that Finns are very quiet people…

Susanne: Kind of stiff.

Ekku: Everyone’s pissed off all the time but acting happy—so first you’re happy, and then we have a fight.

Susanne: And the next morning, really quiet.

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Emil Møller, Bitchslap Mag

 

So you’re from…uhh…Cow-vow-la?

All: Kouvola!

 

Yeah. I hear there’s a lot of good bands coming out of Cow-vow-la lately?

Ekku: It’s a really small town, but the music scene is very good. And actually lots of people who move to Helsinki, they are still Kouvolians. Helsinki’s also just way more expensive. Kouvola’s cheaper, like when it comes to rehearsal spaces for example, in Helsinki they’re just so much more expensive. But it’s a shame, because it’s a part of the culture and should be supported.

 

Here it seems like there’s not much for smaller town bands to do. Lots of people move to Copenhagen but there isn’t as much hometown pride about where they’re from.

Ekku: There’s a rich culture in Denmark as I see it. I love Danish film – it’s my favorite. Susanna Bier, Thomas Vinterberg, Nicholas Winding Refn. A lot of good films. And a lot of good bands. Actually I lost my passport today, so I think maybe I’ll just stay here.

Susanna: We have a five o’clock flight, so….

Ekku: I love Denmark!

 

Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS, Photo by Emil Møller, Bitchslap Mag

 

Denmark loves you too! Thanks and come back soon! ?

 

It was rainy when we had our chat with Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? at Roskilde, and the weather hasn’t improved much, if at all, since then. If it’s got you down or feeling a bit drab today, have a listen below; they’ll soon have you feeling better in no time. If you’re not seasonally affected and feeling fine, have a listen anyway; they’re worth it.