10 years & 10 reasons: Office Building

Office Building: To See Only Shadows (Fonal Records, 2000)

Last month’s pick was the hardest rockin’ pop band in the world, The Sugarrush and now we have something little different. However, The Sugarrush actually led me to Office Building. Let’s rewind back to august 2000. Back then I had a lot of passion towards music and I could travel far and wide (well mostly to Turku) just to see bands. It’s kind of funny that back then I could take a train trip from Jyväskylä to Turku just to see Bridget play at Dynamo. Nowadays it takes me 15 minutes to walk to Dynamo and still I often miss bands that I really like, because I’m just too lazy to drag myself to the bar. I’m getting old I suppose. But in the year 2000 I was young and enthusiastic and in late august I made one of those trips. This is what I went to see, if my memory serves me right:

August 25th: Office Building, The Sugarrush (Yo-Talo, Tampere)
August 26th: Bridget at Ämyrock  (Hämeenlinna)
August 26th: Flavour Of The Month 2-year anniversary (Dynamo, Turku) (Ben’s Diapers, Flavor Of The Month <-the australian duo)

I don’t think I knew Office Building beforehand. The Sugarrush was definitely the reason why I went to the show. To be honest, it wasn’t even an instant love affair. Maybe I wasn’t used to all that melodrama, maybe I was a little amazed that I’m in a bar watching bands and when the show starts, everyone sits down on the floor. I mean what the hell is going on in here. But Janne Laurila and Office Building convinced me enough during that evening and I went and bought To See Only Shadows after the show. A wise decision, because the album became extremely important to me and still takes a top 3 spot if I start to list my all-time favourite albums. However, I didn’t knew it when I was walking around the streets of Tampere during the night and streets of Hämeenlinna in the morning (I stayed up all night, because I had no place to stay) and even after arriving home, it took me a couple of weeks to completely fall in love with it.  But slowly the melancholic beauty of the album found the core of my heart and I became a huge fan of Office Building and Janne Laurila. During the next few years I saw an incredible amount of Office Building or Janne Laurila concerts and I loved each and every one of them. I especially loved his solo concerts under the Elvis clock at the greatest bar in the world (Vakiopaine in Jyväskylä). He always had a good troubadour thing going on in that bar. He played a lot of his songs and some fabulous covers. I first heard about Townes Van Zandt when Janne played Townes classic Waiting Around To Die there and I asked whose song that was. Vern Gosdin’s Do You Believe Me Now? is another one that is still stuck in my head. I actually still prefer Janne’s version of it.

Here’s a bit from some old onechord.net OB review:

“A tough task for me. How to write something informative and not just getting lost in your personal memoirs and emotions. This music has so huge personal value to me. It hasn’t changed my life or anything, but it is always the music that is floating around here if I feel down, hurt or stressed. It’s there hugging and kissing me when all I want to do is crawl into the corner of this tiny apartment and relax by listening to beautiful and moving music. Eventhough Office Building’s music is my own personal comfort deluxe, I do listen to it also in a happy state of mind. So you don’t need to be fucked up and sad to realise the true value of this. But even if you are, music this strong and emotionally filled just evokes all the smiles and kisses you have inside yourself. “

That still sums it up really well and I’m still not able to write anything really informative about the band or the album. The fact is that To See Only Shadows knows more about me than most of my friends do. I’ve shared my weakest moments and darkest secrets with that album. It has carried me through some long nights and it has been my own personal therapist. That may sound naive and overly emotional, but well naive and overly emotional.. that was me ten years ago.. and it’s still more than a small part of me. I admit that I became a pretty blindsided OB fan boy and to me their albums were pretty much the second coming of the great pumpkin. Nowadays, I can maybe admit that some of the Office Building albums are only wonderful (and not brilliant masterpieces) and that Janne Laurila has become a better songwriter since those days. But To See Only Shadows. I still can’t see or hear anything wrong with it and no matter what I call it, I know it’s an understatement. Ok, maybe the melancholy and sadness gets a little overwhelming on Cut My Heart in Two and maybe that song fits better to ten year’s younger me. But it’s not an issue. To See Only Shadows is a masterpiece and the sweetest work of art. I always write from a purely subjective perspective and for me To See Only Shadows is the most beautiful album ever made.

Fonal Records’ Soundcloud set contains three beautiful songs from the album:

Office Building by Fonal Records

Office Building called it a day six years ago (or thereabouts), but Janne Laurila is still making wonderful music. Here’s one amazing sample. Live performance of a song called Tauti ilman hoitoo.


Janne Laurila Website

(The reason why I started making One Chord To Another was the fact that I had totally fallen in love with Finnish guitar pop / power pop bands and wanted to make them better known. Nowadays onechord.net seem to cover a lot of obscure country bands from all over the globe, but Finnish pop was the starting point and still is the main reason this website/blog exists. One Chord To Another becomes 10 years old on 17th of september, 2011. It’s been a long journey and therefore I think I’m allowed to feel a little nostalgic. This not-so-cleverly named 10 years & 10 reasons writing series is meant to select 10 albums/releases that were a huge reason why I either started making One Chord To Another or why I’m still making it. So basicly just 10 finnish releases that will always have a huge place in my heart. One every month I think, so it will be december until the nostalgia is over. Bear with me)

Next month: I will be either doing time or I’m wondering if our grain can fill your stadium, it’s difficult to decide.

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