Since 2015, Finnish multimedia artist Rusto Myllylahti has been using the moniker Elatu Nessa to spread his DIY, meditative, lo-fi sounds throughout his home country and across Europe. A mix of field recordings, psychedelic guitar, hypnotic chanting, and soft humming ~ the owls and foxes are already jumping out of their hiding places to experience his trance-inducing loops and will happily be rocked into sweet and gentle never-ending reveries. Het Bos may never be the same again!

Your output seems to focus a lot on installations. Could you tell us more about your artistic practice? Where does your music fit into this?

When I’m making art to exhibit in a gallery or other art related places, it usually takes the form of installations. There are few reasons for that. First of all I feel there are more possibilities to make large scale art works in small studios or at home with few resources - I’m able to use trash or found things and turn them into material for the works in a more accessible way.

There are already so many things in the world and all the time these things are produced more and more to become future trash. So I like to dive into the material-waste-bin and use it as a pathway to create with low or without money at all. This is somehow relevant also in the Elatu Nessa music. The sounds are already there; I just need to dig them out from my mind and use them as a way to assemble and feel the material side of sounds. The past years I’ve also been combining the Elatu Nessa music and performances with visual art back and forth. So they are overlapping all the way I think.

Also, how did you get into making music?

Elatu Nessa started around 2015 when I started to collect an album of my recordings from my computer. I recorded it mostly with my laptop microphone and played it with this old nylon string guitar I found in Ljubljana flea market in 2008. It was a collage of trashy sounds on low-quality computer programs. I had played in different groups from high school already and had done some collective sound art/ performance things from 2006 like Luonnonvärit when living in Rovaniemi, Lapland. But Elatu Nessa was the first time I figured out how to do things alone. Around that time I had a vision while taking a nap. It was some kind of picture of the universe or a god or death that included Everything. I also thought that I won’t live more than a year because of the revelation. And then I started to make Elatu Nessa as a soundtrack for a last year filled with sadness, beauty and joy of living.

The first Elatu Nessa album, Oletu Nessa, (Guggenhavn & raato raita, 2015) was a collection I made and I sent it to my friend Jonna Karanka (Kuupuu, Olimpia Splendid etc). She played it on the radio right away and asked me to play a gig at the now defunct Sorbus gallery. Next thing I know I was on a two week tour with Olimpia Splendid and Samuli Tanner in Europe. So everything happened fast in 2015 but it had been in the making for a long time. I was also very lucky to be surrounded with friends and extraordinary music makers, as well as a community that made it all possible.

You often make your own cover art. Do you find it easy to create a visual counterpart to your music?

I find it easy and quite satisfying to create the visual side for the Elatu Nessa music. Somehow I get this feeling I’m drawing in my room as a teenager or try to think of it in the same way: in my own space with candles and music, mysteries and dreams and tales to come. I like to use outdated computer programs, pencils, cut-and-paste improvisation and play in both - the music and the visual side.

Was your album 520 recorded one dark winter afternoon because that is when you feel most inspired and/or productive?

I’ve always been inspired by darkness and light; in the winter time in Finland, it's basically dark all the time. I also stay up at nights and sleep in the mornings and noons so It is quite usual that, by the time I wake up, the sun is already setting down. That creates weird feelings of anti-productive and sleepy modes that I like. I try to cherish these feelings and let them be part of the creative processes. The album 520 happened quite accidently when I was trying some loops at my small flat by the bird valley of Kumpula in Helsinki. It took some spins and the sun went down while the loop was on and I was in a dark flat hook on this loop. I have a strong memory of walking afterwards in the small park in the valley and everything was sparkly but dark and cold. I remembered the nightingales and blackbirds that filled the place in the summer. It was dark but it was light - cold and warm, out and in both ways all the same time.

More and more Elatu on Bandcamp & Soundcloud & Instagram

Elatu Nessa plays KRAAK Festival 2024 March 2 at Het Bos, Antwerp. Get your tickets this way!