Niko-Matti Ahti and Marja Johansson


At the Saari Residence, we are going to be beginning work on a sound production project that is somewhere in between music and sound art – and also calls into question what those art forms are, of course. We will be working with different kinds of sound: inspecting them and melding them into rich and raw music that has a political edge. During the residency, we will play, compose, record and write material that in 2017 will be released in an album. Our intention is to form a solid foundation for our artistic collaboration, to get to know each other’s work methods and to develop and deepen them.

Our working style is informal, multidisciplinary and discursive, and always includes a critical perspective: imagination is an important component in constructing a shared reality. We are interested in the unstoppable flux of everything, the fickle nature of the planet and of personality, and similarly, in the capriciousness and unpredictability of history and all human action. When something is seen as a starting point or origin, there is always a reason for it and there are always consequences. We enjoy overcoming cruces and contradiction in our work; we walk the line of insecurity and incomprehension by talking, playing and making sounds. We want to make music that inspires people to live without harmful fixation and encourages them to enjoy the ride that is our revolving planet.

Marja Johansson is a musician born in Sweden, also known by her artist name Tsembla. Niko-Matti Ahti has and continues to make music in various contexts, the oldest of which are the bands Kiila and Kemialliset Ystävät. He has studied literature and is a stout friend of ball games, picking mushrooms and the sauna. The artist duo’s partnership is not only professional but also marital. They currently live in Turku, Finland.