“Somehow on live, maybe Semilive...” Interview with SemiLive!

14.3.2021

SemiLive is celebrating its birthday today 13th of march. To celebrate the anniversary, we asked SemiLive’s staff what their thoughts of the past year are. Johanna Von Hertzen, Jessica Häyhä, Jones Häkkinen, Senni Rissanen and Riku Turunen participated in the interview.

On Friday, exactly one year ago, Johanna Von Hertzen had a strong feeling that all summer events and gigs would be canceled.

– For our company, Storia, this meant that the work went almost 100% off. I lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling and calling my colleague Jessica, who lives in Bali, if we should stream a couple of gigs now. Already in the first call, I spun the idea of “Somehow on live, maybe Semilive” which then formed the final name of the service. SemiLive producer Johanna says.

– After the call, I started making our logo right away. After that, I started building a platform for the stream, and I quickly realized that if we wanted to do this properly, we needed help. One call to Riku and he happily came with us! Within a week we also had Senni, Tiina, Jones and a film crew on the team. Jessica, SemiLive’s creative director, recalls.

It was only a week since the call, when SemiLive's first test broadcast was already taking place. The enthusiasm for the fast pace came from nature, but the desire to be Finland's first streaming service had an impact.

– The nature of our team includes speed and doing it to the fullest. However, nothing airs bad or unfinished, and we have worked every night and day to make the service a little better every day. Johanna states.

– In SemiLive's core team, everyone is a fairly experienced person, so the operating culture had already developed around quick response and fearless implementation. We had a big and clear problem to solve. After all, that week only seemed short-lived when you thought about it in retrospect, so effective and motivated our group was from the first meters. Producer Jones adds.

– Personally, I got excited about the idea of promoting live music during the corona as well, and usually if I get excited about something, things happen quickly. A couple of days seem to go from the first call to the fact that SemiLive's first really working draft existed. I do remember that those couple of days were pretty busy, I guess I did go all night while working on it. Riku, who is responsible for the technical side of SemiLive, describes his own journey.

The year of SemiLive has accommodated a wide range of culture in its various forms, but the best remembered memory is the excitement of the first gig, as well as the gigs of Lost Society and Amorphis that took place at 3am. SemiLive also played a part in Johanna Von Hertzen's album release party whose cancellation developed the idea of streaming.

– I vividly remember when I was working at the Lost Society gig from my remote office. The sun began to rise to a new day in Finland, the metal music played in the stream and people around the world felt it virtually in social media and Chat. In it, I thought to myself that something big and cool is being done here right now. Just a week after that, Sonata Arctica played acoustic gigs at SemiLive and I remember the Zoom audience having been a success at these two gigs. As the host I was greatly moved to notice the communality of the fans. The conversation continued after the second gig so long, that finally after the third hour I ended up giving host privileges to one of the fans and leaving them to hang out with each other. Are they still there in Zoom? who knows. Senni, who works in content production, ponders.

SemiLive's goals were already high at the beginning. The dream was to be a global community and international, which was absolute for SemiLive from the very beginning.

– I wondered a thousand times, that may If only I had known. SemiLive feels like a life's work, a favorite child and a concept full of potential. It is also definitely the most demanding and the most work to do a project where I have been involved, but it is ideal for producer who loves challenges! Johanna says.

– My experience of the world of events and media has taught me during my career that only change is permanent. When we started, I didn’t really even think about where it would lead, because I knew a lot of things would affect where the service develops. Innovation is a reactive change in nature, so while the journey has, of course, been constantly full of surprising twists and turns, it has never been surprising. Jones says.

– Yes, I imagined it would be at this point. In fact, I expected that things would have gotten bigger much faster, but little by little realism has reached me, and nowadays the service is being developed more moderately. Riku adds.

– The spring of a year ago and the journey from there to here has been incredibly rewarding for sure for our entire SemiLive team. I don’t think any of us could think of where we would be at the point about the situation in the world at all now, live streaming have come to stay. Senni states.

SemiLive's future is expected to see interesting new projects and the development of the streaming field. SemiLive wants to develop ways to better support cultural creators and inspire people. Thus, on a birthday, SemiLive wants to tell its customers and partners that SemiLive is open for ideas and wants to hear wishes and feedback about the services, not forgetting to support cultural services.

– I would like to urge customers to consume Finnish cultural production, but also to feel free to interact with SemiLive and tell us how the streaming platform could best serve you. The aim is to bring added value to the life and cultural enjoyment of our audience, together we will get there the fastest. Jones states.

– As a team, we already have a good experience of streaming around the world. Hybrid events and distance learning have come to stay, and SemiLive’s platform is a great place to implement them! Johanna starts.

SemiLive was never made to compete with live events. We (almost everyone with a background in music) in SemiLive are guaranteed to be among the first to rock at festivals whenever it is possible. When developing a service, we always think primarily of the audience who, for one reason or another, want to enjoy their content mainly online.

It’s a bit like that sometimes you want to go to a restaurant, sometimes cook for yourself and sometimes order food at home. Sometimes distance, health, or something else makes it impossible to get to a concert.

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