Blind Channel singer Joel Hoka is battling an age crisis. However, he does not dream about the everyday life of a small child – it seems unnecessarily burdensome when viewed from the side.
I am turning 30 in October. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have an age crisis. I now realize how fast life is moving. I try to avoid worrying by doing good things so that I don’t break out in a rocking chair.
I don’t dream about a rival, a wife and children – at least not yet. I see the everyday life of small children around me and it seems overwhelming. I believe my art is the mark I leave on the world. At some point the relationship will be good. I can see from my bandmates that a relationship can work, even when we’re on the road a lot.
I get a lot of requests for dates, but I value my fans enough not to mess around. I haven’t even lived as a monk, but I’ve dated a bit. Nowadays, I give more importance to the spiritual side than the appearance. I value my own time so much that I don’t want to spend my little free time in some useless company.
I had a typical middle-class suburban childhood in Oulu. His father was a dentist in Carpi, so life revolved around hockey. However, I also had a sensitive, artistic side. I inherited this from my mother, who is an architect and a talented violinist. When I was young, I could draw especially well, and I charmed girls with my skills.
I was 15 when my life changed. I went to Ruysrock with my uncle and saw Slipknot at the party. I saw 30,000 people jump in front of the stage, I was pretty sure this is what I wanted to do. I soon got my first electric guitar and started tuning it for band work. I ended up in a co-ed high school where you could find blind channel friends.
27 square meters
My house is a rented apartment of 27 square meters in the center of Helsinki. It’s a bachelor pad with clothes, gold records and tour passes lying on the floor. The house is not very comfortable, and to be honest, I do not miss it at all.
I’ve seriously thought about moving to Berlin, but at the moment the band works best when we all live in Finland. I’ve also learned to appreciate Finland and Helsinki over the years. Today, Helsinki is an interesting and international city, but also calm and safe.
I spend most of the year on the road. When I come to Finland for a while, I will happily head north to my home regions. There I can go to extreme hobbies with a peak. What I miss from Finland is that I can sit on the terrace with my friends in the evening and drink some bis. I can usually be in public in peace if I slick my hair back and don’t wear eye makeup.
8 hours of sleep
I sleep for 6-8 hours a night and also eat healthy during the run. When I’m in Finland, I go to the gym and enjoy downhill cycling with my brother. If I do not take care of my health, I will not be able to survive long in this traveling life.
Alcohol used to make me more sleepy, but I never had any real problems. I have realized that drugs are just a shortcut to an artificial good feeling. If I got wet like a rock star in the barracks, I’d quickly look like a dead rat.
6 different personalities
There are occasional fights within the band, but they are quickly settled. The last time the fight was about to happen was when our drummer Tommy brushed his toenails with my toothbrush. I retaliated by rubbing his brush on my butt. The matter could have escalated, but instead I went to buy both of us new brushes as a gesture of reconciliation.
The six of us can talk to each other about everything. If someone is in a bad mood, others will notice without saying anything. Then we support each other. You can even have your own space if needed. We have agreed that if someone is in the bus with the curtains closed, he should not be disturbed.
We’ve talked to the band that we’re not going to do this forever. We want to end in cheeky style, so when things don’t get worse, let’s clap. After that, I could do Johnny Cash-style acoustic solo work or go work in radio. Or I can start drawing and start my own art gallery.
I have a great interest in the culture of the early 2000s. Moosa and the movies made between 2000 and 2006 are to the best of my knowledge. They’ll feel safe. For example, if I have a hangover, I like to watch movies from that era. Fight Club is my favorite, so is Spiderman. At that time, art depended on emotion: it was made big and emotional.
1,300 hours on the bus
For us, the wild rock ‘n’ roll life is pretty much dead. The gig bus is surprisingly quiet. After a gig, I usually sit with others for a while, eat and browse the phone. Little by little I get into my position, listen to music and try to calm down. Diggaan sleeps in a moving bus. Its humming is soothing.
Travel from one concert venue to the next is usually done at night by a concert bus. Our bus has 12 sleeping places, two sitting places, a kitchen and a toilet where you can only pee. Some play PlayStation while traveling, but I don’t touch it myself. I’m very competitive and losing can lead to a fight.
20,000 pairs of eyes
From time to time I am plagued by feelings of inadequacy. It’s like a devil whispering in my ear that I’m not good enough and I’m not enough on my own.
I know it stems from childhood. I used to play ladle when I was younger, but I didn’t think I was good enough. I was also bullied at school, in elementary and middle school. I stood out from the crowd because of my long hair, painted nails and my taste in music. I was spit on and hung on the coat rack. That kind of leaves a mark.
I have achieved things with that band which I have dreamed of for a long time. One of the biggest was when we performed at the world’s largest Wacken Open Air Metal Festival in Germany to an audience of 20,000 people. The sea of people seemed to go on forever. After the gig, I momentarily felt empty: the dream had come true, what next? Nowadays, I recognize the emotion better and know how to deal with it. I consciously give myself grace. I’ve achieved a lot, even if every gig doesn’t sell out.
5 digit amount in account
I have never been a money person, but I am very careful with money. I don’t buy fancy watches or cars because I know that material happiness is short lived. A ten ton Rolex quickly becomes everyday. Money makes experiences possible. I want to be able to go out to eat at a restaurant or get a hotel room if I feel like it.
I know that I can run with very little money. Before the band broke up, I supported myself with DJ gigs. With that and the housing allowance, you could buy noodles. Now I have five figures in my account, and I no longer have to think about what kind of noodles I can buy.
My parents even questioned my band job when I was 26. At the time, I was enrolled in a University of Applied Sciences, but I didn’t accumulate any credits. Surely they would want me to take up some sensible profession. Now they even dare to believe that I can do well with music, although they know how much it requires.
The singer and songwriter of the band Blind Channel was born on 5 October 1993 in Lahti.
Lives in Helsinki, tours the world with his band Blind Channel. The band represented Finland at Eurovision 2021.
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