Meet Aqqalu, Finland’s Only Inuit
Mean, dark, indigenous-inspired and plain irresistible rap music from the deep Artics. By happy coincident, we happened to meet Finland’s only Inuit in Inari, Lapland – and instantly felt the call to get this man behind our photographer Nick Tulinen’s camera. Fast forward, we found out that this gem is also a cultural super hero, true artist and visionary. Have a read – and never think about eating healthy the same way.
Hi Aqqalu, how are you?
We met you by coincidence in Inari while we were shooting brand photos for our client. We knew right away that we must stop and have a chat with you. But how did you end up in Inari?
It’s a love story. Basically, I work in culture – music, films or whatever comes in hand. Three years ago I was doing a work trip to Berlinale, Berlin as a DJ. There I met Sunna, my now-fiancée, whom I then met coincidentally in Alaska (our first date!), and then coincidentally again in Norway (second date!). That was it – we decided to become a couple, and half a year later I moved to Inari.
You are a Creative/DJ/producer. Right? Something else?
Yea, I’m a music producer and DJ. I’m also an activist. When Black Lives Matter – movement started bringing colonialist statues down, I’m now trying to make in happen in North as well. I also mainly work with indigenous people.
Your stage name is Uyarakq. What does the name stand for and do you have different artist personalities?
Uyarakq means stone – and it’s also a slang term for weed. But whatever the name, I am always just me.
You have been working together with many musicians within multiple projects. How do you choose your projects?
I work as a producer and sound engineer as a mixer. Basically, I’m sending beats to musicians and then working with them. Before Corona, most of my money came from DJ:ing, now it’s the producing stuff. Sometimes the artists pick me up to their projects, sometimes I do. In any case, I just love to be creative in the studio and have fun. If it’s not fun to do it, then better not to do it all.
You made a track using sounds that your Twitter followers sent to you. Quite a unique idea – what & why?
Yea, this was at the height of Corona lockdown. When everyone was socially distancing, I got this idea to get together virtually. I got myself to Twitter, asked for music samples and got 27 submissions. It was something social and fun to do, and people loved the music! There’s more to come, for sure.
How would you describe the music scene in Greenland? And what about Lapland?
In Greenland, it feels half of the people are artists of some kind, and the other half are administrators. Music wise, it’s mostly rock and rap. It’s sort of similar to Iceland, it’s an island community, it’s just different.
We find you and your work extremely inspiring. What inspires you?
My inspiration comes indigenious artists, e.g. called Red Tribe and Tanya Tagaq. I am inspired by these artists. Native Twitter inspires me a lot, too. Over there, we inspire each other to do something great.
Is there something specific you want to say with your art?
I want to spread the message of creative freedom. I like making music about sexual freedom, too. I am currently making a trilogy called “eating healthy”: eat dick, eat pussy, eat ass. The last one of these songs aka “eat ass” is coming out tomorrow.
Ok, we’ll be waiting! 🙂 Thanks for the interview, what are your plans right after this one?
I’ll go and make mean music.