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"I love dancing to Slayer"

Finns are the hardest rockers in the world. Toni Laakkonen is no exception.

Text: Anne Salomäki Photo: Mikko Törmänen

Chugga-chugga-chugga. That’s how Toni Laakkonen from Uleåborg describes the music of his band Deliriuminated.

“It’s fast music. Well-composed and well-arranged, of course, but fast,” he says, laughing.

The band’s choice of musical style is no surprise: Finns are heavy metal people. It’s estimated that Finland has the most heavy metal bands per capita in the world.

Toni, who works at PostNord’s partner I-Logistics at the Uleåborg terminal, has been a musician almost his whole life. He taught himself to play guitar when he was 14 and calls it ‘a tool for self-expression.’ He’s no virtuoso, but does quite well just the same.

“Whether it’s just messing around or playing chords or riffs, I’ve always done my own thing. I have a considerable collection of songs I’ve put together.”

Those songs get tried out in Deliriuminated’s rehearsal space. At the time of this interview, the group is looking for a permanent singer, or rather “singer”’ in quotes, as it mainly involves grunting. 
The current members are all from Ranua, about 100 km north of Oulu in central Finland. Toni would like the singer to be one of his childhood friends, but that could be a tall order, given the small size of the town.

“It would be fun if everyone came from the same place, but we might have to ease off on that requirement.”

“Music is a good conversation topic among coworkers, because everyone has an opinion”

They dream of recording a few songs that are good enough to put up online. They’re inspired by At The Gates and The Haunted from Sweden, Lamb of God and Slayer from the US, and Sepultura from Brazil. But they’ve found their own sound.

“Fast heavy metal music is a fairly well-explored genre, but I’m glad we’ve got our own sound. That’s definitely a subjective view, but as a songwriter, I think we do.”

Sometimes Toni wakes up as early as 3:30 am. His sleep pattern is irregular due to work shifts, but that doesn’t really bother him. In the early hours, he works on unfinished songs. That’s often when creativity strikes.

“When I’m making a pot of coffee, I’ll pick up my guitar and if I hit on something good, I have to go record it on my computer so I don’t forget it. Sometimes I finish a song all at once; others I come up with a chord progression after sitting and messing around for a while.”

At the terminal he does “everything that’s needed.” A workday could consist of inspecting shipments, customer service at the collection counter and sorting parcels. The radio is always on. It doesn’t bother him, even though he prefers harder music. 

“Music is a good conversation topic among coworkers, because everyone has an opinion. Heavy metal is a misunderstood genre. A lot of people think you can’t dance to it. But I love throwing a few moves to Slayer.”

Toni Laakkonen
Position at PostNord: Terminal worker at subcontractor I-Logistics in Uleåborg.
Closest colleagues: Jonne Väärälä, Ari-Pekka Lantto, Antti Remo and Jouni Pesonen.