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This week we have the absolute pleasure of chatting to York-based musician, composer, producer, YouTuber and all-round musical superstar Liina Turtonen.
Liina studied music production in York, and has been building her YouTube following for the past couple of years. In the last year or so her profile has gone through the roof, and her channel is nearing 50000 subscribers.
With her latest release “Runway” out now, she managed to find the time in her hectic schedule to give us the lowdown on her story, her production techniques, the challenges she has overcome, and everything in between.

Hi Liina, thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us!

Can we start by asking you what your musical background is and what are your first musical memories?

My mother is a musician and an artist, meaning I grew up literally around piano, music and art. This meant that every day my family would gather around the piano to play our favourite Finnish (I am originally from Finland) songs, jam and sing together. I started violin lessons at a conservative as a 5-year-old, performance lessons in a theatre similar time and went to music orientated school (with choirs, theory lessons and orchestra) from the age of 9.

What inspired you to start creating music?

Because of my artistic family, in my childhood music was something I did almost as naturally as breathing or eating food. Due to this, I did not really listen to music, but mostly made it or played it. Now, later in my life I needed to catch up with my popular music knowledge and I have enjoyed learning from other people’s work. This has made me fall in love with electronic music and I have found a new relationship with music, both as a maker and a listener.

What was your motivation to study music production at university?

When I was a teenager, I swore I will never do music again and I was fully committed to becoming an actress instead. To be honest, I never thought I would be a musician at any point in my childhood. It was something we did in our family, and I did write my own songs, but I never thought it was my calling the same way performance art was. But when I went travelling as a 21-year-old, I ended up working in clubs and bars in Glasgow. There I was introduced to electronic music, and something sparked inside of me. Suddenly I felt like this world of buttons and sliders was something I had been waiting for all my life. As a child, I did mostly classical music or played popular songs with piano or guitar, so learning about synths and Ableton Live, gave me a new freedom of expression I never knew exsisted.

Because music production seemed to come relatively easy to me, I felt I could study it further. It is good to mention in this point that I almost failed all my schools as a kid. I am neurodivergent person, and in the late 90’s early 00’s my type of learning was still undiscovered. This meant I was often made feel like I am simply stupid or lazy, as I did not well in school and tests. Especially as a neurodivergent girl, STEM topics (science, technology, electronics and math) were never on the cards for me. So, getting into anything technical was not something I ever expected to be good at or even have an opportunity to do. The same goes for university. I was 100% sure that I will never get into a university.

I did my undergraduate degree in Scotland (in Commercial Music) and because I graduated my course with a first, I skipped my honours and applied to study master’s degree at the University of York, in music production.

In my first degree, I received sexism from the lecturers, stating how difficult it would be for me to become a music producer or engineer due to my gender. This made me feel angry and like I needed to prove, not only to myself but to the whole world, that someone like me could become good at this topic. Now I think it is a shame that my whole journey to music production came from this negative feeling, instead of the pure enjoyment of making awesome sounds. I spent many of my earlier years in university writing essays about women in audio or why we should have the right to exist in these paces, which was a good thing in a way, as it made me understand the topic more. But now I hope that the new generation does not need to go through this same frustration and anger as I did, but instead, they could focus on writing essays about music production itself.

What was the particular course you studied?

I did BA in Commercial Music as my undergraduate and an MA in Music Production (University of York) as my master’s degree.

What were the opportunities studying music at university gave you?

For me, my master’s degree was one of the best things I have done for myself. It was the first audio environment where I did not feel like I was treated differently because I was a woman. Yes, I was still very much a minority in the course, but I felt safe and like I do not need to constantly be fighting or proving myself. This meant that I could just fully dive into becoming the best music producer I could be.

The master’s course was really difficult and challenging for me, as I had lots of gaps in my knowledge from my undergraduate degree. I needed to really work on my insecurities as someone who had also never done technical subjects before. The course was also very science-based, meaning we did not study DAWs or production gear, but the science of acoustics, audio and music. We even coded a plugin using JS language, so we would understand what actually happens in the modulation processes. I studied every weekend in the library, watching lots of “math for dummies” videos and truly pushed myself to learn. It was tough, but the best thing I have ever done for myself. I feel like that course gave me all the knowledge I needed to go forward in my career as a music producer.

I truly proved my old teachers wrong and showed myself that this neurodivergent girl can become whatever she wants to.

Would you recommend studying music production to musicians and producers?

I would recommend it if you felt like you need it for yourself. I was 23 years old when I went to university and 26 when I went to my masters. I am so glad I did some travelling and work, before going to university. I worked in cafes, and bars and even was a postman. Without these years, and searching who I wanted to become, I would have not been introduced to electronic music and I would not have realized that I can also be a technical and academic person. But I also do not believe education is for everyone and it should not define you as a professional or as human. If you do not want to go, then learn from everything you can get your hands on. Also, do not think you need to figure it all out in your 20s. No one knows who they are in their 20s. You can go to university later on, when you are 100% sure this is your thing. That is where you will enjoy it the most as well, as you will be there to truly study and not just learn to be a young adult.

So how would you describe “your sound”?

I am not sure if any artist can truly answer this question. In my 20s I obsessed over this question and it did more damage than good in the end. I become so insecure about my artistic choices and making any music, that I almost stopped completely. I felt like nothing was on “brand” and I cared so much about what others will think of my music.

So, it has taken me 10 years in this career to understand that “your sound” is whatever you make on that day or time. If I tried to define it further, I will just focus too much on the outcome, instead of the process.

No “my sound” is also more led by what I am interested in audio and music. For example, I am currently really into house and techno. But I also love layering violins and composing orchestral pieces, so what I am loving right now is doing something that combines these two. I guess it could be called “cinematic dance music”, but the fact is, tomorrow I might have new inspiration and a new “sound”.

Could you talk us through your studio setup and have you got any “go to” plugins or equipment?

I love using Ableton Live because of its flexibility. I also love my new Genelec 8331a studio monitors. I have plenty of guitars, some keyboards, bass and Nord Drum 3p. As a controller, my ultimate favourite is Ableton Push 2 (I even wrote my master’s dissertation about it).

My most “go to” plugin brand right now is Baby Audio Plugins. Love them so much.

Ableton Live is your DAW of choice, what attracted you to that over others?
The fact that it can do everything, and it has endless possibilities because of Max4Live integration. It is also designed to work with human’s natural workflow pattern, which is non-linear. This is shown in the Session View of Live. It can seem confusing at first because we are so used to the linear “tape” style of DAWs, but it is amazing for creativity (and overcoming creative blocks) when you start using it.

Can you talk us through your writing process, what comes first? Is it a beat, or a bassline, or something random?

Hard question as anything can come first. As I mentioned in the last question, I love a non-linear workflow. This means that I have a place, like Session View, where I gather all my ideas. This might be a lyric first, beat, chords etc. It does not matter, as it is first all collected to one place and then slowly arranged into a full-length track.

Music production is notoriously a male-dominated industry, what are your thoughts on this?

As mentioned at the beginning of this interview, it has ruled most of my early career, at such a level that I hope it will not be like that for the next generations. The only way for us to make it better for everyone, not only for women and gender minorities, is for every person to take responsibility for safety in the audio spaces. And I do not mean only physical safety. I mean that audio spaces should be open for vulnerability and those “stupid questions” regardless of your gender. The “macho” culture in audio, where we compete who knows the most and who has the best gear, does not benefit anyone, it only takes away from our confidence and creativity. And it makes it extremely unapproachable for those people who come from feminine identity or the people who have never even thought they could do STEM subjects before. This battle for equality is not only for women and other gender minorities to fight, but it is everyone’s responsibility. Together we can make this change for the better, and I am sure we all will benefit from it greatly. In the past couple of years, there has been already a major shift in the industry for the better, and I am sure we will see a lot more diverse industry in years to come.

Your YouTube channel has blown up in the last 12 months, would you say YouTube (and social media) have been a key part of your successes recently?
I have had my YouTube channel now for four years and it is definitely the reason I can do music production and music as my full-time job right now. It has not been easy, and it has taken me lots of work to have it in the size it is now. But I am glad I have done all that work, as I love what I do right now. It is only growing and developing, making my career have new directions and space to grow.

So what are your musical highlights so far?

In spring 2022 I streamed myself making an album in a week. It was a fun experiment for me, but now thinking I think it was the start of something new and bigger. I have struggled with my creative confidence so much in the past years, that this album felt like a new beginning. I love the direction it was going and for the first time in so long, I felt like these tracks really sounded like me. I will be finishing and hopefully publishing this album now in 2023.

And what’s next for LNA?
I am super excited for 2023. This year I am having lots of new music out, music videos and I will start performing live again. I have also been writing a book for Routledge for the past couple of years and that should be released hopefully by the end of this year. I have also lots of fun tutorials and videos planned for my channel, as well as growing my Patreon community which has the kindest and nicest family of producers I have ever seen. We do monthly production challenges there and I am excited to work on that community even further.

Finally, where can we find you online, plug away!!!!

My YouTube:





Thanks so much for chatting to us!