Giant Robot, active from 1997 till 2008, was an outfit fusing hip hop, dub, r&b, funk, pop and even krautrock (when performing live) in their eclectic music played both electronically as well as with organic instruments. They enjoy wide respect in the local Finnish scene, but they have also been compared internationally to artists such as Beck, Björk and Jimi Tenor.
The band released three albums, six EP’s and a few singles during their career. Especially the releases in their first five years, such as the albums Crushing You With Style and especially Superweekend, are acknowledged as classics and a remarkable part of Finnish black rhythm music history. Their fourth and currently the last album 1. erä, where they collaborated with numerous Finnish rappers, was issued under the moniker Giant Räbät in 2008.
Being also an active live band, Giant Robot was also one of the export prospects among Finnish music acts. They toured around for example in Central Europe, UK and Russia gaining international fame as well. In Finland, Giant Robot was a regular to many of the most important music festivals and venues. Their music can be heard also in the Finnish street life drama film Bad Luck Love, directed by Olli Saarela and premiered in 2000.
The backbone of Giant Robot was formed by musician and vocalist Tuomas Toivonen, multi-instrumentalist Arttu Tolonen (Black Audio), keyboard player Kim “Kasio” Rantala (Ma Baker’s Soul Factory, Bomfunk MC’s, Nuspirit Helsinki, Reino & The Rhinos, The Five Corners Quintet, Jätkäjätkät), guitarist Petro “Slomotion” Niiniluoto (Palava Kaupunki), bassist Aleksi Tolonen and percussionist Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa (Kimmo Pohjonen, Jimi Tenor). Some of the past members include the late percussionist Zarkus Poussa (deceased in 2016) and sound wizard Teemu Korpimää. Their live shows often featured Hosni Boudali on vocals.
Giant Robot was not eclectic only musically, since the band members had a very versatile background. Among other differences, they had a carpenter, an actor, an art teacher and a media worker among their ranks. The front man Tuomas Toivonen is an architect, who has worked in the world famous Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam and is also internationally acknowledged as an advocate of urban architecture and planning. Most of the band members are still very active on different roles in the music field.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland
Main photo: Pasi Räsämäki