The NAMM Show 2017 in Anaheim, California. A tall young man with long hair, all dressed up in white, stops by at my booth and to my great surprise introduces himself to me in Finnish language. He asks if I remember him? Artur… hmmm… doesn’t ring a bell immediately… I appear kind of dumbfounded – and he told me his story.
“You were exhibiting at the Helsinki Guitar Show in Kamppi, might have been in 2005.. My guitar teacher Davide Floreno had recommended me to visit the event. I was 13 years old, and I was there with my dad who’s a big music/guitar lover as well. We were doing our rounds, until I stopped to stare at the finest looking guitar I had ever seen. I pointed it out to my dad, and he whispered to my ear – it’s a very fine handmade guitar made here in Finland by ‘Ruokangas‘.
My father encouraged me to go talk to the maker of the guitar and ask permission to try it out – but I was too shy! I couldn’t however keep my eyes off the instrument, so I ended up walking pass veeery slowly… turned around the corner and sneaked back again… Until a firm voice stopped me: “You’ve circled around that guitar for quite a while. Now why don’t you come over and have a closer look!”
Back to the NAMM 2017. Wow! Still dumbfounded! I found out that Artur had been a fan of my work since our paths crossed the first time. Artur had become in the meanwhile a professional musician, gigging a lot in the United States. We got along great, and our chitchat inevitably shifted into guitar talk (what else!). Artur mentioned about a fantasy of his – about ordering an all-white guitar from me with certain special appointments. We dived deep into brainstorming, that continued some months later back in Finland, resulting eventually in the über cool King Artur Custom Aeon..!
Founding member of the Finnish electrofunk group Beverly Girl, internationally known modern guitar hero and member of the New York based True Groove All-Stars, King Artur prepares to take his rightful place as a solo artist with the release of his long-awaited solo project.
Globally respected as an innovator in pedal steel and electric guitar soundscapes and pyrotechnics, King Artur’s ambitious style often garners enthusiastic comparisons to the likes of Adrian Belew, Daniel Lanois and the legendary David Sylvian.
His rapidly growing reputation as an in-demand guitarist, engineer and programmer has afforded him the ability to equally divide his time between The United States and his home in Helsinki, Finland. King Artur’s ever-growing list of collaborations includes projects with such luminaries as No Wave icon James Chance, Grammy Award winning producer/bassist Bill Laswell, as well as Finnish funk hero Sam Huber‘s latest releases on the True Groove label.
Upcoming songwriting/production credits include the long-awaited album by The System, as well as co-production credits on Global Soul pioneer Tomás Doncker‘s latest collaboration with New York State Poet Laureate / Pulitzer prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa – “The Black Magnolia Project”. King Artur is also involved with Doncker’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed “The Mess We Made”, working alongside founding Public Enemy / Bomb Squad producer Keith Shocklee.
Thank you Sami Turunen / Rebelpix for the fantastic images on this page!
"To have this kind of a connection to an instrument that inspires me both as an artist and a guitarist can’t be compared. I am humbled, honored and forever grateful to Juha and the whole Ruokangas family."
- King Artur