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Onkel Jonkel won the ADM Band Competition 2022

Photo: 30CA70AE-1C0B-4B19-851C-B4BB338AA81C
Photo: 30CA70AE-1C0B-4B19-851C-B4BB338AA81C

This year’s ADM Band Competition was won by the Viljandi Academy of Culture student indie ensemble Onkel Jonkel with the EP “Academic Leave”. With its energetic and positive sounds “Academic Leave” will be available on Spotify from the middle of next week and the EP will also be released on vinyl at the beginning of the new year.

With its 14th year running ADM Band Competition received over 40 different entries out of which three very strong collectives made it to the final round. According to Riho Pihelpuu, the initiator and leader of the competition, the level of this year’s competition, the quality of the songs, and the number of different interesting projects was one of the best over the years: “Many of the songs that didn’t make it to the final would definitely be something I would like to listen to at a live concert or add to my Spotify playlist. After a careful selection, we were left with three projects, all of which were very different and equally interesting, and individually each of them could have won the competition.”

Jury members Riho PihelpuuHendrek Kraavi and Kärt Kalamees picked the winner from among the very strong finalists – Onkel Jonkel’s five-song EP “Academic Leave”.

This is not the first recognition for Onkel Jonkel, an indie-rock band with punk elements made up of Viljandi Culture Academy students. Last year, they won the Virumaa Summer Sound 2022 competition with the song “Nostalgia” and have previously performed at Tallinn Music Week and Tallinn Old Town Days.

Onkel Jonkel’s guitarist Ott-Mait Põldsepp said that the songs on the EP are the result of a three-year process, and it can be heard, “We have experienced a lot of good and bad during this time. In this way, each story reflects a certain stage in our lives.”

According to Pihelpuu, emotion played a big role in making the choice. “Musically, all the pieces were interesting and of high quality. We analysed each demo piece sent to us very thoroughly and in detail, but still made the final choice based on the emotion I got when listening to the winning demo for the first time. There is a lot of anxiety, fear, sadness, and worry in the air these days. Onkel Jonkel’s sound language is lively, energetic, and positive, that’s the kind of band whose concert I’d like to go to at the moment.”

Hendrek Kraavi also agreed with him. He noted that in these difficult times, we really need good, positive music in Estonian, that is, exactly the kind of happy and genuine punk energy that Onkel Jonkel shares with us.

” Young people who once received a musical education thanks to the New Musical Express and the John Peel Show are now the same age as onkles, and Onkle Jonkel is skillfully plucking the strings of their souls. There aren’t too many such collectives in Estonia right now, who are just starting out but already have a great skill to write songs with a clear and well-thought-out motivation – to make a band to get women and money. That’s why it seemed right to give them more momentum from our side,” said Kraavi.

“We are very grateful to ADM that they give musicians the opportunity to reach beyond their hometown with their work. Now it will be easier to explain the academic leave taken from school to parents,” said Onkel Jonkel singer Georg Eessaar.

The next ADM Band Competition will take place in the fall of 2023.

The ADM Band Competition started in 2009 from the love of music of ADM leader Riho Pihelpuu and his desire to support Estonian music and contribute to its development. In previous years, Elisabeth Tiffany Lepik, Kristjan Randalu and Vaiko Eplik, Sander Mölder, Kelly Vask, Maris Pihlap, OOPUS and many other already well-known artists have won the ADM Band Competition.

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