Oskari performs his own songs for the first time at the Birdland nightclub in Turku, wearing a fetching shiny silver suit and borrowing extensively from Michael Jackson’s choreography. Pretty soon he realises he can’t be bothered with the pressures of a solo career and sets about finding himself a backing band. Given that Oskari doesn’t have his own ‘phone and his dad won’t let him cross the big road, he’s somewhat limited in choice – which makes the whole auditioning process a lot easier for his new bandmates; brother Santeri and Juha Reunanen, who happens to live in the house opposite.
Oskari and Santeri get hold of some electric instruments and form a band called Grasso. The Grasso line-up includes sister Heini Ruohonen on backing vocals and Sami Karvonen on drums . Grasso performs their bouncy, Hanson-esque pop (with English lyrics) at various children’s music events, and even try their luck in a ‘battle of the bands’ competition. Despite the audience loving the baby-faced 12 year old Oskari, they don’t fare well.
Sami leaves the band to pursue his drumming career with more grown- up and sophisticated musicians and is replaced by Jere Jalonen. Unfortunately, Oskari, Santeri and Jere are seemingly incapable of doing anything sensible when they’re together, having loads of fun but kind of forgetting to actually practice much. At their gigs they put more effort into schoolboy humour (involving such pressing, global issues as reproductive organs and bodily functions) than they do into actually playing music, and the audiences (who average 9 years of age) don’t really understand what’s going on! Around this time the teenaged, ever-rebellious, Santeri writes his first lyrics by translating Grasso songs into Finnish.
Mikko Koskinen is brought in as guitarist and the band plays at the same events as before, only with slightly more direction – Mikko’s arrival virtually doubles the band’s IQ, and he somehow manages to keep them sounding at least vaguely sensible. Nonetheless, by this time the differences of opinion within the band are coming to a head, and eventually Grasso falls apart.
Oskari, Santeri, Jere and Mikko decide to try their hand at another genre by forming the rap group Luumupyssy . This project quickly drops off the radar with the departure of Mikko and Jere from the ranks, subsequently evolving into Herra Eurooppa. Translated ‘Mr. Europe’ , this is a two man techno outfit involving Oskari and Santeri, alias Michael Keaton and Richard Gere, whose song Tight Ass Bitch becomes a minor party hit. Meanwhile, in an attempt to revive their inner rock musicians, Oskari, Santeri and Jere find another rehearsal space. This new band goes through many incarnations , eventually splitting up when they get booted out of said rehearsal space for drinking, smashing stuff and not paying the rent. Landlords can be very unreasonable.
Oskari and Santeri record some demos at their summer cottage under the name Gay Homeboyz. Realising that these songs actually sounded rather pleasant , the brothers avoided the temptation to immediately form a new band, returning instead to the cottage for another sleepless trip. The result of this trip was around ten songs of which Oskari comments “they satisfy myself.” Having ‘satisfied themselves’ with the potential of this new material, Oskari and Santeri present the demos to the ever-critical Sami. Only a moment’s consideration is required, soon Sami is back in the fold.
Oskari eventually has to admit to himself and the rest of the world that he is, in fact, unable to play both the guitar and keys simultaneously, so the boys begin the search for a new guitarist. Oskari remembers that, in school, he played Anouk and Skunk Anansie with a curly headed dude called Petri He sends Petri a text message saying simply “you can come and play in our band if you want. But you don’t have to.” Unfortunately, they call this new band Angels… The band develops in another way as Oskari ‘forgets’ his keyboards more and more frequently, leaving them at home and giving the band’s live shows the weight and considerable energy boost of a two-guitar line-up.
The band records together for the first time at Studio Livingroom in Turku. The resulting 3 track CD includes the tracks Studio Apartment, Three Star Hotel and Day Without Air. While others are actually doing some work, Santeri and Petri have time to think about a decent name for the band whilst sitting around at the studio. They finally decide that words borrowed from Pulp’s Wicker Man roll off the tongue nicely, so the band becomes Traffic Island. They later find out that a band named Traffic had an illustrious career on Island records, but, well, who gives a shit? Towards the end of the year Traffic Island make their first small budget music video, Studio Apartment.
Record companies, radio stations, promoters and the public begin to show interest in the band, at least a little bit anyway. Traffic Island rushes back into the studio to cut 6 new tracks. The band’s second self-financed EP, imaginatively titled ‘Second EP’, has 4 of these songs on it. Well, 6 songs is a bit much if you can only charge a few coins for an EP, and you can’t just give it away! Of course, it depends who you ask... One potential buyer disagreed, spitting at Santeri for his audacity in asking a 10€ for the EP. In the spring Traffic Island plays their first gigs, Santeri confiding to his mother before the first gig that he’s ”nervous as hell”. In the summer, Traffic Island’s problems come to a head with the departure of Sami from the ranks. Fortunately, Mikko Siusluoto appears as if by magic to take his place, and after the first practice Petri compliments him with “you were ok.”.
In November 2006 Traffic Island signs a deal with Universal Music and begins work on their debut album.
The debut album Enough Is Enough is released at the end of April and it gets a decent amount of attention in the media and is received kindly by the critics. It is also selected as Album Of The Week by the radio station YleX. "Why isn't my record selling?", Oskari asks his mother during Midsummer celebration. Traffic Island's first two music videos (Day Without Air & Two Days In a Row), both directed by Jukka Salo, get into rotation on the Californian music channel IMF. In June the band is the supporting act for the "Glasvegas of Las Vegas" The Killers. In the aftermath of VRock festival the band's problems become critical. Santeri leaves the band. However, the next day he changes his mind and requests to rejoin. The third music video is Long Island Expressway. The fine video is directed by Juho Fossi. In Mikkeli the band loses it: two members smash cognac glasses on the hotel room wall. Petri's nose is bleeding in Tampere. The remaining members measure his temperature from his ***hole.
Traffic Island travels to a foreign country for the very first time. Two days in Canada. One live show. Way to go guys. Mikko goes totally mad in Canada and spills Coca-Cola on the floor of a hamburger place. After making it back to the homeland the band heads to the peaceful countryside to work on material for their next album. The songs are coming along nicely and as summer arrives there's a great deal of material ready. So the band's summertime involves mostly chillin' except for Mikko who is selling beer on a restaurant boat floating in Aurajoki while Santeri sits on the other side of the counter. In the fall the band takes the bull by the horns and starts working on their new album. Karo Broman, a good man and the singer/bass player of the band Manboy is persuaded to produce the album. In December the music video for the first single that goes by the name "Words In My Mouth" is being shot. The video is directed by Juha Lankinen.