WHO IS RAIK SÕSTER?
FUSING WITH TARTU
Raik Sõster was born in the village of Voore, in Jõgevamaa County. His first ten years were spent in Voore, after which he moved to Tartu with his mother.
His childhood in the new city was riddled with difficulties – problems with fitting in at school and poverty did not make the transition easy. According to Raik, however, poverty and deterrence have been his best teachers. He came to realize that he is the only one that mattered and the rest was noise.
During his teenage years, Raik dived into books and music, since there was no TV at home for a couple of years. While he was filling notebooks with music charts, Raik dreamed of starting his own band. He preferred listening to punk rock, Nirvana, anything loud and ear deafening that sang about not giving a fuck. Even though he mainly listened to alternative music, his first idea was to start a boy band.
When about the age of 14, Raik thought a name for his future band, – Shitflowers – and at the age of 16, he made his dream happen. Shitflowers lasted for 14 years – during that time they independently produced two albums called “Dead City Rockers” and “Anti-Social”. They got acquainted with the Tartu punk scene, performed at Punk N Roll festivals and at Labadaba Festival in Latvia.
Raik’s school years were difficult. Attending five schools in the span of twelve years, gave him a heap full of lessons about life and conforming. “Since most of the time I was always the smallest kid and not in the best of health, I was an easy target for bullying. Then again, it built character, and in the end, all debts were paid,” says Raik. Despite having difficulties socially, academically Raik did fine. He attended the school Olympiad on many occasions and was also athletic, but the constant moving and change of surroundings permitted him from making any good friends, which he compensated with having a rich inner world. He started writing lyrics for Shitflowers and experimenting with prose and poetry. During the end of his high school years, he was successful in Prima Vista and Vello Saage literary competitions.
And all this time, his real wish, despite his artistic leanings, was to have a career in the military, but after his friend died in the military, Raik’s wish died with him.
THE BEGINNING OF SKENERAATOR
According to Raik, organizing Skeneraator was a natural progression to all the smaller gigs and projects he had been doing up to that point. Near the end of the last decade, Tartu’s punk scene was virtually dead, so he decided that if nobody else was doing anything, then you have to do it yourself.
After producing their first album with Shitflowers, together with Mart Cruel and Tafka, the football club JK Vedelik was formed. By organizing events for JK Vedelik, concerts progressed naturally. Keeping the rehearsal room alive together with Skeneraator co-organizer Stirru and friend Kala has culminated with the creation of NGO Kroks that is the center of the now once again lively underground scene in Tartu.
In 2014, Raik tried his hand in hosting radio shows and took a seat in Tartu’s local Generaadio, where he began with shows like “Provintsi punk” (Province Punk), “Kaks kaptenit” (Two Captains) and “Kuldsüda” (Goldheart). When the editor-in-chief left Generaadio, Raik took his seat for a year and a half and remains a board member to this day.
Raik wishes to continue with making music and is waiting to once again be on stage. Building the new venue takes a lot of time and energy, but is needed to keep the scene lively. In the future, Raik wishes to finish up some of his IT projects and finish four novels. Lately, his passion has been gardening. “And if that is too little, then there are a hundred other things that I wish to finish before I die”, he muses.