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The origins and early years of the Flow Mo Crew
Originally published September 3, 2014
By the new millennium Finland had a rich scene with a lot of crews. The skill level was at a long time high after the dark and silent years of the 1990’s. The hungry, rising scene created a little tension between the cities and the air was full of anticipation. Something was about to happen. My crew at the time, MidPoint Rockers est. 1997, started making a lot of noise. We won the first organised battles after a long time such as Helsinki Battle & Breakers Trevenge. Helsinki based Savage Feet Crew’s fame was spreading through hip hop jams and also music videos and tours by the band Bomfunk MC’s. One night in 1999 we were both booked to do a showcase at a party in the city of Hämeenlinna. Both crews did their thing but we didn’t speak yet. That time you wouldn’t just walk up to a crew to give props. You’d have to pay dues and earn your respect.
Savage Feet’s bboy Animal didn’t care. He found out my number and gave me a call few weeks later. Animal insisted that he’d come to my city, live in my house and train with us. So Janne Ratinen aka Animal was the first to make a move for the connection with two crews. After some nice sessions he invited MidPoint Rockers to session in Helsinki and we did. We got to meet Savage Feet members and the energy was good. Savage Feet had a little free time from touring and Scandinavian Battle of the Year 2000 was coming in Sweden. Since both crews were getting a little short of members for big battles, we decided to join forces and do something that hadn’t really been done before: rock a bboy jam abroad with a Finnish crew. Since we didn’t have a name together yet so we decided to enter the battle as IMR after Illmatic Crew & MidPoint Rockers (Illmatic Crew was Savage Feet’s first name).
"It was seriously time to put Finnish bboying on the map"
The trip to Gothenburg was incredible. We saw hardcore bboys and bgirls from all over Scandinavia. After the shows we got put in the third place battle against Rhythm Rockers from Norway. They rocked hard with bboys like Dark Marc and Sultan, but we managed to win and get the third place prize plus the best show award. Final was fierce with Denmark’s Natural Effects and Nasty 9 (collaboration with Sweden’s Moves Per Minute and Norway’s Atomic Bboys). Meeting some of the older generation Scandinavian boys like Freeze, Jam One, & Pay2 inspired us to push even harder.
Birth of the crew
Encouraged by our great trip we continued to work together. We created a theatre piece and made a little tour on Finnish stages. April 21st 2002 we rocked a show in a funk party in my city Jyväskylä. The vibe was great for the two crews. So the day after we had a meeting and thought we need to form a real crew together and unite our forces. Everybody gave their own propositions for the crew name. There was many different ones. Antopio’s Cypher Spirit was a strong candidate but eventually got dropped. The word ‘cypher’ wasn’t really that common yet. Back then in our area they were know as circles and we weren’t sure if the word cypher could be understood. Wartecs came up with the concept and name Flow Mo. While other crews danced on slow motion, our crew always has a dope flow hence the term Flow Motion, Flow Mo in short. That was the best one we had so we stuck with it. 22nd April 2002 Flow Mo was born in a small practise spot in central Finland. Flow Mo Originals, the founding members:
- Animal aka Niro aka Twister
- Jani Salonen
- Pasi Piipponen
- Taya aka T-Flow
Soon we added Lisa aka b-girl LeeLee to the line up. Bboy Ata joined the crew for about two years in 2003. Savage Feet writer Jani Tolin aka Sign104 got put down as the writer of the crew. By 2004 we had rocked jams all over Europe and was time to head out to USA with the whole squad. The b-girls had already rocked Lords of the Floor in 2001 and won the Bboy Summit bgirl battles in 2003. Freestyle Session 8 and Bboy Summit X took place in August 2004 and turned out to become legendary events. In Freestyle Session we were honoured to have Freeze and Jam One supporting Flow Mo in the crew battle. Most of the bboys we ever looked up to were there in the two jams. Meeting Rock Steady in the first round was a turning point for the crew. It was seriously time to put Finnish bboying on the map.
By 2005 some members had already moved on for other things in life. We recruited Hatsolo, strong-minded bboy hailing from his previous crews Riski Clique & Foo Moves who had already done a bunch of international battles with the crew. Winning Circle Kingz 2005 with Hats was super influential and Flow Mo’s rep got strong. By 2006 crews close friends from long time Rome-1 (previously Stepwise & Rytmisektio) and Mercy-1 (Riski Clique & Foo Moves) got put down and we won Rock Steady Anniversary in New York. B-girl AT was making a lot of noise and she was put down in 2008. Latest recruitment was Saki-1 by the end of 2011.
By 2014 Flow Mo has rocked jams in over 50 countries. Besides bboying the crew in very active on different fields of arts and culture such as music, visual arts, organising events and running organisations. We keep touring rocking jams and doing what we do best. Saiffa - Flow Mo Dance School is building the next generations of Finnish b-boys & b-girls. The crew’s slogan “Flow Mo stands for hard work and love towards the culture” from the early days is today more relevant than ever. We still keep footwork as our art form and motion as our identity. FM 02 till infinity. Flow Mo members by 2014 (same line up still valid at 2017):
- Hatsolo the White Gorilla
- Mercy-1 aka Olli
- Sign104 aka Tolin
- Taya aka T-Flow