This UCL Sociology professor also fronts a Finnish metal band

He even has his own Wikipedia page


Titus Hjelm is a lecturer in Finnish Society and Culture at UCL, and moonlights as the bassist and vocalist of metal band “Thunderstone”.

Thunderstone, a cornerstone of Finnish metal culture presumably, even finished runners up in the national heats for 2007 Eurovision.

Titus, a lecturer in Finnish Society and Culture has been with UCL since 2007. He admits that academia was never his intended career route.

He says: “If I met anybody who was nine years old and thought Sociology was the best thing in the world I would be very concerned”.

He started studying at the University of Helsinki just in case, “but that just in case turned out to be my profession eventually”.

titus-hjelm

the man himself

Music has been part of Titus’s life since childhood, with his father being a musician and his mother a ballet dancer.

He has been part of Finnish metal band Thunderstone since 2000, and they’ve released five albums so far.

In 2007 they were runners up to play at Eurovision. But he’s not bitter about not winning.

Titus says: “It was an ideal scenario. It was good to get the publicity without the shame of not winning which was of course the expectation of everyone”.

He states that his influences are Jimmy Hendricks, Deep Purple and most bands from the classic rock period, whereas his band mates prefer the harder material from the 80s and 90s. “My favourite song of all time… hmmm… it depends on the the mood…well lets say Deep Purple’s ‘burn’, that is something that always gets me going when I have had a couple of beers”.

The professor takes his influences from Jimmy Hendrix, Deep Purple and says his favourite song of all time is Deep Purple’s “Burn”.

“That’s something that always gets me going when I’ve had a couple of beers.”

His research into Sociology and Religion has influenced his music – “There is an association between metal music and satanic imagery”.

“My friends were labelled as satanists as they used satanic symbolism but I knew that they weren’t Satanists in any sense of the word, and there’s a gap in the interpretation of the music and what it means to the fans”.

Metal also plays a big part in Titus’ teaching.

He says: “I originally felt too close to the metal scene to say anything scholarly about it, but then it turned out when I interviewed people for the Finnish degree all of them, without exception, said they were there because they listened to Finnish metal music.”

Sadly, none of his students have admitted to being big fans, something that Titus says is “quite healthy”.

“I’ve had people come up to me and say ‘I like your band’ but not in a stalker kind of way.”

Too star-struck to do the correct hand sign

Too star-struck to do the correct hand sign

He describes himself as lucky as he has never been forced to choose between Sociology and his music, as he is always able to take his research on the road.

And although he loves academia he says he can never give up on music.

“You can never get that experience of being on stage anywhere else. Whether it is 4,000 or 40 people screaming their lungs off when you get on stage, it’s just brilliant”.

Finally, he sadly admitted he didn’t know any Taylor Swift songs.

“I have to say that i’m a complete dinosaur in terms of contemporary pop music. I have to admit that I don’t know any of her songs.”