I’m really trying not to lose my shit because I love you so much, but hey, this is Crystal and Metal Invader from Greece. Before we jump into the band’s history, I have to ask; how are you?
Hey, I’m just sitting over my home right now, doing the merchandise for the upcoming tour and I’m really not sure about the others. They are probably rehearsing for our upcoming show with Beast In Black in Helsinki next week (13 Dec.) but I really haven’t prepared anything, because I mess up all the time whatever happens, especially now that we have some new songs to play too, haha!
Since the show is between the Sexorcism era and the official launch of the Killection era live, what songs are you going to play on that show?
We’re just doing our regular setlist so far, plus the two new singles released, “Shake the Baby Silent” and “I Dug A Hole In the Yard for You”.
How do you feel now that Lordi had to go through another departure? Especially from OX, who I think was the longest running member as Amen.
Being in a band is like a being in a relationship orgy; it’s like having an affair with 5 five people, or in my case, with 4. You always wish that it’s the final line up, you really do hope for it. Yeah, OX was in the band for a very long time but he felt the need to do something else. He called me I think it was January and he told me that we need to talk, which you know, makes you think a lot. He told me that he had been thinking that for a very long time, maybe one year and a half. Since he wanted to do something else, I’m not going to be trouble in this. But since Lordi have some specific needs as a band, you know, you can’t always go around in other projects with your true identity. This fucks up the entire concept of Lordi. There’s no bad blood at all, this has happened in the past with other members as well and I’m not here to keep someone by force. The other people will always feel different than you.
Hadn’t you noticed any signs from him?
To be honest, not at all. He’s a really silent guy. He doesn’t talk about his thoughts or ideas. It was a big surprise for all of us. But then again, we all live far away. They have their own lives and I do Lordi 24/7.
You recently got a new guy, Hiisi (which means cum in greek, just to know). How did you meet?
(Hysterical laughter…) You mean like, the sperm? The thing that spills from the dudes? Fucking awesome! I had no idea. I called the guy the next day, or maybe the same day OX decided to talk to me. Me, Amen and Mana knew him so it was quite easy. We didn’t even call anybody else. Timing wasn’t that good because I was doing the demos for “Killection” at the time all this happened. We had all decided that he was our guy, but I totally forgot to call him to tell him that he’s in the band. We discussed the fact that we are interested in him joining, but we didn’t let him know that he’s in. We had already met and had done a small rehearsal but it was more than a month later when we called him back. He was waiting for that and we were like “Fuck!”.
On “Killection”, you have this whole era/compilation theme. Why did you feel the need to do this, considering that you have been experimenting your musical paths on the past records?
This was something I wanted to do in many albums. I grew really tired with the fact that whenever you put an album on, any album, all the songs sound pretty much the same. You hear any song from any band, and within the first few seconds you can already guess which band or album is playing. When Metallica’s new album came out and I heard the first single, the second single which I had never heard before, sounds exactly the same. It’s like I knew the song long ago. As you might know, I write a lot of songs for every album. All the songs want to be in the album but sometimes you can’t do that because this certain song might not fit the album’s sound in general. And I’m really tired of this! There is only room for ten or eleven songs and if it doesn’t fit the atmosphere, you can ruin a really nice song. I wanted to do “songs first”. I wanted to do the album for the songs and not the other way around.
Why didn’t you do it earlier then, since you were tired of this already?
I originally wanted to do this in “Sexorcism”. I wanted to do that when I was writing an album about documented phaenomenons but being stupid as I am, I made this big mistake. When I wrote the “Sexorcism” demos I had already decided which album will belong in which era, on the ’80s, ’70s or whatever. It doesn’t work like that because it’s not only about the sound. It’s actually about the writing style. All the bass lines, the harmonies and the drum parts go are really important as well in order to make an album sound like it was back in the era you’re talking about. There were different “laws” and “rules” of how to create such a song back then. I thought it was right for “Killection”. I wanted us to do “songs first”.
Would you ever consider taking the band’s musical direction into a more extreme level?
No, because I don’t like it. There’s nothing wrong with them, I just don’t understand death and black metal. Maybe this has to do with the vocals. There are some people thinking that I’m doing this kind of growling as well, but not at all. For me, the melody is the most important thing in the vocal lines. I don’t really see any difference between them. When it comes to Children of Bodom for example, I love the music but when Alexi starts singing I really don’t understand it. Same thing with rap and hip-hop. It could be only one note or two, but it still should be a note. I would rather listen to those without vocals. I could write much more heavier stuff, I love bands like King Diamond, Metallica and Anthrax. That’s extreme for me. That’s where the bus stops. In our band, there’s only Hella who listens to that kind of music because she’s younger than us. Me and Mana love Kiss, Alice Cooper, WASP and Motley Crue. Amen on the other hand, is a more classic rock guy. He loves AC/DC and Bon Jovi.
I noticed that Ralph’s participation in the album is a little bigger this time, if I’m correct. Plus, he’s also in the music video. He’s a mandatory persona for Lordi, isn’t he?
His first time was Babez For Breakfast but he was our pyro guy at Ozzfest so we know him for a long time. He loved Kiss and I was like “yeah, we’re brothers”. He looks like my Puerto Rico brother. He always wanted to be involved so it’s funny now that he’s in so many albums. He comes to Finland really often. This time he has done all the SCGs and it’s the story that makes it look a little longer this time. Plus, he’s in the music video for “I Dug A Hole In the Yard For You”. This is something he wanted to do for like ten years and now our stars crossed.
After TBONTB, which was a challenge for Lordi I think, the musical direction got a little bit more melodic and more, metal may I say. Was it natural or it happened on purpose?
On “To Beast”, the main change for Lordi was Kita leaving. If anyone listens to our demos from the 90’s, will probably find out that the songs were always heavier. He’s like Peter Criss and we needed Eric Singer. We couldn’t choose those songs for the previous albums but he couldn’t do all those stuff. When we got Otus everything changed because his skills opened up a new possibility for Lordi’s style, but then he died. We wanted to do some modern and heavier stuff and when we finally had one of the best drummers in Finland, he “left”. Then Mana comes and and he’s somewhere in between. He can do the technical and melodic stuff. It wasn’t something I did on purpose though, but came naturally because by then, we could do it. Otus made it possible. We’re good friends with Kita and he knows that it’s the case.
How did the fans react to the change, you think?
Quite a few people didn’t like it because they were into the mid-tempo, softer 80’s stuff. Many fans were not happy with that. They loved the previous albums. When the faster songs kicked it they were surprised. The songs were too powerful and heavy for them. It was not that everybody liked it. After that, I tried to keep things in the middle. But, to be honest, I’m writing songs for me, not for the fans. If there’s something that my ear likes and the fans like it too, no problem then.
Were there times you thought “Ok, fuck it, I give up”?
Well, there are things where I should have been more tough and not give in to the pressure that I should do this and that. Now I do whatever the fuck I want because I’m a little older and “Fuck you” is easy for me. I don’t take orders from people anymore. Neither suggestions, nor requests. There are things for example, such as the sound of some albums like “Deadache” and I’m not happy with some of the decisions they were made, but somehow some things were never our decisions anyway. The world made us, you know? For example, this is what happened with the “Monsterimies” documentary. We had this idea to do a documentary some years after Eurovision, because for most people especially from Finland, we were just a band for the contest. There were a lot of people that knew us and now there are still people that think “Well, are they still a thing?”. We’re more alive than ever. We do an album every two years, we go on tours and we do summer festivals as well. The world has changed and the information doesn’t reach you if you’re not a fan of the band. The main idea of the documentary was to show a side of our civil lives and the completely different world when on tour. Everything mentioned on the documentary is true, but the guy saw and showed the world the negative ones. I was married at the time and I wasn’t living in Rovaniemi, but in Helsinki. He made it seem like I make all the decisions with my mum. He left out everything. He was disrespectful to our management, to the company and everything. For a full year we were having huge fights with him and the company. I didn’t give any permission for the release, that’s why you cannot hear any of our songs in there, we took all the copyrights away. The film does not have the approval of the band or any of the ex-members, the management and the record company. It’s practically illegal. But in Finland there’s this law that says that the director has the right, not the producer like in other countries. Even though the production company was our side, the director didn’t agree. Fuck you man, this is my life you’re showing.
Now, as a closing, what should we expect from the upcoming tour?
There’s definitely the intro, “Horror for Fire” and then “Shake the Baby Silent”. We;re definitely going to do a B-side of an outsider track. The thing is that in the beginning of the tour, the setlist is longer, because we can see as the days go by how people react to each song. On the last tour for example, we had “Rimskin Assassin” in the set. But we saw that you know, people are going to the bathroom or to the bar in the middle of it, so we left it out. This has also happened with tracks such as “Bringing Back the Balls to Rock”.
Aren’t you considering doing songs like “The House”, one that is really requested on the Lordi Army?
No actually, because the house is not our original song, it’s a cover. Just as “I’m so Excited”. I would never consider having a cover on my regular setlist, because whenever I go to a show and the band does a cover, I’m like “What the fuck, do your own songs people”. I can promise that we’ll do a bonus track or a B-side, but it’s definitely not “The House”, haha!