Rozhovor 18.02.2020 Lordi en - HELLMAGAZINE

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Samuel Sámel

LORDI


Lordi is releasing a new album and that means we're taking our favorite duty, which is an interview with Mr. Lordi. Why favorite? Because Mr. Lordi just doesn't have a filter on his mouth. So in addition to the new and very unusual conceptual album Killection, we alsos get to the departure of favorite bass playere Ox, idea of how old Mr. Lordi is in his own head, his health problems or realisation that Indians are not really legit horror monsters.

 

You are releasing new album called „Killection“ in few days. Can you give us a small introduction to the album?


Ehm, sure. The name says it all because the full name is „Killection – A Fictional Compilation Album“ and that´s exactly what it is. It is a fictional compilation album. (Laugh) It is the compilation album of the history of the band that never was. That pretty much sums it up. It is a make believe collection. It´s a fake collection.

OK. So how have you came up with that concept? It´s not something that is really common.


We have actually not found a single one album that would be like that. Ever since when I got the idea I was asking people and nobody has any knowledge of anything like this before. So how this came about? It´s because of couple things, really. The first reason for the idea is the fact that I write a lot of songs all the time and most of those songs never make it to the album. For every Lordi album with 10 songs on it, there is at least 20 songs that don´t make it to the album. And usually within those 20 songs that I left out there is one or two songs that are actually the kind of songs that everybody likes but it doesn´t fit the sound of production of the album that we are about to release. That leads to the conclusion that we are actually leaving out good songs that everybody likes. That´s one thing that´s been bugging me for the years because that´s the opposite of wrong way of doing things. Because when you are releasing music you are looking for songs that are good but the sound and production should follow the songs and not the other way around. So on this album, there is a fucking disco song and if you´d record it with normal metal sound, it just wouldn´t work. You have to have that authentic sound. So the sound and the production should be slave to the songs and not the other way around. So that´s where the idea came along. Because I got so fucking frustrated and so pissed off because of the whole thing that you write the songs and good songs don´t make it to the album. Much worse songs (in my opinion) made it to the album because of the fact that they are good for the sound of the album.

OK. So let me get this straight. Those are all the old songs that you have written at some point?


No. No. No. To make it even more complicated, those are all new songs.

So no old song was used?


No. That´s because I had this idea already for the previous album – Sexorcism. But then we decided to leave it for the tenth album which this is now. So there was a little bit too much time between the idea and starting to write for this album so between that time the whole idea got a little bit bigger in my head. I started thinking that „OK, if we´re gonna do this, let´s do it the full way. Let´s do it 110% so I am gonna write songs that are actually in the style of certain era.“ So all the songs are new and all the songs are actually written in the past year. I started to write the songs in January and finished in March or something. So all the songs are new even though there are little pieces here and there that are older. For example the chorus line in „I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You“ – that line and melody is actually from Monsterican Dream time demos. But just that line, nothing else. I´ve said this before few times and they all got it wrong. Only that one line. Nothing else. Then there is the song „Apollyon“ where you hear the piano line that starts the song and all that jazzy hippie shit – all that stuff is something I wrote in 90s. That is from notes I wrote in ´92 or ´93. Those are the only two parts I wrote before. Of course there is a song „Like a Bee to the Honey“ that was already written in 1989 but that´s not written by me. That´s written by Paul Stanley and Jean Beauvoir. But most of it – like 95% of the album is written last year.

And what about all the good songs that are still hidden somewhere because they didn´t fit the previous albums?


That´s exactly what it is. Those songs are waiting. Sometimes they see light of day, you know. In most of the cases when we are starting to write for a new album I go through all the demos for the past years. There has to be like 800-900 songs that are not released. It´s the great amount of songs. I go through those songs and usually we find a song or two from the old demos that we choose. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It doesn´t mean that they are completely unused but the problem is that when you release album every two years and on every new album you got on average 10 songs but every time you write songs, you got at least 30-40 new songs. Materialwise we could easily release two doublealbums every year. Just because we have so much stuff and there is more coming all the time. I don´t know how to switch it off. I write all the time. I have new song nearly every week. That´s the positive problem I have. So where are all those songs that we didn´t released? They are in the vault waiting for their turn. Usually at some point some of them will see the light of the day but when you think just about mathematics of it. But for the most of the songs, there is reason why they didn´t make it to the album. Mainly because they are too shitty. They are just that bad. (Laugh) That being said, there are always some songs that are actually pretty fucking great but ...

There are always some songs we can use for the new album. Sometimes there are songs from two albums back that could be used now. And you understand the frustration here, right? You are writing something and at the moment of writing everything is pure diamond in my head. It´s the best song in the world. So after I record the demos and do everything then I hear that it´s the great song but it doesn´t fit the others. So that is the frustration when this comes. I am like „AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!“

You mentioned „Like the Bee to the Honey“ written by Paul Stanley. You collaborated with Michael Monroe on that track and it´s making it pretty strong song because you are huge Kiss fan and Hanoi Rock was also pretty big thing. How do you feel about that specific song?


Well. The story behind it is pretty funny. You know Jean Beauvoir who is co-writer of the song with Paul Stanley. He used to write with Paul Stanley back in 80s and he wrote like couple of songs for Kiss and then he wrote „Pet Sematary“ for The Ramones and bunch of other songs. He wrote a lot of 80s rock hit songs. He is friend of Amen, our guitar player, and they´ve been in contact via e-mails for years. A little bit less than year ago – it was March or April or something – Jean was coming to Kiss Expo in Helsinki and contacted Amen „I am coming to Helsinki and so – how about writing something together?“ Amen calls me that Jean is coming and if I wanna write something together. I was like „Sure, fuck yeah!“ So we went to our rehearsals room and wrote about 7 songs that only one made it to the album – the last one that is „Scream Demon“ song. But before we even started writing I was in contact with Jean – he was with Paul in Miami in States and he was asking what kind of stuff are we gonna write? I was like „Well, I already have written 70s song, I already have some of the 90s stuff written, I have a lot of stuff covered but since we needed to write something to fit in 80s – something like hair metal or AOR – it´s Jean who was there and done that in that era so he have perfect sense to write something like that. So he came over and while we were driving from his hotel to our rehearsal room he told us „By the way, guys, there is song that I want you guys hear. Because when you said you want something to sound like from the 80s how about actually using a song that is actually from the 80s?“ And I was like „Yeaaaaaaah?!“ and then he played us song that he and Paul wrote back in the ´89 or ´88 and it never made it anywhere. It was not released ever before. It was just been there. I already said this before but for me as a fucking Kiss fanatic to hear a song that no fan has ever heard before ... I was like „Oh, holy fuck! This is some authentic shit!“ And he told us if we wanna use that song. You can imagine my answer – „Fuck yeah we want!“ Paul was more than OK, Paul gave us thumbs up and told us „Sure guys, take it!“ So for Kiss fan it´s  the highest fucking honor you can imagine. We got a song that was never heard before and we got honor to put it out. We are the band that can say that „It´s our song (in a way)“.

When it comes to Michael Monroe – on the original demo there was a saxophone solo. So we decided we´d have saxophone solo on the song and then we had to think – who we know who play saxophone – oh, Michael. I called him, he told me he wanna do it and that´s it. Very simple. But it´s funny it all fit into one song.
 

On the album you got new bass player, actually. Can you introduce us the guy, his character and how he fit the band? You already played some shows with Hiisi...


We played one and a half shows together. (Laugh) We played one show in Helsinki with Beast in Black in December and we played one private show in Stockholm for one song. When Ox called me and told me he wants to leave the band, Hiisi was the first guy who came to my mind, who I call first – in less than 24 hours we got Hiisi in the band. I called him if he want to be in the band and he said „Fuck yeah!“. That was simple as that. I mean – he is playing wise, he is completely different than Ox is. His playing style is different – where Ox is more like machine, like „Bah Bah Bah Bah“, like a robot. Hiisi is more sophisticated. But whenever new guy joins the band, whatever instrument he plays, they will make the versions of their own. Of course we won´t tell them to play exactly like their predecessor – they are making their versions of the songs. Of course they should be loyal to the songs but if they wanna play something a little different, it´s fine with me. That´s what makes it interesting and more alive. Like I said – if you compare same songs that Kiss was playing in 70s with original line-up or in the 80s with Bruce and then with Eric Carr and later with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer and all these other people in there you hear that same song sounds different. Even tho the songs are the same. It is gonna be interesting to hear how it´s gonna sound when he plays old Lordi songs. So far so good. When we were in rehearsals, everybody was nodding their heads. He is a cool guy. Let´s hope he´s can manage first tour! That´s the true trial by fire.
How can you introduce us his character – Hiisi – Arctic Troll ...

...something whatever. (Laugh) It was a bit of a struggle to come up with character for him. The thing is that every time the new guy joins Lordi, obviously, they have to have some character. They have to be some sort of monster. And every once in a while when a new guy joins, there has been problem where I am a huge horror fan, Amen is a huge horror fan, but every once in a while there is someone joining the band who are not into horror at all but they are joining the band anyway. So I have to say that he is one of those guys. He doesn´t know anything about horror films. I asked him:
- „What´s your favourite horror character?“ and he told me „I don´t know.“
- „Dude, come on, what do you like? What do you dislike? What are the characters you like?“ And he told me „I like Indians.“
- „Indian is not a fucking horror character, dude!“ (Laugh)

So it was a bit tricky to actually try to find character that he wants to be but then it took a long time but eventually we end up with Hiisi. Hiisi in Finnish – it´s a Finnish word and it means something like demon from the deep or demon from the water or demon of the forest. So it is a really old Finnish folklore traditional demon. A really fucking badass monster. That´s the Finnish background to it. We got this saying that if little kids go swim in the river without supervisions – the parents are telling that to children. „Don´t go swim too far, otherwise Hiisi could take you.“ The look, the whole lizzard concept comes from the water element there and there are bits and pieces of this of South American in there because he likes that shit. So every time, we try to add to the character and to the costume something that the member actually digs. I think the best explanation to this is when Mana joined the band 7-8 years ago, he said „Please, don´t make me a raging werewolf because I am just nothing like that.“ So whatever character you are gonna be, whatever monster you are gonna be, it has to be continuum to your own personality. Because whereas Mana is very calm and he takes his time before he opens his mouth and shit like that, so his character has also to be very calm as it´s not gonna work if you try to put somebody into a character that doesn´t fit the personality at all. So with Hiisi, what you see is what you get. He is slick little motherfucker. (Laugh) His playing style when he is standing reminded me of a reptile somehow so that´s how it came.

Cool. Back to the album ... a little. You recorded 13 songs in 7 studios. That is quite uncommon. So can you tell us why you choose this concept and those specific studios?


Well, because of the concept is so strange and I wanted to every single song to sound different. I wanted every single song to sound like it is from that certain era. The best example is the 70s song – of course you can technically make a 70s sounding song in a modern digital studio but the odds are that you´re gonna fuck it up! You´re gonna use too much modern technologies while you´ll be doing it. So for example with 70s song we went to studio in Tampere, Finland. That studio is proud to be all analog. They have only analog shit – there is not a single digital gadget in the studio. So when we went there, we recorded 70s song because I wanted the sound to be legit. I wanted the songs from the 70s to actually sound like they are from 70s and the way you can actually make it reality is by recording it with equipment and with gear that is from 70s. I´ll give you an example – so there is song that is supposed to be from 1975 and on that recording and all the gear that was used for recording is actually from the 70s. Nothing used for the song is not younger than 1975, you know what I mean? Event he microphones, the drums, the amps, the speakers, the desk ... if you are gonna do it with right equipment, you´ll end up with result where you have a 70s sounding shit.

You are always doing the costumes and all the time you do the new costumes there is something that is a bit of a challenge. What was the most challenging in the terms of making costumes for Killection era?


Well, I would say Hiisi because he is a new character so it was difficult to come up with new character. The challenges were running against the time again because when we went to the studio, we did summer festivals and doing the costumes and masks at the same time. So the time was the most challenging part. But I would say the main issue that I have with the whole costume and mask making is coming up with something new for Mr. Lordi and Amen because we have already so many of these costumes. It is pretty difficult to come up with something new so it´s kind of hard to come up with something we haven´t done before. For me – Mr. Lordi and Amen, it´s getting more difficult every single time when we´re trying to make something new for Mr. Lordi again because this is about 11th version of Mr. Lordi, because at the same time you have to stay in character, you know. You need to still know it´s Mr. Lordi but at the same time you need to renew it from head to toe. I have to be honest, I am already sometimes coming out of ideas. How many different Mr. Lordi you can have? But luckily, so far there is still something we come up with. For example with Amen it was last costume it was Amen having long jacket that he haven´t  got before. So well, why not continue with that? So it´s basically little things. Well, to put it simple, the hardest thing is always to come wtih something new.

Thanks to costumes, your fans didn´t really see you aging – how do you deal with that?


(Laugh) Well, that´s cool. I mean you kind of see it, but you don´t really don´t. At least you cannot really hear it. I am OK with it but the funny thing is for me is that I feel like I am fucking 16 year old. I´ve always felt like that even though it was 30 years ago. I don´t feel a day older than 16 year old. I am thinking the same I did back then. So I know it´s clichee but I think the age is just a number and it´s not a problem. Of course you notice your body is trying to renegotiate the contract with you. Like what the fuck is this?! And then you realise you are 46 and shit like that just starts to happen. I had a little bit of a heart problems. Arythmia problems last year. I work a lot and all of the sudden I got that arythmia problem and I didn´t know where it came from. So I called my friend and she told me that I should go to the hospital. I was like fuuuuck that. She told me I am not young boy anymore. But I felt like a young boy. But obviously I am not so I went to the hospital right next morning and they took me in. I was like what the fuck?! (Laugh) My heart was giving me a warning sign, you know. But it was nothing dangerous. But there is the first time for everything, you know. It was nothing dangerous and nothing to worry about. But it was the first time for me. It was my body telling me that I can´t do same things I was doing 10 years ago. But all of those things with aging comes as surprise. And I am always like „What?! What´s going on?“ (Laugh) But it´s all right. I feel young in my brain so I don´t give a fuck.

You were saying about first times – actually right now it´s for the first time when Lordi band member is releasing a solo album as a Lordi monster – I mean Amen Ra´s single. How are you looking at this? Because even tho someone was releasing something before, he could not really say so.


Here´s the thing. This time, it´s completely different. This is completely different. Because all the other ones wanted to release something as their civil persona. If Kita would release something as Kita, I would be perfectly fine with that. When Amen is releasing something as Amen, it´s completely fine. Here´s the thing where I draw the line. If Amen or Mr. Lordi or Kita or Ox or Mana or Hella or Hiisi or whoever – they are the characters of the band Lordi and of this fantasy or image. And they can not exist in the same time as people who are inside the character or civil persona. That would fuck it up. So for example, when Ox wanted to leave, he said he want to make something more and something different, musically too, and that was big problem for him because he wanted to go out there and play with his friends in the clubs and jam. I mean I am working for Lordi all the time but the rest of the members are not. If we don´t play the shows, they got nothing to do. So if they wanna jam with friends in bars or something, there is a problem as if you are band member of the Lordi, you are in this cage that you cannot do it publically. You cannot really say you that are member of Lordi publically. Because that will kill the character immediately. I will just not accept that. So that was Ox´s decision – he wanted to do something different and something else and he didn´t wanna be Ox while doing that. And I could accept that. And that is exactly the same thing that Kita did. Even though Kita didn´t make it as politely and didn´t do it as politically correct because he wanted to have a slice of that cake too. He was like „Don´t worry, nobody would notice.“ And I was like „No, you are out of the band.“ And he wasn´t really happy with that but that´s not really possible. But we are still friends with Kita and we even met the next day and told me „Yeah, I was wrong, sorry. Fuck it!“ Because you know, Kita was dead the second his civil persona was out. So that´s it. But to your original question – Amen is still Amen and Amen can do whatever he wanna do but the guy inside Amen can´t do a shit publically. That would be a suicide for Amen, you know.

Once you said – I quote – I love the new album the most every time until the next album. So that means that right now you are looking a little bit different on Sexorcism album. Would you change something on this album?


Ehm, well ... not too long ago I was listening to the album when I was trying to think of the songs for the next tour setlist and it turned out to be a lot darker album than I thought. Now I have a little more distance to the album and it happened to be a lot darker. At that time when we were writing it and when we were recording it, at the we were releasing it in my head it was much more brighter album than it actually is. But this is the thing ... when you are so close to the album you are recording you are so deep in the process that you cannot really see it objectively so ... would I have done something differently on the Sexorcism album? No. I tis perfect in a way it is. It sis perfect Sexorcism album. But I am surprised how dark it sounded to me. Because I thought it was much happier album. But there are songs like „Romeo ate Juliet“ or „Beast is Yet to Cum“ – especially „Beast is Yet to Cum“ was something I digged a lot and wanted to play live a lot and we´re not gonna do it on that tour, but we´re gonna do it sometimes because that´s my favourite song of the album. Which is funny because I just happened to hear some comments on the Sexorcism album where some fans were talking that we somehow didn´t match at what songs are good and what are not on the album. Which is quite funny because usually those songs that we thought less of are the ones our fans love the most and vice versa. Good example for that is case of Sexorcism – there is song called „Sodomisticated Animal“ there and we were actually thinking if we are even putting that song on the album but people actually dig it!

So you are launching tour in few days – what can we expect on that tour?


Well there is obviously something new but what we´re gonna do this time – well, obviously, there would be new stage as always, there is new setlist, but there would not be as many new effects. We have all the old effects because we have such a fucking big catalogue of effects so we are gonna actually bring back some of those. There are few new things, obviously, but we´re not gonna be renewing and redoing the whole trick department. We´re more like doing something like the best of tricks this time. But as far as the setlist goes it was interesting dilemma because last summer I told the bandguys that – „How about we just play full new album and only „Would you Love a Monsterman“, „Devil is a Loser“ and „Hard Rock Hallelujah“ maybe on top of that?“ And we were really thinking about it for like two weeks ago but then I decided to ask few guys who are actually Lordi fans and I asked about three people about that idea. And from them I got feedback – „Don´t do it!“ Because none of the fans have heard the album yet. It could be a fucking disaster. Because if fans would have hate the album, it would be shitty evening for everybody. So I think we have interesting setlist this time. We have those „must play songs“, that´s like 1/3 of setlist we´re not playing „Snows in Hell“ this time at all. Which is the first time in few years. Then there is about 1/3 of the setlist from the songs from new album, something like 5 or 6 songs and then there are 5-6 songs that are from other albums and that are kind of like weird selections. On this set, there is more never head songs like ever before. We´re playing two songs that we´ve never ever played live and we are playing one song we´ve played only once ever before and that was like 15 years ago. It´s gonna be interesting but I´m happy that we are at 10th Lordi album and we will have at least one song from every album on the setlist. But it´s not necessarily song that you´d expect. It´s not necessarily gonna be the single from each album.
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