Interview with Jyrki at Ankkarock'02
Melamory: Have you ever talked to any Russian media before me?
M: How many times?
Jyrki: This year probably like 2.
M: Do you know that you're quite popular in Russia?
Jyrki: No, I've no idea.
M: All HIM fans listen to you a lot!
Jyrki: Oh… that's great.
M: So, you're very popular in Russia and we're waiting for you to come!
Jyrki: They (HIM guys. - Melamory.) are sitting at the next table…
M: Yeah, I see them… It's quite hard in Russia to get information about you and we know you, but could you introduce the other guys? Who are they, their characters, so on.
Jyrki: Our drummer is Jussi, he's like one of the most famous of us among the teenagers. He likes to fool around. He likes to hang out in the jet-set parties. He's too much in features in magazines, teen-magazines. That's funny. He likes to have fun. Archzie, the bass player, he's reliable and I think he's pretty close to Lemmy from Motorhead. Rhythm guitarist, Timo-Timo, he's the guy who has the short black hair, pretty kind of mellow guy, I guess the most silent, but for some reason he's got the most, you know, blond girls follow him everywhere. It's very funny to see him going somewhere where we play, and he always has the blond girls. He is kind of blondie magnet. Bazie is our lead-guitarist who's doing most of the songs. He has the black long hair. He's the guy behind most of the riffs for the songs. He's kind of musical leader of the band. And he keeps the leadership in that way. That's it.
M: Can you say that you're the leader of the band?
Jyrki: Like I said this guy… Well, everybody's a leader in a way, in their own way. I come up with the ideas for the songs, the lyrics… hard work… But it's like pretty funny anyway if sometimes I do something, maybe something stupid or something. And next thing I realize the other guys are doing this. It's pretty cool. I mean it's such a long time that we're together, we're friends for 15 years or something. So, it's like as we're together pretty tight unit. And also I'm not afraid to say that in some ways I'm the leader, I'm the dictator. But naturally the guys totally agree, otherwise we wouldn't be here. That's it. Maybe I'm somewhere introducing new things for the guys: I watch the movies first, get some records first, see the good-looking girl in the audience first or something like that. And sometimes or always all the five guys enjoy the same things.
M: How did you meet each other?
Jyrki: Well, it is the old school way of other rock'n'roll bands form in the rock'n'roll bars. We'd been interested in music, girls and alcohol. One thing leads to another, and three things lead that you form a band.
M: And how can you call your style now?
Jyrki: Well, that could be dark rock'n'roll.
M: So, it's not gothic any more?
Jyrki: Well, it's gothic as much as you want to say that it's gothic. And it's whatever, you know, you wanna call it it's all the same. It's still rock'n'roll, but there're more shadows.
M: On your official site of Paris Kills it is written that it's "gothic for masses"…
Jyrki: And that's well. Of course.
M: So that's what you want?
Jyrki: When journalists have to introduce a band they come up with something to compare, to give idea what's the band sound. I think with Paris Kills there's no necessity to describe our band's sound by giving some compares to the other bands. It's still only the The 69 Eyes. Like for example Motorhead. You know, to describe Motorhead by saying some others bands names… It was done like in the late 70s probably. But these days - no way. And I hope with Paris Kills it's the same.
M: Are you happy with Paris Kills?
Jyrki: Yeah! It's the most successful record of ours. It's the most natural album. It was more controlled, it has more feelings. It's like a solid record. I mean, these days a lot of records are sold only because of one song, like some hit song which you know from MTV. I think in that sense Paris Kills is really full rock record, because it's the solid record from the beginning to the end. There's the hits, but I think everything in the whole thing is worth from the beginning to the end.
M: When you started recording it did you know that it would be in this style? Or did you change something?
Jyrki: Well the idea of making Paris Kills was that we wanted to make the best possible live set… to play live. And with Blessed Be we had a really cool live show but still I think we needed more solid songs for the live set. Now with the songs from Paris Kills and Blessed Be and maybe some songs from Wasting the Dawn it's like really, really good live set, in our case pretty perfect.
M: And why Paris?
Jyrki: City of extremes. Extremes can be dangerous, but also it's such a cool place. You know, there's everything from fashion and glamour to rock'n'roll. And there's this strong sense of death always here. And I think it's perfect with horror. And seems like we were hanging out there pretty much during the last couple of years. Actually I'm going there in two week's time again to dj in the local gothic clubs. Maybe like with Wasting the Dawn there were some ideas I got, you know, in Rome. I was pretty much fascinated of Rome like for a couple of years. And then Blessed Be that has some feelings that I got from really north part of Lapland, I was there a couple of weeks just before we started to do the record and I was really again inspired. So like to get some inspiration and feelings from people, moments. After Rome and Lapland the triangle completes with Paris.
M: And why Kills?
Jyrki: Just act from Jim Morrison or Princess Diana, Oscar Wilde. Love kills too.
M: But do you listen to your old albums?
Jyrki: Hmmm… Well, sometimes we're going to play some songs and I have to check out the lyrics.
M: 'Cos I have a friend and she knows you from the beginning and she still thinks that Juicy Lucy is your best song…
Jyrki: All right, ok…
M: Is it possible you can play it now?
Jyrki: It wouldn't be fair for the major audience. I think the last two albums are the most famous among tens of thousands of people who come to see us, so it would be kind of stupid to play old stuff. Otherwise why not, even though the message is totally different when it came of from the brain of twenty-year old guy than the guy who did it in 34 or a little bit over.
M: How did it happen that you changed your style after Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams album?
Jyrki: I don't think we changed at all. I think it's the same. I mean it was just developing only. You know like Velvet Touch from one of our first albums and also on the first albums we had some darker moments and with Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams we were experimenting with the machines doing hardcore cover for Blondie's Call Me. It's just we're sliding slowly to the sound what we achieved with Wasting the Dawn. And what is really important is that for Blessed Be we finally discovered a producer who not only resurrects the band but also brings together the brightest things that we can do, like we weren't able to do only by ourselves or some guys we started recording with. Before that the records had been produced by ourselves. So everything leads to another. I think it's kind of… eh… it's really hard to explain by yourself because I think everything has happened really fast. So, if you start to… if you have like two albums or three albums and start to study the history of The 69 Eyes. It's pretty long. And it was pretty hard to record as well in the way we did. Everything has always been like that. I don't know, the time that changes… it's funny because when we started the band naturally some ideas were different as we were younger and we wanted to pay attention to some other ways. We succeeded very well but also the time has been changed around us, you know.
M: But I understand that now you're a little bit lighter and you sound more electronic. Is it what you wanted?
Jyrki: Well, I almost have developed into this way they're right now. It's great job, deep… And it's getting deeper. It has more levels there, I think it's like it wasn't in the beginning of the band. It definitely wasn't the major element of The 69 Eyes, it was something else. So now I think we started to be one of them And it is one of the major elements, it has to be arranged of course… And because of the style, I think, there's no limitations for the music we can do in the future. I'm shouting, I'm screaming high. We can do everything from an expressive kind of rockabilly to really dark gothic or even dance stuff like "A-ha". It's interesting to see what we come out next time. But I already have some ideas for the next record and definitely there's going to be some really, really hard stuff on it, heavy stuff. That's my idea now.
M: But now you have to use playback for the keyboards on stage…
Jyrki: Year, it can sound from the machine.
M: Isn't it difficult for the band to catch the right moment when you're on stage and…
Jyrki: No, it's actually, it was really great to score with Paradise Lost, because they have taken line-up like we have - five guys. And they are kind of the first band we know in this type or actually doing the same way. They have the keyboard sound from the machine and some rhythm elements. It's kind of modern way of doing those things. And it's really cool because they originally before us, what we didn't realize, what the band could use the same kind of systems. That was pretty cool. And I think we proved that it's natural.
M: And what about your videos? Are you proud of them?
Jyrki: I hope there can be better ones. Some videos are cool, but I don't care about them so much. They are just elements to introduce the band or to show how the band, or maybe the record company people or something like that. I don't think that the videos are the major product of The 69 Eyes yet, definitely they've only been the ideas of the directors and stuff, so…. We haven't done so much. They say what they are going to be like. The video I really like is Wasting the Dawn which has pretty much stuff on it. It's kind of really cool because it has all these underground Finnish gothic people. In the video we have Ville from HIM as Jim Morrison on the snow cemetery. It's pretty cool. Even oriental cathedral on the video. It's really underground but it has really cool things there, I think that's my favourite video.
M: Do you think that the video for Dance D'Amour can introduce your album in the right way?
M: Do you like this video?
Jyrki: I don't really care so much. I mean it didn't do any harm, you know… If it helps the record to get platinum, why not?
M: When you shoot a video can you say "No, I don't want it. I want something else"? Can you give your ideas for the video?
Jyrki: Well, I think the last time the video which had my ideas was Wasting the Dawn, really, other videos have been just… eh… Well, people like them, and to do this political comment I just have to say that the videos are or yet haven't been the major product of The 69 Eyes. Because I always, you know, like to have control of what we're doing. In videos the case is the control is probably somewhere else. For instance for Paris Kills I'm really proud of the cover shots which was done in Paris and with the artwork. Those are the things that I totally really control, so those are the things I'm really proud of.
M: You have a new single "Betty Blue". Will you shoot the video for it?
Jyrki: Year, it's already done.
M: And what's the idea of it?
Jyrki: I'd like to keep it a secret. It's kind of totally different than what you can expect.
M: And when can we see it?
Jyrki: I think it's already out. I mean it's ready, but I don't know if they have shown it yet. But it's totally, totally, totally different.
M: Won't we see the band in the video?
M: Did you take part in the shooting of the video?
Jyrki: Ah, yeah…
M: And what about your relationship with other Finnish musicians? What do you like? What do you listen to?
Jyrki: Like you can see at these festivals we're pretty much like one big family, no matter what kind of music the bands are playing. And these couple of years have been a really, really creative period. You know, a lot of things are happening and a lot of really good things people create. And it's a really cool feeling. I mean, like foreigners, I think you guys, know metal bands from here. And also there's a lot of other kind of music, and lots of people are pretty much more or less together. So it's great.
M: What do you like to listen to at home?
Jyrki: At home? Well, it sort of depends… it's like I listen to everything, all kinds of music… from Michael Jackson to… eh… Well, I listen to every kind of music. It's pretty hard to say. From Finnish bands I listen to HIM of course.
M: What do you like from HIM?
Jyrki: From HIM… I like the way the band came out, because they came out with the totally new theme. And I think they're pretty much part giving such a powerful injection for the music being in Finland. So, it's great. Of course the music from HIM is something great. Yesterday we played in Budapest. I've known the guys for a long time so, it's a pleasure being their friend.
M: How did it happen that Ville appeared on your album for the first time, because he didn't record at the time?
Jyrki: Yeah… Well, the story's like very simple. I was DJing at Tavastia club which is like the biggest rock club in Helsinki in Finland. I was DJing there, actually their band was playing there, I didn't pay so much notice, I was just playing songs between bands as a DJ. Then that young guy (Ville Valo. - Melamory.) comes with their new EP: "Listen to this, this is my new record". I said: "All right." I'd never seen the guy before, really. He also said: "If you need a singer sometimes doing backing vocals I'm interested. All right?" - "All right." And next week we started to do our record, I listened to their EP and I thought: "All right, let's give the guy a chance".
M: So you didn't know Ville before it?
M: And can you say that now you're friends?
Jyrki: Of course. I'm also a fan. I was a DJ, but now I'm a fan.
M: What music do you like from HIM? What album? What song?
Jyrki: Well, I think every album has its own fantastic thing from the certain periods of time. It's hard to pull out right one song. I mean I like all the stuff.
M: Can you say they influence you?
Jyrki: Yeah, of course. I've noticed that this guy super-talented. A couple of times he was doing some free production for our records, like for Wasting the Dawn, he was doing some demo singing, backing vocals, and also in the demo set of the songs we were thinking what changes we could do or something and he was like pre-producing some songs for the record from Wasting the Dawn. And also he did the great job on Blessed Be on backing vocals. And also shortly we stayed in the studio as we did Paris Kills. He has really great ideas about the singing and how to operate in the studio and I was really impressed by those things. It's pretty cool.
M: And for example can you advise something for HIM guys? Or do they ask your advice?
Jyrki: No, no, I don't think they need it.
M: Are you personally proud of everything you do?
M: Do you regret about anything?
Jyrki: Never. We've had so much fun. It's always been. Everything started because we wanted to have fun. And it was because we wanted to get, you know, wasted and wanted to get the girls, wanted to get the best great festival and VIP passage to the clubs. We passed that stage pretty soon and recently like have we never tried and it came over and when you said which is practical age of rock'n'roll we thought to come up with some other values and then we started to concentrate on music. I think that really came after and with Wasting the Dawn when we really started to concentrate on music. I mean, our approach for the things, we first liked just having fun, then finally started to make music, started to write songs. And the magic with Blessed Be is like we finally had those hit-songs for the radio. And it became really clear what's like when you play these festivals and finally there're people who want to hear those songs which they knew from the record and from the radio, and not only. Previously they probably came to see the wild guys, the wild punks, the crazy rockers which we were. Finally with Blessed Be we had the songs. And it seems that everything is still going around with the songs. I've been through all the rock'n'roll cliches there is, but the last one was there and we're doing it right now is "let the music do the talk" and what the last one we never tried.
M: Ok. Now you have some festivals, you still have M'era Luna. Any comments on the summer festivals?
Jyrki: Well, this festival, today, is like a little bit sad one, because it's the last summer festival in Finland, and you know I feel like something has been taken away from me, because all through the summer we've been playing these big festivals in Finland and had this big crowds there. And now after this again gone, there should be snow, there should be winter, so in that sense it's really sad. But luckily we're operating in the Central Europe and obviously in the Central Europe it's the festival season, the festival months, so even though this is a big "bye" for Finnish festival audience, the hungry audiences are still waiting, and the hungry bands for festivals can still play in the Central Europe, so that's great, that's what I like.
M: Do you remember anything special from the past festivals?
Jyrki: Well, because as we started and as we are now, we're still really huge music fans, so one of the things I like is to be on the festival and see your favourite bands, even as we play with them which is great. So my festival highlights this summer is that I saw The Cure, Primal Scream in Sweden, that was like really, really cool. But I know that there's some other things coming up next week and we're playing just before Sisters of Mercy. I believe it's pretty cool. Two nights ago I saw HIM and that was great, why not? I mean the festivals have always some magic in them, because a lot of people gather there just because of the music, maybe some other reasons… naturally… party, meet other people and so on. But there's so much magic in the air and you can sense it playing on the main stage and whatever stage you play.
M: And what do you after this festival season?
Jyrki: We start the European tour and that's in October, we play some shows in Finland before that, then we go to Central Europe and actually there's a rumour that we're supposed to play in Russia too, and I really hope that we'll do it.
M: So, it's not clear now?
Jyrki: It's only a rumour, but I really hope that we'll have a chance.
M: So you didn't get any invitation from Russian companies?
Jyrki: I mean, let's say that our management doesn't tell me and my lips are sealed, so… I don't know really. I know that we get a lot of mail from there, like you said and everybody's saying that it's a great place and a great audience, so I hardly can wait.
M: Ok, and the last question for today. What's for you Dance D'Amour?
Jyrki: Making love… in the moonlight… under the Paris sky. That's it.
M: Have you tried?
Jyrki: I'm going there in two weeks but… so… Maybe there's one more chance.
Interview by Melamory
Transcript & translate by Kuutamo