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+ Interview with the Helsinki Vampires +

How does it feel to be back here in germany on tour?
Jussi:
It’s cool, ‘cause it’s been way to long. It’s like two and a half years, so it’s great. We were kind of almost worried, if people remember us anymore. It’s been a while. So it’s great. And there are lots of European dates in general to do and we gonna be back with the Angels-Album soon. Just today we had a meeting about touring this year and seems like there’s one day off and it’s gonna be on Christmas eve so there’s lots of touring to be done. So we gonna be back soon. And it’s been great. I heard it’s been selling out many of the shows already, so better than we expected. Good to be back.
 
So, is there any difference between touring here and back in the US?
Jussi:
Oh, US? Ähm…yeah… In the US you drive so long and the tour is that long. US is a pretty huge country and… what else… It’s not really that different that people you can kind of think of. After all it all comes to those shows you do every night and we play the 69 eyes music and the fans seems to like that. It doesn’t really matter what country you are.
 
Is there any concept you have in your albums? When you look back on Bump’n’Grind, Savage Garden and then go to Gothic and now it’s another style you do Devils and now Angels. Is there any concept behind that?
Jussi:
The concept with the last one is pretty much inspired by Los Angeles in every way. And we kind of get back to our rules and tryin’ to rock out more. I guess the reason for that is because we’re touring so much. With the Devils Album we did so many shows through so many countries and when you play live you really wanna rock out and play faster songs and we had that in our heads while we were writing the songs for Angels, so we kind of decided what we wanna do. We had live situations in our minds and we were thinking of what kind of songs we wanna play live next time. So that’s why we kind of tried to write faster songs. Rock songs like songs closer to Lost Boys than Gothic Girl.
 
You recorded for the US-Version of Angels “Wrap your troubles in dreams” new. Is there anything planned to do other old songs new?
Jussi:
We never really planned that. We’ve done it twice. … was kind of accident and I’m happy that we did it. That is something really different.
Why accident?
Jussi:
We didn’t really plan it. It just happened. And then we started to fool around with the song. And with “Wrap your troubles in dreams” the reason is pretty simple. It’s one of the favourites of Bam Margera. And he wanted to have that song in his movie, about… “Dream seller”. The movie is gonna be called as “Dream seller” and he wanted to have that song for the movie. So we kind of updated the version and we were pretty faithful with the original and we just wanted to update the mix and have it done in a better way. So that’s pretty much the reason. We just wanted to update the whole thing.
So, nothing planned?
Jussi:
No, no, no… I think usually it’s kind of a lame thing to go back to the studio once the song is done. So that’s pretty much the reason. We just wanted to update the whole thing.
 
How did you decide the tracklist for the album?
Jussi:
For the songs we have?
Yeah
Jussi:
You have to think about the complete package and all that. You can’t really have like… no matter how cool ballads you have… but if you have nine ballads you can't do all of them on your album and then you left some songs out because we felt there is similar kind of sounding songs on the album already so we left some stuff out. It says like, you have to listen all those eleven, twelve songs in a row and then think of the whole complete result.
Is it kind of democracy? Where you all sit together, all five of you, and then decide?
Jussi:
I think for the first time ever on Devils we… We never trusted any producers, ‘cause we keep our own heads, but with Devils it was the producer Hiili who dropped out one song and we were like “Hmm why should we do that?” But we decided to trust him and after all he was pretty much right and the whole decision came off in his best way.
 
So, we talked about the tracklist… Now… You do a lot of backing vocals for other artists. If you could pick one, dead or alive, for your own CD, who would it be?
Jyrki:
For doing backing vocals?
Yeah or something like that.
Jyrki:
Dani Filth. We’re also planning on it. It would be really fun. We need some cool Cradle of Filth-screaming, so… or actually maybe some spoken part. I don’t know. But we talked about that and it first came to my mind and heard to the latest news, he’s alive, even though he did a six week tour with us.
 
Why do you play so few songs from the new album?
Jyrki:
There are so many old songs fans want to hear and we want to play and with no matter what kind of setlist we do there’s somebody complaining: why didn’t you play some song which he or she heard out from Savage Garden. This is like… this two weeks have been or three weeks or something have been like the first eighth part of the Angels-Tour, so I think the songs will come more and more during the time goes on, but you know, it’s still…
Jussi:
We had a lot of changes.
Jyrki:
Yeah and we haven’t seen lot of people who even have the record and didn’t know what to expect. It’s been  2 ½ years we played here last time, so we were a little bit nervous. Is there gonna be anyone in the audience and who is going to be there and so on. So we played with the save cards a little bit like… It’s basically the best of the 69 Eyes plus songs from the Angels. So we will change them. There will be more of them and that's it. We spe.ak right now actually to do another german tour very soon.
Oh, really?
Jyrki:
Yeah, which means this yea r. After summer of course. Then you can ask “Why didn’t you have any new songs like you said half a year ago?” But then you have to do the question and the I have to come up with some visual blast.
 
You said one time, as somebody asked you, what’s you favourite 69 Eyes song, it's not written yet. If you would write it, would you say, it’s the end of the 69 Eyes, because you can’t do it better?
Jyrki:
That’s a theoretical dilemma. I think honestly, like… I don’t know when I’ve said that, but if I could pick up the three ones which are the best 69 Eyes songs, they turn out to be the stuff they’re couple of years of playing them live, but I think everybody might be… everybody has their own favourites, but basically like Brandon Lee… The songs which send the 69 Eyes more alike then, you know… what brings them to your mind when you hear a song. I think it would be Brandon Lee, Lost Boys and Never say die. I think they are like three pretty similar kind of songs… but you know, they’re kind of songs that no one else is feel on doing. I mean, the don’t sound like anyone else. They sound like the 69 Eyes and they all have… maybe you have other favourite 69 Eyes songs. I mean, if you like some other songs of ours better you probably… But those are the three key songs and then you know they are like from the reason... They somehow which sense do the Rock’n’Roll energy thing when we play them live and the people can, you know like, go crazy with the songs as well, so that's something, it’s like, if I should choose three songs to play live, like I have to keep that song… Of course we have lots of slow songs and strange psychedelic songs, we have glammy songs and so on, but this three songs are like… if I… They remind me how we are alive and that’s how I want us to be remembered, like the band you can hear from the radio or from your iPod or your local gothic club. I hope that people will someday remember us as five unique, hard rocking, sweating, charming, never dying, always interested in something else than doing interviews.
 
So, you both work sometimes as DJs. Is there anything planned, maybe come back to Hamburg…
Jussi:
I love to do that, he loves to do that, but right now, like he told you, the next day off is gonna be Christmas eve, so there’s gonna be not that much time. But on this tour there are so many After Show Parties going on after almost every show, so… Well, I djed at least seven minutes in Amsterdam, so I guess it gonna happen at some of these events still. It’s something to do especially when you have some time off, but now it seems like it would be touring, touring, touring, touring… in Europe from now. But it’s fun and it’s the coolest way to have holidays if you wanna visit your friends in whatever state… from Hamburg to Hollywood to wherever. It’s a cool excuse to go on DJ and at least you gonna hear your favourite music.
 
Your drumset is almost twice as big as it was on the Amphi Festival. Has it something to do because of Angels?
Jussi:
No, it has something to do with my ego and I’m such a tiny guy, so I need to get something big. It’s something to show on with. And honestly I thought it’s time to go back to the 80’s and I love my new set. It’s my darely beloved Hot Rod…evil kit.
 
Last year was the release of your comic book, Zombie Love. Is there anything else planned, maybe “The adventures of the 69 Eyes”.
Jyrki:
Well, I’ve been drawing occasionally during this tour, more actually the US-Tour. Like every morning I have my books out. I’ve been doing the sketches for the next comic book and I’ve been saying, until now, it will come out in the fall. I don’t say about the sketches anything, but I’m finding… what I’ve been doing… that I’m drawing some of our old songs to comics, because that’s how I originally saw our songs when I wrote the lyrics and I understand they’re like sort of two or three page comics of mine. So, I’m like… there’s gonna be like Gothic Girl and, you know, things like that and also I might draw some other friends of mine songs into comics as well. So it’s gonna be a compilation of totally new stuff and… I try to get it seriously ready and I think I should finish some stuff as soon as the German tour is over. I’m excited, because, you know, the Zombie Love stuff was drawn like in the 80’s basically and it’s kind of amazing to jump out from the tour bus and like somewhere in the US and there’s like kids who haven’t even born and they have the comic book. So I just… I haven’t even thought about it before, but I have just realized what kind of possibilities I have, because you can get tattoos or you can get signs from stuff I’ve drawn. Actually I’m trying on concentrating a lot in the near future doing some… doing the comic book and also maybe doing some more designs for the 69 Eyes when I have time. Because it’s been kind of stupid that I haven’t done it yet. I did it in the very early days. I did all of our flyers and posters and stuff, but I’m bored to that…I don’t wanna see my… I can’t stand just to see, you know, how what I see… It’s more interesting when somebody else does your record covers and stuff and it’s not me. That would be boring. I’m not going to stop that, but I think I might do  some smaller designs for us when I have time. And one thing people should remember, I’m such a old school artist in that way, that I don’t use computer at all. I do everything by hand, I use copy machine, … machine and then I do the clippings and what I draw, I draw right to the paper. I don’t like… These days where everybody is using computers and stuff and what I’m doing like very slow and old school way, so it takes pretty long.
 
In November was the release of your book “Route 69”. Who had the idea? Was it you or was it Ville?
Jyrki:
Well, I think, I was like… first of all. I collect lots of photo books from my favourite bands, like the Rolling Stones or… I have a lot of photo books and then not so many actually new bands have like photo books. I can’t think of any who have like… you could go up to a store and buy your photo book of AFI or from any new bands, so… And then one particular book what I really like was of this Finnish glam rock band Hanoi Rocks, but that was like done in the 80’s and it was released only in Japan. So basically no one can have it. It’s a really hard to find item. So we always been touring like over ten years, nearly 15 years, but we never had anyone to, you know, taking any pictures or not even filming us abroad. And I thought that would be interesting for fans or even my own case to have sort of like memories from our tours. He (Jussi) knew Ville from somewhere and I sort of write to him that it would be a great idea and I talked to him over and then somebody will print a book of it and that wasn’t of course true, because it’s really expensive to do a photo book of all and where to find a publisher. We had no idea, but I sort of convinced him that somebody has to do and I don’t know was he drunk enough or stupid enough or clever enough, maybe both… three… and he just flew over to Japan and some other places to start to film us and the biggest part was of course our first American tour. There’s so many pictures still that are not in the book, so we are planning to have like some international releases of the book. The book is for sale on this tours and basically it has nothing to do… There are some short notes that I have written in Finnish, but they are such a short. I mean, if you put them together it’s only one page basically. So it doesn’t matter that you can’t read Finnish. It’s just a great piece of art and the most amazing part… there’s no photo books seriously from any new or even not so much from the older bands, except like I said, from the Rolling Stones and maybe… there isn’t probably even a photo book of Depeche Mode, I think. So it’s kind of like… It was strange to discovering now there is not so many photo books of any bands. So everybody who’s seen it was like thrilled. First of all, of course, you don’t have to be a 69 Eyes fan to enjoy the book. It’s an amazing book. And secondly, you know, for a fan its probably interesting to see locals just where we hang out.
Jussi:
All the friends of ours they kind of woke up, like Davey from AFI was like “Dude, this is so amazing.” Dani Filth was the same. He wanted to have the same for them.
Jyrki:
One of the last photo books I bought probably was like in ’91. But you know we were just hanging our with the Madden brothers from Good Charlotte and they fell in love with the book, too, so actually printed like huge wall… you know like really huge pictures from the book as their presents. It was really funny to see them going back to hotel with the really huge posters. So I hope that they get them safe back home to California, but anyway… So it’s just like… it was great project in that way. And I think, like I said, international version will come out pretty soon and it will be like… it’s gonna be more pictures in there. And I was surprised still, like you know “Hey why didn’t you use this and this photo?” and Ville was a bit like, sometimes abstained minded “Ooooh, I forget.” And I was like. “Shit”. So, it will appear another. Also I think some never before seen photos can be seen on our opendisc site. If you buy our single or album you can get to an opendisc site and there’s more photos and there’s going to be more photos to come. Ville was present while we were shooting our Never say die video in Hollywood. There’s going to be pictures someday.
We took a look at the book and we thought, was it all like a photoshoot, that you say “Okay, today we went to…”
Jussi:
No, no, no, it’s a really spontaneous. Something that you really probably even don’t believe how it was like not planned. Like 90% out of the pictures are really like that just happened and Ville was around. And like… I kind of hate this word project when we talk about that. Especially the guy Ville, because he was basically just wanted to hang out with us, because there are the best parties if you hang out with the 69 Eyes, so he was like… The whole book was kind of an excuse for him to hang out with us all over the world, though it was fun.

How was it when you decided to become musicans? I know you broke up school, I guess…
Jussi:
I never decided anything. I knew, as long as I remember, that I wanna play drums and I told to my teacher when I was ten years old, when they were asking “What are you gonna do when you get older blablablabla” and that I’m gonna tour the world with a rockband. It’s just kind of bold and stupid thing to do, but I’m happy that I did it and that I don’t have to take my words back. But there were no decisions made when you ask me, like “Hmm, this is maybe something I should do” Because it was pretty obvious as long as could I remember.
What I mean was more like, what did your parents say… your family.
Jussi:
Like I said it was kind of… It’s kind of a stupid thing to plan your future on and if you wanna be smart career wise and it’s not the safest and smartest career you can think of. We’ve been pretty lucky. There’s not much … I’ve been doing seems quite many years and I’ve been having loads of fun and I’m pretty lucky to do quite okay. So there’s nothing to regret.
 
This is a question we got from a friend. If you ask Elvis one question, both  of you. What would it be?
Jyrki:
Where are you right now?
Jussi:
What’s your phone number? Let’s hang out.
Jyrki:
Stop hiding.
 
You (Jyrki) work for UNICEF. Would you (Jussi) do something as well?
Jussi:
I wouldn’t do that. No way. I really… don’t get me wrong. I really do respect everything’s he’s doing and I’m proud of what he’s doing and I’ve seen some the things what he’s been doing and I couldn’t do that, because… If you ask me there’s quite a lot more things to do than pose for the pictures for the UNICEF people. It’s kind of hard stuff I guess what he’s doing and I couldn’t do that.
Jyrki:
But the guys can be involved. Like sometimes… wherever we visit some country there’s UNICEF people who want me to see me and they’re always been amazed why I didn’t bring the other guys, so for instance. Which was planned, unfortunately it didn’t happen, but we talked about it, we were supposed to play football against slum kids in Buenos Aires… no no, in Sao Paulo. So it’s just like I do something but when I’m touring with the band and UNICEF comes to the picture always the guys are wanted to join it, too. So I hope it will continue in the near future. I mean especially this football match. Unfortunately it was all in the very last second, but it’s not the first time that… I think,  this things will happen. So I mean they can be acted to real.
 
We asked Jussi already… You recorded a new version  “Wrap your troubles in dreams”. For the “Angels”-US-Version or for the movie of Bam. If you could choose a song from the albums or is there anything planned to record old songs new?
Jyrki:
Yeah, well, I mean there’s couple of songs that have been bothering me that we definitely should record again. There’s couple of songs, I mean, that’s some particularly we wanted to update the sound. I’ve been the guy who was personally for doing it for a long, long time, because I wasn’t satisfied with the original words and the whole lyrics. After I read the movie manuscript for Bam’s movie “Dream seller”… it was amazing that the movie and my lyrics were going hand in hand. That was really strange and then of course I start to realize that it was only something like best things from the 69 Eyes and then we put it to our compilation album “Framed in blood” and then we started to play it live and we noticed that people really liked that song. We just thought to give it the boost by recording it again, especially it’s going to be in a movie, so why should it sound like low budget like we did like back in the days. We never believe in what kind of conditions it was actually done, but it was like –25°. A really frozen place and when you talk you can your breath. So it was pretty funny. But well, there’s like couple of songs I’m not that satisfied. But on the other hand I mean, aren’t the like original stuff. So why should the be re-recorded. I don’t know. From the recent records, I think, there’s the song “Lazarus heart”. I think this should be redone and make it a bit, because I really like that song. But it’s weird. I mean, I would be really pissed off if the Mötley Crüe guys would talking like that. “Hey we’re going to do this and this song again.”
Jussi:
That’s what I said. I think it’s kind of blame, but we felt like we got to do it.
Jyrki:
That was something like a vampire song but I was so pissed off because the producer who was recording the album didn’t really get the idea and well… anyways...

(We're sorry it ends like this, but our tape was at the end and Jyrki was talking some minutes longer than the actual time we he had)

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