Interview by Shaq
Transcription by Claudia
Lordi is a band that was largely unknown outside the borders of Finland until their victory in last year’s Eurovision song contest boosted them into instant stardom. Despite their elaborate monster costumes, characters and stage shows, Lordi surprised many with their melodic hard rock with super catchy choruses. I was able to have a chat with the drummer for Lordi, who goes under the name Kita, right before they kicked into their quest to bring the balls back to the Ozzfest mainstage.
You guys have seemingly been taking the world by storm after your Eurovision success. How has this changed things for you and the band?< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I wouldn’t say the world, maybe Europe. (Laughs) Well you know we’ve been kind of busy the last year. That’s basically the main thing, that we are, all the time, you know, interviews, promotions, gigs…whatever. Traveling, airports…..you know…Well, sadly, we still don’t have any money but we’re working week after week.
You guys have all sorts of merchandise and everything that’s coming out now. Do you guys look at yourselves as kind of like the KISS of today’s generation?
Well maybe someday because we don’t think…we kind of think it’s cool to have this kind of merchandise and because….well just like KISS, with all the characters, like Lordi characters, they kind of lead their own life and it’s so easy to….. you know, we are not this kind of normal rock’n’roll band with the t-shirts and jeans so it’s kinda cool to have those. And we don’t see any problem, we are not afraid that we are losing some rock credibility or whatever because when Lordi comes out, you know anything is possible. We are waiting to get Lordi coffins.
(Laughs) Not too long ago I saw advertisements for Lordi in big stores like Best Buy and places like that. Your album was displayed on their racks where they have all the hot new albums to buy. Are you guys pushing really hard for exposure in the US now?
Well to be honest we just came here to play and it’s the record company people and marketing people who are doing that. But of course we’re trying our best and you know this whole Ozzfest thing is kind of like the same thing as Eurovision was in Europe. Ozzfest here in the States is kind of similar in that in a seven week period, so many people who see us and normally for several bands from Finland, when they come to states they are doing these club tours playing small clubs at first and year after year after year they are getting bigger arenas. But for us we’re kind of lucky bastards to go straight away to the 20,000 people Ozzfest and there’s twenty four of them, so it’s kind of nice thing to start here in the States.
You guys are playing the main stage at Ozzfest too which is a feat in itself. Are you doing your whole stage show or are you doing a more trimmed down set?
Yeah we are playing about 45 minutes because we are kind of opening the main stage. So we have the pyros and everything with us so we are doing the normal kind of festival Lordi show. We couldn’t get the big props with us because it’s a festival and the playing time so there’s not enough time to bring the castles on the stage. That’s why we have no props but the pyros will be there and some monsters playing some rock n roll music.
You guys played the Bamboozle festival in New Jersey last month.
Did you have a lot of recognition there? Did people know who you were?
We played at the same time as the main bands like Linkin Park and of course most of the people were there but what was nice the thing was that it was our first time ever here and we already have these die hard fans and some of the fans came all the way from Miami to New York. They’ve been fans since the beginning and now they finally saw us. So it was nice to see that we have this kind of cult success already here in the States. Hopefully after Ozzfest we will have more fans, more of those die hard fans.
Have you been doing like sightseeing and things like that? Have you had any time?
Well actually we just came yesterday. Right now we are at Seattle. Yesterday we went to the bars and drank some beers and today we just walked around. Me and my drum tech actually bought guitars. (laughs) And just hanging so we’re looking forward to the whole US tour from west coast to east coast. I mean we will have many great stories to tell after this tour.
Oh I would hope so. (Laughs)
So what are your thoughts on the metal and rock scene in the US in general and the other bands that you’re playing with on this tour?
Well to be honest, of course we are huge Ozzy fans and of course I know Lamb of God. That’s it. I don’t know the other bands that well. Yet. And I kind of don’t know what style they are, where we’re standing. I don’t know are they metal because we don’t think that we are this kind of metal band. We are more like heavy rock band. Just like our 80’s heroes. We also think it’ll be a funny mixture.
And how do you feel about comparisons of Lordi to bands like maybe GWAR which come a lot from the humorous aspects of your music and the outfits and the stage show and all of that?
Well that’s understandable of course, but you know we don’t care. It’s kind of nice that they are bands who are doing more than just t-shirts and jeans. I’m not a fan of GWAR’s music but it’s cool that there are bands that loosely fit and they are doing different kinds of things and like I said before, it’s understandable that GWAR is the first thing that everyone thinks, but we as a band, we think more that we are like fans of Alice Cooper and KISS.
Do you feel your image has helped turn people onto your music?
Yeah….well but in another way it kind of also scares people away because when they see us, they’re thinking that the music is death metal. And that’s the thing from when we started in Finland and in Europe. I heard the stories that many people told me that “when I first saw your picture I thought that this is very death metal or whatever but when I heard your music I found out that it was good music.” That’s the case. But of course, on the other hand, a lot of people get curious when they see our pictures, so that’s why they wanna go and listen to the music and come to the shows. So it’s both ways.
So obviously as you said before there’s a certain disconnect between how you guys look and how you actually sound. Is that an intentional thing? Do you guys try to play off that as much as you can?
We don’t think about it that much. Our singer is a huge horror movie fan so it’s basically monsters and music that we like. We liked the 80’s heavy metal thing or maybe rock or whatever. And this is the music we listen to all the time and it’s also kind of like us playing the music that you like, so we don’t think about it. It’s not our problem.
When you go around, are you wearing the outfits usually? I know for all of your press and interviews and stuff like that you have the full gear on right?
Yeah of course. Right now because of this phoner I have to put this on.
No I’m just kidding. (Laughs)
So you don’t have a mask on now? (Laughs)
Whenever there’s cameras around, then we are using these outfits all the time. But when we have interviews just face to face with no cameras, then we don’t put the costumes on. Usually we have these promo days. For example we have this one day that we are doing all the promo and we put the costumes on and take the pictures and whatever.
(Laughs) It must get hot.
Yeah. It’s hot. It’s kind of pain in the ass but someone’s got to do it!
Well I’m sure it’s all in good fun too. (Laughs)
So how seriously do you guys take yourselves as a band? Do you just go out there to have fun and is that how you go about writing music too?
When we are touring for example, it’s basically the rhythm section, the guitarist, bass player and me, we are kind of party animals and are going out and our singer and our keyboard player, they are doing this kind of shopping thing and when we are touring, we have these two camps. The other ones are drinking and partying and another one, they are kind of staying at the hotel and doing shopping or whatever. But of course it’s a different story when we are back home and if we are doing the new album then of course we get together and are working a different way.
How does the writing for a Lordi album usually go?
Well basically everyone makes the songs by themselves at first and then we demo all the songs and then we decide which songs we will use and then we go together and start to rehearsing those songs.
So where do you see Lordi going from here? You’ve got a big time US tour now and I’m sure things going on all over the world. Do you see the band getting more and more popular now and having a higher bar set for you for the next album?
Hopefully. It’s kind of an investment for us right now to be here because this year Ozzfest is free so it’s kind of an expensive thing to do, for us to come all the way from Finland to do this. We see it as kind of investment for the future. Hopefully we get the kind of situation that whenever we put an album out, we can do the world tour…do Japan, Europe and the States and maybe South America. That would be the ultimate goal to get this steady thing going on. We don’t have to be the new Bon Jovi. That’s because keeping Lordi is very expensive because we have to do this show all the time so hopefully in the future we can afford to come here every once in a while and do the tours and that is the main goal.
So what kind of stuff do you find yourself listening to these days?
It’s these old favorites like KISS and Alice Cooper but right now what I have in my iPod, first of all, the new Scorpions record. It’s kind of cool. And Velvet Revolver, I’m a big fan. Basically good rock’n’roll, this good rock’n’roll vibe with attitude and melodic songs. That is the thing that almost everyone in this band likes. Not too metal, the lack of melodies is kind of a sad thing in metal nowadays. That’s why these days I don’t listen to metal that much, because of that. But hard rock, rock’n’roll, there you go.
And like you said before, you guys consider yourself more of a hard rock melodic rock band than a metal band.
Well I’m sure you have a lot of interviews and stuff to do today and those are all the questions I have so is there anything else you’d like to add?
Actually after this phoner I’m going out to maybe take a few beers. (Laughs) So I’m done right now. (Laughs)
Alright. Well have a few for me.
Have a great tour.
Thank you very much. Take care dude.
I would like to thank Adrian Bromley at The End Records for arranging the interview.