London, 11th February 2013
Interview by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Jo Blackened
Finnish shock-rockers Lordi visited London today, to promote their upcoming album ‘To Beast or Not to Beast’. The album comes out in March and the band are getting ready to go on tour across Europe and the UK. After a long day of press we finally got to hang out with two very cheerful members of Lordi – Mr. Lordi (vocals) and Mana (drums)
Hey guys! You look absolutely wonderful and we hope you’re not too tired after such a long day of interviews.
Mr. Lordi: No, not at all! And thank you very much, we feel very pretty.
Mana: Yeah, it’s just another day at the Lordi office!
The new album To Beast or Not to Beast is out in March. How would you sum up the idea of this record, what can we expect from it and how long did it take you to come up with the final result?
Mr. Lordi: We started working on the first demos 2 years ago and that was when Otus, our ex-drummer, was still alive. It’s always a long process and in the beginning we were thinking of writing a follow-up to Babez for Breakfast, which is our previous album and is very 80’s hair metal oriented – soft, melodic and party-themed.
When Otus joined the band in the first place, his drumming was different and offered us new possibilities to do challenge ourselves and do something different, because we were not held back with Kita’s (ex-drummer) drumming anymore.
I never thought that drummer’s role is so important in the band.
So pretty much a year ago from now we were in the middle of recording the demos and that’s when Otus died.
Everything fell apart and some of the band members decided to take a break, but some of us carried on working. We started with finding a new drummer and it was a fucking difficult, because you have to find a person who not only knows his KISS and Twisted Sisters stuff, but also can keep up wit Otus’s drumming and is genuinely a good guy …or a girl, just like Mana. (Laughs)
So we didn’t find anyone until July when I called up Mana through a mutual friend.
Other: And that’s it. That’s when I joined the band.
First single from To Beast or Not to Beast is called “The Riff”. Can you tell us a little about the song itself and can we expect a music video for it?
Mana: There’s definitely going to be a music video for it and we filmed it last week in Czech Republic. We filmed it in a Supermarket with our chick playmate doing some shopping in not too much clothing. And of course there’s also going to be few zombies in there.
Mr. Lordi: And of course we just happen to be randomly playing there as well. (Laughs)
But in general, the lyrics for “The Riff” are very straight forward and there are no hidden messages, so there’s only two ways of making a video for a song like this – you either do it according to the lyrics, or you do it completely different and that’s what we’re doing for “The Riff”. The video has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics.
What is the inspiration behind your masks and can you tell me a little bit about each character?
Mr. Lordi: At the moment this is the sixth of seventh mask of Mr. Lordi, so the character has developed itself and has lost a lot if its previous influences. But when it comes to Mana’s mask, it really took a lot of time to decide on what kind of character is he going to be, because you have to have the character within your personality.
Mana is a very steady and calm, so he said he could not be able to pull off being a raging werewolf. So he’s Mana – an old Finnish mythological creature that I made up and there are three characters that influenced the creation of Mana’s character – Alice Cooper, Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars and Henry Kane – the tall, skinny and very creepy guy from Poltergeist.
Amen (guitar) is a mummy and there are only a couple of things we change in his costume with every new album. We can either add some flesh and bandages or take some off. I don’t know how the fuck are we going come up with his next costume, to be honest.
OX’s (bass) costume is pretty easy. He’s a hell bull – a zombie with horns.
Hella is our new keyboard player and her costume was an easy one as well. I already had this idea for our new keyboard player to be a doll and months later we agreed on this burned-up Barbie image, so now she’s a Scarbie. (Laughs)
You’re hitting the road in April and going on a European/UK tour. What can we expect from the performances and have you planned any new crazy stage and pyro show?
Mr. Lordi: Unfortunately on this tour there won’t be that much pyro effects, because it gets harder and harder to negotiate it with the venues. Most of the venues don’t allow pyro effects on stage at all, but when it comes to summer festivals, it’s a completely different story though.
That obviously doesn’t mean that there’s not going to an epic show. Just no open fire and explosions. …Maybe. (Laughs)
Mana: That’s a shame. I would like to see my hair get set on fire and stuff like that. (Laughs)
What countries are you most looking forward to playing and where would you say you get the best reaction from the crowd?
Mana: UK for me, because I’ve never been here before.
Mr. Lordi: I would agree, because it’s been few years now since we last played here and I know that the band has been waiting to come and play in UK for a long time. It’s nice to see we have some die-hard fans who have been so excited and waiting for us to come back and play, so now we’re doing 8 shows around UK.
Normally we get the best response from the crowd whenever we’re plying in Germany, but that’s mainly because it was the first country where we started playing and they got to know us first.
With such shocking image and stage performances, who inspired you the most to start a band like Lordi and who would you class as your artistic influences?
Mr. Lordi and Man together: KISS!
Mr. Lordi: As well as Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister, King Diamond, Rob Zombie and W.A.S.P. in some ways. Musically a great influence for me is U.D.O.
Mana: Did we mention KISS already?
Mr. Lordi: Yeah, I think we did. I really like the bass player Paul Simmons. You know that one with the cat make-up? (Laughs)
Other: Yeah, and KISS is also good. (Laughs)
What is your opinion on people constantly comparing you to GWAR?
Mr. Lordi: Ha! We don’t hear that comparison that much. It is just such a funny fucking thing.
Basically, in 2007 our bass player OX heard about this band called GWAR for the first time in his life during an interview. He got really mad, because he had no idea who they are.
Another funny thing is that then GWAR guys tried to instigate this fight between both bands, especially in the US media, but in real life and behind the scenes they actually offered us to do a GWAR vs. Lordi tour together. I know they hate it when we talk about it publically.
I do have the highest respect for the band, but I’ve only heard few songs of GWAR. And even though both bands dress up as monsters when we go on stage, the tour just wouldn’t have worked.
Mana: I haven’t heard any of their songs at all.
Scandinavia really seems to be the rock and metal music Mecca these days and metal fans over in UK pay close attention to all the new rock bands coming from that area.
Who would you say are your favourite Scandinavian rock bands that you would suggest us to listen to?
Mr. Lordi: Oh, that’s a quite difficult question. I like this band called KISS. Have you heard of them? (Laughs)
When I was a kid I promised myself to never turn into this old guys who doesn’t understand what’s going on in the music today, but I’m finding myself being exactly that guy. I know there are a lot of great bands in Finland, but I could not name any of them. I just don’t care.
Mana: Does Nightwish count as a new band? (Laughs)
I’m assuming it gets quite warm wearing latex costumes like yours. …Especially on stage at summer festivals. How do you guys avoid overheating and have you had any costume-related incidents on stage?
Mr Lordi: Well, there are two worst scenarios that happen to us. First is playing in small and packed out venues with no air-conditioning. The air is hot and humid and it just feels like a fucking sauna. The other thing is when we play really hot places like Texas or Arizona when it’s like +50 °C outside. You take the heat, add our pyro effects, the sunlight and latex costumes and that’s when it get’s really bad. Some of the band members have had to inhale oxygen in-between the songs, otherwise they would faint. Other than that it’s all good. We drink a lot and stay hydrated.
Your official website states that a documentary film about Lordi is in making. The film follows the band behind the scenes for the first time and lifts the curtain on the bands image. Tell us how far behind the scenes will this film take us and can we expect to see Lordi revealed without masks?
Mr Lordi: No, that’s never going to happen. Ever. (Laughs)
The film will show us without the masks and costumes, but our faces are not going to be revealed. It’s as close you can get and we’re just finally showing the things we’ve been talking about the whole time and what really goes on in our lives. Everyone knows that I have lots of animals and I live in a fucking cabin in the Arctic Circle, so it’s going to be about shit like that.
The last question is for Mana. You said it’s your first time in London, so what places are you most looking forward to visit?
Mana: Well, I have actually been to London before when I was 10 years old, so I got to visit all the fun places like London Zoo already. But I would really like to see London Dungeon, London Bridge, Big Ben and touristy places like that.