Intervju med Jyrki 69 i The 69 Eyes!
The 69 Eyes är tillbaka med ett nytt album. Det är det tionde i ordningen och bär den självklara titeln "X". Jag ringde nyligen upp sångaren Jyrki 69 i Finland för att snacka om just nya plattan, men även om Scooby Doo, UNICEF, bandets kärlek till Sverige och galna sydamerikanska fans.
En sak stod ganska snabbt klart under intervjun. Jyrki gillar att snacka.
Tell me about this new album of yours? Did you produce it yourselves? I know that Stefan Boman mixed it.
Jyrki 69: It´s produced by these two Swedish guys called On The Verge and they are Pat Phoenix and Joakim Övrenius and it´s their studio name too. We´ve been co-writing with them for some eight years, so we come over to Stockholm once in a while to write with them. Now I felt it was the right time to do the whole record with them, so we started writing songs for this album and the first riff was actually written two years ago. It was the first song we wrote for this record. I sang it two years ago too actually. We didn´t know then that we were gonna do the whole album together. It became obvious as time was passing and as we hang out a lot in Stockholm and the studio is familiar to us and we´ve known these guys for so long, it was really nice to finally do the whole record. The time was just right because the previous record we did in Hollywood with Matt Hyde and that was of course something that you want to do, especially in our kind of band. You dream of going to the States and do an album in Hollywood. It was something that just had to happen. It was cool and when you go there, you naturally wanna achieve something. We had done all our albums in Finland and we´d had enough and we know what we can do here and we wanted some new influences. With an American producer you get the aggression, like American rock songs and in Hollywood you want the band to sound like their lives. Kinda like “Appetite for destruction”. That was that kinda album and our main motives and the things we really achieved there. It was great and we started touring and then after a couple of years we had this tour with Crashdiet and Hardcore Superstar and we were headlining the majority of the shows in Europe and it ended up at Cirkus in Stockholm. That was a really cool tour because that´s one of the beauties with the 69 Eyes. We can tour with Paradise Lost or Crashdiet or Cradle of Filth and we fit in. Anyway, we had an aggressive album and we were playing with these two bands and we wanted to do these slow melancholic songs, but what happens when we go on stage after these two bands and start playing this different stuff? How will their audience react? We did that and it was great to see the audience liking it and I thought that maybe that side of the 69 Eyes is the best side of us, so when we started to write new songs I thought “Hey, let´s try to return to the melancholy and the melodic darkness.” And especially when we decided to make the record in Stockholm with these two guys… it´s like, you guys (Swedes) have melodies and we have the melancholy, but you can always add something. We had a chance to pimp the songs. Like going to Sweden to pimp. (laughs) Give a bit of Swedish pimping. We have the 69 Eyes melancholic album and then we pimped it a little bit with the producers and we really concentrated on the musical side. On the previous record it was aggression and hard drums and guitars, but now the keyboards returned and also this time my vocals are the main instrument and they are leading the whole thing. That was one of the ways we approached the new record and you can really hear it. On the other hand we changed record companies and we changed management and everything. We just surrounded ourselves with positive old school friends and the album was done among friends. It´s a relaxed record in that way. That´s how it works these days. This corporate rock business crap is collapsing, so if you do things they have to be real. Same thing with the video for the song ”Red”. The last record was Hollywood and with this one I really wanted to pay respect and tribute to Stockholm and Sweden. The video was done by Patric Ullaeus. He came backstage ten years ago when we played Sticky Fingers in Gothenburg and gave me his business card and said “Hey, if you guys need a video, I can do some pretty good stuff.”. It never happened, but now the time was perfect. We´re doing another video with Patric too. I really wanted to concentrate on Sweden because it was the first country we played in after playing everywhere in Finland and we met a lot of our friends back then and it always felt like a second home. It takes like 45 minutes for me to fly there, so I´d rather go out in Stockholm than in Helsinki. I don´t know if I have any friends here (Helsinki) anymore. (laughs). It has always been an inspiration. It started with ABBA and now all the way up to “The girl with the dragon tattoo”. All this is carefully described on the DVD on the digipack version. There´s an hour long documentary called “Made in Sweden”. It starts with the first shows we played there in ´91 when Dregen from Backyard Babies came to see us. There´s a lot of rockers in there like Gemini Five, Crashdiet and Maryslim and also guys who run the clubs. It´s pretty interesting. The documentary goes deep and looks at the inspirations for 69 Eyes and it´s all related to mid 80´s Swedish garage rock like Nomads and the Leather Nun and all these bands that really inspired us to start the band.
About videos. Do you feel you need videos these days? The only place where it´s shown is YouTube.
Jyrki 69: Going back. Recording an album in a studio is great and it´s a once in a lifetime experience all the time, but it´s not that pleasurable. The video should kinda be like an award for doing the album. That´s how I always looked at it. That´s why we´ve done videos with like Bam Margera and you get a lame excuse for the record company to pay us to go to Hollywood and party for a long weekend. (laughs) It´s like an award. “Hey, we did the album and now it´s time for the video, so let´s fly somewhere with a bunch of models and let´s make sure we have a few days off for partying.”. Also, we´re a visual band and people like to see it and the band changes a bit with every record. Not older, but changing the image. That´s also interesting to show to the fans. It´s a weird world to release a record in these days. The last album, which came out three years ago, back then we didn´t even have Facebook and now when the first single came out, fans could comment on Facebook and you get all these responses. Last time around we went on tour and we started to play and we had four or five new songs in the set and and we started talking “Did you notice how they reacted to that one? Maybe we should drop this one?” and the communication was on that level. Now you get the feedback immediately. It´s different, but also exciting in a way as well. On the other hand, we´re old school and some of our fans that come to the shows, I don´t think they´re into social media at all. Like if you have an old band like LA Guns and they have a few thousand people following them on Facebook, it doesn´t mean anything. When you go to the shows, they´re full and there are people standing with the album covers waiting to get them signed.
The title of the album is “X” and there´s ten songs on it. Did that come right away or where there other titles floating around?
Jyrki 69: Well, once you get to your tenth album it´s not an unusual title. I checked it out and somebody said that Kylie Minogue recently released an album titled “X” and I just noticed that Spock´s Beard has one, but I don´t care. With the tenth album I just thought, “Why not celebrate it a little?”, because we´ve never celebrated anything. We´ve been playing for 23 years and we never had a 10th anniversary or a 20th anniversary or a compilation or a show. Nothing. We never thought about it because we´re always looking forward. Our band is progressing all the time and I think we are just climbing higher and higher. Sometimes less and sometimes a little bit more. I think our stocks are rising by the years. The more stable your fan base is, the higher your stocks are. I think we haven´t reached our peak yet and our musical progression is happening all the time. My vocals are not limited to a certain sound and we can for instance tour with everything from black metal bands to sleaze rock bands and we can probably play with Nickelback and Oasis as well. I think we have a long way to go and it´s just fun. We feel that things are developing all the time.
A totally different thing. Do you still do work for UNICEF?
Jyrki 69: Well, I´m a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF here in Finland and I have been for many years. It basically means that if they need an edgy person to say like “Remember to help!”. I think they were really clever to pick me up because it raises more interest to the issue, because everybody expects me to talk about vampires or drugs and rock and roll and all of a sudden I speak about real things. On the other hand, here in Finland we are a mainstream band and we appear on high profile talk shows and in women´s magazines and so on. It´s just part of that and also, like our latest single, it´s on every commercial radio station here. You don´t hear rock music or metal outside of Scandinavia, so here in Finland and Sweden we are privileged to have that on radio. In a few years I think Entombed will play at Skansen. (laughs) (Big park in Stockholm with wild animals and where people celebrate the national holiday every year.) Like here, we play at children´s charity shows and then you go to South America and there are fans so freaky, you´re afraid of them. They bring you human bones and they´re grave robbers and you´re like fucking freaked out. If the 69 Eyes represent darkness in some form, it´s more like Scooby Doo, you know. (laughs) We´re not that serious. Katatonia is more about real depression or stuff that´s going on in your head. We jump in the car with Scooby Doo and drive to Dracula´s castle and have fucking fun! (laughs)
That´s a good one! (laughs)
Jyrki 69: We actually wrote a bonus track for the album that is on Spotify and it´s called “Dracula´s castle” and we wrote it with one of my heroes, Rudi Protrudi from The Fuzztones. We wrote it in 15 minutes in our tour bus when we played in Berlin. It was like “Hey, let´s write a song called Dracula´s castle and it should have like a Scooby Doo kinda vibe!”.
Cool! Touring then? Anything planned for Scandinavia or Sweden?
Jyrki 69: Yeah, sure! Now we´re playing in Finland for the last half of this year. We really wanna do a Swedish tour. We´ve always just passed by going to Europe and that was planned by our Central Europe management, but now that we´ve changed that, we´re really aiming at doing a Swedish tour. In Finland we can tour and play like 20 shows. There are more cities here, but we´d like to do a Swedish tour. The album was done there and we´ve got a lot of fans saying “Why don´t you come and play there and there?”, so we don´t just wanna do Gothenburg and Stockholm. We wanna do a Swedish tour and it´s been a long time since we played the smaller cities. That´s for spring time. For years we´ve just played Stockholm and Gothenburg and that´s great of course, but we feel we wanna play some other places too. You guys have so many cool bands that we want take with us on the road.
Out into the Swedish woods and the countryside. That would be something.
Jyrki 69: Yeah, I love that! We should do that.
Thank you so much!
Jyrki 69: Thank you, mr Müller!