THE 69 EYES
WE'RE INTERNATIONAL GOTH'N'ROLL PLAYBOYS
MetalKings.com: That's your first time in Russia, and my very unoriginal question is what are your expectations from the tonight's gig?
Jyrki 69: We've been waiting for this moment for quite a long time, and it is very special for us, because it's really exciting. Personally I've never been to Moscow before, and as I know all of the band have not been here before either. We don't know anything about the scene here. A little bit through the Internet of course, and we have fans who come to our shows to Helsinki or to some other country, and we got a lot of response from Russia. So I think it is going to be really great, and I have a feeling that it's going to be like a feast of friends, meeting all friends that we actually never have met before. We met a lot of people already when we came in by train, which was really cool. It was a really positive vibe. We are already writing new songs, and I love traveling and big cities, so this time I got a lot of inspiration from Moscow, I already have some vibes, some fresh ideas. I am sure they will come out in some way or other on the next record. It's a really romantic city for me, in a way.
MetalKings.com: Your first record was written in a radically different style, than the one you are playing now. What was the reason for changing the style so drastically?
Jyrki 69: Well, I'd like to say that I don't think, that its such a radical change, I mean as a band we have not changed at all, we have the same lineup. So, it's just a way the band develops, when you start a band you define that you are - let's say, like in our case - you're a glam band, or you're a gothic band. But in the end the band is just a rock-band. Like if you think of U2 - they're a rock-band. Metallica, are they a thrash-metal band? - No, they're a rock band, and Depeche Mode they're also a rock band, and that's how a band should develop. They start at some style, and you can easily roll up some other band-names - like they sound like this, and this, and that - for us it has been from like Iggy Pop and the Stooges to Guns'n'Roses, to Sisters of Mercy, to Type o' Negative, to… in the end, with this last album, I think like old the Doors. However in the end, there should stand the 69 Eyes. When the band are at that point, when they are only compared to themselves, not like "this is the new record from the band, which sounds like this and that", so then the band becomes only a rock-band, and I think that's the way that we are developing: from a really thrashy glam band to dark goth'n'roll, to dark rock band, and in the end we'll hopefully just end up as a rock-band. We are not rejecting the past, and we still enjoy everything we've done, but it's been over 10 years, my voice has been developing since that, lyrics… well of course, when you're 20 you're writing in a different way from when you're 30. You understand there's more to life than just sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll, which is the treasure-pot that you're opening up when you only form the band. You know all these girls, and it's cool to be drunk on stage…
MetalKings.com: Well that's the reason why most musicians form bands in the first place.
Jyrki 69: Yes, of course, of course. You enjoy every moment of it.
MetalKings.com: Since you've mentioned it already, why do you refer to your style as goth'n'roll?
Jyrki 69: That's the thing that originally came up from our record company - Roadrunner Records like 4 years ago or something. But that was the point. Because we had one leg still in the daylight of rock'n'roll scene, but then the other leg was going to the shadows. But that's a cool definition because if you would say that we were a gothic band, I think that would be a different idea, because nowadays gothic bands are pretty much electronic bands, especially if you think of the Central European and German goth scene. But we are a rock'n'roll band since the beginning. We have gothic elements in our music, so we are musing the shadows, but we are not escaping the daylight.
MetalKings.com: This is probably a very boring question for you, but where did the title of the band come from?
Jyrki 69: That's a question, which is asked from every band, and I think not so many bands can answer that really. The way I see it, like my favourite bands in the 80ies were like the Tramps, and Alien 16, etc. and their names were kind of mysterious. I have no idea where these names come from, but they were kind of sick names. And it's a name that could come from a porno-movie or a horror-movie, it sounds good and sounds exactly rock'n'roll. If you have a dirty mind you can come up with some dirty ideas, there's a lot of symbolic potential in it, but in the end it's just a cool rock'n'roll name, and it sounds good, and it describes us pretty much. It's pretty unique too.
MetalKings.com: In very many aspects you were helped to your current success by Ville Valo, and he was in you 'Wasting The Dawn' video, and as far as I understand he did a lot of support and promotion for the band? Do you still keep in contact with him, and is that all true?
Jyrki 69: Well, he was an old friend of ours, even before his own band HIM was starting to happen, I was just DJ-ing some night in Helsinki, and he brought me his CD saying like we just recorded this, so if you need a background singer, if you need this type of vocals - call me. So, then we needed this type of vocals, I called him, and I am happy to have become friends with such a young and talented guy. He's been hanging around, and he has been pre-producing our 'Wasting the Dawn' album, when we were doing demos, he was in the studio with us, he's been singing on the backing vocals. He is a friend, always welcome in the studio, and every now and then we meet in the bars, Helsinki is such a small place anyway, so everybody knows each other. We will probably be doing something together for our next album as well, it's just a thing, like you have friends, and you're fooling around in the studio, and fooling around in the video, like in the 'Wasting the Dawn' video we got Lee Dorian from Cathedral, and on the album there are some guys from Entombed - it's always cool to have such parties.
MetalKings.com: Any plans for doing a duet with HIM?
Jyrki 69: Well, if you do it in a cool way, like Nick Cave and someone else has done, but the first idea that crosses my mind is that it could turn out pretty gayish. Two pretty boys, you know, whatever. Well, not at the moment, maybe when we are both in the pension, like 60 years old, remembering the good ole' days.
MetalKings.com: Some country'-style song maybe?
Jyrki 69: Yeah, something like Elvis and Johnny Cash.
MetalKings.com: 'Blessed Be' has become a sort of a representation card for the band, however after it was out a lot of people said that your voice was becoming to sound a lot like Pete Steele, and then when 'Paris Kills' came out there was more and more people saying that you're sounding like Pete Steele.
Jyrki 69: When I first heard the 'Bloody Kisses' album, a friend of mine who worked in the record store told me like: 'Listen to this, this sounds like Danzig'. And I listened to it, and was like 'Hey, this does sound like Danzig and Systers of Mercy rip-off'. And when I first heard Danzig, I thought that this is like Elvis rip-off. So it always goes like this, and I can't deny that the way Peter sings or uses his voice wouldn't have affected me. But at the same time, that's something like middle 90ies when gothic rock was becoming bigger, and then Type o' Negative brought new metal elements to it, and of course let us not forget Paradise Lost. But I mean, even for a joke, I haven't ever been singing any Type o'-songs. It's just that you hear some cool things and then they end up in your work, like from Johnny Cash to Sisters of Mercy, or some of the Type o' Negative way, if you remember how he says the word "dark" - it just stays there.
MetalKings.com: Yeah, nobody ever compared you to Johnny Cash for some reason…
Jyrki 69: Except our producer was getting really pissed off for some songs, that they were too much like Johnny Cash. But anyways I just can't help it, it just comes out, maybe it's because he says that his grand-parents are from Finland, maybe that's that little DNA part. I don't know, it's like during these six years my voice has become what it is now.
MetalKings.com: On 'Blessed Be' you got a song called 'Brandon Lee', why did you decide to dedicate a song to the late actor?
Jyrki 69: You know like if you're into anything from grunge to black metal, or whatever music subculture, you definitely have at least a poster from 'The Crow', or some other Brandon Lee picture. Even though you might not be worshipping the movie 'Crow', you just have somewhere some Brandon Lee stuff, everybody has it. Because even though it's not like an Oscar-nominated movie, when I first saw it I was a little bit disappointed, because I knew the comics. But during the years it has been growing by itself, like better, and better, and better - and the longer it comes the better it gets, like wine, you know. Like this other flick - 'Nightmare Before Christmas' - it has become so huge, you can buy a lot of stuff from that movie everywhere. Though, you know, it was not one of those movies that have become total blockbusters. So, I thought like, okay, on the same record we got this really stupid song title like 'Gothic Girl', which is like on the humoring side, like this 'Black No. 1' song of Type o' Negative. So it was just a good title, and the lyrics are not about Brandon Lee at all, it's about all of us, and how life throws us around, it was a cool title, I still think it's the best song we've ever done. It was like number 8 on the record, and suddenly the Record Company picked it up - 'like this is a risky title, and are you sure of this?' - you know. And then it became our biggest ever, first really huge hit, and it still is. I think it's our best song in many ways, and it's a classic story, when you write a song, which is not supposed to be THE single, but you just write it and then it happens, like it happened with 'Satisfaction' of the Rolling Stones. It's a classic story. And I think it also does justice for the late Brandon Lee as well.
MetalKings.com: Also on that CD you got a song called '30' and I was browsing through the lyrics yesterday, and it looks pretty band, but what happens when you're 40 or - god forbid - 50? Is it really that bad?
Jyrki 69: I was like turning to 30 when I wrote the lyrics. But it's a good thing its great to be 30, once you get rid of the 20ies, you're done and you're most likely surviving, especially when you're over 27, especially if you're in a rock band. And when you are in your 30ies, like you're driving a car and you're just - more gas, more speeding up faster, instead of slowing down, and 'oh, and that was life' - no, you are totally in the middle of the best part.
MetalKings.com: Your last record is titled 'Paris Kills', does that imply that your next is going to be entitled something like 'Sahara Rules', 'China Rocks' or even 'Moscow Gives You Hangover'?
Jyrki 69: Those are really cool ideas, I have no title for the record yet, which is something I always come up with at a very early stage. It's just something I love - traveling, and I always wanted to be like some kind of a secret agent who travels around the world to some great destinations, surrounded by beautiful girls, and a lot of adventures, actually - this is as close as it can get to this: there's beautiful girls, exciting exotic destinations, big city lights. But 'Paris Kills' - I think that really suits us, I couldn't think of some other Finnish band that would come up with such a name for their record. We are like not so much stuck into the fact that we are coming exactly from here, although we are from Helsinki, we are not stuck in this - that we are coming from the North. We're international goth'n'roll playboys - and that's what we are no matter what we do.
MetalKings.com: How is the song-writing process normally going? Do you come up with the music first, or with the lyrics first, or a concept for the song first?
Jyrki 69: The guys write the riffs, and I just have a lot of ideas in my head, especially winter is inspiring for me, I love to walk around in the freezing winter night, or morning, I really love it. It's really silent because the birds are not around, they are all south, in Africa, so you can concentrate on your own thoughts. And also the other inspiring element is when you take a bath - the moment I sing there…
MetalKings.com: So you have that habit of singing in the shower?
Jyrki 69: Yeah, of course, because of the great echo… But anyways some ideas they just pop up in my head, some themes, maybe we have some telephonic connection first, and then I go to the studio, and somebody there is rehearsing some song or some part, and I start to work immediately on these ideas, I am already having something in my mind. First things happen like this, I just hear this riff, and I am already working over the best chorus for this song. It's not like I am spending weeks and weeks, listening to the demo and thinking what this should be about and what that should be about. It should happen like this (snaps his fingers) when it's not happening, I am like using my dictatorship and throw it to the garbage can, and try to make the guitarists happy in some other way.
MetalKings.com: So you are the dictator of the band?
Jyrki 69: Well… (muses over the question)
MetalKings.com: Or they just let you think that you are?
Jyrki 69: It could be that way as well. But it's not like I have to tell the guys, that I want them to do this or that, it's ridiculous, but because we've been together for such a long time that no matter what we do there's so many similarities in the way we think, that it's almost ridiculous. For example, once I bought this cool toothbrush, really cool cyberpunk looking, and I showed it to our drummer, and said 'look at this cool toothbrush' and he was like - yes, I have the same. We share so many thoughts - sometimes its amazing. And in song-writing that's like perfect because you don't have to explain so much why this and why that. We are all tuned to the same rock'n'roll station.
MetalKings.ru: You had a photo shoot for the German X-Tra-X catalogue, did you like that photo-shoot and do you wear their clothing in everyday life?
Jyrki 69: Well, I am most likely wearing Versace, when I have a possibility, but unfortunately Versace has not invited me yet for their shoot, but I am expecting to get an invitation any day now. But we've done a lot of modeling for X-Tra-X and it's cool. And you know, people who like us, they could buy something from that catalogue, and feel a little like us, have same things that we do.
MetalKings.ru: On the previous album, you've been long-haired and black leather, and on the new album you've shorter hair and Versace - so what's coming up next?
Jyrki 69: You know, it's the way it develops, the style, the band. We looked a lot like the Ramones in the early days, but now we have taken our music to a new stage, new level, so the looks have to develop as well. And it's also the possibility of going a little bit ahead of others, and it also goes with the thing how the band looks.
MetalKings.ru: Okay thanks, it's been a real pleasure, and good luck at the show.
Jyrki 69: Thank you.
would like to express their sincerest gratitude to ROXX Music for the
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