|The BIG Über Röck Interview: Mr Lordi|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Friday, 16 September 2016 03:00|
It’s a very special day today! Why? Well, any day that sees a new album emerge from the creative cocoon of those loveable Finnish monsters Lordi is a special one… and so it comes to pass that on this, the 16th day of the ninth month of the 16th year of the 21st century of the Common Era, as they release eighth studio album, ‘Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy)’ on an unsuspecting rock ‘n’ roll Überverse…
Über Röck could think of no better reason to recently put in a call to Mr Lordi himself, to talk about the album, the subsequent supporting tour, which comes to these shores in November, why they won’t be playing at least half the new songs live, the new costumes – and how, despite seeming to be endlessly on the go and a workaholic, he is basically a self-confessed “lazy bastard” who would like to do nothing more than get fat while watching TV box sets…
I started by asking about the inspiration behind the album’s title:
“Well, it was quite difficult to find a suitable title, because, as you have noticed, it is like a split album with ourselves – it’s like two EPs actually. So, I wanted to find a title that had something that meant “two” or “double” in it. There were so many different titles [that we thought about]: for example, there was ‘Opposites Attack’, and ‘Splitting Image’… but everything was like “meh…”. But, of course, “stereo” means two.
"Actually, ‘Monstereophonic’ was one of the titles we thought about for the album ‘To Beast Or Not To Beast’: I loved the title, but we couldn’t use it then, because while we were recording it Kiss came out with the ‘Monster’ album – and if we had come out a couple of months later with an album called ‘Monstereophinc’, people just would have went “yeah, yeah…” But, the title has everything: it has ‘monster’ in it and it has ‘stereo’ for the duality…”
As Mr Lordi has mentioned, and as highlighted in our review, the album is very much one which is split in two halves. Was it deliberately planned that way, or was it something that just evolved during the writing and recording process?
“Before I even started writing, I said “let’s do something different that we haven’t done before”. People who know my writing know that it’s mainly Eighties-oriented pop rock/heavy rock/heavy metal if you will, very melodic, very Eighties influenced. But I also like Judas Priest, Udo, King Diamond and stuff that is much harder. But, when the likes of Kita was in the band, with all due respect to him, we couldn’t play that stuff, because he wasn’t a double-kicker. Now, we have Mana, who is a much more technical drummer than Kita, and that opened the window for me to write and demo songs we could actually play with a drummer like that.
“It’s kind of depressing to write a song and know that it won’t on the album because the skills are not there to play it. On the last two albums [‘To Beast Or Not To Beast’ and ‘Scare Force One’], we were sort of flirting with the more modern approach, with double kick drums, harder and heavier stuff, but we didn’t go all the way… We were keeping it simple. But, then, we thought, with the next one… let’s do it. Let’s do the kind of stuff I have been writing all this time, let’s do it now and do it as a conceptual EP, and let’s do the other half of the album, the other six songs, as classic Lordi.
"I love both of those roles, but it’s very difficult to combine them: I think the closest we got to successfully combining them was the title track on the last album, ‘Scare Force One’. The response we got from that particular song, and the album itself, which has elements of both worlds, and flirted with the more modern touch, was divided: the older fans – and I mean literally older fans, those over 40 – weren’t necessarily thrilled about the harder take on the music, but then again there were younger fans who were into it and thought it was cool that Lordi was doing heavier stuff. So, having combined the two worlds on ‘Scare Force One’, it was time to split the difference, as it were: let’s do six songs based on the strengths that we already know we have, and let’s experiment on the other half. I’ve been writing this stuff all the time, but we haven’t been doing it as a band, so that was all decided before I even started writing.”
Given Mr Lordi’s love of everything to do with the Eighties, UR wonders if he is also paying homage to the era of vinyl on ‘Monstereophonic…’, with a clear split between the ‘A’ side and the ‘B’ side in terms of the album’s style and approach?
“Yeah, of course,” the affable Finn laughs down the ‘phone connection from his Helsinki home. “I always think of any CD, whether it is one of ours or someone else’s, in terms of vinyl. I always think of them as two sides. For some reason, in my mind, after song five or six that this is the end of the A side: it’s just something that’s in my bones!
“Funnily enough, the vinyl pressing of ‘Monstereophonic…’ is a double album, because the songs on the B side, so to speak, are too long to fit on one side of vinyl!”
With the B side, to use Lordi’s terminology, being a concept work, UR wonders if they’ll split the songs up to play them live, or if it will be presented in its entirey… as it turns out, fans will have to wait a while to hear them in the flesh:
“The problem with the six songs that make up the ‘Demonarchy’ side of the album is that all of them require two guitar players. In the studio, that is not a problem, but live, as you know, we only have one guitarist! We haven’t made the final decision, but right now we are 99 per cent sure we are not going to playing any of the songs from the ‘Demonarchy’ side live on this tour – simply because they will not sound as good as they should with one guitar: every single fucking song needs two guitars.
“I am having fun playing with the idea of, maybe, depending on the fans’ response – and especially that of the diehard fans, which is really crucial and it will be exciting to see how they feel about it – if they really dig it, then we have a plan that maybe, MAYBE, next year we would hire an extra guitar player, do a full production for ‘Demonarchy’ and act out the story on stage, with actors and stuff! But, not on this tour, because we don’t know how the diehard fans will react to this side of the album.
"Plus, the songs are quite long: your average Lordi song is three to four minutes, and I kinda have the feeling that your average Lordi fan’s focus cannot go more than four minutes – and if a song is seven minutes long, they’ll get bored, go get beer or need to go to the loo: I could be wrong, but we’ll see, because the fans’ reaction to this is crucial. If they dig, then we’ll think about doing like a separate thing."
Obviously a new Lordi album brings a new Lordi tour – and that also means new Lordi costumes…
“The new costumes are split in half, like the album,” their designer reveals. “Every character is split vertically in half. Everybody has a little bit more of a monstrous side than the other: the right side is classic Lordi, and the left side is more dark and zombie-ish!”
Lordi is not the only outlet for the man known in real life as Tomi Putaansuu’s creative talents. Outside of the band, he is an extremely talented and acclaimed artist, having created album covers for numerous other acts, and also exhibited widely in both his native Finland and beyond. UR wonders how he finds the time to give vent to all this creativity…
“That is my Achilles heel!” he laughs. “I’m shooting myself in the foot all the time, because it’s like I want to do everything that I’m doing, and I’m stubborn as a mule and that means that I don’t really have that much free time, which I should, so I’m always on the edge of a fucking burn out because I don’t sleep enough…
"Yeah, once again, I designed the costumes and the album cover and painted the cover and did all the graphics, and right now I’m designing all the merch and then we’re going to start building the new stage set and building new tricks for the tour. And, on top of all this Lordi stuff, there are other things in the pipeline that I’m doing for other bands… I’m just one of those stupid people who doesn’t know how to say “no”!
"And, to make it even more paradoxical, the thing is that I am a lazy bastard! There is nothing I love doing more than doing nothing! I would just love to lie and watch DVDs and get fatter! That’s my goal in life! I’m succeeding in getting fatter – but not in the watching DVDs or reading comic books bit…”
Lordi play the following dates later in year:
Wednesday 9 November – Dublin, The Button Factory
Thursday 10 November – Galway, Monroe’s
Friday 11 November – Basingstoke, Stage
Sunday 13 November – Swansea, The Scene
Monday 14 November – Edinburgh, La Belle Angele
Tuesday 15 November – Newcastle Upon Tyne, O2 Academy
Wednesday 16 November – Doncaster, Diamond Live Lounge
Friday 18 November – Liverpool, Krazy House
Saturday 19 November – Bristol, Bierkeller
Sunday 20 November – London, O2 Academy Islington