If you have read my review of The Tour To End All Tours you will be aware that I had the pleasure of catching up with the main man of Lordi himself. Again I want to take the time to thank the security at the venue who helped out on the night to get me where I needed to be to do the interview (along with a gentleman from the Sabaton crew). I went around backstage of the venue following long corridors weaving around the building until I was ushered into the room where Mr Lordi himself was sitting.
I have to say it felt quite scary as he cuts an imposing figure in his outfit that is for sure. However, he was simply a pleasure to listen to with a very pleasant, in fact quite a soothing voice. He was also happy it seemed to chat away and he answered everything I had to ask. So without further ado let’s commence and see what the monsterman had to say…
CGCM: First of all thank you for taking time to speak with me on behalf of CGCM. How did the show go for you onstage?
Mr Lordi: Sweaty, as usual (laughs), good, standard, nothing to complain about (laughing away). It is always nicer when people like it than when they don’t (continues laughing).
All About The New Guitarist
CGCM: If I can ask you first about the fact you have a brand new guitarist Kone, can I ask how you found him or how it came about?
Mr Lordi: Funny enough we didn’t know him before, there were 3 or 4 guys I called before, you know asking them, but all of them said no for different reasons. Some wanted to but they couldn’t for whatever reasons. We had kind of run out of options, this all happened in a time period of 2 days actually. We had this one name actually and it took I think, em, 1 day to get his number. Our drummer Mana said “yeah, but he will be too busy, it’s not even worth to ask, he’s probably way too busy“, but when I called him he said immediately “Yeah, I am in” . And he’s a good guy (CGCM:he’s a fine guitar player): yeah he is VERY fine so…
CGCM: I notice that he is credited with co-writing some songs on the new album
Mr Lordi: In a few songs yes. He had some riffs yeah. That was his first task. When he joined the band which was last year in ’22, I had just fired our long-time guitar player Amen, and the next day I called him, and the first task that he had was to start immediately recording, getting in the process of recording this album (that being Screem Writers Guild) which we recorded pretty much a year ago now just before festival season. Some fans were asking when did we record that as we announced Amen was out and the new guy was in late May. We had the festivals and then our own 10-week tour in the fall and then suddenly we were coming up with a new album but of course, we had done all that before we announced anything. It was all done.
All About The Variety Of Styles
CGCM: One of the things that amazes me is the variety of styles on the new album. I take it you are fairly open to all kinds of styles…
Mr Lordi: Well apart from hip-hop and rap (laughs). Anything I like for sure
CGCM: There is even a country-type song on the album…
Mr Lordi: Well kind of, countryish (the “ish” is elongated with a laugh). Of course, our previous release was 7 albums of different styles, one of them was disco, another thrash and everything inbetween, so sure, yeah. The only comparison for me that is kind of obvious is Kiss as their catalogue is very wide in musical styles over 5 decades. I think Metallica have tried, but many bands stick to their guns and don’t go outside their backyard, like say AC/DC. (As he laughs he says something like “we go, whatever feels good at that moment“)
CGCM: When you are writing a song do you decide on a style for the song first or do you decide after you have it written?
Mr Lordi: Sometimes yeah, it depends, for example the countryish song (“The Bride“) was something I wanted to do, a song where I am singing for the first time in the Lordi catalogue in my clean voice. That was the starting point, I knew it was going to be a song like that. Sometimes I know where a song is going and sometimes I don’t. I noticed many years ago that a good song is a good song.
It is the arrangement and then after that only a little bit about the production that helps decide what genre the song will actually fall into. A good example for instance is Apocalyptica, you know when they play Metallica on the cellos, if you played it to some 85-year-old and they wouldn’t know it was a Metallica song. Music is music but it is the arrangements and production that makes the genre.
CGCM: I noticed on the 7 disk so many different influences, I mean I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure there is some Kansas influence in there.
Mr Lordi: (laughing away) If you heard Kansas you might be right. When I was writing those albums I went into… (pauses) … some of the albums I had to study a little harder. For example, the thrash metal album was the most difficult for me to write because I had never written a thrash song before. I had written riffs in that style kinda, but not really a full song unlike say the 80s hair metal, classic rock or whatever which is very much my cup of tea. If you heard Kansas sure, you will also hear Toto and Asia…
CGCM: I noticed even some stuff like The Mission and Sisters Of Mercy on one of the albums (Mr Lordi goes “yeah, yeah”) so you must have quite wide tastes…
Mr Lordi: (his voice goes up an octave or 2 as he laughs and says gently) nnnooooo. Surprisingly not. That is pretty much it, those are the styles I am into. Of those styles there is classical orchestrated movie scores I like, also some country I like, but other than that it is pretty much the end of it (continues to laugh). That’s where you can close the book.
The Funeral Song
CGCM: On the new album the last song (“End Credits“), when I heard it I was slightly worried as it felt like you were saying goodbye, perhaps the band are going to stop for some reason. There is so much emotion in it.
Mr Lordi: Yeah, it is a goodbye song. I wrote it for my own funeral, it is my funeral song. I wanted a song, em, you know what they say that as you are about to die your life flashes before you, like a film strip, and since this album is movie-themed “end credits” seemed to be appropriate. When we started writing this album our book came out (Lordiary) so when I was writing the song my memories were fresh in my head from doing that.
It is a funeral song and it is funny that I played it to friends and they were like getting (he starts making crying sounds) all teary-eyed and asking “why are you dying? Has your smoking caught up with you?”. I was like “no” (laughing). They then were like “so why are you writing a funeral song?” and I was like “well if you want to write your own funeral song, you kinda have to do it whilst you are still alive, when you are dead it is a bit too late”. (lots of laughter). I mean Elton John has a funeral song on his first album (having checked I think he means the seventh if he is referring to “Funeral For A Friend“), so it’s nothing that bad, its just a song.
(At this moment I tell him how I feel about the song and especially the melody line praising it highly and he sheepishly went “it’s OK” and laughed)
Mr Lordi: (continues) It makes me giggle because it evokes those kinds of emotions in some people and I am like… devilish giggles… it is so easy to tickle people.
CGCM: I notice you have a couple of albums that border on progressive or thematic rock, is that an avenue you may explore further?
Mr Lordi: Well if I feel like it. It is a case of what do I feel like when I start writing. That’s all it comes down to really. I found myself struggling for a long time on the first 3 or 4 albums, 20 years ago. I wanted to do different styles, but we were at Sony and our A & R guy at the time went “no, no no no. It is not time to widen your catalogue yet”, but I felt a band should do a little more. Or a band should do whatever they feel like. So I felt back in the day like I was chained to an outside order.
Also back then our first drummer, great guy but just very much a rock n roll guy, he could not play double kick drum for example which rules out a lot of modern styles we want to do. When he was out and we got a new guy and he was like a fucking virtuoso on the drums so that also opened up opportunities to what I could write. Nowadays with this band I have no restrictions from the band, they can play whatever I write.
CGCM: Again I have noticed that the band seem to get better all the time. The writing the performances, everything shows progression.
Mr Lordi: I always say “the more you do it the better you get at it”. When we came up with 7 albums and what, 3 months after that come up with another some folks go (puts on a gruff voice) “it is all about quantity and not quality with those fucking bastards”, but they don’t know shit. For example, if you should break your arm would you prefer to have a surgeon or doctor who has done hundreds of operations or someone who is fresh and not done much? You don’t want the latter so it is a case of the more you do the better you get. That’s how the masters of any fucking crafts become so good. I honestly believe with hand on my heart that I write better now and the more often I write. It is so obvious.
Everybody gets better at things the more they do it. However, for some reason in music you need to (again puts on gruffer voice) “suffer for your art” and you have to make your album over 3 years. That’s fucking bullshit. I have never understood why. Just get writing, what’s the hold up? I for example have never experienced writer’s block. Never known how that feels. I don’t know, I could be wrong but it feels like someone is saying “I feel lazy”. If your job is to write music and you can’t come up with anything, maybe you should just work in a bank! (Laughs).
His Favourite Song Writer(s)
CGCM: If I may say, my second favourite artist ever is Alice Cooper, as he writes such great songs with superb choruses, you know, you hear it once you are joining in on the second time around and for me, you do very much the same. You write hooks with melody, something which can be sometimes lacking in the metal genre.
Mr Lordi: Of course that is the stuff I grew up with. The hooky choruses of the 80s, that is what I am made of! With Alice even though he is one of my favourites of all time and an idol, he is one of those guys where when he writes he is as good as his co-writer you know, and it always seems to be who he is working with as to what style he is turning to.
I love Alice and Desmond Child, they are at their best when they are working together. You know the song “I Am Made Of You”, I can’t remember the album off the top of my head but it was quite a recent one ( it was on Welcome 2 My Nightmare) with Desmond Child, but it is fucking awesome song. Sometimes chemistries match up and those 2 I would love to hear more of. If you asked who my favourite writer is I would say Desmond Child absolutely.
The Difficulty Of Originality
CGCM: There are definite moments of Alice on the 7 albums, one of which I am not sure if you did it on purpose as a homage, but there is one lick from “Unfinished Sweet” from “Billion Dollar Babies“…
Mr Lordi: Oh there is definitely some Alice on there. There could be a section of that there as I am a sponge. Luckily there has only been one time that it went a bit too far. I didn’t know and this happened in around 2010 and I wrote this riff and it sounded so classic sort of 80s metal and I called it “This Is Heavy Metal”. It was already on a demo version and I handed it to the label, I played it to the band guys and everybody was like “where is this fucking riff from? Why is the riff so familiar?”. Folks went “it’s Danzig, it’s Kiss, oh it’s Slayer…” and I was like “NO”.
We tried to find where the riff might be from. The A & R man said he thought I had written such a classic-sounding riff and that was that. Then the album came out. It was the first single and immediately when they played it on Finnish radio the host went “haven’t I heard this riff before?” He then played a Finnish band from early 2000 and the riff is like note for note. I was llike “fuck!!!!“
None of my friends had been into that band but I had heard it years before on the radio. That happened, like I said I am a sponge… (CGCM: Did you have to pay them or anything?)… No no no, as it turned out and this is fucking funny, that band on that same radio show the next day called to say there is the same riff on an Alice In Chains song, and there had been a song in the 80s with that riff and all the way back to the 70s possibly Nazareth, I can’t quite remember for sure. There is a long line of the same riff appearing every 10 years or so. (Laughing hard) Every one of us are thinking “well we came up with a great riff” (still laughing)
CGCM: It shows how difficult it s to be original.
Mr Lordi: I don’t try to be original. When I write I am trying to write songs that would wake the feelings I have, of the music I love. I want to bring nostalgia to myself. It is a very limited target audience of one. I am writing everything for myself, to please myself. If anyone else likes it that’s a plus. I am trying to write my own versions or meanings from my favourite songs. Of course, I try not to copy-paste, try not to do direct copies but sometimes things like that might happen. It happens to the ones who never admit it… it can’t be helped. There are only 12 notes in music, everything has been written at least once already.
CGCM: For me when I am listening to say the last few albums I hear things I recognize but it tends to be tiny snippets, a refrain and the song moves away from that. It is original but has flavours of other artists and songs. I quite like spotting connections, it is fun.
Mr Lordi: Yes, there are certain standards in various styles of music which are used often…
Coming To A Conclusion
At this point he starts to sing various riffs or melodies and drumming patterns on his knees to illustrate riffs or melodies that are used by everyone within the rock and metal world. It was fun to watch him and listen to him illustrate how things can be standard in a scene. As he was doing all that someone came to the door of the room. What I found amazing was that Mr Lordi made it obvious that I was welcome to keep asking questions as he said to the person that he was doing an interview (his manager was sitting next to me in the room as well).
I thought it only fair to ask one more question and to take my leave. The question was about a UK tour. His reply was that PR folks and management are speaking all the time trying to get something planned but due to Brexit touring the UK for a band like Lordi has become more difficult but they want to do it (he compared the difference of going to another European country and here).
The All Important Thank Yous
Again I thank all those involved in making the interview possible that being Barbara from Atomic Fire Recordsalong with Richard the band manager and the security at the Hydro. Most importantly a huge thanks to Mr Lordi for his time. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him and to hear what he had to say. I hope readers get an idea of how cool he is.
Lordi… Official Website // Official Facebook
Check out my other reviews and articles here. Tom
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