Helsinki 2011

(c) Kerttu Malinen

"Music straight from the heart"

Suiciderock: You are already a big name here in Finland. The band was found in 2005, can you give us a brief introduction about the band for all the people who don`t know you until now?
Lappe: We are Carmen Grey from Helsinki, more precisely from the local area called Kannelmäki. We and Pete, who is sitting next to me right now have played together since about 15 years now. We all know each other since we were kids. Acutally the whole band as well as our roadcrew is from the same area. Ok besides our singer, Nicklas. He comes from Vaasa.

Suiciderock:  Wait a moment, how did you meet him than?
Lappe:  Nicklas and me have played in the same musical. We asked him if he would be interested in joining our band. Obviously he was into that. So that`s the short quite simple story how we all met each other. But seriously we have been doing this since the year 2000 you could say. First we started to play gigs all over here in Finland, than we got a record contract. So all came little by little.
Pete: That`s right. We started in 1995. I think we  have known each other since we all were kids. In my opinion we are still the same kids from Kannelmäki. Everyone in and around the band has known each other since about 20 years now. I think that’s one of the reasons why Carmen Grey is so special to us.
Lappe: That helps us doing these whole thing. It`s a great feeling when you are surrounded by your friends. It can be very hard to tour especially here in Finland. Sometimes the clubs are packed than of course it rocks, but sometimes you are playing in almost empty clubs, than it helps when you have your friends there with you to make this evening special anyways.

Suiciderock: Would you say that the fact that you are all know each other so well makes touring more bearable than with strangers? Pete: That`s true. You can see us like a family. It makes touring and being in the band in general  quite confortable.

Suiciderock: Let`s talk a bit about your current record “Gates of Loneliness”, which was released in April this year. The listeners can enjoy 10 tracks, what can you tell us about those songs?
Lappe: This record is really inomprtant for us. When we left our old record company Sony / BMG we wanted to concentrate on our own  thing. Together with our manager and friend we could do that. So we released it ourselves and it turned out to be our biggest success so far. The music as you can hear it on “Gates of Loneliness” is the kind of music we always wanted to do. We have been enjoing the fact that we are able to do what we want to do. It was overwhelming, better than ever before. The songs are quite easy but melodical. The lyrics come from real life this time. It kind of helps when you are getting older, than you have more stories to tell. I thought that it would be the right time to  to add some real stories to the lyrics. All I can say to the people out there is to buy the album to check it out yourself. The music really comes straight from the heart.
Pete: I would totally agree. If you listen to the music you can sense something. You can compare it to homemade cooking in a way. We have done all by ourselves and we are very proud of it. Besides that it is our biggest success so far. I don`t know maybe we found a new kind of ways to love music when we started to work on the album.

Suiciderock: Why do you think did this happen exactly with this record?
Lappe: Maybe because we have been doing all the work ourselves. Petteri our manager did a great job when he managed that the album will be distributed through Warner Music. The music reflects all the hard work we have done. This album is so important to us, that must be the reason for it`s success.

Suiciderock: Your single „Gates of Loneliness“ is featured in the Sing Star Game. How did that come up?
Pete: Acutally I don`t have an idea how the song made it on the game. The mainpoint is that it is there.
Lappe: Maybe it`s because it was on the radio such a long time and still is. People obviously liked the song.

Suiciderock: This kind of party games are quite popular nowadays… What about you, is a game like sing star also lightning up your party?
Lappe: I tried it at home. It was a nice evening when I put the game on. A few beers were included and the Singstar Game was really funny. Yeah, we had a nice party with it.

Suiciderock: Your music video for the song “Demolition Lady” was filmed at your album release party at the Green Room here in Helsinki. Why did you choose this event for the clip?
Pete: We had our recordrelease party that day at the Greenroom. As we had cameras all over we decided that this would be a nice scenere for our video as well. The whole show was filmed.
Lappe: The whole gig was filmed for Radio Nova. You can watch six or seven songs on their site. They have that kind of Backstage Web TV over there and you can see some footage of us as well.

Suiciderock: I was checking out your tour archive a bit and I found out that you haven`t been playing that much outside of Finland until that day. Are you planning to change this in the future?
Lappe: We have been playing in Japan where we have also released our first two albums and now “Gates Of Loneliness” will be released in Japan as well. As far as I remember this is going to happen in autumn. When you go to play outside of Finland you have to have some kind of reason to go. For example if you go to Germany and nobody knows the band over there, it doesn`t really make sense to play there.

Suiciderock: Anything planned regarding a foreign tour?
Lappe: We have been discussing about Germany and also the UK but let`s see what happens to that. The message from the field is that the current situation in the music scene is so bad that you shouldn`t do anything.

Suiciderock: Many Finish bands gain great success in Japan. What do you think makes the Finnish music so popular over there?
Pete: I think Hanoi Rocks were the pioneers there when it comes to bands from Finland. Ok, Stratovarius have also been very huge over there but I think Hanoi Rocks did a great job. They opened the door for Finnish bands. Michael Monroe is still an icon for the Japanese people.
Lappe: We have actually played at the same event together with Michael when we were in Japan. This was kind a funny. Some minutes after his show he came back to the backstage and he said “Hey Guys, I kept the audience on ice for you”. That was something. Of course the people out there were crazy about his show.

Suiciderock: “Gates of Loneliness” was also your first release under Grey Music Entertainment. What made you decide to release the record under your own label? You have an distribution deal with Warner Music. How does that work for you?
Lappe: Actually the record company belongs to our manager and friend, Petteri. We produced the album together but the company belongs Petteri.
Pete: For us personally it is better to concentrate on the musical site. We are musicians and we don`t really want to concentrate on running a record company.
Lappe: It is a great thing. It was nice to be in a major record company as well. But you have to see the whole package. There are so many artists out there who want to be promoted and taken care of. So all those big record companies have to find the right time and moment for all this things for so many people. We thought it would be better for us if the record company we are signed to is only taking care of us. Our manager Petteri does that very well. He has only our record that he has to bring to all the different radio or tv stations and not dozens of them. That kind of make sense because this is a very small country we are living in.

Suiciderock: What about your name, who is “Carmen Grey”? What`s the story behind?
Lappe: Well, the name is just a fiction. Actually we wanted to use something from an Oscar Wild movie but than we found out that the name we had in mind was already existing so we had to figure out something else and this came out.

Suiciderock: Your future plans for the band?
Pete: Music, music and music.

Many many people say at this point that they want to become the biggest rock star or musician on earth but I would say that I`m happy as long as I can do my music and play some shows and everything goes well as it is now, I`m just fine.

Find Carmen Grey on MySpace & on their homepage