Tampere 2007

(Photo by Antti Hamalainen)

"We have never been the Most Wanted Guys in School"

Suiciderock: Your band has been formed in 1997. Could you tell all the people out there, who don`t know you yet, more about your band?
Lauri: I`m Lauri from the Damn Seagulls. I`m singing and I play the guitar.
Niko: I`m Niko from the Damn Seagulls and I play the saxophone, the keyboards, oh I`m sorry no keyboards but the piano.
Lauri: Niko joined the band in 2003. I was a member from the Damn Seagulls from the very beginning. We met in the same school when we were kids. We grew up together. We learned to play our instruments together. We learned to write songs and here we are after ten years. Everybody in the band has changed, but the attidute is still the same. Of course, the music has also gone through changes and hopefully the changes will go on.
Niko: But the basics will remain.

Suiciderock: Did you start just for fun or was it your intention to get something serious out of this band?
Lauri: For me at least yes. I think that even as a kid. It was more like a dream for me, but it was always somewhere in my head. I always knew that I want to make something out of it someday. We came to a point that we noticed that this is something more than a dream. There is the audience, the people who buy our records.
Niko: Yeah it`s the whole package, the whole surrounding that shows us that our music has become something something, more serious. It became quite professional for us.

Suiciderock: Could you describe each member by using one word? It should be easy, because you know each other for so many years.
Lauri: Everybody has so many sides.
Niko: But it`s difficult as you have to choose which side you want to describe. Let`s start with Jami. He is our guitar player. He is crazy.
Lauri: But that would fit to all of us. Jani, he plays the organ for us, he is kind of a father. You can decide in which way.
Niko: Tommi, our drummer, is funny.
Lauri: He is like goofy. Olli, our bassplayer, he has sideburns. And Niko. It would be easier to say it behind your back. *smiles* I guess it`s better if you say something about me first.
Niko: Okay. Lauri is the man.
Lauri: He is the man as well. I think I could describe him in one sentence. He is the support in our band.

Suiciderock: Can you still recall your first show as a band? What was it like for you to stand on the stage for the first time?
Niko: I wasn`t there. *laughs*
Lauri: At least I remember the first show, we`ve played under the name "Damn Seagulls". Back than we were a five piece band. We had two guitars, the bass, the drums and an organ. The organ player Jani wasn`t able to be on stage. I mean he was there, but he wasn`t able to play. He was past out under some table in the back.
Niko: Yeah he has stolen some whiskey from his fathers whiskey bar. He simply drunk too much.
Lauri: But I remember when we introduced the band in the middle of the gig, we introduced him as well of course. It was like "under the backtable is our organ player Jani". He raised his dumb.
Niko: Was it true that he was supposed to play just one note on that gig? *asks Lauri*
Lauri: Yeah I think he haven`t played that long back this time. He was supposed to play only one note in this song and later he should play the tamburin, but I guess it was too much for him. He was too nervous.
Niko: I think it was the tambourin, but you should see him now. Yeah, he is a really great.

Suiciderock: Does your bandname have a special meaning and is there a special story behind?
Lauri: Yes, it`s a very kind of a boring and long story. We have kind of stolen this name. At the beginning it was just a joke, but than we picked it to be the name of the band. Someday it started to become like a destiny for us.
Suiciderock: Who have "stolen" it?
Lauri: We saw the name in some book, actually in a school book, it stuck in our heads and it keeps reminding us on all this funny situations. That`s why we thought that this feels more like us. The name has some attidude and it`s easy to remember.
Niko: You always have to think about seagulls, people who are eating some French fries and the seagulls are flying around and of course, the people don`t want the seagulls around them. You can compare it with us some time ago. We also have been some kind of outsiders. We always have been this kind of guys, who have done their own things. We have never been the most wanted guys in school. At that time the name used to fit better, because we`ve played punk rock. Nowadays our music is much more than punk rock and we are still outsiders in a way. We never grow up.

Suiciderock: Every band has it`s own musical heroes. What are yours?
Niko: Joe Strummer of The Clash.
Lauri: Bruce Springsteen, Rancid. I think "Operation Ivy" was a band that was a really big thing when we started. Also the Swedish band, who is called the Monster.
Niko: And when it comes to attidude I need to name a Finnish band "The Hurriganes".

Suiciderock: Can you still recall your first musical memory?
Niko: I think it was my mom singing some old Finnish lullaby to me from Tapio Rautavaraa. He is a songwriter from the 40`s and 50`s and my mum was singing this song "Siinninen Uni".
Lauri: I think I remember when I was standing on the windows sill, pretending to play guitar. I don`t know how old I have been. I guess 4 or 5 or something like that. I`ve done a show for the rest of the kids.

Suiciderock: About the roles in your band: Who is responsible for the songwriting?
Lauri: Mainly it`s my job.
Suiciderock: What inspires you for the songwriting?
Lauri: Life in general.
Niko: That`s quite much.
Suiciderock: How does it develop from the idea of a song to the finishing?
Lauri: There are different ways, but normally I start to play the guitar and than I get the ideas for the melodies and I start singing whatever comes to my mind. It might happen that it doesn`t make any sense at this moment, but later when the time is right the rest of the lyrics come out of this and than we go to our rehearsal room and we just work it out. We try to find the soul of the song. It´s also a nice part for us that the songs are never ready because we are working on them all the time. We always try to make them better and better. People come to our shows more than one or twice, so even this old songs could always feel new, because some small progress is happening all the time.
Niko: At some point a song has to be ready, but I think it`s quite hard for us too finish a song. It`s impossible for us. Also we`ve played it hundred or a thousand times, we find some point that sucks and we have to improve.
Lauri: Yeah we sometimes re-write our songs.
Niko: It`s nice you never get bored.
Lauri: It`s good for your mind and it`s good for your soul.
Niko: And the best thing is it`s good for the songs.

Suiciderock: Your current album "Soul Politics" have been released in January and it went straight into the top ten of the Finnish chart. What`s the main difference between your first album "One Night at Sirdie`s" and "Soul Politics"?
Niko: I think the musical scale is different. "One Night at Sirdie`s" was kind of a compilation of what the band has done before.
Lauri: Our second album is a natural step forward from the last album. I don`t mean it as step in a direction of an adult. I mean it more in the musically way. I think we took a chance. We mostly produced it by ourselves and we did a lot of work for this album, but musically it is just the next natural step for our band. But the main thing is that it is something else. It`s just not the same. It is something else and the next album will again be something totally different.
Niko: We don`t wanna stay like this.
Lauri: We don`t want to make the same mistakes again. We want to make new mistakes.

Suiciderock: Is there some new material already done?
Lauri: It`s not really ready. We have picked one week where we are going to Niko`s summer cottage and there we gonna check out some new stuff. There we will make a plan for the new album and we will hopefully be in the studio in spring, but it takes time. I think it`s more important to make an album that you can be proud of even years later.
Niko: I think this time we try to make the record much more faster, but let´s see how it`s going. Of course, it will take time, but it is a challenge. We just need to decide when we are ready. We might be ready for that after this week we spend at the summer cottage.
Lauri: By the way our album is coming out in January, 25th next year in Germany.

Suiciderock: Will you go on tour in Germany?
Niko: We hope we can be there in March or April. We get some contacts over there, but let`s see what`s gonna happen.
Lauri: We are trying to kiss some ass at this weekend. Maybe we will get something out of it. *laughs*

Suiciderock: If you have to describe "Soul Politics" in one sentence, how would you do so?
Lauri: Soul Politics. *laughs* I think it`s the second part of the story that has started with "One Night at Sirdie`s". It`s not a planned story, but it seems to be the second part of our first album. It`s comparable to a teenager who is growing up and who tries to find his place in the world. We will see how it ends. It`s not finished yet. It`s like the great triology of the Damn Seagulls. From boys to men. Maybe it doesn`t end like that.
Niko: I think this problem of growing up will never end. It has become such a huge problem for us. We are always thinking too much. We think too much and we plan too little. There are lot of things in life that make you think am I adult now. I mean okay I don`t live in the house of my parents anymore, but is this the life that I want. Am I satisfied or am I not satisfied.
Lauri: Well, now we have about 25 sentences now.

Suiciderock: In spring you have been on tour. What was it like for you?
Lauri: I think it was great. We take small big steps. And it`s great to see that not only friends come to see our gigs. People we don`t know come there and they pay for our show.
Niko: We know a lot of people for example in Helsinki, Tampere and Turku, but when we come to Northern Finland it`s always great to see people who want to see our shows, which we don`t know. And when you see them you start to think that it`s actually great that they are here. It´s amazing.

Suiciderock: Your future plans?
Niko: We are going to the summer cottage next week. We will compose ten good songs. In February we are going to the studio. We will make the album ready `til March.
Lauri: It seems that you have a concrete plan.
Niko: In March or April we are going to Germany, first we take Berlin than we take Manhattan. Well, that`s quite much to say. We will have the best record in the whole world. We will buy some big houses, a lot of cocaine and a lot of women. That`s it. *laughs*

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