Suiciderock: First of all congratulations to your new record release. “Dead Decades” has just been released some weeks ago. So it is still pretty fresh. Tell us something about the album.
Sammy: First of all I have to say sorry that it took so long until we came up with a new record. Actually the album itself was ready about a year ago but the label wanted everything to be perfect so it took almost another year until it’s actual release. However I don’t want to blame the label only. We have to take some responsibility as well and also if everybody says that after a new album release, it’s our best album so far. Of course, I like all our previous records as well but the special thing when it comes to “Dead Decades” is that you can find a red line between the songs, the whole album is under some theme. The theme I’m talking about was ready even before we had all the songs for the album. I’m really happy that we didn’t loose it during the song writing and the production. You are able to feel the mood we had, when we put everything together.
Suiciderock: “Dead Decade” is quite dark comparing to “Evel Knievel Factor”. Was that your intention or did this happen along the writing process?
Sammy: We didn’t really plan to make a darker album. But there were many things that drove us to write those kind of songs. The funny thing is that we had to leave some songs out as they were kind of too happy for “Dead Decade”. I don’t think that the record is sad or gothic or whatever, I would say that it is more serious maybe. But now we still have some good songs left over, maybe they will make it on the next album than. That might be a very happy party album than, who knows.
Suiciderock: “Dead Decade” is not only the title of your record, it is also the title of the second track on the album. At the end of the song you have that children choir singing that they shouldn’t be worried about what’s happening in the future as they don’t know if they will see the future at all. That’s very serious. How did the idea for that come up?
Sammy: I don’t know how we got to this idea. I wanted to write a song that really touches me. Of course, that’s what every songwriter wants to do and every singer wants to sing lyrics he really stands behind. I didn’t really have that up and downs in my life at this time but somehow that topic was on my mind and I felt like I should write about it. The children you can hear at the end of the song are there to make the song a little bit happier and not so gloomy in the end. When I wrote the song and the lyrics for the children’s part haven’t been ready I asked myself how pathetic I really am and how we could end this song with the conclusion that there is still some hope left after all. Plus we were looking for something fresh and what can be more fresh and bright than hearing kids singing? The kids lighten up the mood for the listener.
Suiciderock: But again in the song “Ghost Dance” you tell the story about an soldier who serves on the front in a war and is scared to loose his life there. Again a very serious and criticising song.
Sammy: The song has many meanings. We have a really cool idea for a video when it comes to that song and that wouldn’t have anything to do with a soldier but the song came up when I visited an old Finish town which is part of Russia nowadays. I had relatives living there and so I went there to visit. I was there for the first time during the winter time and it was really really cold and I really liked the place. I heard some stories from that place before and when I was there I could really feel and imagine how those stories have happened. But you don’t necessarily have to see the song in the past, you can also bring the story to these days.
Suiciderock: What about the video clip than?
Sammy: I can’t tell you all about that idea yet but as I said it will take the story of the song to these days. There won’t be any war or something similar but the story will be about love, maybe being afraid of losing it again and that kind of things.
Suiciderock: Even it is not spoken out loud you can read a lot of this criticising between the lines. Many bands out there don’t have the courage to write about such themes any more. What made you prefer this rather serious topics instead of writing about love and relationships only.
Sammy: I have always written lyrics about something that touches me and that means something to me. Maybe I’m a sad person… *smiles* Sometimes you just aren’t in that party mood to write lyrics about having a beer and going to the next bar or whatever. I think it’s ok to sing and write about such themes as well and sometimes I feel like that, too. But you can’t pack those serious topics together with the party ones into one album concept. In my opinion many musicians, many rock bands are too afraid to sing about something they really believe in. I think many of them choose the saver way when they write their lyrics about Rock`n Roll and party. I’m not afraid of going for the serious themes as well.
Suiciderock: But there is also a little hope among all this serious and critic lines. “Wake up” seems to be more about the bright site and sounds like a real love declaration when it comes to lines like “You are my Everything”… So there is a light at the end of the tunnel than?
Sammy: Well I have to disappoint you in some kind of way. But the song is sad as well. The song actually is about dying, to be specific it is about my fathers death. The song is about the feelings what you feel first when somebody dies. But of course there is always hope at the end also in this song.
Suiciderock: On the Japanese version of the album you have added the cover song “New Church”, originally written and performed by the band The Lords of the New Church. Why is the song only on the Japanese Release and what makes that song so special to you?
Sammy: Well, the Japanese always want something extra when it comes to their releases.
Suiciderock: What were the recordings for “Dead Decades” be like? Where did you record?
Sammy: We recorded it here in Helsinki at my own studio. I worked with some other bands at the same time as well. It wasn’t sure that we want to record it there when we started to work on the album. We first did the demos for “Dead Decade” at my studio and than we found out that this demos where so close to what we were looking for. So it was an easy choice to record the album at the same studio as well.
Suiciderock: The listening party for “Dead Decades” was held at the Trash Fest in America. If the people wanted to be able to hear your new work they needed to have one of this VIP packages. How did that work? Could they buy those packages or how did you get hold of them?
Sammy: I don’t know anything about this VIP packages. Our promoter managed everything. I have to say that all went well but I don’t have any idea how they managed the system, how you could actually get this VIP packages. The organisers took care of that, we just had fun playing there. The meet and greet was great and it was nice to meet all those cool people over there.
Suiciderock: You have been on your very first China Tour last July. You played 7shows to the Chinese audience. How did they react?
Sammy: It was really interesting. This was our very first time in China. All was pretty fresh and new for us. We just went there without having any hint of what expects us. The trip was really great. It was really nice for the whole band and also really inspiring for us as a person.
Suiciderock: What’s your impression about touring / visiting China? I assume it was a big difference comparing to the shows you play in Europe?
Sammy: It was different. When we started our show the audience was a bit quiet, they just listened but after a while and after some songs they began to open up a bit. I think that’s because they are used to that strict rules. It’s a different situation for them as well if all of a sudden a band starts to give a show like we did, to express their selves, to be loud. People in China are just not used to that kind of things due to their strict lifestyle.
Suiciderock: Did you bring any strange souvenirs along? Many bands that went to Japan or China have told us that they brought lots of strange stuff with them?
Sammy: Ilari brought some kind of snake booze. But the rest was quite normal, jewelleries and stuff. At least nothing explosive was among the souvenirs.
Suiciderock: The band can look back on a long history by now since it was found back in 1995. What would you say have been your personal highlights within your career?
Sammy: I think we haven’t reached or experienced our highlight as a band yet. We had many many good moments but you always have to look into the future and there is always something new you want to reach, you want to achieve. That’s how it’s supposed to be. As I said we had lots of good moments in the past like playing in Tokyo the first time, this China tour was awesome. You can find good moments all away from the beginning of our band career. We had our downs as well. That’s how it goes. It’s too difficult to pick one or two of the good moments we had so many and I’m really grateful for them.
Suiciderock: Your future plans with the new record and for the band?
Sammy: I hope to get a new album released also in the rest of Europe. At the moment we are in contact with different booking agents for example in Germany. We want to tour over there. We also hope to be back in The States around march. The feedback over there was so great after the release of our first album. It would be really nice to do that.