Helsinki 2011

(c) The 69 Eyes Official

"Our whole career is a big highlight for me"

Suiciderock: Our last interview with you was about 4 years ago (and you have also been our very first interview when we started that magazine), so now it is definitely time to check back and see what you have been up to. Your last record that your fans could hold in their hands was “Back in Blood” which was released about two years ago. On your website you said that you are currently working on a new record which is supposed to see daylight in 2012. Can you already reveal something about the album?
Bazie: That`s true. We are currently working on new material for the upcoming record. We just finished the last shows of our tour here in Finland so now we can concentrate on writing new songs. What can I reveal about it? Well, same old story I would say but in a positive way. This is difficult as we are still at the beginning of the whole process. We haven`t really decided yet what is going to be on the album. There are a lot of different styles how we could arrange the songs when we begin to work on a new album. Usually it`s us and than the record company who decides how the album should look like but the producer has the final word in the end. He knows best what makes sense and what not.

Suiciderock: But we definitely can expect a typical 69 Eyes album?
Bazie: Sure. Of course you want to create something new with every new record. Why should you make exactly the same album again and again. Though we had “Devils” and “Angels” which matched together but we wanted those two albums to be like that. It also always depends a lot on the producer. We could have that kind of imagination how the album should sound like and than he comes up with something and the whole thing will go a totally different direction. The producer can influence a record a lot. Of course, we will stay true to our style just with a new twist musicalwise.

Suiciderock: Will you produce it here in Finland or are you escaping the upcoming long winter and do the recordings somewhere else?
Bazie: I think we gonna do it in Sweden. We did some co-writing for some guys over there. It`s not completely fix yet, but we are discussing about that option. That`s another thing we have to decide before we can really go for the recordings… It would be nice to escape the winter. But so what, we are in the studio so it doesn´t really matter if we have let`s say –20 degrees outside or not. We are locked inside so it doesn`t actually matter were this happens. However I have to admit that it was a great experience for us to record in sunshine L.A. Not necessarily because of the weather conditions but more because we could get away from Helsinki and concentrate on the recordings only. But this recording trips are quite rarely nowadays as the record sales decreasing everywhere… it wasn´t too expensive to record in America and we really liked how the album came out. So there was another option to maybe work with the same producer again. We were really satisfied how the record turned out to be in the end. As I said, that`s also one option. Let`s see how it goes.

Suiciderock: You are not with your old record company anymore?
Bazie: No, we are not with EMI Finland anymore. The record deal ended and our new record will come out through Nuclear Blast in Europe. That`s also the reason why we don`t really know when this is going to happen as a lot of paper work has to be done before the album can be released. We have to renew the contracts and everything so this takes a bit time. That makes it really hard to set a release date for the album.

Suiciderock: Many bands leave their major record companies nowadays… What do you think is the cause for that?
Bazie: I really think it is just because the record sales are so low at the moment. You don`t get this financial support from the major record companies anymore as you used to get. That was also the reason not to extend our contract with EMI Finland when our record deal run. We felt that we didn`t get the support we needed from them anymore. If you bring them lots of money from the very start like all those huge artists than they put a lot of effort in the marketing for your band worldwide and everything works out. We always had this two kind of contracts. We had this major record company here in Finland but in Europe and the US for example our records have always been released through independent companies. So we had both sides. I would put it like this, if one of those major record companies stands behind the artists they have signed it`s just great, but as soon as they lose the interest in you, you will fade and that`s not what we wanted to happen so we had to change that. It always depends on the people you are working with and of course on the outside conditions which you can`t really control. It just didn`t work out that well for us as we hoped it would.

Suiciderock: What about an own record company? Would you take this into consideration?
Bazie: Well, that`s some kind of option as well. But I would say it is very difficult to do so. I mean we could do that as we are around since many years now and we know so many people from the music business which we could ask for an advice. But think about it if you are a new band and you don`t have any clue about the whole system and there is nobody you could ask for a helping hand it might be quite difficult. Than you also need the financial backup.

Suiciderock: However you haven`t been lazy when it comes to touring. In April you went on tour with the Swedish rockers from Hardcore Superstar and Crashdiet. The European tour took four weeks. How did the idea came up to tour with those two bands and what was that like for you?
Bazie: Originally it was planed differently. There was this Swedish band called Deadstars and they should play together with us. The tour was supposed to be last year in November but it had to be postponed because of the Deadstars. At the end they cancelled the whole tour. Crashdiet kind of filled in for them so it came more or less by accident that we could tour with them. We knew some of the bandmembers before. The tour was really great. The whole tour was postponed many times by the way. After the dates had been changed from November to February, it was postponed again. It was a wonder that it happened in the end at all. The actual idea for the tour came from our promoters.

Suiciderock: Why that?
Bazie: There were some scheduling problems. Anyways it wasn`t our fault… we were ready all the time to do it. But it was great to be on that tour. We had the opportunity to see different venues and different cities than on our previous tours. Hardcore Superstar are really big in Italy for example and Sweden of course. That way we had the chance to play bigger venues there. On the other hand they had the same chance to do so in Germany with us. As we are well-known there and they are still that kind of an underground band. So it was vice versa for both bands.

Suiciderock: So the different styles of the bands matched the ears of the audience?
Bazie: Yeah, I think it is nice for the audience to have three bands on stage which are a little different from each other.

Suiciderock: The autumn is around the corner and the festival season has come to an end we couldn`t see you that much on the festival line ups. The gig at the Kiruna Festival was your only festival appearance this year. Why did you play only that one festival gig?
Bazie: To be honest we wanted to play more festivals. I don`t know there weren`t too many. One reason why we didn`t play in Europe was the money. It is really expensive to get all the gear over there. With the money they offered, we would have lost money. It also was a bad summer. Than we also don`t have a new album out. The festival promoter want some fresh stuff on their festivals. To be honest I have to say that I`m really disappointed that we didn`t play more shows. Of course, all those bookers and promoters have their explanations why. We really wanted to do as many shows as possible. We told them that they could book us in wherever it is reasonable to play. It was really bad that it turned out like this. We wanted to play as many shows as we could before we go to the studios and lock ourselves away from the world outside.

Suiciderock: After the release of “Back in Blood” you`ve played about 150 shows in over 25 countries. Where do you take the energy from to do all the shows and to manage an own rock club and all that stuff?
Bazie: It`s much easier when you are on tour with a bus for example. But it is really exhausting if you have to take a plane. We had to do this when we have been touring South America. We had to move everyday. That`s really stressing and makes you tired pretty soon. It`s different when you can travel on the tour bus. You don`t have to change places every day. Everybody in the band has their own ways to survive while being on the road. We just played eight shows in a row that was a bit hard. Normally we play six shows and than we take one day off. That`s quite ok, you can manage that way.

Suiciderock: Not tired of touring after all those years than?
Bazie: No. You know we tour a lot when a new album comes out. Than we tour like six month but than again we take a longer break after that to come down and relax. You have to take it easy every now and than. You have to recharge your batteries once in a while.

Suiciderock: Besides the work on your new record some members of the band have been quite busy outside of the band as well. Jyrki was active as a DJ for example. Not only here in Finland but also in the USA, Spain and the UK. Furthermore he hosted this years TUSKA disco and your very own club called “Zombie Love Summer Club” here in Helsinki. Than we have Jussi hosting his own show on Radio Rock, “Jussin Rockbaari” and besides that he owns the Backstage bar, better known as Bäkkeri here in Helsinki. How does all this commitments beside the band match with the band work?
Bazie: It has been quite easy so far. Of course, we`ve played many shows this year but still there was enough time to do something else. If someone in the bands wants to do that, why not. Those side activities won`t effect our band life that much. For example Jussi can pre record his shows for the radio before we go on tour. Of course it is a question of timing. I mean you have to fit the schedules.

Suiciderock: You can look back on a very long and successful career. The 69 Eyes where found in the beginning  of the 90`s, you have released 15 records and you`ve played dozens of shows since than. Name us your personal highlights.
Bazie: One of my personal highlights was definitely the release of our first single, than our first album. I think you get that special feeling always when you release a new record. It always is some kind of highlight. Our whole career is a big highlight for me. I love all our up and downs.

Suiciderock: Do you still recall the time when you started the band? Did you expect such a great success when you found the 69 Eyes?
Bazie: I still remember that very well. Actually we had another band but somehow this didn`t lead us nowhere so we decided to have a change. But no we didn`t plan that success thing. We just started the band, than we did a demo to see how this will lead us. Our first goal was to get the demo done, than to do at least some decent shows. After the release of “Blessed Be” we realised that the whole band thing got more and more serious. You have to handle the thngs more carefully. Because we saw that we can life from what we are doing. I had a day job back than. After the release of the album I could concentrate on music only…

Suiciderock: Do you miss your dayjob sometimes?
Bazie: Definitely not.

Suiciderock: Your future plans besides the work on the new album?
Bazie: To make an good album, to get it out as soon as possible and to play as many shows as possible.

Find The 69 Eyes on MySpace & on their homepage