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Interview with

Jyrki69 from The 69 Eyes

THE 69 EYES is a Finnish Goth band that has been around for like 20 year this autumn, they started as a band back in September 1989 and has brought us great music through the years. I really look forward to hear their new album that is coming sometimes around September 2009!

RoD: You kick off the tour here tonight with Swedish TIAMAT, how does it feel?
Jyrki (J): We are so very excited, it´s been nearly 1.5 years since we played or actually toured last time, I mean we played last year on some summer festivals but we have not toured for nearly 1.5 year. Last time we toured it was with WITHIN TEMPTATION and that was like November - December in 2007. It´s great and it´s also a big relief for us because we have been working really hard with the new THE 69 EYES album, if I say relief I mean it´s like a nice escape from Helsinki and the studio. I am really looking forward to this tour and also because we are not headlining cause this is a two band or actually a couple of other bands package, so I think it´s more relaxed. Then when you have a new album out you have something to prove to people, when you tour with a new album you are supposed to represent the new material and convince people like “hey this album is like fucking great” and so on. I think because it´s been a while since we had a new record out. This is a more relaxing tour where it´s nice to meet the fans, to play cool shows and just travel around Europe before we go back to the studio with that extra energy of this tour and continue recording the album. I think the situation is really great I mean I have no hesitations or are not worried about anything except that our buss is already broken…but that is something that happens every time on tour and now it happened even before the first show so it´s kind of strange…

RoD: I hope they fix the tour bus…
J: This are the things, sometimes bands are talking in the interviews about busses or vans breaking down and something like that. But I think it´s eventually kind of boring for the fans to read those things because you don’t understand how it´s like. Probably for other bands who tour it´s interesting to hear about logistics and things like this on tour But I mean who cares about the buss and everything?! The show is much more important wherever it happens, if the buss breaks down it´s is our problem not the people that comes to see the show!

RoD: How would you like to introduce THE 69 EYES to someone that has never heard of the band before?
J: I think there are a lot of people still in this world who surly has a place in their hearts for THE 69 EYES and for the music that we do, but they unfortunately have not had the chance to hear us yet. I think you know we are like a house hold name in the western rock world and we are still pretty much like a cult band, we are musicians and people who are in the bands they know us. We are a cult band for the secret society of the gothic people who are interested more in vampire rock ´n roll. I think we have a lot of other values that a lot of people would be interested in but they have not heard about us yet. I think that is our mission still, we will of course continue making great records and having a good time with our fans but I think there is a couple of people out there who definitely have a place in their heart for us.

RoD: How did you come up with the name?
J: Well it´s a long story, it was one of those names which was supposed to be temporary for the couple of first shows, for demo tapes and something like that then it just stayed. It sounds good; it looks good and it´s mysterious. Abroad a lot of people are asking about the name, what does it mean, where did it come from, does it mean this and that and so on. It´ s a great name and it´s exciting,  it´s perverse if you want to think that way or it´s mysterious, it´s dark and psychedelic, it´s from science fiction or horror movies. It depends on your imagination what you come up with the conclusion about what it means, but basically it´s been a synonym for vampire rock´n roll for the last 20 years.

RoD: Which band has had the largest influence on creative work and style in the beginning of your career and with are now?
J: The Cramps! I think The Cramps from the beginning and I still actually today think it´s The Cramps. They really inspire me and the others from the beginning and still do. Lux Interior rest in peace! (Lex Interior, the singer in The Cramps passed away the 4th of February 2009).

RoD: What or whom inspires you when you write the lyrics/music?
J: Well a lot of things, I like to include some cities that I have been travelling in or if I have been inspired by some city then I want to include it in the lyrics, it´s interesting. Sometimes the lyrics can be about some city performance like we have a song called “Feel Berlin” so obviously it´s about my vision about Berlin. But also movies of course, sometimes the movie title or the movie itself inspires me to write the lyrics for the songs and maybe some book sometimes. Maybe fans even, I mean sometimes there are some cool, freaky and exciting people in the audience and they inspire me also for the songs. I think nowadays that sometimes the songs are…I don’t know really where the lyrics comes from honestly I just write. I hear the music, write the lyrics and then I am not shore where the idea comes from sometimes. Then later on after recording the songs sometimes the fans comes up and tells me something like “oh I loved that song because it was about me” or “I knew I had the same situation that you were writing about” and I am like “hm ok”. That is interesting because sometimes it´s just like I don’t know, the idea comes from some subconscious of mind or something like that but also I like to point out that also fans can be really inspiring.

RoD: You meet a lot of people…
J: Yeah and especially on this tour I am really curious to see a lot of people and I really am going to stare at the people in front of the stage and that will be interesting. I really want to see all this people because we are still in the process of making the new record so I really hope to get some vibes. I mean we are doing records for ourselves first of all.  I think there are five diehard fans of THE 69 EYES and that is us because we made THE 69 EYES as a prototype of the band that we would love to go to see. It´s our favourite band, if there ever was a band that all five guys of us would love it would probably be THE 69 EYES. Because we put all these things that we love into our band so of course we are writing the music and making the records for ourselves but also for the fans. We released this Goth´n´roll box set and that was straight for the fans because they have been asking and talking about how good records “Blessed Be” and “Paris Kills” are so that of course gave us an inspiration that maybe we should put out like a special box set for all these people. It was a good thing and we learned from it and I think that it will be heard also on our new album more than ever because it´s going to be pretty fan friendly. I don’t know if it´s a good or bad way to say this, but I think people will realize what I mean when the record comes out.

RoD: Do you need to be on a special mood to be able to create/write?
J: Yeah I am kind of a hyper active guy, my brain works in a strange way. I know that by now because I am older and wiser so I can a little bit study myself instead of just going with the instinct. So especially when I am not supposed to write the lyrics then the lyrics comes out, when there is situations that I really should pay attention to something else, then some part of my brain is sending messages that “hey you’ve got lyrics in your brain *laughs* I am going to open up” and in the end I am like “what the hell did they come from” or something like that. There is a normal world also in this life of mine as well, which is like you have to pay the bills and take care of  the daily routine of the normal life, those are a really bit stressing. Mostly the lyrics I get when I am walking around in the nature, nature does not have to be a huge forest it can be only a jogging path in some park or something like that when you are alone. I think for me the winter works best, I like when it’s cold, dark and it’s snow and you are walking there. The silence inspires me also “Tystnad” (silence in Swedish)

RoD: To just stand in the silence of the falling snow…
J: Yeah exactly, you are walking there alone and there is snow around. If I go jogging, I don’t like to do it in the daylight or in the summertime. I like to jog when it’s fall or in February when it’s still dark. Dark does not mean sad but I like when the sun is down *smiles* that´s important actually. I mean not to say that I can’t write lyrics when the sun shines that sounds like a cliché. I love to go sun bathing and lie in the sun by the pool but that is not the right time for me to write lyrics.

RoD: If you think back to the time when you were working on your first record, how has things changed since then? Do you work differently now?
J: When we started this band the idea of having a band meant to have fun, we played in Helsinki, had great after parties, girls learned that we were guys in a rock band and that was cool. Then we had played on all the places in Helsinki so it was exciting to go to other cities around in Finland to play and then party there every fucking weekend.  We did all that and later on in different countries and so on. More or less to do records in the beginning was a ticket to a party, I mean you had a record out, a demo, a single or something. Then it meant like” wow we have this album, we can go and play shows” we were so inexperienced back then. Of course the records sounded exciting and they were like fresh and straight from the heart of course but the modification was so different back then. This gives those early line records their value definitely, they are cool stuff! Nowadays it’s a lot more ambition and especially now when we are doing this record we are really ambitions and it’s a business side involved as well. We are trying to make such a fucking great record and we want it to be so outstanding in the year 2009, that no one else can make such a record this year. We have to make a record that stands by itself if you compare it to any other records which comes out this year from like whoever artist. With our early records we just wanted to be the coolest band in Helsinki and now we want to be the coolest band in the world!

RoD: Which of your own songs move you most?
J: There is some great stuff coming on the new record, some really cool stuff. There are some fantastic goth´n roll vampire songs on it and they are touching really good. From the old stuff I am really surprised actually I mean I really like the glam stuff that we did as well, I get into that stuff every second year or something like that. It’s strange because everything that we have done is a document of my life, it’s a document of the other guy’s life and every part brings memories. But tonight I think we are going to play the song “Stolen Season” from the “Blessed Be” album.

RoD: It is a great song!
J: Yeah, thanks! That song sometimes touches. It depends on if I reach the state of mind that I had when I was recording it, then it definitely touches me, it’s such an exciting song. I think we created a lot of magical stuff back then and that song is one of them.

RoD: If you were hit by a car and lay dying on the ground but you got to sing one song, a song that people would remember you for, a song that would sum up you. Which song would that be?
J: “It’s a miracle” by Crashdïet.

RoD: Do you have any message to your fans?
J: Well thanks for sticking around, in September THE 69 EYES will be back in blood so look forward to that!

Thanks to Inka Laitinen at EMI Finland and the tour manager Matzi for making this interview possible. And last but never the least, great thanks to Jyrki for taking the time to answer my questions.

Written by Helena Torstensson, photos by Martina Törnemyr

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