It´s nice to see Mind of Doll from Vantaa back in the scene after their long absence, not only on live stages but also with a new album that promises another dose of “Kickass Hard Rock´n Roll”. Before their acoustic show the pre-listening of their new CD in Helsinki, Visa Heinonen, voc, and Sakari Virta, git, found time to tell us all about “Shame on your Shadow” and explain what happened since the last STALKER interview in 2008 (!)…
First question, of course – what happened in the meantime? It´s been a long time…
Sakari: A long time since last time…
Visa: Studio, studio and practising…
Sakari: It took about 4 years from the last album´s release until this latest album
Visa: … too long…
Sakari: … maybe too long period of time. There were some line-up changes
Visa: … a baby is coming (laughter) but now we are ready with the new album.
Sakari: … and it´s good. It´s good to be back (laughter)
As you mentioned the line-up changes – who is new in the band? Maybe you can explain those a bit…
Sakari: First we took Visa´s guitar…
Visa: … away from me (laughs)
Sakari: … away from him and our former bass player Erik (Lundén) took …
Visa: … my place …
Sakari: … Visa´s place on the guitar. And then we have two new guys, Ville (Muru) on drums and Ide (Miettinen) on bass. That´s pretty much it.
Visa: Ville and Ide have been friends for a long time and they have played in a band together, drum and bass, and that´s basically what we were looking for. We wanted the rhythm section as good as possible, so we are happy now
Sakari: Yeah, it ended very well, I think so.
Visa: Yeah, they are good guys.
And btw, who is becoming a father?
Visa: They all have kids already.
Sakari: Ville, the drummer, is the latest
Visa: Actually everybody else has kids but Sakke and me
Your new album Shame On Your Shadow is coming out now (February 8), so what is new, did you change your style a lot, what is new in comparison with the previous album “Low Life Heroes”?
Visa: It is not a lot but a little bit. It´s … well, we are not that young any more, I guess (laughter) We put more energy into writing the songs and wanted to make sure that we are all happy about those
Sakari: We also made sure that we put much more effort into the studio work. The first album was a kind of a demo tape that ended up as an album. This time when we started to make our first demos, we were aiming for the album and it was on our minds all the time somehow.
Visa: And this time we didn´t have to put ALL the songs on the album (laughs).
So how many songs did you have, how did you choose what´s going to be on the album?
Visa I think 17 was the first, and maybe 20…
Sakari: 16, 16 – I think we had 16 songs and 10 of them ended up on the album. And I think it´s quite good, it´s not too long, but still there is enough variation between the songs …
Visa: How long is it?
Sakari: 35 min…
Visa: 35min of pure Rock´n`Roll (laughs)
Sakari: It´s enough! I think so.
How was working with Aaro Seppovaara (Moonman Studio)?
Visa: It was nice…
Sakari: Aaro is a great guy, he is a professional. It´s good to work with him, he has great ideas…
Visa: We´ve known him for a while, so it was easy for us.
How much time did you spend in studio for the recording?
Visa: We did it like a week, then a month off, then a week again…
Sakari: Yeah, little periods…
Visa: And I don´t know how many days, less than 20.
Sakari: Yeah, maybe. Luckily we had a chance to make some kind of demos before we started to make the album, so we had a little bit better vision about the songs at the time when we entered the studio.
Visa: It´s always a pleasure to work with Aaro Seppovaara.
What about the lyrics – what did change as you became older? Other topics, or what is it?
Visa: Yeah I guess it´s a bit different since I´m not 20 any more, I´m turning 30 next month … (laughter)
Visa: … so something must have changed. I guess I put a little bit more time into making those – actually first I wrote like 20 lyrics for the new songs, then found out that they don´t fit, so I needed to do it again. But it´s a little bit gloomy, I guess (laughs)
How did you decide to release the new album with new record company, how did you find this company?
Sakari: It´s Inverse Records, they have this sub-label called Secret Entertainment, which releases more Rock´n Roll, like more our stuff. Inverse Records is much more into Metal, Doom Metal, Stoner and that kind of stuff
Visa: Basically we sent them three songs, and they said it sounds good, then we started to make a deal.
Sakari: Yeah, the cooperation has been good
Visa: Nice and smooth.
Sakari: It´s great that it´s possible just to make a call and ask what´s happening, and stuff like that. So far so good.
So the album is due Feb 8, have you made plans for more gigs already, or a tour?
Visa: No, we are now planning the big party…
Sakari: ..release party, 1st March – you´re welcome!
Visa: I guess in April we are planning some tours, it´s all open… A lot of work next month, abouth these tours and gigs (laughs).
I assume you´re still having day-jobs, because being a musician is difficult… so did the jobs change, do you, Visa, still work at the youth center?
Visa: Yeah, still working with the kids, a lot of work there (laughs)
And what are the other guys doing, like job-wise?
Visa: I don´t know, we only meet in the rehearsal room.
Sakari: I don´t know what those guys do, I don´t even know their real names…
(everybody bursts out laughing)
Visa: No, no. Erik is working in a store…
Sakari: … warehouse-worker, and Ide is substitute teacher at an elementary school, and Ville is construction worker…
Visa: I guess so – all lies (laughs)
Visa, how many Rock bands were formed in the youth-center in the meantime, just because you are working there?
Visa: No, unfortunately where I´m working whe don´t have any rehearsal rooms – it´s quite a small place. Yeah, I give some guitar lessons
What do you tell them they should avoid – like “don´t do this, don´t even try that”, are you giving them advice?
Visa: Yeah of course, but they are kids and they need to do their own mistakes you know, mistakes are good for growing up. But of course I need to take care that they don´t hurt themselves.
So is the dream still being a full-time musician?
Both: Of course
Sakari: It´s not too easy
Visa: It´s Finnish “Sisu” (endurance, patience, stubbornness, the ed.)
Sakari: Maybe after the next album we can realize it, get regocnition and have more gigs and more visibility – of course, why not
Visa: ”It´s a long way to the top if you wanna Rock´n Roll” (laughs)
Some years ago you actually played with one of the big Rockstars, Sebastian Bach, in Talinn – was it like this classic rock star cliché?
Visa: It was funny, he had this body guard with him, actually we did our soundcheck and he ended up being on stage doing some video stuff “AMAZING PLACE – oh sorry to interrupt, I´m Sebastian” – oh man, he is really tall (laughs) Seems like a nice guy, we didn´t have a chance to talk a lot with him. The rest of the band stayed longer.
Sakari: He had this guitar player called Metal Mike, and he is a very very good guitarist – I play guitar so I was watching him, like WOW – that guy really knows what he is doing
Visa: And it was funny to shake all their hands – because it´s like “wow, these guys sell like 8 million records” (laughs) Yeah, it was really nice
Sakari: … the place was nice, an old monastery, which had burnt down, only the stone walls left…
Visa: … so the atmosphere was really mind-blowing – I would do it again any day (laughs)
That wasn´t even the most unusual place where you played – in Germany you had a gig in a jail (laughter) – so how was that, the audience reaction? Was there a fence between you and the inmates or something?
Visa: No no, we ate with them at the same table, and I guess those guys were the most nicely behaving, so to say, and the gig was some kind of reward from them. We played Smack´s Criminal, and they really liked that song (sings) “you call me criminal…I´m not an animal” and they were clapping along… it was nice!
Sakari: Those are the situations not many bands have the opportunity to play, so of course it was great, unforgettable.
Visa: But it was nice to get out of there too, we didn´t have to stay for 15 years (laughter) Actually we also sent some records for the inmates afterwards.
Ok we talked about the dream of Rock´n Roll, so what is the nightmare for a Finnish musician – is it “ruotsilaiva” (= the ferry from Finland to Sweden, the ed.)?
Both: YEAH! Exactly!
Sakari: If you ever see us on Viking Line playing some Finnish evergreen, acoustically, please give us a smack…
Visa: Yeah, I heard some sad stories (laughs)
I noticed that the band is close-knit like a family – so if the band indeed who would be a family, who would be Mom, Dad, the kids, the pet?
Visa: Erik would be the kid
Sakari: The brat
Visa: (laughs) The brat, yeah… maybe I´d say that I would be the mom (laughter) …
Sakari: I would say that we all be the kids, like some kind of brothers who never grow up
Visa: Yeah, I guess we all have these father/mother-moments now and then, but in the end we are all just little boys (laughs)
Sakari: We have this kind of Peter Pan syndrome (laughter)
In my opinion the Peter Pan syndrome isn´t a disease but a blessing – so any final words?
Visa: Buy the record – Shame on your Shadow!
Sakari: Kiitos! (= thank you)
Photos: Band, K. Weber