Mind of Doll: Night of the Living Dolls

What really goes on in the head of dolls will probably forever be a secret for mankind. In the head of Mind of Doll singer Visa a fat hangover has made itself at home, when STALKER meets him, which, however, can´t keep him from chatting about the band´s debut album “Low Life Heroes”, their idols Hanoi Rocks and their plans for 2008. And attention girls, Mr. Heinonen is still looking for suitable female company!

The new year has just started. Have you made any new year´s resolutions?
No, I didn´t make any promises this year. Last year I tried to quit smoking but it didn´t work that well, so this time I didn´t make any promises. Nothing!

Maybe something that you want to achieve in 2008 with your band?
Yeah, we want to do as many gigs as we can do now. Touring and making a second album. We´re writing new songs right now, I´m trying to make new lyrics at the moment. It´s kinda hard cuz when I write lyrics I always try to get myself very deep so I can get something. And then we will go to Italy in March. That´s how it goes. I also want to find myself a girl [grins].

You just mentioned that you will tour in Italy soon. How did that come about?
We were touring with a band from Italy here in Finland for a week. And their record company people were there and they asked us to come to Italy, so why not? [grins]

What are your expectations for this tour?
It´s the first time for our band to go abroad. We just want to go there, play and just have fun. We hope it´s a lot warmer, spring is coming there sooner than in Finland.

How did you come up with the name for your band – Mind of Doll?
Always the same question ! It´s girls, girls, girls! [laughs] There´s not that much in our name. It´s just basically me and our drummer, we were school dropouts – we didn´t have anything to do. We were just smoking and spitting on the streets… We needed a name for the band, we were 15 years old then. Maybe the name would be different nowadays.

If you had to think of a new band name, what would it be?
If I knew then it would be different [laughs]

So you don´t like it?
[thinking long time] If something could be different it would be the name. But, you know, we´re playing under that name for almost 10 years now, it´s too late to change.

Your album´s called “Low Life Heroes”, why that title?
Well, take a look at me now. [laughs] For me it presents something that low-lifers don´t have to be evil or bad, there´s something good about the people on the street also. Everyone has their own life. You don´t have to be mean to be a low life hero.

How was the recording of the album?
We started to record last summer in Oitti, Finland, in the middle of nowhere. We first planned just doing some demos of our new songs but then it sounded so good that we decided to make a whole album. There was an accident and our guitar player hit his head. We needed to take a break for four months because he couldn´t play guitar at the time. Then we went to Suomenlinna, Seawolf Studios, Hannu Leiden and Aaro Seppävaara put it in the bag. I recorded there again some of my singing and some guitars. We did “Lovers” song in Suomenlinna. It was a rough road, it wasn´t easy but if we hadn´t made that album, I think, we wouldn´t exist anymore.

Your vocals somehow remind me of a few other singers. Who do you mostly get compared to?
I don´t really know. Someone said a bit like Axl Rose but lower and someone said Michael Monroe, some may say Backyard Babies´ Nicke Borg. For me, it´s like, when I started this I tried to sound like those people I listened to, I tried to sing like that. Bands like Ramones, Hanoi Rocks and Guns ´n´ Roses also, Social Distortion – Mike Ness is, like, my God! For others it´s Johnny Cash but I´m too young for that. [laughs]

What was your motivation for starting a band? Girls, cars, fame?
None of them happened! Basically we didn´t have anything to do. Living in a suburb, in a small part of Vantaa, being childhood friends. We just needed something to do and it wasn´t sports! Our drummer, I think he got his first drums as a Christmas present, so we started to play in their garage. I thought if Apulanta or Ramones can do it then we can do it, too. You don´t have to be a music genius to play rock´n´roll. Even though those guys are geniuses – in their own way.

Where did you play your first ever show?
It was in my school and it was awful. We tried to make a punk band called Tulppu. It´s the name of Donald Duck´s mad neighbour, Neighbour J. Jones I think it´s in English. Our teacher was almost crying there and I think it wasn´t because we were so good. [laughs]

You mentioned Hanoi Rocks, do you see them as your idols?
Yeah, absolutely. I don´t think the other guys like them that much but I do. The other guys are more into metal music. For me it´s like, when I was a kid Hanoi Rocks were so glamorous, huge rock stars and they made their way out of Finland, from Stockholm´s streets to London and the United States of America. Andy [McCoy] is a good songwriter. They got that thing that people need to be a rock´n´roll star, do you know what I mean? If Michael [Monroe] would come here everyone would notice. He´s got that thing.

Do you think you could be their successors?
Hopefully, it would be cool. I just like those guys and if we could do anything like what they have done it would be nice.

Why do you think Finland is such a breeding ground for rock bands?
I don´t know, maybe it´s so boring to be here and when you play you can imagine yourself being bigger than you are – but you´re not. It´s kinda new cause Finland has never been successful internationally and then there were like Rasmus and HIM and they brought the thing back. There´s lots of metal bands from Finland and I think that´s because it´s dark and cold. We don´t do reggae music here! For me it´s like, I don´t know how to write happy lyrics. It´s hard!

What do you do besides the music?
I´m working in a youth house, I have to pay my rent. I try to help the kids and give some guitar lessons but basically I´m just there to play pool with the boys, listening to what they say, if they have any problems I try to give my advice. I tell the kids not to do what I do. [laughs]

So what´s your advice for all the kids out there?
Keep your lianas well-greased so it´s much easier to swing to another liana. Cause if you don´t grease them well you will burn your hands.

Photos: Markus Myllymäki

Kathleen Gransalke

Editor for Reviews - translations, reports, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Punk, Rock, Death Metal, Mathcore - - - Favorite bands? - Coheed & Cambria, Black Dahlia Murder, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon