The 69 Eyes: Chasing the perfect song

A long time has passed since the last tour of the Helsinki Vampires, now they are back with their 10th studio album “X”. At their gig at Z7 Pratteln drum-maestro Jussi69 found some time to answer our questions. After talking about the sad loss of print magazines like Stalker and Suosikki – which was part of Jussi’s youth; the 69 Eyes had finally made it to the magazine´s second last issue in November 2012, which he is really proud of – we started talking about the tour, the new record and Bar Bäkkeri.

Hey Jussi, you´ve already played half of the “I know what you did last Summer Tour”, how was it so far?
It’s been great! We missed Germany, we missed all our European fans, It’s been way to long. I can’t believe that! “Back in Blood” came out 2009, I mean time flies, I guess last time we played here, It must be two years now?

Yeah, I think last show here in Pratteln was in 2009.
Ok, so this time we decided that we had to start the tour from Finland, because with the last album we were all over the place but not in Finland. So we wanted to be nice to our Finnish fans. So whole last year we toured in Finland and now we gonna be everywhere. And now there are so many places about to be confirmed right now. From South America to everywhere.

So are you going straight to US after this tour?
Ahhh… that’s something I don’t know. We haven’t really decided yet, there are a couple of tours to choose from, so I don’t know if we go before the festivals or afterwards.

Sounds nice, Do you enjoy playing in places like South America?
South America is crazy!

I think the fans are really different, compared to here
It is! It is! It’s like everything you’ve seen from Football stadiums, people singing “Ole, Ole, Ole!” It’s exactly like that!

I guess that must be really overwhelming and probably also bit scary …
Well, the flying thing is. You have to fly a lot and I hate airports And last time in Bogota, Colombia Airport, there was somebody shooting people. And the army guys came running and shot him down. And then we checked in to the plane (laughs) So it’s pretty wild.

Let´s first talk a bit about the new record: “X” was released already a while ago, how do you feel with it now with a bit more distance?
I am really, really happy with it. I think it’s the most musical record we’ve done, if you know what I mean? I mean there are a couple of songs I am really, really happy about. Well, being in a band and being a musician is all about chasing the perfect melody, chasing the perfect song which is of course impossible to reach, because it’s impossible to make a perfect song. But it’s all about trying to get closer. And I think with couple of songs on the new album, we got pretty fucking close like for example: “If you love me the morning after”. It’s a song that takes me to some other place, I lose the sense of time, I don’t know where I am. And when I am playing it, it really takes me to some other place. And that’s what music is all about to me: the magic!

So is this also your favorite song on the record?
Well, yeah, I like the rockier ones, I like the first one. And I like “Tonight” a lot. “If you love me the morning after” is probably my…mhh I don’t know what fans think about it?! I mean, I would probably take it out as a single, but that’s kind of record companies job to decide that.

Yeah, that’s always a bit of a problem!
Well, they were right with the first single “Red”! Because it was the second most played song of all the Finnish radio stations for weeks, so it was huge in Finland. So I guess, record companies know what they are doing. For us it felt a bit weird with a ballad as the first single, but at least in Finland it was all over the place and still is.

You recorded “X” in Stockholm, Sweden, why did you choose to record it there? Usually you stayed in Finland or went to the US to record it.
Well, first of all, we went to L.A with “Back in Blood”, cause we wanted to be a Hard Rock band and we wanted to figure out, how come all the Hard Rock albums made in USA sound so much better than the albums made anywhere else. (laughs) And that’s the reason why we wanted to work with Matt Hyde, who is the Grammy-nominated producer who’s been doing Slayer, Monster Magnet and all that. But now this time as we are now writing melancholic, a bit sad, kind of…well melancholic is the word I’d like to use, that kind of music. And when it comes to that kind of style, Sweden is the country that made it always the best. I mean, since the days of ABBA, you know? (laughs) I mean, I am a big fan. I mean, the music and the melodies when it comes to pianos and all that. If you think about ABBA (starts to sing) “The winner takes it all…..” (laughs)

Yeah but it doesn’t sound that melancholic, it still has something cheerful, I mean compared to the Finnish melancholic stuff
It’s more beautiful, I mean Finnish music is all about being melancholic, it’s more like:” I’m so sad I wanna kill myself!” And that’s not what we are after. I mean, it’s more like “I’m heartbroken and I would like to open my heart to you about it!” It’s not “I wanna slit my fucking wrist and die!” And we’ve been working with these two guys Patrik and Joackim for many, many years. Like 10 years we’ve been working with them. Most of the best songs like “Lost Boys”, “Never say Die”, and we always thought some of these days, we have to make a complete record with them. So it finally happened, it was about the time and I wouldn’t be surprised if we do the next one with them as well.

So you think it could happen that you record the next album in Stockholm again?
Well, hopefully! But I am really proud to say that The 69 Eyes have always been putting out a little bit different sounding records and we don’t wanna repeat ourselves. But as we are so proud about the new record, I mean I would love to work with those guys again.

You also recorded a track where Tattoo Artist, Kat van D, is singing a duet with Jyrki, how did the idea for that duet came up?
Oh. well that’s…pfffff!!! You get it with itunes. And why, that’s ahh… that’s record company business stuff which is way too boring to explain.

That sounds like you didn’t really wanted to do that!
Ahhh (laughs) I…I love this song I think it worked out fantastic.

I guess you are just not really a duet band, who is doing co-operations with other people?!
Well…mhm that something you need to ask from Jyrki, if he enjoys to sing with other people. But I think Jyrki´s and Kat’s voices worked out together perfectly.

Did you knew her before, or did you just meet her then?
Oh yes, we’ve met, I can’t remember the first time, it was years ago in Helsinki, I didn’t really have a clue who she was until the TV thing came up. We’ve known her for some years and she is a big fan of the 69Eyes for years. So that’s how it ended up… she is super nice. Super talented and a really good singer.

There are also two music videos for “Red” and “Borderline”. “Red” was shot in Sweden, right? Tell me about the girls, they are Playboy girls, is that right?
At least Donna is Playmate, I don’t know if they all are. Well, I think so, I can’t remember! (laughs)

Do you get those girls for your videos because of your “contract” with Playboy or…?
We don’t have a “contract” with Playboy.

You just like hot chicks in your videos?(laughs)
We like hot chicks in our videos – period… (laughs) The Playboy connection came up, because they actually premiered the first video of “Back in Blood”. Which was “Dead Girls are easy” or was it “Dead and Gone”?? (laughs) I think “Dead and Gone”! Which one came first, I can’t remember, but I mean 69 Eyes is all about having hot girls in their videos, so it’s pretty natural.

All the time! (both laugh) “Borderline” was shot in New Orleans I guess? What do you like about this city?
Yeah, that was a crazy trip. We’ve played in New Orleans at least twice. So for me it was the third time there, and Jyrki had been DJing there. But it is a beautiful city and the location is something you can’t find from anywhere else. I think it is a beautiful video, again hot chicks (laughs), but if you think of “True Blood”, The 69 Eyes, New Orleans. And I think it fits perfectly.

What do you like most about the city?
Oh…well, have you been to Bourbon Street??

No, I’ve never been to US
It’s never ending, 24/7 mayhem party. Lots of tourists there, but it is something you need to experience, but would be pretty fucking heavy to live there. I mean, the party never stops.

What about the Voodoo thing?
Ahh well, I am still not sure if I believe in that like 100%, because that is too of course a tourist attraction. But again, when I went home, I bought Voodoo dolls to all my friends and everybody. You can buy one fortune, one for love, one for bussiness. And yeah (laughs)

You spend a lot of time in USA nowadays, have you ever thought about moving there, or somewhere else than Finland?
Well, I travel so much, so I like to go home… I love Helsinki. I´ve lived in Hamburg for a little while, some years ago my Ex-girlfriend like 10 years ago lived in Hamburg, so I was living there when we had time off from touring. And living in US?? I don’t know. I stayed in California with the last album, for about 6 weeks, and I enjoyed it, nice weather, good food, nice people. And when you stay there long enough, you realize that you don’t have to party on Sunset Strip everyday. (laughs)

That would be useful. So it is still like that, that Helsinki feels like home?
Oh, Helsinki is my home absolutely!

You guys already play more than 20 years together, is there an incident that happened which you will always remember, which meant something special to you? If so, would you share it with us?
There are so many…and I am so happy that it’s still happening. I mean, we achieved something new and exciting all the time. With the last album, the first single “Red” is the biggest hit we ever had in Finland, like I said, it’s all over the radio stations. We have seen so much stuff together that it’s like you could write so many books about it. But…

Maybe you should do that!
(laughs) Too bad we can’t. We gotta be fucked, if we would tell everything.

You just have to change the names and so on!
(laughs) Yeah I know, change the whole band´s name and say this is a story of a Swedish band (both laugh)

In 2010 you became the owner of Bar Bäkkeri in Helsinki, how is it to be owner of a bar??
I am not the “owner”! The card says I am the promotion manager. So I arrange parties.

So your basically just the face to get people to the bar.
Well…yeah, and it helps that I know lots of people when it comes to bands, touring from all over the world, it’s easy for me, since I know the guys or tourmanagers to invite them. We had nice afterparties for Slipknot, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, nice record release parties for Children of Bodom, Nightwish, so that is what I do. When it comes to alcohol laws and stuff like that, I don’t have a clue how it works.

So everything concerning the stuff, financial etc. you don’t have to do and you don’t have any risk yourself then? I just thought it would be a big risk to open a rock bar like this, because as we all know, the rock bars in Helsinki come and go!
I haven’t invested money, if you mean that. But there is an amazing team behind the bar. They are really professional.

I’ve heard quite a few critics about the bar that it is often empty and that the staff isn’t really friendly and that there are some excessive parties, like for example the Pikku joulu Party where the stuff is almost naked – what do you think about those critics?
Really, Well I think the Pikku Joulu (Little X-Mas) party was a lot of fun. (laughs)Santa Claus was stage diving naked. And Mama Christmas didn’t wear much either.

You also work for the Finnish Radio Show “Radio Rock”, what do you enjoy most on this job?
Yeah, that is so much fun. The atmosphere and the people I work with. It is so much fun to go there, everybody is always happy, I get to hang out with my friends and I play rock music and talk shit. AND… I get paid for it! I mean, I would do that anyway and now I still take it as a hobby, and last year I realized I did like 200 shows. I could even say that it is work, but it doesen’t feel like work.

To me it looks like that you as the drummer of the band are more in people´s focus than the rest of the band, usually it’s the singer who is in this position. What do you think is the reason for that?
I… I don’t know… it’s – I mean you should tell me…. I really don’t know. I think you should ask the journalists who want to talk to me (laughs) I don’t analyze that!

But you enjoy doing many kinds of things at the same time.
Well, it just makes life interesting not to be stuck only in one thing. I mean, if you don’t do anything but touring all your life, I mean, this is fun, but you have to do something else than sitting in backstage rooms.

Is there some dream you have? Something you still wanna reach?
There is always a higher mountain you wanna climb over. There is always so much stuff you wanna do, you wanna go to places. I would like to get even closer to find that perfect song/melody and work with different kind of artists. Make different kinds of music with other people and make the absolute classic 69 Eyes album. The one we will be remembered for until the end of time.

What are the plans for the rest of 2013?
Like I said, the US before or after the summer festivals. South America after the summer. Seems like we gonna tour through the whole year. I am happy with it!

Last but not least, is there a question you would like to be asked but have never been asked before?
Ah… that’s a pretty hard one. I would like to be asked if I am happy! And the answer would be YES! I am happy with things. I am happy with my life! It’s been a wonderful ride.

So then perfect. Thank you for the interview.
Thank you, thank you. My pleasure!

Thanks to Kaylin Idora ( for the pictures!

Sandy Mahrer

Fresh Act editor, reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Pop-Rock etc. Less Death, Black, Grind Core