Friday, June 30, 2023

Death of Darkness with Jyrki 69 of THE 69 EYES

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Jyrki 69 of the band The 69 Eyes about their new album ‘Death of Darkness’ out now via Atomic Fire Records (Valila music House in Finland).

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as what Jyrki 69 has learned working with some new producers, releasing singles instead of albums and working in a totally new way to produce great music.

'Death of Darkness' was Mixed and Mastered by Miles Walker (

The band The 69 Eyes is for fans of: Lacrimas Profundere, Charon, HIM, Poisonblack, To/Die/For.


Guest Resource - Connect with The 69 Eyes!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Try new ways to approach the creative process, such as working on singles instead of an album, getting feedback with each release

2. Bring in producers from other genres to help bring fresh ideas.

3. If you're used to recording tracks separately, try playing together as a band live off the floor to get a sound that's closer to you as a group of musicians.


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Jyriki 69, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say Hello to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Jyriki 69: To all you vampires out there. Here's your favourite Helsinki vampire, Jyrki, the singer of The 69 Eyes. Hope you have a bloody time with us. 

Jon Harris: A very bloody time indeed. Indeed, my good man. So make sure you have your Bloody Mary's at the ready to enjoy while we have this wonderful chat. This record, Death of Darkness, what was the greatest moment for you producing this record, Jyrki? 

Jyriki 69: The idea of breaking out from the regular recording structure or the process that we as well, since we're an 80s band, we've been repeating twelve times before this. Which means, like, you write music certain amount of time, then you go through that music that you had written and then you choose the ones you want to put on a tape. Then you go to everything secret, of course. And then you go to another secret process which is recording the album and then mixing. And then when it's ready, then that is a secret too. And then in secret, you wait certain amount of time until you announce, like, by the way, we have new record coming out. Excuse me. And then comes the drum fill and then comes a new record out and then you celebrate with everybody and go on tour, talk about it a little bit and then go on tour. And then, you know, you you disappear again for a certain amount of time. So, you know. Not that anymore. I mean, during this time and space that we are living and been living for quite a long time, that's old school way to do it, but we wanted to try new way of creating a record. So that was like our A&R guy, he has a golden ear. He's like sort of Finnish version of Clive Davis. Mr. Kabi Haggan and he said, like, start writing just singles. Write singles, let's put out singles, forget the album, let's write singles and put them out. And maybe later on, if you have enough good material, we'll gather them as an album. And so that's what we did. We wrote songs, put them out as singles, and at some point we had enough material, some of them out already as singles and then some other tracks that seemed to be a good idea to gather them and put them out as an album. But we haven't been quiet until now. We've been very loud already a year by releasing these singles. And that's just for me. I'm impatient and I want to be loud, I want to be heard, seen, and I like this way of just being available, being also out there for criticism after each song. That was really interesting in the end. I mean, when you put out an album, will you get any kind of feedback from like half of the songs even? But now when you put out song after song, maybe somebody likes one song, somebody who doesn't, it's not the end of the world. So then you put out another song and that was really practical. Morin and exactly what everybody else except us who are rockers or in rock bands, we are somehow doomed to still continue the same process. I mean, maybe after a few years, I say like, hey, I want to do this old school process and blah, blah, blah, you can guess that. But at this moment, I'm excited about this and I would like us to continue releasing new music more often than just like, wait for some years. Okay? As this album is out now, the previous one came already, like something like nearly, well, four years ago, which is horrible, but. And that's something I don't like. So I think we need to start releasing new music, at least singles next year or something like that. That was the revolutionary part of it and that was very different. And I'm just trying to exaggerate a little bit, like just to I love to hear more music from my favourite bands. Maybe they start the same process. There's more music available us from all our favourite artists, and we don't have to wait for certain amount of time once they put out twelve songs. Ten songs. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. The old school, what, two to three year cycle? 

Jyriki 69: Or four year or something.  Then the rat race of doing the album touring, and we were part of that rat race all last decade. And on the other hand, it's not a rat race. I mean, many bands would love to be part of that cycle, release an album, do exclusive touring, then when quiet for a little while, and then come out with the new record and then go for touring. That's an achievement itself. But I mean, it started to feel old and like a rat race at some point during the last decade. It didn't bring anything new, it didn't take the band to anywhere. Obviously, anywhere means I think that we have something to achieve still. I think there's a bunch of people who would love to hear The 69 Eyes. And at the moment, there's also new generations coming up who seemingly have found us. I've heard that there's growing numbers, there's big data and statistics. So according to that, there's a new generation hungry for The 69 Eyes at the moment. So that's exciting. So it's time to change, to be a band living in the 20s.

Jon Harris: Yeah, that makes complete sense, now what was the biggest challenge for you on this record? 

Jyriki 69: Well, I didn't think about it as an album. I just approach every song as individual song. So I wouldn't say that there's a theme or there's some fine line going on. Every song is just not just, but every song is. I approach every song one by one. Even the ones which have not come out as singles, they were songs. And I left everything for guitarist who mainly writes the songs. Like he can figure out the track order, which he did. Actually spent a lot of time for that which I was scratching my head like I wonder why. But I found a reason when I listened to the whole album from CD. Noticed that for the first time a couple of weeks ago. So I understood that the track order was really nice. So no wonder he spent so much time on that. But the challenge was like I think the challenge is now the album comes out tomorrow morrow as we are doing this interview. So I'm actually weirdly kind of nervous. I don't know what happens when the album comes out. It's out there. People will write down their comments to all social media platforms. There's probably some reviews. What else? We have a new single coming out in the music video also, but strangely, I feel like being a little bit nervous. But it's an emotion, and it's good to have an emotion, right? At least I'm not, like, seasoned. I don't care. I don't give a f I'm nervous. The album comes out tomorrow. Whoa. You know, so that's the challenge. It's it's like, it's like and also, like, every time, every time you make music and and records. We've been doing few records earlier, so you make the music and you enjoy it a lot. You have good time, you put, like, your I'm proud of the lyrics, I'm proud of the emotions and proud of the vibes that we create. Proud of the singing, proud of the sounds, proud of how the band sounds, and we've tried and everything. It's a fantastic experience to record an album overall, in general, it might be stressful at some times, which belongs to we need to be stressful in life in general. So sometimes it's like stressful or schedule. You have to all oh, haven't finished the lyrics, and I'm I'm supposed to go to sing them tonight. What should I do? And those those kind of things, but I enjoy them fully. But the one thing which surprises every time after this is like when you see the first review. Somewhere and you forgot totally the feeling, how it feels when you see the review of you forget the whole thing that somebody's reviewing what you're doing. We were just talking about it. Does the reviews even matter these days to who they serve? Or are they just messages from sort of like specialists who have special ears? Are there messages for the band? Like this specialist in this country, these guys over there, this person who's working writing for this magazine thinks this. And is it like improvement, like feedback from specialists around the world? Does it serve for listeners? Because now it's open platform. Everybody, the fans can leave their message like a heart or fire or then something else, or devil's horns or something like that. And this really simply strong guy who's moshing with the two horns up, I don't know if that even exists anymore, but girl in the back. Yeah, something like the most challenging thing is to start to see the reviews because you're never prepared for that. But I'm honoured that somebody bothers to write the review as well, or fans bother to leave a message because this is all about communication with all of us, among all of us. And my communication with the world. Our band's communication with the world. We communicate by making music, bringing some kind of different wives than anybody else. It's all good, but that's a challenge to these reviews. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. That's what I was going to ask is about that review process. But I've heard that before that with the advent of how quickly a band is able to receive feedback in almost real time with social media. Now, what is the review process? Does it still even matter? But it sounds like it kind of does. I mean, it sounds like there's somebody out there who, as you said, has almost yeah, it a direct message for the band. 

Jyriki 69: Yeah. And it's like our record label sends links to their reviews. All of a sudden there's a first mail which has like five links, and it's like, oh, reviews, shit, I forgot this. Because you don't think of that when you make music, because it's such a beautiful thing to do, create something, and you put yourself there fully, and then it's one of the best things ever to create something. So then all of a sudden, then there comes the reviews and like, oh, no, I forgot these reviews. And do they matter? Well, they do. Obviously, you wonder, hold on. Even if it's positive, and most likely this time, they have been extremely positive. And that's fantastic. Also. On the other hand but we've been living such a long time doing records with this band. Such a long time. So there is also, like a very long period that we got the worst reviews ever, especially here in Finland, in our native country. Now, those records are considered as classics, like, seriously, not only in our band scale, but somewhere else. I pop up like, oh, hey, the best dark metal records of something like 2000, early 2000s or something. And then I see the record, which got like five star in the local newspaper here. And it's considered as classic, but that's how it goes. As I mentioned, it obviously it mattered back then, but on the other hand, nowadays what matters is that you are mentioned. Any kind of attention is always good, any publicity is good, and it's more easier, at least for me to understand than it was like ten years ago. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Speaking of time passing, I have two questions for you. Jyrki. One is, and they might be intertwined, but how would you define success at this stage of your career? And the second question to that is what would you tell the Jyrki 69 of 30 years ago? What advice would you have for him?

Jyriki 69: Let's start with the success because I'm extremely excited to tell you this, that we we had our record label, Atomic Fire had a confirmation with us a couple of weeks ago because our streaming numbers, the streaming numbers of The 69 Eyes have grown extremely fast, like quite recently. And with the last single, the title track Death of Darkness, which came out about a month ago, we hit like half a million listeners on Spotify, but also in other platforms. We've been growing really fast and they said like 2000 percentage and also, like I said, not 202,000 percentage. And also as they've been studying the big data because they've been analyzing and they were like, hey, what's going on? It's mostly people who are it's it's mostly people who are under 25. So this is like something I would say this is success. We managed to reach let's say we're not doing anything, but the new generations discover us that way. So it's amazing. And we're super happy because I think we have something and we deliver and we have something that any other bands have anymore. So I'm excited about this. And I would say this is success. As creating new music is like your amount of listeners is growing without like there hasn't been any campaigns. We didn't even have a new album out or anything. They just have been starting to grow because we're unique and new generations have discovered that. I think TikTok has something to do with that as well. But that's successful and that's exciting and interesting. Yeah, very exciting and then what would I say to me like did you say 30 years ago? I mean this this cliche itself but I wouldn't have any advice. I would say that don't listen to any advice because that's what happened idea. Nobody was advising ever, and I just going with the instinct. Occasionally, I've been running into difficulties, which mean that I'll be indifferent than people have expected me and us to be. We've been criticized not to be professionals and something that we have wanted to do. For instance, we're always this is an adventure for our band, for us five guys. We're a gang, we're friends. This is an adventure for us. Like for instance this summer we're playing some festivals and that's the same excitement like when we ever get first time to play at the festivals we're excited to see our heroes on the same backstage field like this time around there's going to be Mötley Crüe for instance so I'm excited to see Nikki Sixx walking around and that's the excitement So like early days earlier, much earlier, not even 30 years ago, but later on when we were getting somewhere, we still are excited, like, hey, can we stay at this festival a little bit later or come earlier or something because we want to see this and this band, maybe Motörhead and so on. And then the criticism was like, that's professional. You should do it professionally. Which means like boring, you should be boring. Do it in boring way. So that's where all the criticism has come. So I think I wouldn't give any advice and I would say don't listen to anybody because that's a way act like your heart tells you. And that's what we have been doing. We've been listening to our heart and our heart is pulsating along the beat of rock and roll. 

Jon Harris: Pulsating along the beat of rock and roll, baby. Which takes me to my next question. I read in the EPK because I was looking for who produced the record and I read that it was a young fresh producer who's not old enough to be an 80s guy and who brought a special layer so maybe tell us a bit about that? What was that like working with this person? Was it a particular choice to work with this person? Take us through that.

Jyriki 69: Well, that was the thing that we got a brand new record label here in Finland and along with the label there's a bunch of guys and this fresh producer, he's not fresh in that sense but he's been producing the biggest artist here in Finland and also like a legendary Hanoi Rocks guy, Michael Monroe. And currently he's actually producing Sing new Sami Yaffa album, the bass player of Hanoi Rocks. But so he has other feet in a contemporary high end pop music. But on the other hand, he's also like putting his hand on real dirt like operating with glam and sleeves rockers like Hanoi Guys and us. So he came along with the new Finnish label. He sort of forced us to play also live once a while in the studio which we haven't done for a little while because in the modern technology you don't even have to see your band members when you are recording an album. But this guy was like hey, that's a whole key. Let's try to do something together. And that was also set us on fire because we hadn't tried that for a really long time. And also he's hungry to show that he's been doing high end pop music. So he's hungry to show that he knows rock. And of course I throw a couple of criticism there for him just to irritate him, to get his claws out. So that was interesting. And besides, he has this totally different ideology for the things and then in the end when he was arranging and producing and squeezing the best out of us then the whole package was sent to Atlanta for Miles Walker who mixed the album. So we found this very good process. I hate these words. I mean, it should be like rock and roll but we recorded in Finland and got the guy who was seriously interested in he was also making the record, showing what he can do in a way. So that was really cool. And then, you know, it was finalized by Miles Walker in Atlanta which is the guy who's been mixing like U2 and Coldplay and Beyonce and those kind of artists. So that was really cool. Fresh dream team. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, very cool indeed. Very cool. What's the number one thing that you would like people listening to the podcast to do? And that could be go out into the night and do vampire things that could be something special like follow your heart to the next victim. Even the place to drop what you're supposed to drop. Go pick up the record. But what's the number one thing that you would like people to do? 

Jyriki 69: I would like them to open up their favourite streaming service found Dark Throne there and pick up the track Graveyard Slut and play it loud. 

Jon Harris: Graveyard slut. Play it loud. 

Jyriki 69: Dark Throne, baby. 

Jon Harris: All right, well, that is absolutely fantastic. And that concludes all my questions. So head over to There you can get the transcript for today's episode. You can see some music videos, ways to connect with The 69 Eyes and so much more. So please go ahead and head over to, in the meantime, Jyrki 69, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Jyriki 69: Cool, man. 


Friday, June 23, 2023

Desolation Years with Nik Serén of HONG FAUX

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Nik Serén of the band Hong Faux about their new album ‘Desolation Years’ out now via Golden Robot Records.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as what Roni learned working with their producer, Josh Shroeder.

'Desolation Years' was Produced by Hong Faux, Mixed and Mastered by Sebastian Forslund.

The band Words That Burn is for fans of: Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Mother of God, and One Inch Giant


Guest Resource

Hong Faux on FB - Connect with Hong Faux!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. It can be hard to imagine people enjoying the art that you create; working on how you meet with fans can have a greatly positive impact on the artist / fan relationship

2. Make records for yourself that will make you happy to have released for the rest of your life and beyond.

3. Always keep an open mind with regard to new equipment, as it may surprise you what comes out on the market next.


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: All right, Nick, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say Hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Nik Serén: Hi, all beautiful listeners. Hope you're well. I am. Sweden has sun. 

Jon Harris: If it's anything like Canada, it's definitely dark and cold and dreary for a large portion of the 

Nik Serén: Yeah.

Jon Harris: Speaking of dark and cold and dreary, let's chat about this record Desolation Years, which is out now via Golden Robot Records. What was the greatest moment for you producing this record? 

Nik Serén: It's going to sound a bit cliche, but every time we got together and actually recorded it, because it was the height of the pandemic and everything was just pretty gloomy, and just meeting up with these people and making this record was cathartic in a way, because obviously we're friends and all, but we were also doing something that actually mattered to us. So it was that and we actually didn't think it was going to come out at all because the industry for a smaller sized band as ourselves, it didn't seem very positive at the time. So I would say that I mean, I'm just amazed that it's out and people are actually listening to it. It doesn't matter how many albums we do. I can't speak for other musicians, but for us it's always the same. It's like you do this stuff, you do it the best way you can, and then people actually listen to it's always amazing when they do because it's hard to imagine that people sit down and listen to it. I don't know why, because I listen to music every day. So it's not something weird, but just our music?  Okay.

Jon Harris: Yeah. 

Nik Serén: That's great. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Well, I mean, everyone listening in right now. Raise your hand if that is something that resonates with you. I know it resonates with me. Somebody listened to my podcast? I almost get embarrassed when that happens in real life. Like, oh, no, you heard it? 

Nik Serén: Yeah.

Jon Harris: Like, yeah, it's great. It is? Thanks. I'm always kind of weird about that in real life, and I'm pretty sure it's something similar are for you as well, Nik. When somebody says, I heard your record and you're like, oh, no.

Nik Serén: Yeah. Especially when they sometimes you meet fans and stuff, especially when you're on the road, et cetera. And some people want to talk about the songs and what they mean and all that stuff, and then they give you, like, an explanation about what the song means and what the words means. And it's not true, but it's a better one than the actual intention. So I just say, yeah, you're right. You're right. That's it. That's it.

Jon Harris: Yeah, it's a very unique thing. What's that like for you? Have you gotten used to that? Is it still an interesting do you find maybe that some songs just kind of almost like a Venn diagram, it starts to mean something in particular to many different people?

Nik Serén: I think actually, as I've gotten a bit older, I've changed my perspective a bit because in the early days, I would probably grab you by the neck and tell you, no, you fuck face, this is what it means. And then because I was so serious and I was an artist and all that stuff, but now it's more interesting to hear these people muse about this song and what it means to them. And I'm starting to think that maybe that's the achievement. You know, that they listen to something that you do and something starts spinning in their head and then something gets done up there. And I don't I'm not a psychologist or anything like that, but it's amazing that these people are spending time with this music and it's making them think. Because it's not just I mean, you can make music about tits and ass and having fun and all that stuff, but we don't. So, I mean, we have that dimension to the music and you're hoping that people that it will make people think. So when it does, that's great. So I just find that I mean, it's hard to believe, but it's –

Jon Harris: Yeah.

Nik Serén: It's great. And obviously when I write the words and when we write the music, we have an idea and we know what it means. But that's not the essential thing right now. 

Jon Harris: Something that you had mentioned, Nik was doing this at the height of the pandemic and for a band your size, it just seemed like it wasn't a very positive environment in the industry and you didn't think that it was going to come out. Was that the biggest challenge for you guys on this record or what was the biggest challenge on this record? 

Nik Serén: No, you know what? Again, you interview bands, so you've heard every cliche in the universe, but I think the fact that we thought that it might not come out was actually what made this record great to us, because we just didn't care which just did it for us. No one talked about the record company. No one talked about the A&R or radio or stuff like that. So that was a good thing. I think the biggest melancholy and all that was that thought or feeling about maybe we can't play anymore. Maybe we can't go on these tours that we used to go to. Maybe that's over because we've been around most of the rock clubs in Stockholm closed because the kids don't want to go to rock clubs anymore. And you can reminisce and be sad and be a boomer about it, but that's the way the world goes. But it's sad when you spend so much time on it. So I think that was a bit scary area, because we don't play golf. We play music. Right. 

Jon Harris: Right. Not like Alice Cooper. He does both yeah.

Nik Serén: Yeah, yeah. Does he do it with style, though? Maybe he does. I don't know. 

Jon Harris: I don't know. I've never actually –

Nik Serén: I just read an article about him and it seems to me that maybe if I can keep my politics and still play golf, can I do that? 

Jon Harris: I think you can. 

Nik Serén: Is that allowed? 

Jon Harris: I think it's allowed. 

Nik Serén: I don't think golf is boring, do you? 

Jon Harris: Yeah, I find it really other than mini. 

Nik Serén: I mean, playing it, not watching it. I would never do that. 

Jon Harris: Oh, yeah. No, playing it is amazing. 

Nik Serén: Yeah, that's what I think. 

Jon Harris: It's like fishing. It's like the best thing a guy could do to spend all day doing absolutely nothing. 

Nik Serén: Yeah. So if I can go around, go 18 holes with, like, Mike Patton or something, that would be fun. 

Jon Harris: Yeah.  Yeah.

Nik Serén: Alice cooper too, I guess. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. 

Nik Serén: Kid Rock. Can he come? He can bring his gun. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, he could bring his gun and his Bud Light. Yeah. I didn't realize he felt so passionate about Bud Light of all beers. 

Nik Serén: I don't know. I have this thing where I sometimes I used to live in California for a couple of years, and so I have this weird fascination with with life there and politics and everything. I don't know. It's better than TV, but I'm just amazed of all these videos where people are destroying beer and most of them are really rich and I just want to call them up and say, hey, when you're rich, you don't really have to drink Bud Light. 

Jon Harris: Right. 

Nik Serén: You don't have to. 

Jon Harris: You could do Stella. You can afford Stella now in the glass with the swish thing for the foam. Yeah. Wow. 

Nik Serén: Yeah. I don't know if I've answered your question, but I tried. 

Jon Harris: You did, you did. And I'm curious. No one talked about the record company, the A&R or the radio. And you mentioned I've interviewed a lot of bands, I've heard all the cliches. Interestingly enough, that isn't one that really comes up a lot. It has, but it isn't really one that comes up a lot. But I have noticed that whenever somebody says, you know what? We went into this record not caring about the management, not caring about the record company, not caring about the A&R, what comes after that is, and it was the best record for it. 

Nik Serén: Yep.

Jon Harris: Why is that? 

Nik Serén: Because you can only get my opinion. Now, I'm not a scientist of these questions, but if you're the best tennis player in the world and you're at the finals in Wimbledon, and you just have to win because your dad, whatever, it just doesn't work when it's stuff like this that has to be honest. And this stuff is going to be on Spotify and Apple Music long after we're gone. So if you can't stand it yourself. Because we've been in that situation before where the record company calls us back, they've listened to the Master and they say, we love this album, but you need a radio track because otherwise we can't throw money at promotion and stuff. Then you have to try to come up with some sort of compromise. And it's good that we humans can compromise, but it's not the best art that comes out that way. It's just not. 

Jon Harris: Yeah.

Nik Serén: So I think we have to think about that all the time because we have to exist in this market that works in a certain way and no one can ever change it. And you need this and you need that. So sometimes you have to do that track. And it's actually pretty tricky to do a radio track. The last album we did, we had this song that was supposed to be the radio track and we were really happy about it, and that's rare. But I have a very good friend, a very old friend that hates our music. Because he's really hardcore and he only listens to metal. So every time I try to do a radio track, I send it to him. And if he comes back telling me that that's the worst piece of music he's ever heard in his fucking life, then I know I have a radio track. 

Jon Harris: Right. 

Nik Serén: So that's how we do it. But yeah, but I think you leave something out there to be judged by others, and if you have that feeling that you can't really stand by it all the way, that's a nightmare. When people start writing reviews and stuff and you know you have those two tracks in there that you didn't want to put in there, it's a nightmare. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, the two tracks you didn't want to put in there. Now, something you had mentioned, Nik, earlier on was about lyrics and themes, and obviously fans want to create their own versions of it kind of always happened. I remember watching a video of John Lennon talking to somebody and he's like, no, I didn't write that song about you. I don't know you. How is that even possible?  Nevertheless, what went into the themes on this particular record from you? 

Nik Serén: Well, height of the pandemic that was the scenery. It's called the Desolation Years. I mean, you don't have to be a genius to kind of put that together when you know these things. But we live in a pretty strange world, and the way we organize life in this strange world gives you a lot of workable material. There's a lot of strange stuff going on. And we are the kind of musicians that come from a world where we don't do happy music. We're not happy, we're funny. We're ironic, but very few of us are happy. So that's why it comes out like this. I mean, the stuff that we deal with in these songs are pretty serious stuff, but it's also a bit distant. 

Jon Harris: Right. 

Nik Serén: I like writing that way from the perspective of someone who doesn't really know all this stuff. That classic thing where an alien lands on planet Earth and just takes off his glasses and they're like, what the fuck are you doing?

Jon Harris: It's because his glasses are off. If you put his glasses back on, he'd be able to see how much sense we make. 

Nik Serén: Of course. And a person born in the 70s would tell him that instantly. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Was there any gear on the record that you used that was either new or super cool or surprised you? 

Nik Serén: Yes. I would have to say yes. And this is a bit sensitive because I'm going to tell you a story about guitar stuff and it's an area in which I have completely changed my mind. I was proven wrong and that's a difficult thing to say for men.

Jon Harris: Especially a guitar player, I know, I am one.

Nik Serén: Exactly, exactly. But yeah, we've been kind of exclusively using Orange amplification gear throughout our career. We love that stuff. We use it all the time, and we still do and disclaimer. We're indoor st everything. I mean, it's just we used that. And during this pandemic recording, the way we recorded, it was difficult to have all that gear moved through these locations and stuff because we didn't have time or the possibility to do it in a studio for like, three weeks. So we did it all over the place. And a friend of mine told me that if you take your Orange rigs and you profile them into a Kemper or an Axe effects or whatever this was a Kemper, you won't be able to tell the difference. And I was like, Fuck you. I know that I will hear the difference because I know this stuff.

Jon Harris: The high end is a little more brittle if you listen close enough. 

Nik Serén: Yeah.

Jon Harris: But in a mix, you can, I guess, fix that, or I guess it just doesn't matter in a mix, but they're a little more high end, a little more brittle sounding. 

Nik Serén: Yeah. Anyway, I did it. Started bringing the Orange rig with me, but in a digital format, and we recorded it. I did that profile with the microphone that I use and the cabinet that I use. So it was my sound. And then I did it. And I wasn't sure, I didn't like it, so I brought the 2x12, the cabinet with me and I just turned off the cabinet in the digital thing and then I recorded the usual way, but without the amplifier. But it was the amplifier only, and it sounded absolutely great. This story doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was a big deal for me because I was always like I was treating those things like the antichrist.

Jon Harris: Yeah, I mean, IK Multimedia has the ToneX now that is a software that you could take your laptop with you now instead of having to bring a Kemper profiler around with you, there's the Quad Cortex that is like smaller pedal form. And then obviously the Kemper has been around for ages and yeah, I wouldn't doubt that if we've been using real amps forever. This thing's going to suck the soul out of my amp and I'm not going to notice? But evidently it worked. Does that change your workflow going forward?

Nik Serén: No, I wouldn't actually imagine that it would, but it just adds another dimension. Because now when someone tells me that because I wouldn't do it with a generic rig in a Kemper. But since I know in the back of my head that this is actually my amp, that's the difference for me. Because I didn't buy a random amp of the Internet, a wave file that I record and someone to record I'm not saying that those are bad, but for me, I just want to use my amp when I do these records. So I'm guessing that it's going to add another dimension to whenever we want to record again. I know that if someone tells me, hey, I've got the afternoon off in the studio. Want to come and lay some of the guitar tracks? It's not a hassle anymore, I can just do it. I think that's great. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, that's a really good point –

Nik Serén: And if someone calls and say, can you fly in and do this festival? We don't need Orange to send trucks with amps and stuff. We can just be a bit kinder to the environment because we still have to go there, and that's one thing, but we can just have that thing and do it. But if we go on tour and we're going to be away for three weeks, we're going to take our stuff off like we always did. So adding a dimension, making it a little bit easier. I'm guessing that's the point of all this stuff. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, yeah.

Nik Serén: Because it doesn't sound better.

Jon Harris: Nik, how would you define success at this stage of your career?

Nik Serén: Um wow, that was hard. We we started this band without ambition. We started every other band in our lives with ambition and that all went to shit. And this band, we started honestly, without ambition. And then things started happening. That should tell you something. We've always been happy when people listen to our music and people keep booking us on shows, on tours. We've done lots of supporting act tours and our own tours. And for us, that was success and is still success. We know we're not going to be Foo Fighters or Guns and Roses, whatever band you think is really cool. So for us, it's just, can we do music? Can we make music? Can we have people listen to it? And can we go play it live? Because playing it live is I can't speak for all rock bands, but I would guess 90% or above. It's the live shows. That's the thing. That's where you live. That's what you live for. So for us, just being getting into that van, taking that trip around Europe, it's mostly Europe that's success. People going into a room at 10:00 at night in, I don't know, Berlin. I mean, we're Swedes and we're in Berlin, and there's like 400 people there that bought a ticket to see us. That's weird, isn't it? 

Jon Harris: Yeah.

Nik Serén: Again, I go to these shows all the time. I don't think it's weird to buy a ticket and go see a great band. I just think it's weird when people think that we're that band. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. 

Nik Serén: So for me and for us, that's success. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Very cool. Very good to hear it. The only other question I had sort of off the cuff, just because I didn't see it in the EPK or any information from the record label, was just was there a producer that you worked with? Any kind of, like, mixing or mastering engineer, some other extraneous member to the band that maybe is worth asking? What was it like to work with Bloop? But I don't have that information. 

Nik Serén: Yeah, we did that in the past producers last album, we did work with a guy called Daniel Bergstrand, who has worked a lot with In Flames and Meshuggah and these things, and he thought it would be fun to do softer music. And that turned out really well. But this time we said, no produce there. We've been doing this for so long, we know exactly what we want to do. Let's just skip that part and just do what we want to do as good as we can do it. But having that set, we work with a guy called Sebastian Forslund who is a great mixer. And when we have done the recordings, we send the stuff to him and then we tell him to mix it. We don't give him any input, we don't tell him what to do. And we tell him, if you get an idea, if you want to cut something out, if you want to add a fucking tambourine, or if you want to fry the guitar solo, whatever, do it. So he becomes like the Fifth Element because he's really talented and we don't tell him what to do. We accept what he does. So we get that extra dimension that way. Because, honestly, today you can change so much after the fact. That coming from where we're coming from, with the budgets we have and stuff, getting a great producer, it just doesn't make any sense. And asking people to work for free, it's just insane. So. This. I mean, I can't I can't say what, you know, anyone else thinks about it, but we were really happy with this record. This record sounds the way we intended it to sound, and that's a good feeling. Then if people like I mean, we got some pretty good reviews, so we're happy there are people out there in the world that actually agrees with us. But, yeah, that's a pretty good way of doing it, I think. I mean, great producers will always have work, so we're not cutting out the middleman or anything because Rick Rubin wasn't available.

Jon Harris: That's a shame. 

Nik Serén: Yeah. Absolute shame. Sebastian and I can plug he actually plays in a band called the Night Flight Orchestra, which is a great band. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. And you want to know who was on my mind last time I chatted with Björn about the Night Flight Orchestra? He said, what made the Night Flight Orchestra so fun was that they weren't worrying like they would in Soilwork.  They were just coming together, him and David, and saying, I like this music. You like this music. Let's just –

Nik Serén: You can tell when you watch the Night Flight Orchestra that they're having fun right now. They're not in a very fun place, because David actually regrettably passed away. 

Jon Harris: Right.

Nik Serén: So that was tough because a lot of us in this little community that we have, we kind of grew up together, and we've been known each other for a long time, and that's why we keep the collaboration within the extended family. But, yeah, you can tell when the Night Flight Orchestra do their thing. You can tell that they're trying to have fun. And I think we have this beef going on in this community about whether or not humour belongs in music. And I think that's something that you can probably devote a whole podcast episode to, but I think it does. I don't like slapstick. I don't like people dressing in funny clothes and making a rock video, and that kind of humour I don't like. But I think witty lyrics and irony and critique of society and all that stuff in a funny format. Absolutely. 

Jon Harris: Like, the Foo Fighters. We've mentioned them, and they do slapstick music videos. 

Nik Serén: I don't like it. 

Jon Harris: Suicide Silence. I just chatted with them. They said they were inspired by the Foo Fighters and they make slapstick videos because of the Foo Fighters. 

Nik Serén: And as I said, this is a divider. Some people, if you talk to our fine neighbours, the Norwegians, they're very serious. 

Jon Harris: Oh, so serious.

Nik Serén: When they do their black medal and stuff. No humour. 

Jon Harris: I mean, if you've been to Finland, like monotone. Man, I am so happy to be here. Are you? Yes. Thank you. 

Nik Serén: It's weird because the Finns are like I mean, the Swedes, we're depressed because of the sun and all that. We are depressed people. Our history is wreaked with genocides and fucking Viking atrocities and stuff like that. But the Finns, they are constantly on top of the happy people on Earth when they do these things. But when you go to Finland. You never notice. No. So I'm thinking something's wrong there. But I'm just saying no, don't do slapstick in my book. But keep your humour, man. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, don't do slapstick. Keep your humour. What is the number one thing you would like people to do who are listening to the podcast right now? 

Nik Serén: Because of the insane state of the vinyl business, there is no record to pick up at this point. You will have to wait with that. I mean, obviously it's great if you listen to the music and stuff, but I would probably use my 15k of fame because I have this motto in my life, which is obviously in Swedish, but if I translated it, it would be something like just get your shit together. So I'm telling you now, audience, get your shit together. It's not that hard. It really isn't. Bar is pretty low. Don't be an asshole. That's it, pretty much. You don't need a constitution. You don't need 22 fucking amendments. You just need to don't be an asshole. Pretty simple. Stick your hands down your pants and face the music. 

Jon Harris: Wow. Yeah. Stick your hands down your pants and face the music. 

Nik Serén: Yeah. As you can tell, I'm not a philosopher. 

Jon Harris: No, clearly not. All right, well, everybody listening again. Go ahead and head over to There you can get the transcript for today's audio, music videos from Hong Faux, as well as ways to connect with Hong Faux. So, Nik, thank you so much for coming on to the Rock Metal podcast today. 

Nik Serén: Very happy to be here. Take care.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Screem Writers Guild with Mr. Lordi of LORDI

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Mr. Lordi of the band Lordi about their new album ‘Screem Writers Guild’ via Atomic Fire Records.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as having patience to see your goals and dreams through.  Mr. Lordi talks about losing band members over the years, while sticking through to his vision.

'Screem Writers Guild' was Produced by Mr. Lordi with Mr. Mana and Janne Halmkrona; Mixed by Ilkka Herkman / Ilusound Oy; Mastered by Pauli Saastamoinen / Finnvox Studios

The band Mr. Lordi is for fans of: Battle Beast, Powerwolf, Sabaton, U.D.O.


Guest Resource - Connect with Lordi!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Have confidence in yourself, because you’re the best person to be you.

2. Be able to do what you love to do - never stop working towards your goals and dreams.

3. Have patience with your goals on the road to success.


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Mr. Lordi, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say Hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Mr. Lordi: Hello. Hahaha. Hi, how you doing? 

Jon Harris: Well, we're fabulous now that you're here. Now this new record Screem Writers Guild play on words, of course. What was the greatest moment for you producing this record? 

Mr. Lordi: I don't know. The first five months. No, over twelve. We did it in five months. I mean, I love the process of creating, from writing the new song, from recording and to even painting the album cover and everything. I love every single moment of making a new album and creating something. So to pick just one, like the best or proudest moment, I really can. 

Jon Harris: It's like, yeah, you love all of your beautiful children from writing the new songs 

Mr. Lordi: Yeah, of course. 

Jon Harris: To recording, coming up with the album artwork. I guess that then you said you did the whole thing in five months. Is that pretty typical for you or is that a little bit longer? 

Mr. Lordi: Yeah, it's pretty typical. This happened in the time this was recorded, actually a year ago. I got a call in January 2022 from our manager that to start writing a new album. Sure. And so by the I'm trying to think, by the mid June 2022, the album already went to Greece, mastering and no, it was already mastered. So, yeah, we did it in five months, including writing and everything. So it is pretty typical for us. I mean we can do it pretty fast but most of the times why it takes longer is because you are gigging you're doing shows at the same time so you cannot do the whole album back to back in row like days like that because you have to travel with shows, festivals or whatever quite fast. This album was so easy to make it felt like that we're only making a mini EP or something because when I got that call that hey, start writing a new album. Sure, it was only two months after when we just released seven albums at the same time so now doing one album, just one it was like okay, it feels like doing a single or something. 

Jon Harris: Hahaha, I was going to say getting a phone call and then a few months later having an album to print. Do you have a catalog of stuff at the ready that you're just sitting on? 

Mr. Lordi: No, I'm usually writing everything. I'm very productive and I'm very creative. So when I sit down and usually if I start writing a song as a side project, as a side effect, I will have side product, I will have two other songs. If I start writing one song, in the end, I will have three. That's usually what happens. And some people ask, how is that possible? Well, I'll tell you I have a chorus melody I'm writing that I'm playing guitar or keyboards, I'm working with that. So then I'm just listening to my inner radio that is playing in my head. So how would the song go from there nothing special. I think many people are writing like that. I think that what would be the best way that how would they hear song go to the next part of the song. Okay. So then I come up with them. Usually I don't have any writers luck or anything. I come with the next part, I put it down. Okay, there it is. And then I listen to it. I thought, oh, it's a great part, but it actually isn't really exactly what I'm looking for. So I put that aside, that part, and by the end of the day, when that one song is ready, I have material for like two other songs already from the put aside parts. So that's how it happens. That's how come that's why it happens. I already forgot your question, by the way. 

Jon Harris: It's okay. My next question, though, is what was the biggest challenge for you on this record? 

Mr. Lordi: I don't remember actually having any challenges with this one because this was insanely easy and naturally flowing process. The whole writing of the whole recording, everything. I don't remember having actually any kind of challenge. Even logistically, it went smooth as fuck. Everything went so well. I'm sorry there were no challenges. Really easy. It was that easy. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. No, that's fine. I mean, why is that, do you think? Is it just because you've written so many songs and albums up to this point? You know what you're doing?

Mr. Lordi: Yeah. And of course, it's also because I'm getting more confident every time when I'm writing and we're doing stuff. After I started producing our own albums, it really boosted up my level where it's a little bit too much even, I guess. 

Jon Harris: HAHA!

Mr. Lordi: But at the same time, I know what I can do and I know what our band can do, and I know we can do exactly what we're aiming for. So that makes it easy and that makes it somehow it is very enjoyable to be able to create something the way you want it. And you are very satisfied with the end product. This is exactly what you here's the many people you know. Usually like critics when they listen to any Penny Artist album, but in this case, Lordi, it sounds shitty. And why does it have that many critics? Usually they forget that, at least in our songs, how they sound like. And the self confidence is something that and you know, you can do what you're trying.

Jon Harris: Okay, now, something that strikes me as interesting is I would imagine that to do what you do takes a degree of confidence, I guess. What was it that or when did the confidence start to ingrain in what it is that you're doing? 

Mr. Lordi: I think I've always had that because I know that I'm the best me that anybody could be.  Many times I've said this. I'm a huge fan of KISS. I'm a KISS fan addict. I'm one of those KISS fanboys collectors and KISS crazies. And I wanted to be Gene Simmons when I was young, but now I understand that even Gene Simmons, who I look up to in every possible ways, who's my iron and probably the main reason why I wanted to be Gene Simmons. But when understanding that even Gene Simmons couldn't be better Lordi than I am Gene Simmons as Gene Simmons or anybody. That something that is really understanding that after you already are having fans and you have your fan base. And your followers who are really into your band and understanding that whatever you're doing when I write stuff, when I create stuff, I have only one person target audience, and that is myself. I'm doing everything to please myself. And if anybody else, any anybody else likes it, it's a plus. If they don't, fuck them, what do they know anyway? I think that certain amount of self confidence is a good thing to actually, you know, I'm the worst teacher. I could not teach or tell anybody else how to do their shit. But if it comes to my shit, what I'm doing, I am the God and the dictator and the goddamn almighty. I know how to do my shit. And I get really angry and I get really offended if somebody tries to tell me how I should do things. Because I'm like, what the hell do you know? I'm not telling you how to know. You know, masturbate, you know? 

Jon Harris: Yeah, that's right. Strokes and strokes and strokes. Okay. 

Mr. Lordi: Yeah. Whoo. 

Jon Harris: Now, the EPK that I got from Atomic Fire says that the record itself is not a real concept album, but plays with the overall cinematic theme. So take us through that Screem Writers Guild. What is this record about? 

Mr. Lordi: Well, it's another Lordi record, really. Atomic Fire guys, they need say something in the press release, don't they? What it is about is I always write music first, and then the lyrics come after that, depending on how you count it. But it's actually our 19th studio album, already 19. And most of the songs on every single Lordi album are about horror. Horror genre, our horror stories. There's something, and I just wanted to find sometimes it gets really difficult to find out find a new angle in the in the horror genre, you know? What can I you know, what could this album be about? And then I just thought, that okay, why not? Trying to focus on the classic vintage horror movies like those Universal Monsters and shit like that, that was the starting point for this whole thing. So when I was trying to come up with some sort of a new angle to write songs and what would be the main concept of this album. So then I thought that while this is our music, that I wanted to do, is do an album that would be like reset, like returning or resetting the factory default settings of Lordi, like going back to the first three or four albums, trying to do very different kind of standard, classic Lordi album, usually. So then I thought that also lyrically and thematically, it should be something very classic Lordi and I thought that, okay, well, funnily enough, we really haven't touched the subject of old vintage horror movies yet, or horror characters. So that's where the idea came. Okay, let's go to the root of cinematic horror and try to get some influences and try to get some ideas from there. Well, all of the songs are not influenced by those, but clearly there's like, the Bride song, it's about Frankenstein, and there's like, in the Castle of Dracula, of course, and it's plain words again, but vacuum. There's like a tropical island, which is wolf, naval werewolves and shit like that. So it's like, more or less, all the songs have something to do with some classic horror movie or some classic horror movie character. Is, while that being said of Cocktail, there's a lot of Lotus songs that have a lot of reference to other horror movies. Like, especially Evil Dead. And Evil Dead, too, because, I mean, I'm a huge Evil Dead fan this time. I told my co-writer, Tracy Lee, by told this time, let us try not to have an Evil Dead reference on this album. Because usually we do. At this time we don't. 

Jon Harris: How hard was it to not have an Evil Dead reference? 

Mr. Lordi: Very hard. Very hard. And baby and pulsing.

Jon Harris: Yeah, fantastic.

Mr. Lordi: Because, I mean, the Evil Dead references, they come so naturally and they come like they sneak in whether you want it or not. So it was really difficult, but we did it. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Very cool. Is there a classic? Like Dracula, werewolves? Frankenstein? Is there a classic that you love the most or identify with the most? 

Mr. Lordi: I think Frankenstein. Frankenstein. I'm a huge Marvel Movie fan, too, and my all time Marvel favourite characters, incredible heart. And as any geeks or coming would know, that Stan Lee's version of Frankenstein monster is actually the heart. So clearly, Frankenstein monster is my favourite classic monster. Know. Yeah, like a stylist. 

Jon Harris: Okay. Very cool. Very cool. 19 studio freaking albums. How would you define success at this stage of your career? 

Mr. Lordi: Being able to still do what you love to do? Enough to go to nine to five work. Because I have never worked nine to five in my life and I would suck at it. I would suck ass and balls if I would fight to do a normal job. So I am a lucky fucking bastard to be able to do that isn't success. I don't know what is. I mean, I'm doing what I would do anyway. I'm doing what I always wanted to do, and I'm doing everything. I know I'm stressing myself out and I don't have enough rest and everything, but I do. Everything you see and hearing Lordi is the outcome of things that I think I know how to do and the things that I want to do, whether it's writing the music, whether it's making the masks, the costumes, the painting, the album covers, creating the graphics, doing the merch, everything, deciding everything. So that's I just love doing this artsy fartsy stuff about monsters and horror, and that is my personal success. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. What advice would you give to Mr. Lordi? 19 studio albums ago? 

Mr. Lordi: Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. Because I was very impatient. I remember I couldn't believe because I was so full of myself as a kid, and I couldn't believe that when I was sending the demos to record labels and sending the demos to some critics in music magazines, and they didn't like it, and they didn't see the geniuses that I am, I was offended. I was like, what the fuck do these people know that they should actually change their they don't see a good thing that they should. So I would say patience. Young Ada one, because it's like and it took ten years, and most of my bandmates at the time, it was like, revolving door. Like, people joined my band and then they quit because life gets in the way. They got children and work and stuff, and people just lost their faith in this thing because after you're in a band for a few years and then nothing goes, and I'm just, like, blindly believing that someday we'll get a record deal. But it took ten years. It took full decades to actually have it. So I would say, patience. It'll happen. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, very cool. What was the breakthrough point, do you think? 

Mr. Lordi: Meeting our first manager. Because then I realized that all those times sending the demos, labels and shit, it doesn't really or I don't know how it is today, but then, like, 30 years ago, 25 years ago you can send all your fucking demos as much as you want, but unless you have a contact who will actually go and put your demo tape in front of the line, you're fucked. You're going to be buried there with the other demos. So I would say meeting our first manager, who actually was in the music business, Finland, and a big shop there and who had some credibility not some credibility, a lot of credibility. And people were trusting him. And when he came the labels and showed us, look at this band, listen to the demos, that's when the door started opening. Because, I mean, I, you know, that that's the most important person that things started happening. This was like and even for him, it took like, like two or three years to get us through. Because the problem with this bag was, and still is to some people, is that the concept that the music versus the image is so for some people, it is really a tough lot to swallow because we look the way we look and we sound the way we sound. And for a lot of people, those two things, what you hear and what you see, they don't match. Through the whole 90s I got the response from most labels. I got it. Like, okay, the look is cool, but you should change your musical style to black metal or death metal or something like that because your music sounds and it's too melodic and it's too dated and it's too 80s and it's too poppy or whatever. Because you look like you should be playing black metal or something. And then the other response was like, okay, we love the music, but you should change singer because singer shouldn't be singing this kind of stuff. You should have somebody who sings high and clear, of course, without them realizing that it is me, the main guy. And then also that you must lose the image because the image looks like that it's some black death metal band and it shouldn't sound like this. I mean, this sounded bad.  So that was very difficult thing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Okay, what's the number one thing you want people listening in right now to the podcast to do? 

Mr. Lordi: Put your hand in your pants and enjoy the soothing voices you hear.

Jon Harris: Wow. Okay. All right, so put your in your pants and enjoy the soothing voices. 

Mr. Lordi: Yeah, well that's one way to do it. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Okay. Is there a particular maybe website you want them to go to in particular? What's your favourite way for them to consume the record? Do you want them to go buy the vinyl? Do you want them to listen? Does it matter? 

Mr. Lordi: Well, I'm an old school guy. I'm an old school guy and I tell you something, I've never been on social media one second in my life. So I'm such an old school gig teaser. I would rather of course people buy the actual physical album but I know it's not 1989 anymore. Whatever the way it's most convenient for you, go check it out. Google Lordi and find us out wherever. But of course I still think that the way that we're doing albums that I think is their albums are like entireties they are meant to be consumed as a whole, not like one song. There one song here. Every single audio album should hold you as a full experience, not just one song. It's the same thing that you don't watch a movie that just go to the scene number twelve and then maybe all girl like to see number six. I mean you kind of like miss the whole point if you don't watch the whole movie. And of course also visually, of course, the actual physical vinyl of the city gives you so much more than just listening. But well then again just want to enjoy the music. That's fine too. 

Jon Harris: Okay, we'll go ahead and head over to There you can stay in touch with everything Lordi and go ahead and go to the show notes for today, the transcript for this beautiful interview, as well as some music videos. Mr. Lordi, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Mr. Lordi: Thank you. Absolutely. My pleasure. This was –.


Friday, June 9, 2023

Introvert / Extrovert with Adam Gontier of SAINT ASONIA

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Adam Gontier of the band Saint Asonia about their new album ‘Introvert / Extrovert’.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as what working with other professional songwriters and musicians in your hometown, as well as in other cities.

'Introvert / Extrovert' was Produced, Mixed, Mastered by Anton DeLost.

The band Saint Asonia is for fans of: Art of Dying, Adelitas Way, 10 Years, Through Fire, The Veer Union


Guest Resource - Connect with Saint Asonia!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Take time to collabourate with other musicians, albeit in Nashville or Toronto

2. Keep it simple with equipment, what do you need and leave everything else out.

3. Don’t do drugs, and make sure to keep relationships healthy


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Adam, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Adam Gontier: Thanks for having me, man. How you doing, everybody? 

Jon Harris: Great to have you on and talk about this amazing records. We've got Introvert EP, we have Extrovert EP, and then Spinefarm released the two of them together as Introvert / Extrovert. We also have some tour information to chat about, both in the US. And in Canada. So this is going to be an action packed interview. I like to talk about the records first so we can get into the tour, if that's cool. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah. 

Jon Harris: And you can treat this as either one or the other EP or together as a unit, but what was the greatest moment for you producing this record? And it could just either be one of the EPs or maybe the album as a whole.

Adam Gontier: Yeah. I think just being able to get back in the studio and working on music was a big thing because the couple of years that we weren't able to leave our houses or whatever to do anything, that was. That sucked. So I think the whole thing was really making both EPs was pretty special just because it felt great to get out and great to get back to doing what we love to do. Yeah, there were a lot of good, really cool moments in making the album. We had a guest on a song called Chew Me Up on Introvert. Johnny Stevens from Highly Suspect was a guest, and that was a highlight for sure of making the two EPs. But yeah, I think just in general, being able to create music and we actually recorded it in person in a studio in Toronto and stuff, and that was important to do that. So, yeah, just being able to get out and actually do music again was pretty awesome. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, being benched for a couple of years obviously sucks. But getting back together now as a result of that, this material you mentioned, going into a studio and crafting it, did you guys have a lot of material ready to go or did you guys just kind of save it until you were all together? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, for the first EP Introvert, we did have a lot of material just because being at home for those two years, there was a lot to write about, there was a lot going on. There was no shortage of stuff to write about. So, yeah, there was a lot of material written for the first EP Introvert. And then shortly after we recorded that, I actually moved from Toronto down to Nashville. So for the second EP Extrovert, I did a lot of co-writing with people down here and got together and collabed with just a bunch of different people in Nashville. So that was really cool. And that was kind of the reason we called it Extrovert.

Jon Harris: Very cool. And I mean, we could spend probably the rest of the interview just asking this basic question, which is working with people in Nashville, take us through that. How different is that from working with people, say, in Toronto?

Adam Gontier: Ah. Well, I mean, it's quite a bit different. Getting together to write with somebody in a room with a goal of writing a good song is always a little bit weird. And I've always felt that it's strange to be like, I don't know, to sit in a room with a stranger, maybe somebody that you haven't met or whatever, and sit down and try to be vulnerable and come up with to come up with songs. It's really a different process. But at the same time, most of the people that I got together with down here, I have known from the past and stuff, so it was pretty easy to do that. But, yeah, it's always a little bit weird just meeting somebody for the first time and saying, okay, let's write something super heavy and deep together when we haven't even known each other for, like, 15 minutes, you know?

Jon Harris: Right? We're not super deep and heavy, but let's do something super deep and heavy. Okay? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, exactly. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. What was the biggest challenge for you guys on this record? And it sounds like the two records have quite a bit going on, but there might be multiple challenges. But what was the biggest challenge for you?

Adam Gontier: Um well, I mean, it all happened pretty pretty seamlessly. It was all it was a great process and there weren't many challenges. I think that maybe the biggest challenge was having Mike Mushok record his parts remotely. And we've done that a few times now, but it was especially necessary just because the pandemic wrapping up and all the stuff and him traveling was a little bit difficult. So I think that was probably the biggest challenge for us recording, was actually getting his parts and stuff to match what we were doing in the studio. And he was doing it from home, from his home computer, so that was a bit of a challenge. But our producer, Anton, that we worked with is super amazing at stuff like that and he made it sound incredible.

Jon Harris: Yeah, so that was the one missing body in those T-Dot days?

Adam Gontier: Yeah, exactly. And we recorded both EPs in Toronto. I'm originally from just outside of Toronto and Kyle and Cody live outside of Toronto right now, so it just makes sense to everyone. Anton was up there as well. Yeah, it's a nice city, so it's fun to hang in Toronto for a little bit. 

Jon Harris: Now, something that you were mentioning was getting deep and getting heavy and being vulnerable. So let's talk about some of the themes on this record. And we've got some themes from Introvert and we have some themes from Extrovert. Do they line up? What are some of the themes that are happening here? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, for Introvert, a lot of the writing was done during the pandemic, so there's a lot of sort of just trying to figure out what we were going through, what was happening. So I think Introvert, it was all written from the perspective of sitting in my little studio room there in Peterborough, not being able to leave.  Yeah, there's a lot of that on Introvert and Extrovert. I'd say it's a little bit more hopeful. It has a bit of a hopeful vibe to it, sort of when we were able to get out and start working with people again and I did this co-writing and met with people, and it was a different experience than the first one. But I think the themes on Introvert, there's a lot of loneliness, and on Extrovert there's a lot of coming out come and out of the shell a little bit.

Jon Harris: As it would be the case. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah.

Jon Harris: You mentioned doing a little bit of remote stuff, but doing working in the studio. Any kind of unique equipment that you guys ended up using this time around? Anything to maybe surprise you or like some go to pieces of equipment?

Adam Gontier: When we were recording, I've always tried to just keep it simple. Even my live show is very I mean, I just have an amp and a foot switch and I don't have a pedal board. And also I just try to keep it very simple, try to do the same thing. I mean, on the record, Flawed Design, we did a lot of experimenting with different sounds and different things, but this time around, for these two, we just wanted to be a little bit more straightforward. So, yeah, we didn't really mess around too much. It's always nice to have your producer open up different plugins and try different sounds on different things in different parts of song. So there was a lot of that when we had sort of recorded the bones of the songs, but no, other than that, it was pretty straightforward. We wanted to keep it fairly simple, just get some good tones and keep it straightforward and simple. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, well, something you mentioned was experimenting a bit more on Flawed Design and I guess kind of like a follow up question would be this time around, what was the desire to be more straightforward? 

Adam Gontier: Just well, I think because for me, every record, I always want it to be better than the last. Of course, that's the goal anyway. And I think on Flawed Design, I definitely wanted to experiment a bit with different sounds and textures and some key parts and piano and stuff, and we did a lot of that. And this time around just felt natural to go back to just simple riffs and simple tones and try to keep it very simple. But it's always different. I mean, every album is different. Who knows where when we do the next one, where that'll go? It could be just no guitars, it just keys.

Jon Harris: Yeah, well, something you mentioned there was simple riffs and simple tones. Does that come easy or was there a large amount of work in I don't want to call it dumbing it down, but how did you go about making things more simple? Or was that the more natural? You did say natural, but how did that happen? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, it was more so and this is when your producer really comes in handy. And Anton did a lot of like, if it were up to me and I was I would just I would just go for a distorted sound, and then I'd probably be like, okay, that sounds great. Let's just go. But there's a lot of time. He takes a lot of time. And like most producers do, with trying to make that sort of raw, you know, that raw, simple tone and sit with it for hours and make sure it's right. And I think it comes down to sonically the rest of the band and the rest of the parts and the tracks and stuff. So there's all that kind of stuff that goes into it, which I don't really focus too much on. I just try to keep it sort of low key for what I'm doing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, we'll chat about Anton, I think, a little bit more later because I think there's a lot of cool things that we can say about him. Let's go ahead and jump into the tour. As far as I understand, you've just gotten off of a US tour supporting Theory of a Dead Man and Skillet, yeah?

Adam Gontier: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. It was a six week tour across the US. Yeah. Supporting two killer bands Theory of a Dead Man. We've known those guys since the early 2000s when Three Days Grace first started. Theory was one of the first bands that ever took us out on tour. So great friends of ours and great people and yeah, Skillet, they're amazing. Put on a great live show, and they're just very cool people. So, yeah, it was an amazing tour. We were very fortunate to be on it. And hopefully it goes out again soon. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, very cool. And then speaking of Theory of a Dead Man, there are some tour information happening here in Canada headlining, and I believe playing as well with Theory of a Dead Man?

Adam Gontier: Yeah. Right now, I think we are just doing the April 28 show in Peterborough at the Memorial Centre. Yeah. The other shows that they are doing, some headlining shows in Canada, I think, but I'm not 100% sure if we're going to be on the rest of them or not. I think we're still trying to work that out. 

Jon Harris: Okay. I just tried to abbreviate Theory of a Dead Man, and it says TOAD.

Adam Gontier: That's right. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Totem toad. 

Adam Gontier: Totem. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Totem totem pole. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah. 

Beautiful. Okay, this is actually a cool question. I've gotten all kinds of answers from it. Spiritual answers. Not so spiritual answers either way because you've been through a lot. You mentioned Three Days Grace from the early 2000s. Obviously, you've been on the scene for a long time, getting to know other bands like Theory of a Dead Man and establishing relationships like in Nashville, like you're doing now. How would you define success, though, at this stage of your career? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, that's a good question, for sure. I think after being in the industry for 20 years, I think the success probably comes with being comfortable with yourself and comes with making music that you are making, not for other people and for yourself. I think it's pretty important to to not try to create music that you think that others think might be good. And that's sort of what everybody falls into, especially after you sign a record deal and you have to sell a certain amount of records and get a certain amount of singles. I think now, and it takes a long time it took me a long time to realize it, but yeah, I think success is being able to create what you want to create for yourself and for nobody else. And it's a lot easier said than done, for sure, especially in this business. It's pretty tough. I mean, I still absolutely all the time when I'm writing a song or recording a song, I'm always wondering if it's, you know, if it's radio friendly enough or what are, what are people going to think about this lyric? Or will this lyric resonate as much with people? And that sort of thing. And it's easy to get carried away in that. So if you can get to a point where you're making music just for yourself and not others, at least you do create music for your fans and people that love the band and the music and stuff. But there's a line to be drawn there, I think. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, when something you mentioned, it was challenging to create something, basically without worrying about other people, and I think. Is it is it just at a certain point where you just know, like, millions of people are going to hear this song and there might be some sense of responsibility maybe with that? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, for sure. There's definitely a lot of pressure. For sure. You put out at this point, putting out songs that, you know, a certain amount of people are going to hear it. You always want people to like it. So yeah, I guess it's just finding that balance. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Speaking of finding balances, turn around. Back to working with Anton. Just wide 
open question. Talk to me about working with Anton. 

Adam Gontier: Well, yeah, I mean, he's a great producer, he's a great guy. He just added a lot to what we've been doing, and he's got some really cool bands, cool work under his belt, and he's starting to work a bit more and do different projects. So, yeah, we're just fortunate to be able to connect with him and we all get along great. And the camaraderie is there to be all the same. Common goal of making a great record. And yeah, he's just really good at his job. There's a lot of producers out there and a lot of guys that or people that do tons of great work. And it's just nice to find somebody that knows what page you're on and shares the common goal. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, that's a big one on the same page and sharing a common goal. I'm just searching the web really quick. Anton DeLost?

Adam Gontier: Anton DeLost Yeah. Okay. 

Jon Harris: He looks super serious, especially in this picture. 

Adam Gontier: Oh, yeah, he's serious. Serious guy. No, we all look serious in our press shots. Right? 

Jon Harris: Of course. You mentioned being on the same page. How was that? I don't know. Decided upon. Is that something that was picked up maybe in the pre production, like the demo stage? Was that something that was a constant conversation? 

Adam Gontier: No, it wasn't a constant conversation. I think more so maybe in the demo stage. Yeah. When we get together and we play all the music we have, and I think it's just from that point, it's pretty clear where the direction is going to go. You talk about it throughout the recording process, the individual directions for each song, but I think in general, it's just sort of laid out there. And when you're playing demos for everybody.

Jon Harris: What's the number one thing that you would like people listening to the podcast to do right now? And that could be like hit up your socials, listen to the record, buy a ticket. I don't know. Go meditate and think about happier days, anything that you've taken. Taken with you. 

Adam Gontier: If there's anything I'd want to tell people to do in terms of the band and that sort of thing, I just say check out the music. That's the most important thing for me. That's why we do this and why we make music. It's something most important thing. So I just want people to listen to the listen to the music and enjoy the songs and hopefully it sticks with them. That's it. And we are going to be spending the rest of this year of 2023 and then into 2024 on the road doing a lot of shows and a lot of touring. So definitely keep your eye on our socials and our website and stuff and our tour dates and everything are up there. Yeah, be a lot of touring. 

Jon Harris: Which reminds me, the Canadian tour, I'm in Edmonton. I feel forgotten. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, it's not much of a Canadian tour, it's more of an Ontario tour. Being Canadian, obviously. I know that. But yeah, your team is American. It's more to your team and management and label and everybody agents, whatever they consider it a Canadian thing. But yeah, the reality is it's an Ontario-Quebec tour. Yeah, for now. Just for now. We'll be out west 100% for sure. 

Jon Harris: Time for one more, if that's okay. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, of course, man. Of course. 

Jon Harris: What would the Adam today tell the Adam from 20 years ago, sitting there in front of the microphone about ready to record that song that was going to hit the radio for the first time? What advice would you have for that Adam? It? 

Adam Gontier: Well, for one, get off drugs. That would be my first, honestly. But no, probably just to take everything, slow down a little bit because it was such a whirlwind, right? We had been a band for years and we were friends for years and before we got a record deal, anything, and then in early 2001, we got the record deal and then almost overnight it just blew up. So we got thrown into this situation that we'd always wanted and we'd always ask for, but we weren't really ready for it. For me, I guess I was in a pretty crazy place. I was using and drinking and partying, so it was a bad timing. Sign a record deal in the middle of that was a little bit rough. But yeah, I think that the biggest thing is I would probably say just slow down and just take it all in and take a breath because it was pretty intense. But things are great now. That time back then with them and when I left that band, I was in a completely different state of mind and life was different, things were younger and had a lot had a giant chip in my shoulder. There was a lot going on. So, yeah, for me at the time, I needed to leave just to be able to try to get my shit together. So, yeah, things are different now. I stay in touch with the guys a lot, we talk a lot. I think we've all grown up, we've all had kids and the family life and that sort of thing. So we're in contact pretty often and there's no hard feelings there yet. We're all pretty close, that sort of thing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, absolutely. All right, well, that number one thing that you had mentioned a little bit back there, Adam, was to listen to the record, check out the socials, check out the band on a tour. So go ahead and head over to There you can go ahead and get all of the extras from today's interview, the transcript, music videos and as well those links so that you can stay in touch with everything Saint Asonia. So, Adam, thank you so much for coming on to the Rock Metal podcast today. 

Adam Gontier: Of course, man. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.