Meeting Bazie is always like a meeting an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Which is true anyway, since I will grant myself such audacity as to call this great and incredibly kind musician a friend of mine. This was the first time we sat and talked ”officially” about all things 69, so make yourself a nice vodka on rocks, hold the rocks – and enjoy the following interview for! Oceans of graditude to you, Bazie!<3
Darkness 69: First, thank you very much for doing this interview for the Bosnian website and all the Bosnian fans. As you may know, people in Bosnia need visas for every single country except like Croatia and Serbia, so this is a good thing that you’re here!
Bazie 69: Yeah!
Darkness 69: So tell me, how was your trip to Zagreb?
Bazie 69: It was good, first we needed to wake up in the morning (laughs)…
but we’ve got Paul [tour manager, Eds.], so we’ve got no problem with that. It was quite a long trip from Bratislava,
but it was good.
Darkness 69: Tell me about the new album. You can literally feel just how much the new album stirred the blood in the veins of all the gothic rockers in Europe and USA, it’s an amazing piece of work!
Bazie 69: Thank you!
Darkness 69: Besides the obvious – producer, raw sound, what is so different about this album that it stands out like this?
Bazie 69: I think that even though it sounds like it’s compilation of all of the things, styles that we have done before, it is something new. It’s really hard to say when you do the album, like how it turns out to be, you can tell like after a year. Because we always wanted to achieve the best, but on purpose we wanted to change, do things differently than before. We have “Angels” and “Devils” that are good albums, but they’re more like the same. Like “Blessed be” and “Paris Kills”, they are like the twins (laughs). After “Paris Kills” we wanted to change a little bit, change not just the style. But you never know how it’s gonna be, you bring some new people. I think in this one, we did it with a new producer, with a different approach that way. Actually, when someone who’s producing changes, they want Jyrki to rewrite the lyrics. The thing was that, we’ve always done albums in Finland, but it makes sense, these lyrics, like sometimes it was “this is English but I don’t get it” (laughs). It’s just nonsense. So there was a lot of work put into that, we started to do the album a long time ago. It’s really hard to say what’s special, but we did it differently, we did it in one period. Actually we did it in one place, concentrated thing, we started and it was finished. It was done in seven weeks, the whole album. So, eight weeks with remixing. Maybe that’s one of the reasons, everybody was there, concentrating in doing it, we didn’t do anything else but the album. Even though we were in LA, for the first three weeks, I didn’t even go to the bar (laughs), just work, work, work. So maybe, that’s what’s different. But you never know, when you do the album, how it’s gonna turn out to be. You just wish it’s good. Now we have more time. We had a lot of songs written for the album, but in the end, it was like, “OK, we’re definitely gonna use this”. There were 3-4 songs that Matt [Hyde, the producer, Eds.] didn’t pick for the album. I remember, we did “Suspiria Snow White”, that was a last minute pick, everybody liked the song. We had another song that was supposed to be on the album, but Matt said “No, this is too happy”. (both laugh)
Darkness 69: Is it going to be released later, like on a B-side single?
Bazie 69: Actually, we recorded two more songs, another one is still unfinished. It’s a really good song. It was ready, but then Matt Hyde wanted to change the lyrics… again… and the other song, it has no vocals, it’s finished otherwise. The music is recorded. So we’ve got two songs. At that time, we didn’t know, so we talked those two songs off. The other one didn’t make it for obvious reasons, ‘cause it wasn’t finished, and the one, it’s a good song…
Darkness 69: …but it didn’t fit the concept.
Bazie 69: Yeah. We wanted to make an album, not just a collection of songs. Even though there was a disagreement. Like, “nobody’s listening to albums any more”, but we don’t care, we wanna do it. It may be like, you never know the last time you can do it like that. Nobody’s playing CDs, great bands have decided to release like downloads, two songs or whatever, so I don’t know how it’s gonna be.
Darkness 69: Sadly, it’s like that now.
What usually inspires you to write music to a particular song? The title, the imagery, the intention?
Bazie 69: That was also maybe a different thing, approach to the new album. Usually it’s the melody, a guitar riff, that comes first, but now I’ve started many songs with a drum beat, that was the one thing I wanted to change. Like “Back In Blood”, I just wanted songs that were different, faster, so I started there. Same with “Dead Girls Are Easy”, drum beat is first. We wanted also to change that every song has little bit different vocals. Matt said that some of our album vocals seem to be of the same style, so we changed the style. Like “Jyrki, sing higher” and that kind of thing. But usually it’s a guitar, or more like guitar riffs. “Hunger” is another example, it starts from melody, and there was no guitar, so that was another way around. “We Own The Night” – that actually started like really some chords to a vocal melody, it was a different approach. Previously we had like the music, some songs start from vocal melody… I think there are many different approaches, how we did “Night Watch” and “Lips Of Blood”, they are like typical The 69 Eyes songs. “Night Watch” started with a chorus melody, and obviously “Hunger” started different. “The Good, The Bad and The Undead” that was all about the drum beat and the guitar. We’ve never had it like that.
Darkness 69: That’s a totally interesting song. That’s like a stadium anthem.
Bazie 69: Yeah, that was the intention. We decided “Ok, we need this kind of song” , it strikes right and it came out good.
Darkness 69: There’s all this talk about ‘the first 20 years of The 69 Eyes’. When it comes to the new album, what place do you think it will take in your discography?
Bazie 69: The album was first called “The 69 Eyes”, we were thinking that it was definitely, (laughs) you know, that way. But then, anyway, we decided “Back In Blood” is more like telling what the album is about. Like I’ve said, it’s a really hard to say after only like a year. But it was a must do, to continue, to do something to get yourself interested. Something new, ‘cause that’s the main thing. The whole band has to be… how can I say it… even though you play music for the people, you have to please yourself, the band. So, let’s see. I think it’s a good, strong album.
Darkness 69: It’s definitely a milestone I think.
Bazie 69: Yeah. A lot of fans have noticed that and they really like the album. Of course, some people don’t, but…
Darkness 69: Oh well, you can’t please everyone.
Bazie 69: Yeah.
Darkness 69: I’ve noticed you played some acoustic gigs lately in Finland and abroad. Did you enjoy that? Is an acoustic gig sometimes easier to do than the “plugged’’ one?
Bazie 69: Yeah, it actually started the way that we were asked to do some promotion for the new album, this radio kind of thing. We’ve never done it before. We said “OK, let’s try”, so we did one show in Stockholm in August and it went really well. It’s really good, ‘cause it’s channeling… I think, you can’t play the songs the same way. Everybody was a little hesitant about if it’s gonna work or not. Now everybody is really into that. So we maybe do some shows later. It’s interesting, because then we have to strip down all the songs, and it’s a different kind of songs…
Darkness 69: It’s more about the atmosphere…
Bazie 69: It is, because then you kind of concentrate on the songs, and there is more room for Jyrki’s voice. He doesn’t have room always for loud stuff, so he has to sometimes get through the songs, singing low. It’s really interesting, and I’m looking forward that we’re gonna do it later. So we can play some other songs, some songs we don’t usually play on shows. We had ideas to do it, but we were touring the USA and Finland then, so there wasn’t that much time to really discover the songs. Actually, that was the reason why we started playing “Wasting The Dawn” again, we’re gonna play it tonight too. It’s totally different, because you can just concentrate more on the atmosphere.
Darkness 69: When it comes to the term ‘cult’, the media always perceived you as a ‘cult gothic rock band’. Have you ever tried or ever wanted to escape that term?
Bazie 69: No… Actually, I realised that after the last album, ‘cause the record company is always pushing you, they want you to be like mainstream. In Finland we have been, but now we are actually back to what we’ve started, not that mainstream anymore. When we started the album, I said to the guys: “We’re never gonna be like mainstream, so why bother trying, let’s concentrate on what we are”. So, I’m happy with that. We can tour everywhere in the world, so that’s the most important. When we went to EMI with “Devils” and “Angels”, it’s so hard with record companies nowadays, because we don’t fit the mainstream audience anyway.
Darkness 69: But to me, most albums are all made the same way, to please a large part of the audience…
Bazie 69: We do what we do, of course. Somebody could like it, but you never think that a song like “Dead Girls Are Easy” is gonna be played big anyway (both laugh). That was our record company’s idea to put it as a single. That was like “Ok, you really want to put this as a single? Then go for it, wtf… Are you sure?” (both laugh)
Darkness 69: So, what would have been your pick for the first single?
Bazie 69: It would have been “Dead N’Gone”, the second one. We were having a discussion about that, the most commercial song that way is “We Own The Night”, so we put it out as a radio single. But we don’t do any more videos, it’s so expensive. That song was, it’s different, done that way…
Darkness 69: Female vocals and stuff like that.
Bazie 69: Yeah, so that was one of the songs.. you know, it’s totally different that the other songs. And “Dead N’Gone” was my first choice. Now we’re actually asking people what they want as the next single…
Darkness 69: Yeah, on Twitter. I voted!
Bazie 69: Yeah, it was “We Own The Night”.
Darkness 69: Actually, I voted for “Kiss Me Undead”, but basically it changes every day, that’s the thing.
Bazie 69: That was one of the songs we were thinking, like in Germany it may come out, they want that as a single, so let’s see. But nowadays, it’s just like download, they don’t even do the singles anymore. There’s no need for this, because they don’t put out singles…
Darkness 69: Yeah, it’s more of a collector’s item… sadly.
Bazie 69: There you go.
Darkness 69: Since I imagine The 69 Eyes becoming The Rolling Stones of goth’n’roll when it comes to vitality, what’s in store for the next 20 years?
(both laugh)
Bazie 69: I don’t know… it’s actually weird, because the more we are in the band, the more we actually do that way, more music and touring. Usually we think six months ahead, now we know what we’re basically gonna do until September. We’re gonna do a lot touringwise, now we’re going around Europe, then festivals… I think we go to South America, we haven’t been there in a long time. There’s a huge demand, Mexico has been asking us to come, so… We may do some acoustic thing, maybe… It’s different, because this album was the last for EMI, so our record deal expires. It’s no problem getting a new one, it’s not that, but it always changes.
Darkness 69: So you don’t look that far ahead, 6 months ahead and that’s it.
Bazie 69: Yeah, it’s basically it. We have learned what was good now, like before we never had a manager, and now we’ve had one for 2, 2,5 years. So it changed a lot, to be more professional that way, and get things done for us. And that’s why we are here, for example. He’s like really pushing us to do all these things, because we should do them. Same is with the producer, somebody outside the band leading.
Darkness 69: Somebody with a fresh ear.
Bazie 69: Yeah, actually we had a meeting in Berlin, and decided, ‘cause everything changes, you never know what will go on. Basically we’ve decided what to do this year, we’re gonna see it later, like spring where to go from there. So, that’s basically how far we think. Because of course, doing music is the next thing, to start writing music. But it’s really hard on the tour to do anything.
Darkness 69: Different city every day.
Bazie 69: Yeah, It’s like even though you have time sometimes, you could do that, like here’s a lot of space, but some places when we toured the US, there’s nothing there, not even backstage, so we wait in the bus. So we’re trying to survive! (laughs). You have to have a lot of peace of mind when you do music. Nothing else going on, because that’s it. Now there was so much going on for the album, the promotion, learn the new songs, lots of things, not much time for that stuff. After spring, hopefully we’ll try to start writing, then it’s festivals…
Darkness 69: Always something.
Bazie 69: Always something, but…
Darkness 69: Maybe you’ll find one or two weeks in between.
Bazie 69: But you know, that’s one thing you just have to decide, to start, otherwise it will not happen.
Darkness 69: There were quite a few promo parties for the new album, including the Bosnian promo party on Halloween. Now can you tell us some good tips for making a good goth’n’roll party? Needful things?
Bazie 69: Yeah, we had a lot of these record parties… Well, just get the band there and get us drunk! (both laugh) That’s a good recipe for a party! Everything after that…
Darkness 69: You and alcohol equals good fun!
Bazie 69: Yeah, but not too much [alcohol, Eds.]!
Darkness 69: What about parties when people just wanna have a good gothic party at their house, besides alcohol, what do you need to have…
Bazie 69: Get somebody with a good record collection, good songs…
Darkness 69: A good DJ…
Bazie 69: Yeah, a good DJ, that’s one thing. That was fun, actually when we went to Australia for the first time, they’ve had a party there, and we were DJ-ing ourselves. Even Timo took a spin! (both laugh)
Darkness 69: Wow, I didn’t know that!
Bazie 69: Yeah, and I think good music is best when you’re having a party. Anyway, to have a gothic party, you must have fun even though it’s a gothic one!
Darkness 69: Good! OK, in the end, I would really like to thank you for this interview for the Bosnian website, and I want to wish you the best show tonight! Tell me if you have a few words for the fans in Bosnia, for the Bosnian vampires!
Bazie 69: I said it all for the gothic party, but in general, If you’re feeling down, just try to enjoy life, even though it’s sometimes hard, even for us. Hopefully our music has been inspiring you, ‘cause you fans are inspiring us to do more music and touring. Thank you for your support!
Darkness 69: Thank you!