When and how was your band created?
We’re such an old skool rock band that we simply met at a rock bar, shared the interest to the same music, girls and partying!
And then just one Friday evening we gathered to a small rehearsal place to jam along with some beers … the band was like a good excuse to party together. And in a way the same parties still continue…

Were is the name of the band coming from?
A friend of mine was starting an underground band in New York but eventually she never did but had only the name which I took: The 69 Eyes … it sounds cool and exciting, could be from a horror movie or a porno clip, it’s just perfect for a rock’n’roll band!

What musicians or artists did have a major influence in your life / work?
So many things: from Elvis Presley to The Doors to Billy Idol to Marilyn Manson, from Hugo Pratt to Neil Gaiman, from Jacques Tati to The Wachowski Brothers.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a musician / singer (in Finland)?
Ten years ago I think it felt like Finland was too far from the international music markets but these days it feels like Finland is the most interesting place for the new bands to come! Helsinki is “THE rock city” these days. It’s a great advantage be from Finland these days, also music is really appreciated here in Finland too, so no negative aspects these days.

How could you qualify your style of music?
It’s Gothic Rock which means that it’s very melodic and even sometimes romantic in the melancholic way but it’s still ROCKS!

Have you ever considered the possibility to change totally your style of music? If so, what style of music would you choose?
Over the years the style of our band has developed from snotty glam punk to this more mature sound but in the end I would call our style as Rock … it’s played with 2 guitars, bass and drums with a Rock’n’Roll attitude. That’s The 69 Eyes. We can add some new flavours but in the end we’ll always be Rock. Somewhere else I visited last year on KWAN’s (the most famous Finnish hip-hop group) album, that was cool!

What are stories/topics you tell/treat in your songs?
I try to write lyrics with some sense of hope, even the world and the current situation sometimes might be dark, these always the bright side if you look at from the right angle!

What is your favorite song in your repertoire and why?
I think I’ve succeeded pretty well with “Brandon Lee”, there’s certain magic in the lyrics and also in the music. Also I’m still very satisfied with the opening lines of “Dance d’Amour”
I wanted to write the opening line which would be both really cool and everybody who knows the song would also know: “Your lips shine like Paris”…I still love it!

Do you tour regularly? Do you actually prefer performing your music live or in a studio?
We’ve been touring for “Paris Kills” the album ever since May 2002 till now, in the end of August 2003, both in Finland and other countries from the Central Europe to Russia. To perform live is a social happening and you travel and meet people and finally see how your music affects people, to make music in a studio is a very lonely situation and pretty much I walk alone by the sea thinking of the lyrics etc. It’s like first work, then party… I love both as much!

During the process of making an album, what is the moment that you prefer? Why?
I’m also involved not only creating the theme of the current record but also the graphical design … that’s always exciting.
Also the process of writing the lyrics, despite it’s a VERY lonely part, is something really magical.

What kind of music / What artists do you currently listen?
I listen a lot of different music all the time, from rock I’ve been recently listening to Jeffrey Lee Pierce (Gun Club vocalist), Brian Setzer, ZZ Top, The Latebirds, the new Jane’s Addiction CD, Billy Idol, Plastic Gator Machine (ex-Circus Of Power) etc. From other stuff I’ve been enjoying Miles Davis, Angelique Kidjo, Alfa Blondy, Bob Marley etc.

A stupid question but… what is among all the songs you’ve been listening in your life the BEST song? Why?
Maybe The Doors’ “Light My Fire” because it has something magical which brings back my childhood feelings and also some mystic, sounding like the voice of Jim Morrison knows something more than anyone else. Almost for the same reason “Flesh For Fantasy” by Billy Idol, it brings me back the 80’s and gives a promise of the future…

Internet is something interesting for musicians because it gives them the opportunity to touch a larger audience but it is also a threat for them (regarding the copyrights). What is your opinion regarding this medium?
Like always, too much knowledge also brings the pain! Internet also can make you a star in one night and destroy the next. In a good way it’s a powerful tool for a band but I think you shouldn’t give it too much power … the music comes first anyways!

What are your actual and future projects?
We will release a compilation album “FRAMED IN BLOOD … The Very Blessed Of The 69 Eyes” and a live+videos DVD “HELSINKI VAMPIRES” in September 26th. Then we will tour for them in Finland in November. Meanwhile we’re currently in the studio creating already a new album for the next year 2004!

Interview by VINCENT LEFRANCOIS, 2003

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