Back in 80´s there were arcades where teenager went to play classic games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and similar games. Their soundtrack was something very typical and it became part of sleaze rock band´s Reckless Love new album called Turborider. Apart of what´s obvious, we´ve talked about how Olli Herman get on yellow pages or what´s a bit unexpectable piece of his music collection.
So you are returning from 4 years long hiatus. How have you spent that time?
Well, we were on break for a year and a half, almost two years like we planned in the beginning as we released record six years ago and we did a huge tour after the record. I remember having conversation with guitarist that we decided to take some time off from touring cause we´ve been pretty much touring back-to-back for eight years. We´ve been working together for 12 years now, 10 years back then and it was time to take a step back and let ourselves breathe a little bit. Some of the band have already family so it´s very understandable that they wanted to see kids growing and spend some quality time at home.
You´re releasing new album called Turborider and it´s somehow different from what you used to play. From what I´ve heard it´s a bit less glam and more … can we call it arcade music like? On the other hand, it still has a lot of 80´s vibe. Can you describe it for those who haven´t have chance to hear it yet?
Well, it´s just like what biography on Spotify page says. It´s reborn reckless that operates on the area that links hair metal, sleaze rock and modern synth wave. Which is pretty broughtly put but anyway that´s summary of all three elements. The only difference between hair metal and sleaze rock is mainly that hair metal was done in 80s and sleaze is done during 20-something. Synth wave – I´ve got into synth wave many years back – to remember movie called Drive with Ryan Gosling in it and that soundtrack have a lot of synth wave in it and I specially recall to listening to those songs and thinking “this sounds pretty much exactly like music that I heard in local arcade when I was a kid”. And it reminded very much to me of the sounds of the crazy days of 80s hair metal – bands like Def Leppard, Judas Priest´s Turbo and Van Halen´s 5150 with electric drums and a lot of synthetisers, David Lee Roth´s Skyscrapers are worth mentioning as well so … it´s something like that. And I agree, it´s different from how we sounded before but it´s kinda like we carried that with us thru out the years. We played with that type of sounds on every record, even on the first record, there is Back to Paradise which has the sequence of synthetisers and electric drums as well so we´ve always have that in us but on this album, we turned it up to eleven – it´s amplified more and it was kinda like natural movement – we wanted to play with that side of us a bit more.
As you mentioned, you´ve put synthetisers and electric drums a bit forth, but what was – except of those you already mentioned – the main inspiration for you on writing this album?
I always knew we have to change somehow because six years is a long period of time and I always knew that Reckless Love is not the kind of band that keeps doing the same thing all over again. I mean, AC/DC is doing the same song for 50 years but – and don´t get me wrong, I love AC/DC and I love how they do it – but it´s not how Reckless Love works and it´s not how we operate. It´s a different kind of anatomy of the band. We need to evolve and to change in order to survive, in order to keep it exciting. We get bored easily and it felt really boring to do something that we´ve already done before. It wasn´t inspiring and it didn´t feel like it´s gonna be a good record so the things that I mentioned (and I am probably gonna mention them again) – there is a lot of movies that inspired the same type of sound, there is a lot of feels from the movies – Terminator is one of the movies of my childhood, I can´t forget to mention Escape from New York, even Escape from LA, which I think is a great movie as well. Even modern TV series like Kobra Kai and Peacemaker, which is obvious, our song is on that TV show. Then there is Stranger Things. All of those remind me the stuff I was so excited about when I was the kid. As a kid, I am born in 80s and I was too young to watch those movies or TV series. I got older brothers and older cousins and their friends who actually got me into those and they told me all about the fun. They were old enough to go to the arcade or occasional rock show that were playing in Eastern Finland back in the 80s – well late 80s and early 90s. I was too young for those and I felt like I´ve missed all the fun and I felt like, well, it was not fear of missing out, that was knowing that I am missing out so I kinda like missed out all of that and that kinda like stuck in my head. And when I was old enough to experience those, it was like – grunge ruined that all. It wasn´t fun anymore. I love those bands as well, of course, but it was completely different vibe and when I started to create music, it was natural thing to go to, to express myself in the way that I always wanted to when I was a kid. The first song that I ever remember hearing from the radio was Back from Paradise by David Lee Roth and it has pretty much the same type of sound – it´s right at the source and the heart of what I was inspired as a kid and same goes with guitarist Pepe who writes the songs with me on this record with our producer Joonas. Oh man, there is a lot to talk about what inspired us – there is so many things – Billy Idol is there, ZZ Top´s Afterborner and Eliminator albums, … there is a lot of stuff. When you think about it, that craziness and insanity, that´s tacky as hell, you know, the 80s synthetisers sound and the electric drums. That is tacky as fuck, you know. It´s just so funny and we love that – it´s something that we always cherished. That was always about fun and same thing goes for Reckless Love at it´s core. There is always fun and that´s the part of Reckless Love. Even when I say that, this is the most metal album that we ever recorded – Turborider is the heaviest song we´ve ever done and still, people think it´s the poppiest song we´ve ever done because of how it sounds. And I love that contrast. It´s perfect. (Laugh) Joonas, our producer, was super-excited about idea of mixing synth wave elements into our music because, as I already mentioned – all the hair metal bands from 80s did those electric drums and synthetisers. There is no point of doing the same things again as they were already done 40 years ago. Why would we do that all over again? We wanted to twist it a little bit and give it a new fresh sound. So we incorporated a lot of these elements from synth wave as well.
You already said it so I am not the bad one here. (Laugh) You moved a little bit more to something that could be called “poppy waters”. Aren´t you afraid of losing some of the fans who listened to Reckless Love during the old albums days?
Oh yeah, sure, but I mean, as I said – if we wouldn´t have done it, the people who listened to us before wouldn´t have the band because we just need to evolve and change in order to survive. If someone who is listening to sleaze can explain me how the pop music is not the part of 80s hair metal or sleaze rock I´ll give him everything I own. Because for me, hair metal is pure pop music. If you take away the dirty lyrics and distorted guitars from (for example) Mötley Crüe´s Girls, Girls, Girls – if you leave the melody and the chords – it sounds like a fucking pop song. Giiiiirls, giiiirls, giiiirls …. What the fuuuck, man?! That´s pure pop. And that works for each and every hair metal song. 80s hair metal is pure pop, they just added big guitars and big hair with the attitude and some explicit content on the lyrics. (Laugh) That´s what makes 80s hair metal. Same works for sleaze rock in 2000-something when it started – maybe in 2005 when Crashdiet did their first record. Of course, there were lots of bands in Sweden and everywhere else in Northern Europe but maybe that was the major push forward for the sleaze rock. That was not like mainstream pop thing, it was more like the underground thing but still the influences are in 80s hair metal which is pretty poppy. And let´s be honest, Reckless Love have always had some thing for pop music. I remember – to be honest – every record that we ever released, there was always the same kind of allegations, same controversy all the time and every time. “Yeah, they´ve gone too pop, this is too much. We can´t listen to this anymore.” When the first album was released, everybody said that it was pop version of 80s hair metal. That it was not like true kind of sleaze rock. When we did the second album, Animal Attraction, Hot was somehow really rotten because it was so poppy and it didn´t sound any like hair metal. So there was same bullshit going on. Then comes another album Spirit and oh, I recall what haters said about our single Night on Fire. It has this Latin groove and they told us it sounds like fucking Ricky Martin, not how sleaze rock should sound. And when Monster came out from Invader there was it again “This shit sounds like Backstreet Boys. This doesn´t sound like Reckless Love at all.” (Laugh) It´s like you either take it too hard or not. And we never take it too hard. It´s kinda like that. And if you do something that should be relevant, there always would be some people that hate it and if you do something that´s interesting, some people are gonna hate it. Because it creates emotions. There is reaction to it. The last thing we wanna do is something we´ve done before and it´s just mildly boring but still listenable. (Laugh)
Let´s move to the album in means of releases. You are putting out classics like CDs, color vynils and that´s normal, but you are also releasing boxset with the videogame. As far as I recall, that´s the first one (maybe ever).
It might be, yeah.
Can you tell me a bit more about this idea?
Well, actually, I honestly can say that this idea came straight and purely from the record company AFM Germany that we are signed to right now. I love that idea straight from the get go. It´s all about fun and I think they got the idea from the inspirations and talks we had. I talked with them that new music is highly inspired by arcade game world and all that imagery and I told them all about my childhood and about where this inspiration comes from. We´ve spent a lot of time in the Arcade and when we were not in the Arcade, it was the era of the Game Boy and all the hand-held devices – I recall having Donkey Kong on hand-held device. I mentioned that on some conversation somewhere and that was about the lyric video for Eyes of a Maniac. We decided to make a lyric video because the lyric videos are super boring usually. (Laugh) So we decided to have a little bit fun with it and because of they are not so interesting, people doesn´t want to spend much money on them. So we just wanted to have some fun for ourselves and make it look like 80s handheld device and the record company was like “Jesus Christ, we´re gonna do that! We can actually do that!” I think they found distributor – and that´s from what I understand as I´ve never played the actual video game – it´s a collection of retro games, maybe some Tetris and something else but the actual device is styled with band logo and the imagery from album covers. It´s the little Kiss fan in me that loves all the weird stuff that we can come up with. Because, you know, Kiss keeps selling coffins and rolls of toilet paper. (Laugh)
You were planning to kick off tour in coming days but situation has changed…
That´s how it should be, yeah. Unfortunately, because of all the pandemic shit that´s going on, we were forced to postpone it and it´s now in September. It´s the uncertainty of everything that goes on with the restrictions. In the end we are facing situation when we could go on tour but there is two bands and a crew – something like 14-16 people and if one of them gets COVID, which is pretty inevitable, especially with Omikron. So if one of them gets COVID, the tour stops there. And we can´t go on as you can´t go anywhere if you are tested positive and the rest of the crew might even not be positive, but they are quaranteed because of that one person. Even tho I belive we´d have to learn to live with the virus, I understand all the laws that people have in different countries, especially in Finland, we have very strict rules and I hate that. It´s two years since we have to postpone everything. The silver lining here is that now, it´s only until September and I strongly believe that we are able to do touring in September.
I do have the new dates for September, but unfortunately I can not release them for legal reasons. But don´t worry, we will come back in September.
It might be a bit early to ask but what can we expect from the live shows?
It´ s just gonna be super fun! (Laugh) Even tho we had to postpone the tour we still had the tour rehearsal and hearing the new songs from great sound system here in Helsinki – we had the production rehearsal the legendary club called Tavastia which has huge sound system – we just have to hear new songs from huge equipment – it blew me away. It´s like taking the sound to the next level. Hearing the electric drums live – we have now hybrid because we have the old songs in setlist, so we have acoustic drums there as well as electric drums we have for the new songs and we have all the keyboards with us so it´s gonna sound brilliant. It´s something very different in a sense that it just sounds huge. And I love that. It´s so inspiring to do something you´ve never done before and to keep evolving into something new. It´s so exciting to built new rig for tour to make it perfect. We have great touring technicians with us who are working on making the show the best as possible. It´s just so exciting. Even tho it´s in September, I would love to tour right now but I would take September. If September is going, I am fine with that.
Let´s do something a little bit different. Those would be more “you questions”…What´s the worst thing you´ve heard about yourself that wasn´t true?
That I´ve died. Yeah… I think that´s the worst news. Well, not for me, because I know that I am not dead. Obviously. (Laugh) But some people actually thought that I am dead and that´s such a horrid kind of fake news to keep spreading because – believe it or not – even I have friends. (Laugh) And some of them don´t see me that often and news like that just devastate them. I would be if I would read news like that about my friend. And I have to tell them it is not true. That is the meanest thing that anyone could have said of all kinds of bullshit. And I´ve heard some through out the years …(Laugh)… but this one is the worst. To be honest, I am not even keeping track of them all but this one is the one that comes to my mind.
Quite the opposite, what´s the worst thing you heard about yourself that was true?
(Long silence) Eh… well… I am the shitty person, but I can keep it a secret most of the times. (Laugh) But the worst thing might be the weird one. I am pretty confident with myself so there is nothing too high for me. Sure, there is …(Laugh)… there is actually one funny story. It probably doesn´t have anything to do with your question but I´ll tell it anyway. It´s a nice story. (Laugh) I was at a bar in Helsinki few years back and I was a bit … ehm… tipsy. So I was waiting for a taxi and I really had to pee really bad but the toilet I knew at the bar was pretty far away. And I already ordered taxi so I didn´t wanna miss the taxi so I just … there was the line of flowers in front of the bar and nobody around. Or … well, that´s what I thought. So I peed in the bush and somebody took a photo of me doing so. And that was all over the yellow press here in Finland. But they were nice to me and they actually blurred my cock away from the shot and they labelled it “Garden enthusiast who keeps watering the flowers even when he is out having a good time”. (Laugh) I love that. (Laugh)
Sleaze rock is new age of hair metal and that was all about Sex, Drugs and Rock´n´Roll. What´s the best and worst memory you recall when you hear that motto?
Worst thing is always when people take the middle part too seriously and it has to be the part of everything you do. They come to show high or wasted and if you are too much into that, everybody knows that when you are too fucked up, there can´t be sex or good rock´n´roll and people have to remember that it´s holy trinity. The best case is always people who remember the holy trinity and they come out, have a really good time, comes to say hi after show and take a photo – those are the best memories ever. The best times that I ever had are exactly on tour and with people from live audience. That´s what I love to do. It´s the best thing you can do with your pants on. (Laugh) Well, you don´t have to wear your pants if you don´t want to.
What would you call your most useless skill?
I mean, I´ve learned a lot of things in school when I was the kid and I´ve studied so many different things during the time but chemistry and physics?! They are very interesting but I´ve found no use whatsoever in my life. (Laugh)
Who was once your favourite artist that you are actually ashamed to admit?
There isn´t any. I still love artists that people consider dorky or weird to like and we´ve always have a thing for pop music and I think pop music is the one of the things why people try to … it´s kind of like shaming thing, but people keeps saying that Reckless Love are getting too pop and pop is something corrupt and it is like selling your soul and it´s something you should be ashamed of, but I´ve always loved pop, especially well made pop. Miley Cyrus is one of my favourites, I love The Weekend and … oh, OK, OK, I´ll give you this one – I don´t actually have the first record that I bought with my own money because I´ve bought three at the time. First one was Guns n Roses, the shittiest album they ever made – Spaghetti Incident (Laugh). Of course I did it. I was at the right age for it. Green Day´s Dookie came out at the same time so that was the second one. And then, the third record … it was hip-hop album Gangstas Paradise by Coolio and I´d be honest, I still love that record, it´s still in my collection. (Laugh) It´s not something that I took inspiration from but I appreciate the craftsmanship and it´s old Stevie Wonder song and I remember my dad listening to that song by Stevie Wonder – Pastime Paradise. I remember hearing Coolio´s version for the first time and I was like – “This is different. Why aren´t they singing?” My father was singing teacher and he taught me everything about music – except for hair metal and rap. That was something very different from what my dad taught me, so it was interesting to me. Not something that I wanted to do but it´s still interesting and if I have to name my favourite rap artist, it must be Busta Rhymes. I love the 90s and early 2000 rap artists. (Laugh)
As you already mentioned, whole pandemic that paralysed the world is almost over. How have you spent the free time you get from being in pandemic?
Obviously, we wrote the album. That was actually very intense period of making the album – writing pretty much whole record took only like two weeks to write and two-three months to record, mix and master it. So it was intense period of time last summer but yeah, otherwise than that, there was a lot of stuff that has happened, in our personal lives, we´ve went through the hard time in past two years. I´ve lost a really good friend of mine a year ago. That was something that really struck me quite badly. We´ve had our share of problems and good times during the pandemic but mainly we´ve been taking our time and spending it with our families. Of course, as a touring musician, sometimes you spend extensive amount of time away from home and as I mentioned our guitarist and bass player, for example, they have families back when we were touring with Invader and missed out the first words and first steps of their kids and it´s just weird. So we really took the time to stay with our loved ones and families and tried to make the time the best we could.
My questions are over now and if there is anything we´ve left unmentioned that you want to add, go on, this is your time …
Well, for the fans and followers, the answer is always “More good times, no matter what!”. And let US be your soundtrack for your good times, that´s what Reckless Love is all about and that´s what we wanna do. And even during the times of pandemic, I hope you had the best times you could have. I can promise we will have some more good times when we come over in September!
For any haters out there, yes, please, hate us! Do us a favour, if you really really hate us and think that we are just bullshit, do us a favour and tell your friends… No, tell fucking everybody (Laugh) Make it your mission! (Laugh)