In 2006, a band unknown to the ”common people” won the Eurovision Song Contest and impressed with its appearance. No one expected such a shock in the commercial program. Just as no one expected that something like this would have a long life - after all, the bands in Eurovision are mostly for one year, two at the most. But suddenly we find ourselves 17 years later, the band actually celebrated 30 years last year and after successfully releasing 7 albums (at once, not in a whole career!) they are now returning to their roots with the album "Screem Writers Guild". Of course, LORDI are anything but ordinary, and the drummer of the band - Mana, who was in charge of our questions, proved this again. What we learned is the content of the following lines.
What inspired you to pursue a career in music, and how did you become interested in drumming in particular?
I was forced to start playing violin when I was five years old so I didn't have a choice really. Hah! While studying classical music my big brother introduced me to rock and heavy metal and that way I found Kiss, which still is my favourite band. The drummer who made the biggest impression was Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain and he's the guy who got me playing drums in the first place. It was not just his playing but his humor as well. Playing in a rock band shouldn't be that serious. Or life in general.
Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for Lordi's latest album, "Screem Writers Guild"?
The creative process hasn't really changed during the years: Mr. Lordi is in charge of songwriting and the rest of us throws riffs and ideas at him. Some of them sticks and some don't. I did the drum recordings by myself at my rehearsal space, most of the guitar and bass track recordings were done by Mr. Lordi at his house in Rovaniemi and vocals were recodred at Here Studios in Helsinki by Toivo Hellberg and Mr. Lordi's long time collaborator & vocal coach Tracy Lipp.
How has Lordi's sound evolved since you've came to the band?
We've had the honor of having legendary producers working with us like Michael Wagener, Mikko Karmila etc. and all of those have brought their own sound to the albums. The most distinguished change in sound happened just recently when we got a new guitarist Kone who has quite a different sound than Amen had.
Not only that you play in the band, you've also produced the upcoming album. How do you balance your creative and technical roles in the band's music?
Producing this album was not so much creative work, more like overall quality control. Of course you can get deaf to the overall sound when you're so deep in the process itself, but I think we formed a good team with Mr. Lordi, our A&R Janne Halmkrona and the mixing engineer Ilu Herkman.
Let us go back to the album – how would you describe the album to the audience?
Screem Writers Guild is a back-to-the-roots type of Lordi album with banger riffs and catchy choruses!
Can you tell us about the concept or theme behind Lordi's upcoming release, and how you worked to bring that vision to life in the recording studio?
We were thrilled about how the “Humanimals” album turned out on “Lordiversity” and kinda got stuck (in a good way) to that sound. Productionwise this new one is very similar to that. It's sort of 80's AOR meets modern metal. We also got the same mixing engineer who did the ”Humanimals”, Ilu Herkman, working with this one as well. There's a classic hollywood horror film theme in the artwork, lyrics and the new costumes.
What we are used to in case of Lordi are theatrical videos full of gore and horror. This is the first album you are releasing under Atomic Fire Label and there is no music video out yet. There were only two lyric videos for singles. How big influence does the new label have in this change?
The ”actual” music video will be out 31.3.2023, the same day as the album. So in that sense nothing has really changed with the new record deal. We're really thrilled working with Atomic Fire.
New costumes for the album Screem Writers Guild were showed only in series of photos on social media and from what we see, you are pretty suited up. How big of a challenge is to play live in those costumes? What is the worst part of the costumes?
My costume nowadays ain't that hot anymore so I can't really complain anymore. Hah! The biggest challenge for me used to be that the field of view was so narrow with the mask and contact lenses that I couldn't see my drumkit properly. It was like playing with binoculars on.
What have been some of the most memorable moments from your time with Lordi so far?
Playing in the legendary venues such as Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood or festivals like Hellfest and Wacken Open Air has been a dream come true for me. Those are the moments you'll remember your whole life. A lot to be thankful of.
You are planning to promote the new album not as headline act as we are used to, but as a special guest of Sabaton. How does that affect your live show?
It'll affect a lot since we have only 40 minute showtime, but we'll try to pack it as much kick-ass songs as possible and we're really hyped about getting to share the stage with Sabaton. Hopefully we'll see a lot of Lordi fans in the crowd!
Should we expect your headline tour sometime in late 2023? What should we expect?
The timing is not set yet, but there will definitely be a headline tour with Screem Writers Guild and you shoulnd't expect nothing less but a fun and entertaining evening with your favourite monsters.
When on tour, many musicians have their own rituals that accompany them. What are yours?
Every show day is the same. Wake up (afternoon), find the backstage, find a toilet, find coffee, do soundcheck, eat, wait, wait, wait, put on costume, play show, shower, sleep. Off-days you get a hotel and try to avoid other people. Hah!
Past few years were tough for whole music industry due to COVID pandemic and there were many bands that took very creative approach to how to spread their music. What was the most interesting way to promote music in your opinion?
The live streams were an intresting concept at first, but people soon realised that it's not really a working thing. For some reason people doesn't want to pay money if something is in the internet. And obviously without money nothing happens. We did a massive work and put a huge effort to our ”Scream Stream” in 2020 and it was really nice event for our fans, but I think that remains as a once in a lifetime thing. It also felt really weird to do a show only for cameras. You miss the physical interaction with the fans.
If there is anything else you want to add - something we didn´t mentioned, you got your space here...
Rock the heavy! Metal the rock!