So, what’s new since your last tour in France, in April 99?
We have a new album out, and since I’ve met you in Strasburg last year, we’ve been to Australia and New Zealand, and after we came back, we went directly to the studio. We recorded in Astia studios instead of the Tico-Tico. After that, we have basically waited for the album to go out, because Fournier, it took him forever to make the cover (laughs). When we phoned to Osmose, each time it was ‘No, not ready yet’. But we met this guy yesterday, and he’s absolutely excellent. He’s got to do the next Impaled covers!
Yeah, his work on ‘Nihil’ is excellent!
I think that the new one is great, but the one he did for the new version of ‘Ugra Karma’ is three times better. This is the ultimate cover for me, I couldn’t believe it when I got it. I looked at it and thought ‘holy shit, this guy is a genius’.
And what do the lyrics deal with in ‘Nihil’?
Well, it’s basically a very personal album to make it short. The album has a concept, it says you close down your emotions, it’s a very angry and misanthropic album. It’s based on isolation, but that’s hard to explain. That’s total misanthropy.
Still concerning the lyrics, why don’t you use Finnish anymore, and only English?
Because I wanted everybody to understand. With the Finnish lyrics that we were used to have, people thought of us that we were a joke band. And we didn’t people to laugh at this album, because it’s very angry. So, total English was a good solution. Maybe you have heard that, but you know, my best friend killed himself, and that was really painful for me, I had to write about it…
Musically, I think that this album has some slight touches of all your other albums, don’t you think?
We kind of took the best parts of our other albums (laughs). We have got some reactions to the album: some people say that we are total shit now, because we are guitar solos, and they don’t like, they think we are too melodic. But it’s twenty percent of the feedback who say that we are bullshit now. The eighty percents remaining say YES!!
Is ‘Nihil’ selling well by the way?
I hope so, I don’t know yet. We’ll see in July when we’ll get our royalties (laughs).
And concerning those guitar solos, how was it to work with Alexi?
Extremely easy. I knew what kind of guitar solos I wanted, so I said in the studio, ‘I want you to play blablabla’, and he played it immediately! So, thank you Alexi!
But how come he’s not with you on this tour? He had told me he would!
He was supposed to be with us, but don’t ask! Children Of Bodom have had some problems you know. They almost split up, but it didn’t happen, though it was very close. We had to find someone else, and our session guitar player is from Thy Serpent. Two days before the tour, Alexi showed him the solos, and he followed! He’s a great guitar player too.
And what are your plans? What are you going to do right after this tour?
It’s a France tour, and then we’ll go to Greece and play with Children Of Bodom. We have two shows there. After that, some summer festivals in Finland, but nothing is confirmed and we are still booking them. It’s probably going to go the way we’re not gonna play any shows in Finland, but we are going to play in Columbia and Ecuador. We are very popular there, we are a cult band for them! These people, I’ve wanted to meet them for ten years, so when we finally get there, we are like Metallica. The people are crazy, and that’s fantastic for us. Can you imagine that feeling? When you are backstage smoking a cigarette, and when thousand people scream ‘Impaled Nazarene’, it’s a feeling you can’t even imagine!
Maybe it would be a good idea to play ten shows there then?
This is what we are going to do! We will play three or four dates in Columbia, and then we will go to Ecuador!
And that’s also a good way to get drugs (laughs)!
(laughs) I don’t care about the drugs, but I know this is gonna be a good country to get some pussy (laughs). I don’t do drugs anymore, because after we were in Mexico, I took something that fucked my life for one day, and I said ‘never again’!
Still about those ‘exotic’ countries, you had many problems in Australia and New Zealand… What happened?
It was still a fucking great tour. It was only three shits, and most of them happened in New Zealand. In Australia, there was one show cancelled, but we got another one to replace it. It was total shit, but at least we had another show. In New Zealand, during the first show, we have been attacked by Maori nazi skinheads, with svatiskas… And I was wondering what the hell it was! After that, when we went to the last gig, we had that fucking stupid car accident! It’s a miracle that we are still alive! The road was straight, but it had a big turn to the right; the speed limit was 60 mph, and our driver was at 120, so instead of turning right, we went straight into the mountain. The next thing I know is that my leg is bleeding, and I didn’t know what happened! A guy came with his tractor, asked if we were ok, and when I realised what has happened, my whole body started shaking, I got an after shock! The crazy thing is that if the car had rebounded, there was a 200 meter ravine with water! 200 meters and then total death! That’s something than can happen on tour…
But don’t worry, you’re now on the safe French roads! By the way, how is the tour going?
I really like the organisers, Vadurock! If they say that we are going to get something, we get it! If they promise something, we have it! This is so far the best European tour for us as far as the organisation goes, this is very professional. I hate to work with people who never keep their promises! Finally, someone is serious! They know how much we are selling, how people will come and see us…Trust me, for every band that has been working with them, they were all happy.
But then, how comes Anorexia Nervosa aren’t on the tour, due to some problems with Vadurock?
Well, there have been different things… But I’d better not say anything. I know the true story, but Nicolas (ndlr: the promo guy in Osmose) would beat me up if I told you (laughs).
Finally, the Sodom tribute has been released! What did you think of it?
What do you think?
Yes! We were on a tour in Mexico, and when we got back, I had a message on my answering machine, from the Sodom management, telling they wanted to get our track on the tribute album. You can’t believe how happy I was! And it’s a great idea how they did it (ndlr: it has been released as a bonus CD for ‘Code Red’), because you can check the new album, as well as old songs if you’re a new fan. I like the new album a lot, it’s back to the roots, with that ‘Agent Orange’ feeling!
Are there some covers you like a lot? Or dislike?
The Revenant cover was…I wanted to kill myself when I heard it! But the best cover for me is the ‘Nuclear Winter’ cover by Krisiun, and the ‘Remember The Fallen’ cover by Dark Funeral. They are the two bands that made the best, except for us (laughs).
And just to finish, you have been guest vocalist on the new album of The Crown… How did it happen?
We had been touring on the No Mercy festival, and we shared the same bus. I love The Crown! One day, the drummer phones and asks me if I’d like to sing on their new album. And I was paid. That was an honour for me! So I went to Sweden, I sing, we get drunk, we have a good time, and then I got home… That was the way it worked. For me, nobody asks me who is my favourite lyrics writer, but that’s the bass player of The Crown. He does the best fucking metal lyrics in the universe! It’s a bit like a punk band playing 200mph!! I was an honour for me to sing on their album.
Ok, thanks Mika! One last thing you wanna say?
Putain! (ndlr: which means fuck, or bitch in French)