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Gotham O.D (I)
Interview mit Gotham O.D, August/September 2007, mailer



Die Band Gotham O.D aus Finnland erblickte im Jahre 2003 das Licht der Welt. Sie hat sich dem Dark Heavy Rock verschrieben und kürzlich ihr Debüt-Album „Monochromatic“ veröffentlicht. Ilkka, Jone, Jesse, Juuso und Kimmo aus Pieksämäki haben in den letzten Jahren bereits viele LiveOnStage-Erfahrungen sammeln können. Aber nun möchten sie der Welt ihr neustes Werk präsentieren. Produziert wurde das Album von Juuso Jalasmäki, der nun höchstpersönlich der Band beigetreten ist, nachdem Gitarrist Janne Hyvönen Anfang des Jahres Gotham O.D verlassen hatte. Was es sonst noch Spannendes über die jungen Finnen zu erfahren gibt, lest ihr hier im Interview.

Hei guys, how are you doing? Enjoying the summer?

Ilkka: At the moment I’m doing fine, even though the summer passed by too fast. I have to say that summer in Finland is something that everyone should experience: sleepless nights, sauna by the lake and some cold lager...magic!
 
Jesse: Well, I´m a little bit tired right now. I´m busy with my school, I´m just about to graduate. And I´m working at the same time. And we have also this band. So I don´t have a lot of spare time. Jone: I`m doing finen thank you. Summer`s almost gone, but I`m sure looking forward to the most inspiring of all the seasons: fall. I was also in Prague for a few days with my wife, and just returned to work from holidays. I did a lot of photography in Prague, and I`ve just checked out what I captured. The city is absolutely amazing!

How did Gotham O.D find together in 2003?
 
Jone: Well, it probably started with one of those bar conversations over a pint of beer. Janne, Ilkka and I started to talk about forming a (project) band with influences from Type O Negative and such. We were also kind of frustrated with our current groups, but I was then still attached to mine, so I wasn´t in the first incarnation of Gotham O.D. Janne and Ilkka started together on the project with some other guys, laid the foundation so to speak, and I came onboard a few months later. Since then the work became a bit more organised and more determined, leaning to my past experiences. But still we were a young band struggling to find our own style and sound. And in the years, with a few line-up changes, we are getting there! J Ilkka and I are the only founding members left, but one by one all the present, crucial members have joined the ranks and thus made possible the situation and musical state we´re into now. We are all pleased with the current line-up and feel that the changes were all necessary and have benefited the group. To your pleasure, I hope!
 
The guitarist Janne Hyvönen left the band in the beginning of this year. What happened?
 

Jesse: Janne got bored.
 
Jone: It was a bit of a shock to us and we were sad about his decision, though we noticed some signs in Janne´s behaviour a few months back before he left. It was clear that he lacked the motivation to be in this band, didn´t like the direction the band was going to, and there were also some health issues as well. But we all respect Janne´s decision and there is not any kind of bitterness or any other shit between us at all. Janne is still making music and we wish him the best of luck in anything that he does.
 
And Juuso Jalasmäki, producer of Gotham O.D, is now official member of the band?
 
Jone: Yeah. Juuso was the obvious choice: We knew him way back and we had worked with him before. A great guitar player, a great guy, a bit of loony like the rest of us, but at the same time a very reliable and professional person. He joined the band first as a session guitarist, but it didn´t take long that we all agreed on him joining the band fully and permanently. It´s great of course, because I think that he has a lot to offer to the band musically and creatively. It´s a shame though that in the process of gaining a guitarist, we´ve lost a great producer. J In my opinion, Juuso can´t produce the next album, because he is too attached to the band now and can´t be as objective as you need to be.
 
How would you introduce Gotham O.D to someone who doesn`t know the band?
 
Jesse : We rock hard and we are definitely a live band.
 
Jone: I think that the term “Dark Heavy Rock” describes us somewhat correctly. This is rock music, not metal. And what Jesse said is definitely true: You should check us live!
 
Last year you signed a record deal with Off Records. Your first single “My day of reckoning” already hit the stores. Soon on the 22nd of August your debut-album “Monochromatic” will be released as well. What are your hopes and expectations referring to the people`s reaction?
 
Jesse: It would be nice, if someone goes to the record store and buys our album. And I hope that people really listen to our record open-mindedly and without prejudice.
 
Jone: Yes, the single hit the stores, and also the Finnish Charts. J I think the album will find its listeners. I also hope that people will see beyond the “gothic” image and really take the time to listen to the music. And find some subtexts there, too.
 
What`s the strongest song of “Monochromatic” and why?
 
Jesse: I think it´s “Blame”, because it´s a strong and beautiful song. And I also like very much “I gave you all” and “My day of reckoning”.
 
Ilkka: My personal favourite at the moment is “Blame”, a strong and versatile song about hangover. It’s emotional but at the same time harsh and ironic, Gotham O.D at its best.
 
Jone: I have to agree with the guys on “Blame”. But maybe the most enjoyable song to perform live is “The lost time”. It´s got groove, a bit of progressive arrangements here and there, and a catchy chorus.
 
Who of you writes and composes the songs and music? How do you work in the band?
 
Jesse: Lots of riffs come from me, but everyone is very much involved in the final result.
 
Jone: We all contribute a lot to the making of music, but basically it always starts with somebody banging out a riff with the acoustic guitar at home and later on bringing the music to rehearsals. The process continues with the phase that we all shape it together into a song. Very much team work. Ilkka and I have made the lyrics to this point, but others have also contributed to them, making suggestions about the lyrical themes or topics. Generally, Ilkka makes usually all the vocal melodies. And like said before, Jesse makes nowadays the most of the riffs that become later our songs in rehearsals. But also Kimmo has made great songs though he usually makes them a bit more finished by himself before bringing them to us. I think that Juuso will be making a lot of music for the next album as well.
 
Where do you get the inspiration from?
 
Ilkka: It’s hard to describe. Most of the ideas come from everyday life. Usually they just pop into my mind in the most unusual situations. That’s why I always carry a recorder with me.
 
Jesse: I get inspiration from all kinds of music. Black Sabbath is the biggest influence to me. But I can also get inspired by beautiful women for instance.
 
Jone: Mostly I get inspired by nature and its beauty, artistic-wise. But in making the lyrics, I get inspiration from day-to-day issues: politics, religion and such. Movies are also a great source.

What about the 3-way-split EP “SGV”, that was published in June of this year? What is it exactly?
 
Jone: A kind of “punk and underground” way of making three bands (SaraLee, Velvetcut and us) of similar genre to get more audience from each other´s fans or listeners. Punk in that sense, that splits were a popular and cost-friendly way to promote such bands in the scene earlier. Guess that´s the main purpose or function even now. It was also quite natural for our record companies to choose us three, because we all have toured together and are somewhat in the same point in our careers.
 
You guys already toured a lot around. On the 18th of August there is a gig in your hometown. And soon Sararock takes place. But how does a live-show of Gotham O.D look like?
 
Jesse: It looks like that there is one helluva band on stage which gives all that they can.
 
Jone: There´s ambition, passion, a lot of fun, self-irony and a rocking band on stage!
 
What do you do in the last five minutes before a show and right after a show?
 
Jesse: Before the show I have to go to the toilet and after the show I usually take a beer.
 
Jone: Before the intro starts we all have our rituals: Some are warming up, others just hanging around talking bullshit, some having a drink or two, but right before we go on stage we all get together, have a little hug and wish each other a great show. Afterwards it´s usually the basic: packing the stuff, having beer, conversation and photographs, maybe some autographs and then usually we´re heading home or to some after party.
 
Ilkka, did you ever go to a singing-teacher? When did the others start learning their instruments?
 
Ilkka: Unfortunately no, maybe I should have. But I did sing in choir when I was a little boy. But when I have some spare time in future, I might take a class or two.
 
Jesse: I´ve been playing almost all my life, but I started to play in a band when I was about 12 or 13.
 
Jone: I started to play drums when I was 13-14. But I´ve always loved music, even when I was a little baby.
 
Who´s the craziest of you guys and why? What is typical for the others?
 
Jone: It´s hard to say, who´s the craziest. We are in many ways very different from each other: Jesse is a hedonistic party-animal, but at the same time he has a big heart. Ilkka can be a very goofy guy as well, but he is also an intellectual person with a talent for conversation. Juuso has a very professional attitude towards music and work, but also a great sense of humour. Kimmo is our Musician with a capital M, a highly talented and intellectual person with also a dark side J, and I am perhaps the guy who can organise things best and can think things most logically ahead. I have my sensitive spots also though, and I think of myself mostly as a family man. Same qualities can be found in Juuso as well. Generally I think that when the whole band is together in a tour bus, on gigs or rehearsals, we feed each other`s crazy parts and the general atmosphere becomes a very good ground for poor jokes and situation comedy. Grown men act like a bunch of kids.
 
If you would create the soundtrack for a movie, which genre would that movie belong to?
 
Jesse: I would love to do music to adult entertainment movies.
 
Ilkka: 80’s action/Ninja movies.
 
Jone: Maybe in an old-school, Hammer-style horror movies.
 
If you wouldn´t be in a band, where could we find you instead? Any other hobbies? Jobs?
 
Ilkka: That’s a tough one. Honestly I don’t know. I have always been in bands, so I have never even think about it. Almost all of my hobbies revolve around music and movies.
 
Jesse: I´m just about to graduate to mental carer, so I think I would be working with people who have mental problems, which I´m actually doing already.
 
Jone: If I wouldn´t play in a band, I would definitely concentrate more on my other hobbies, graphic arts and photography. I would still probably be in the same line of work as now, in commercial business as a manager.
 
What´s the craziest thing in life you have ever experienced?
 
Ilkka: Probably last summer in Eastern Europe. It includes Wagner`s “The ride of the Valkyries”, a pedalling boat, lots of chilli vodka and a not so friendly life-guard.
 
Jesse: I fell with my bike.
 
Jone: Hard to say. Many weird things have happened in those hundreds of gigs I´ve played in different bands. Maybe the festival gig in Lithuania that Ilkka referred to in general, quite a trip on Via Baltica and a hell of a show with a great audience!
 
If you could turn back the time, in which year or century would you live and why?
 
Jesse: Well, I would like to live at all times. And I also would like to drink wine with Jesus Christ and maybe have a little chat with him.
 
Ilkka: Renaissance. Time of illumination and inventions.
 
Jone: Though we´re living in strange times now with all the political turbulence here and there, global warming etc., I think that I´m happy living in Finland in present day. I would be very interested to visit different points in time though, and many places, such as ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, medieval Europe in general, and maybe have a look at the future of mankind, also. If there IS such.
 
What do you fear in life?
 
Jesse: Spiders. Love. Dictatorshit.
 
Ilkka: Losing someone I love.
 
Jone: Losing my family or some of my dear friends. War.
 
Do you know any German sentences? …without looking them up now
 
Ilkka: Ich bin dumkopf.
 
Jesse: Ich komme.
 
Jone: Donnerwetter, ein bier bitte! Schnell!
 
Imagine you´re a tourist-guide in your home-country Finland. Which places would you recommend? Where would you guide me first?
 
Jesse: To our home town Pieksämäki, because it´s a nice town and there is nothing to see.
 
Ilkka: To my summer place by the lake.
 
Jone: To Lapland. And it´s a place you should visit in the fall, when the nature´s colours are the richest. And not long after that it becomes too damn cold!
 
What are your plans for the coming autumn?
 
Jesse: To graduate and make new music. And I´m also waiting very much to get on the road with the guys and meet our fans.
 
Ilkka: Working and touring.
 
Jone: Pretty much time at work and some touring with the guys. We are also planning to do some new material for our next album. Of course I will spend as much time as I can with my family, also.
 
With which other band would you like to tour some day?
 
Jesse: Black Sabbath or Ozzy Ozbourne.
 
Ilkka: Eläkeläiset.
 
Jone: Maybe Entwine, with whom we have done a few shows already. It would be interesting to do a longer tour with them.
 
Please continue the following sentence: Music is…
 
Jesse: Everything. It´s all kinds of things. It reminds the past and gives you memories. It is the most beautiful thing in the world.
 
Jone: ...the best time machine. With music you can travel back in time, emotion-wise. The most important of all the arts for me.
 
At last: Your greetings for Germany!
 
Jesse: Take care and love each other. And please go to the record store and buy our album. I love you.
 
Ilkka: Hope to see you on tour someday.
 
Jone: Hope you enjoy our music, come to see us live on tour when we come there! Hopefully it will occur soon. Take care and rock on, Germany! Auf Wiedersehen!



Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from gothamod.com
Website Band: www.gothamod.com


(c) Visions Underground / www.visions-underground.com

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