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Gotham O.D (II)
Interview mit Jone [Gotham O.D], 21.05.2008, phoner



Der Vorrat an finnischen Rock-Bands scheint noch lange nicht erschöpft, denn mit Gotham O.D schwappt erneut eine düstere Welle aus dem hohen Norden zu uns herüber. Dark Heavy Rock nennt die junge Band aus Pieksämäki ihren Sound. Im letzten Jahr veröffentlichten Gotham O.D in ihrer Heimat das Debüt „Monochromatic“. Jetzt ist auch Deutschland an der Reihe und darf sich auf den ersten Longplayer der Finnen freuen. Mit Drummer Jone von Gotham O.D führte ich am 21. Mai ein ausführliches Telefonat über das musikalische Schaffen der finnischen Band.

Hello Jone, how are you doing?


Jone: Great, great. How are you?

I`m fine. Sun is shining, so…

Jone: Here is also very beautiful spring weather. But it is not so warm, I think. During daytime it was 15 degrees. We had quite great weather in the last month. It was very hot in the spring. But we also had a bit snow (laughs) and that`s typical Finnish weather.

It´s nice that you found a bit of time for this interview. Could you maybe give us a little introduction about Gotham O.D. first? Gotham O.D in one sentence?

Jone: Maybe that would be just to describe the music as dark heavy rock as it is.

Do the band members know each others from childhood?

Jone: Not everyone. I have known Jesse the longest and that`s about 15 years, so from our late teenage years, I think.

Finally the European release date for your album “Monochromatic” is confirmed. How does it feel?

Jone: There are very positive feelings in the whole band, of course. We know that there are a lot of people out there that really enjoy our music. It`s very exciting that our music is also available now for them. Already we´ve had very much contact throughout Europe by our website, myspace and all those communities. But now it`s easy for those people all over the world to get our album from the stores and not just via Internet. I think a band always lives through its fans, so it`s amazing for us.

Do you think the Internet is quite important for bands nowadays?


Jone: Ja, it`s crucial for us. Nowadays it`s a lot easier to bring the music to the people and to get some interaction with fans on the other side of the world. If you make a new song, you can put it in the Net in the same evening, if you want a demo version of your song being available somewhere. So that`s amazing nowadays.

And coming back to your album: Is there any kind of red line between the songs, any main topic?

Jone: “Monochromatic” is not a concept album, definitely not. But if there is some kind of red line, it can be found in the lyrics, I mean between sin, regret and redemption and a lot of religious symbols in there. The music is quite versatile on the record, but in the lyrics you can find some kind of main topic or red line.

How does the formation phase of a Gotham O.D song look like in general? How do you create the songs?

Jone: It`s kind of a process. Well, it always starts with someone bringing a riff from the acoustic guitar to the rehearsals and it continues like we all shape it together in the rehearsal room and we make it to a proper song over there. We all contribute a lot to this, a lot to this kind of making music. And normally Ilkka and I have made some lyrics to this point. But nowadays the other guys are making lyrics themselves, too. And Juuso, as a new member of the band, he`s contributing to this part also, but basically the songs shape in the rehearsal room. They are not brought there ready. From this point we start to shape it a bit more and try it on a show and normally it sometimes changes in the live playing and we get to the final state in the studio.

How does the procedure of creating the lyrics look like? Especially when you´re creating one song together or do you always write by yourself?

Jone: We normally always write by ourselves at home, because the lyrics are made when they`re coming from your head. We get there some kind of inspiration for them, maybe by reading a book or watching a movie or reading something from the newspaper or gathering something or experiencing something in your life. So it has to be written down in the same second. To me it`s always like this, that I have to put it on a paper and maybe shape it a bit more later. Sometimes I write lyrics in 10 minutes from the start to the end. Sometimes they need a few months to get completed.

And how much self biography can be found in your lyrics?

Jone: Very much, I think. (laughs) Almost all of our lives can be somehow heard from our lyrics, at least what we think of our lives, because I always write about my life and what I`m experiencing or how I´m experiencing the world at that moment. And I think, Ilkka has some kind of same point of view to this. Maybe Juuso is a bit different. The lyrics I read from him, well, he always puts very much of himself to the lyrics as well, but maybe in a more general way. Not so specific.

Is there maybe any song you see nowadays with different eyes, that you think you could have made this better or in another way?

Jone: Definitely yes. (laughs)

But now it`s too late to change it.

Jone: Yeah. It`s always a never ending process and the song might not even be finished when it`s on the album. You can sometimes find lots of small things when you´re playing the same song live maybe a few times. And sometimes you think you should have done this already during the recording of the song.

For me it seems – and that is really cool actually – that the album doesn`t have this typical studio sound. It really sounds honestly, so lively. Do you know what I mean?

Jone: Ja.

Why is it like that? I have no idea about the studio arrangements and so.

Jone: We don´t believe in overproducing of albums that has been made, you know, nowadays so much. When people can nowadays create an album, they do like one album in a year or two years, including 10 songs or something like that. We don´t want to have anything to do with that, because I think making music is living at the moment and we want that to be heard from the albums that we do. We don´t want to do too much in the studio that we can´t ever reach it by playing live the same songs. So the nearer those two are together – the live version and studio version –  the better it is. But you know, when you make an album in a year or two or something like that, you just take away the soul from the songs that you do. But don´t get me wrong. We also want to do and make things with quality and we believe in good sounds on an album.

I can imagine. What do you think is more important: to entertain the audience with the music or to transfer a certain message?

Jone: Definitely to entertain. This is not so serious after all. No, we take our music quite serious, but our job, when we`re playing a Gotham O.D gig, is to entertain the audience. And we want the people to enjoy themselves while they`re there watching us. We don’t want to see any tears or something like that. We wanna see a big smile on people`s faces, because we`re a happy bunch of guys, although we write some dark songs, dark music and things like that, but we`re a happy bunch of guys and in the gigs we want to enjoy ourselves and we want the audience to enjoy themselves, too.

Why did you choose the album title “Monochromatic”? I think the songs are everything else than monochromatic…

Jone: Mm, yeah. (thinks a bit longer about it) I came up with the title. I think it occurred to me while doing the cover art. It also describes the emotional feeling of the album, I think. You know, somewhat melancholic, stylish and beautiful things are in there. So the title is quite good for that album, I think.

In my opinion “monochromatic” can be well referred to the cover that you have created. And I know that you`re very much into graphics and photography and such kind of things. So when I look at this cover, there are two, I don´t know if I´m right, but are there two persons in the downer right corner?

Jone: Yeah, there are two persons.

Are they Adam and Eve?

Jone: Yeah, actually that was the thought behind it. They are looking to that tree of knowledge of good and evil. It`s all in the bible, you know. (laughs) And it can be read over there. But they are not necessarily in the leading role in that picture. Basically it´s the hand that`s in the back there, the shadow of the hand.

Yeah, you have to have good eyes. (laughs) You found together as a band in 2003, but you and Ilkka are the only founding members left. How did the sound of Gotham O.D developed through the line-up changes?


Jone: There has been a significant change in the sound from the beginning and in the music style in general, because when we started it was more kind of Goth`n`Roll, you know, or Gothic Rock. But nowadays it has developed to something else, more heavier and darker sound to this state where we are right now. And if there would have not been any line-up changes, it would have never gone to this. Everyone of the present Gotham O.D members is crucial to the sound that we have now, everyone of them. And it would have not been possible without the line-up changes.

In Finland “Monochromatic” was already released in August 2007 and Juuso, who is now member of the band, has produced it. Will he also produce the next album? Or do you see it as a problem?

Jone: There is a problem in there, because Juuso wasn’t in the band, when he produced “Monochromatic” and that was good, because when you are a producer, you just have to observe things from the outside and make good decisions about the music and the songs and for the band. But when you`re in the band, you cannot be that objective about it. So we will have to find another producer for the next album.

Are you already working on new songs?

Jone: Actually yeah. In the last weekend we were at Juuso`s home place in Kerimäki near Savonlinna. It`s a very little place in the countryside and Juuso´s Dad has a very great place, a cottage over there. And we were there the whole band together not moving an inch from there, just making music and using excessive mounts of alcohol also (laughter) in the process. But we managed to do six new songs. We`re going back there in a few weeks for the same kind of sessions where we hope to make other six or seven songs.

Would Gotham O.D also work with Finnish lyrics?

Jone: Never!

Why not?

Jone: We are not that kind of band and I think when we now go to Germany and also abroad somewhere else with our music, it would not gonna happen with Finnish lyrics. I tried once to make Finnish lyrics, but I failed so miserably, (laughs) so that I never want to experience that again. It´s not easy to write Rock`n`Roll or dark and heavy lyrics in your own language. I don´t know. It might be possible in your language, but not in Finnish. I like German music very much, but not all the lyrics and all the music. And it`s also hard. I don´t understand German.

Many foreign people say that our language sounds so aggressive. Does it?

Jone: Yeah, it does. But the language itself sounds great. I´m just annoyed, cos I don´t understand what they are singing. (laughs) And I think, if we would write in Finnish, you would just feel about the same. You don`t have a clue what we´re singing about then. That´s not good in this kind of music.

Well, I just know a few Finnish words and sentences, but I think you`re right, although I really love the Finnish language. I don´t really understand it.

Jone: (laughs) Yeah.

Would Gotham O.D work without long hairs and beards?

Jone: (laughs even more) Why not? It`s not about the hair in your face and on your head.

But it`s obvious that nearly all darker bands have long hairs and beards…

Jone: But it`s not in the job description of rock musicians. Okay, we pretty much had all our lives, not the beard, but the hair. It would be hard for me to be without my hair.

How much would somebody have to offer you that you cut your hair off?

Jone: Ahh, I think it`s not something that you would buy, but if someone would give me 10.000 Euros, I would definitely consider it. But in life work it would be fine without long hairs, because it`s not always good for, you know, a director or manager to have earrings and long hairs, but I enjoy playing the music so much with my long hair.

“Music is…”: How should this sentence be continued?


Jone: (thinks about it) Music is just everything. It`s everywhere and it`s in all of us.

And how does it feel entering the stage after being in the studio for a longer time? Have you been nervous presenting the new songs live for the first time?

Jone: Yeah, but nervous is not the right word for it, but very anxious, very exciting to see the audience` response to the new songs. Definitely it`s great if they just stay and listen to them. It`s not an easy thing to get a spontaneous reaction from, you know, from the Finnish audience. If they´re very drunk, it´s easy, but it`s not realistic. It`s always nice if you can see people that they`re listening carefully to all the music and maybe in the next…(is distracted by someone for a few seconds) Sorry, that was my wife. (laughs)

Is there any tour in Germany planned soon?

Jone: Ja, actually we talked about it with our manager just a few days ago. We`re doing an European-tour. And there are some kind of plans that we will go first to Riga, Latvia, then to Poland and then to Germany for maybe six shows. I don`t know the cities yet or the places, but…

…the tour is in near future?

Jone: The tour is planned to be in the end of September, beginning of October. And from Germany we continue to Denmark and Sweden.

Sounds good to me. The best place on earth? Where is it?


Jone: I think it`s here, you know, at home. Pieksämäki is maybe not the best place in the whole world, but to me, where my home is, it is always the best place. But there are many places that I definitely want to visit with the band or without it and maybe I will reach or find the place in the world some day then. But it seems that it`s always home, where my family is.

Something totally different: This Saturday there is the Eurovision Songcontest and I´ve heard that Teräsbetoni from Finland are taking part in it. Would that kind of show would also be something for you?

Jone: I´d like to say yes, but I will have to say no. (laughs) We don´t write songs in that manner that would suit for that kind of competition or contest. We don´t make, you know, potential hit-music or things like that. We don´t plan it that way. We just want to give the best from ourselves and do the best songs that we can. But we don´t do that kind of hit-songs or want to do it that way. But if some hit emerges from us, it´s okay. We don`t decline it.

At last: What does Gotham O.D actually mean? Where does the name come from? Cos I know that Gotham can also be referred to New York. Is there a connection?

Jone: It`s a bit hard to explain to you, because it can be found in an English-Finnish dictionary, you know, the word “gotham”. It means, okay it means New York, but it means something like “hölmölä” as well. “Hölmölä” is a Finnish word for a place with many fools or any kind of assholes and we think that Pieksämäki, our hometown, is some kind of “hölmölä”. And we have some kind of “o.d” from that. Overdose. There you have it. (laughs)

Yes I do. (laughs also) Thanks so much for the interview and that you took the time for this phone call.

Jone: Thank you very much. Hope to see you in the fall.



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


(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 07-08/08 / www.zillo.de

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