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Jyrki 69
Interview mit Jyrki 69, 13.06.2017, Skype



„Helsinki Vampire“ lautet der Titel des ersten Solo-Albums von Jyrki 69, dem Sänger der finnischen Goth’n’Roll-Band The 69 Eyes. Im Telefoninterview verriet er mir, wie sich die Songs auf jener Platte von denen seiner Band unterscheiden, warum sich Jyrki 69 so häufig in Hollywood, L.A. & Co. tummelt, was er in einem russischen Fantasy-Streifen zu suchen hat und warum Lemmy Kilmister im Musikvideo zu „Bloodlust“ auftaucht.


Jyrki, how did the idea come about to create a solo album?

Jyrki 69: All through the years with The 69 Eyes I’ve been doing some other adventures in music as well. First of all, back in the 90ies, I had a small duet band with the singer of a band called Smack and we did an EP. In the 90ies I even had a Doors cover band here in Helsinki. And then I was travelling a lot, recorded with some friends in New York or I recorded some stuff in Paris. I’ve always been interested in just recording around the world and creating as much as possible. That’s my way to communicate with this world. I’m a creative person and I’m full of creative energy. So I’ve been doing these little music side projects or features all through the years.

Is your creativity been limited within your band The 69 Eyes?

Jyrki 69: It is nothing new that I’m doing music outside of The 69 Eyes. And furthermore The 69 Eyes is a pretty open format for the music that we create. There is not just one simple style. There’re a lot of influences from different kinds of stuff: glam rock, gothic rock, sometimes even stoner rock. So The 69 Eyes is not limiting me at all. Like I said, I’ve just got all this energy and interest in being creative. But with The 69 Eyes we just can’t release so much different stuff all the time. The last thing what I did was releasing the album “Transylvanian Tapes” under the name of The 69 Cats – it’s a dark rockabilly band.

And now you’ve created your solo album “Helsinki Vampire”…

Jyrki 69: Well, it’s not only me, I’m just the vocalist on this record. All the music has been created and all instruments have been played by longtime The 69 Eyes producer Johnny Lee Michaels. The thing was, I had this The 69 Cats album out and we were playing a little bit in Europe and the States. Then it was time to release a new The 69 Eyes record which was “Universal Monsters” one year ago. It felt like Johnny Lee and I have been in the studio together non-stop. But when the recordings were over, I asked him, what we gonna do next. Johnny Lee is been composing film music and writing music just for himself…waiting for some day he will put out some own music as well. So he had a lot of songs and sent me some of them, asking if I could come up with some vocals for them.

So you continued in the studio and created the “Helsinki Vampire” album together…

Jyrki 69: I forgot to tell: Before we started this album, we actually wrote and recorded some music for a Russian fantasy movie. Then we couldn’t figure out if it would be some extra material for The 69 Eyes. Now the first eight tracks are the “Helsinki Vampire” album and the last three songs are bonus tracks from that Russian movie. They are a little bit different in that context.

So it’s actually not a solo album, isn’t it?

Jyrki 69: Well, I’m the front man and with my voice I’m one of the instruments at some point. But it’s not that kind of solo record, you know, people do sometimes release and say “I kept all this music inside of myself and this is what I wanted to do all my life”. I’m doing what I want all the time, you know!? I put up a rockabilly band and now I made this record. It’s so cool to be in a recording studio. It’s a great lifestyle to create something all the time.

In which period of time did you record “Helsinki Vampire”?


Jyrki 69: It was recorded like a year ago. The songs are actually really deep and dark. That’s a serious record. The 69 Eyes is a cartoon rock’n’roll band, there is always some twist there. But the music on “Helsinki Vampire” is actually very serious. Okay, the first single we released was “Last Halloween” and if you make a Halloween song that obviously can’t be serious. It is what it is. It’s all about Halloween. The 69 Eyes never did any kind of that song. And then the second single which is called “Bloodlust” is a dark new wave dance track for gothic clubs. So it’s not like serious music as well. It’s suitable for gothic dance floors. Actually I was deejaying at Wave Gotik Treffen in the Darkflower club in Leipzig two weeks ago and usually I never play my own music. But this time I wanted to see what happens, so I played “Bloodlust” and people kept on dancing. That was a good sign. But still, some of the new songs are so dark that we needed a week of break, because those songs made us quiet after recording them. It was actually pretty hard. But the final record was ready in last December. There was basically no schedule.

What have been the challenges during the recording process?

Jyrki 69: All the time I was on tour with The 69 Eyes. When I returned I couldn’t go to the studio directly on the next day…usually I needed one day in between. That was a bit challenging at some point, because we were in the middle of making the record and I was in the middle of Germany or somewhere else with The 69 Eyes.

What are the similarities between The 69 Eyes’ songs and your solo sound?


Jyrki 69: It’s my voice. And as Johnny Lee Michaels always been producing The 69 Eyes and been playing the keyboards there – some parts are very recognizable. But now there is a lot more keyboards. And “Helsinki Vampire” is more mindful music. The songs are very long. So make yourself a cup of tea, sit down and listen to the record! If you fall asleep it doesn’t matter. It’s no retro music, it’s not limited to some certain time, but still the songs sound like classic stuff.

Why do you appreciate working with Johnny Lee Michaels?

Jyrki 69: We don’t have to explain anything to each other. Well, we had a break for a few years. The 69 Eyes had a deal with major labels and we had the chance to make records in Stockholm or Los Angeles. Of course we wanted to do that! But with Johnny it’s just easy, because I never have to explain anything. Okay, he is a little bit older than me and he knows a little bit more. And it’s always so much fun with him, we’re laughing, it’s like a theatre.

You mentioned that Johnny also produces film music. And you are a person who started creating own music videos. Where does this interest for movies come from?

Jyrki 69: Great question. I’ve been always drawing comics and in the early days I did our flyers and took care of the visual image of the band. For The 69 Cats a friend of mine – who was a roadie in Europe – filmed with his mobile phone some stuff. And he created a video for the song “People Are Strange” just by filming with his iPhone. The video was cool! It looked like a real music video. I wanted to try this as well. Since I’ve been drawing comics, I could always draw The 69 Eyes’ songs as comics. Then I filmed just like the friend of mine with the iPhone and made those three black and white music videos and this friend of mine cut them. I filmed all those music videos after the dawn, so there is no one in the streets. Especially in New York in was very cool to film like five o’clock in the morning…after a long bar night.

How did your fans react referring to your self created music videos?

Jyrki 69: The strange thing is that some people wrote: “Oh, what happened to these big epic music videos” like we used to make ten or 15 years ago. “Don’t you have money anymore?” But hei, I wrote the lyrics, I wrote the songs and this is how I see them. Those videos are art from my point of view. And well, since people stopped buying our records, there of course is no money. I was a little bit disappointed that some of our fans didn’t get the point. But maybe over the years… Like I said, I’m enthusiastic to create a lot of stuff, then I even started to draw comics again and I wrote a couple of books recently. I’m just full of energy. And all through the years I’ve been trying to hint to somebody that hopefully someday The 69 Eyes will have the chance to write music for movies or to have songs in a movie. That would be the coolest thing ever. It hasn’t happened until now with the new solo album – due to the fact that Cleopatra Records, which is releasing the album, is going into the movie business. So they picked up two of my songs for their movies. The video of “Last Halloween” is like a trailer for the movie “Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill!”. It’s a crazy slasher movie. Then there is another video coming out in a week for the song “Bloodlust”. That’s a really good one, because it’s also a trailer for a movie which is called “Sunset Society”. It’s a vampire movie about rockers on sunset strip hanging out there. It’s done couple of years ago, it’s not out yet and the main vampire in there is Lemmy from Motörhead. So he is also in the video.

And when will we see the first Hollywood movie directed by Jyrki 69?

Jyrki 69: Ohhh, I already did this little role in a Russian fantasy movie. I played sandman. If you wish long enough, your dreams become true. I’ve been wishing my dreams become true for nearly 50 years now. And directing a movie, well, I haven’t even thought about that, but thanks for the idea. I think that needs some schooling. Let me think about it!

You’re quite often in cities like New York and L.A. You have the connections there, I guess. So why not?


Jyrki 69: I want to be present. I’m not hiding from the world. I want to be present wherever cool things happen. I go wherever the action is. Sometimes it’s in Hollywood, sometimes it’s in New York, sometimes in Paris or in Leipzig. I’m just curious and enthusiastic about life and I’m satisfied with a lot of things. But I think there are still a lot of cool things waiting ahead. And the next thing is just to see how people will react towards my new record and I hope this record will bring them something new.

Is there any chance to see those new songs live on stage some day?

Jyrki 69: Yeah, that’s one of the things. The band The 69 Cats is still there and we’re just waiting for the right moment to emerge again. But for the solo songs I wanna put up a new band, like the Helsinki Vampire band. I will put it up in Los Angeles and there will be famous guys in it. Hopefully this year already we gonna play some shows in the States. And if people are interested in it, we would like to play somewhere else as well. And at the same time The 69 Eyes is going strong and releasing a new single. Last Sunday I was back in the studio with Johnny Lee Michaels and we recorded vocals for the next The 69 Eyes single which comes out in fall. The next The 69 Eyes album waits somewhere, but it’s not written yet. And if people like the “Helsinki Vampire” album, we will do “Helsinki Vampire Part 2” as well. Johnny Lee Michael has still tons of music…



Interview: Lea S.
Foto Jyrki: Promo Shot
Website Band: https://www.facebook.com/JyrkiLinnankiviOfficial/?fref=ts


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