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Private Line (IV)
Interview mit Sammy & Ilari [Private Line], 11.12.2014, Köln/Kulturcafé Lichtung



Kürzlich absolvierten Sammy (Gesang, Gitarre) und Ilari (Gitarre) von der finnischen Rockband Private Line eine kurze Promotiontour durch Deutschland, um ihre neue DVD „Acoustic Studio Live 2014“ vorzustellen. So auch am 11. Dezember 2014 in Köln. Vor ihrem Duo-Konzert im Kulturcafé Lichtung bat ich die beiden Musiker zum Interview.


How’s the tour been going so far for you guys?

Sammy: It’s been really nice. We didn’t have high expectations about this tour, we’re doing it as we just released our DVD. We want to present it to the people and play some of those tunes, even though it’s really stripped-down, because it’s only two of us. On the DVD you’ll find the whole band plus Cello, Keyboards…

Guest musicians?


Sammy: Yes. So it’s totally different now as we’re just two persons on the road, but at the same time it’s kind of challenging and we’ll see how the people react.

Where’s the rest of the band?

Ilari: Back home. It’s a good idea to do this just with two of us. Some years ago we went to the same places with the whole band, but it felt like there’s no point right now to come here again with the whole band to promote this DVD. It’s fun for us also being just two of us.

Sammy: If we would do this acoustic thing with the whole band, we would also like to have the keyboard player with us as well, to get it done perfectly. But it was kind of hard with the schedules of the guys. So we decided to do it just like this.

I guess, they also have regular jobs.

Sammy: Yeah. And: With the whole band we want to do more the proper shows with electric and not acoustic music.

How did this idea – filming and recording an acoustic DVD – actually come about?

Sammy: We’ve been doing acoustic gigs every now and then. They’ve been really nice experience and people always asked us how they could listen to these songs at home as well. So we thought maybe we should do some acoustic or bonus CD. But we wanted to do it in a kind of more live way, because we’ve always done this acoustic thing just for live events. We wanted to catch that feeling on tape. That’s why we were thinking: “Why not doing it live? And when we do it live, why not adding pictures in it?” That’s the reason why it became a DVD in the end. We recorded 14 songs in two days. [grins]

When and where did you record it?

Sammy: We filmed it in East Sound Studios. I’m working there, it’s my own studio. So it was an easy choice to do it there. Juha Hanhinen was the director – he’s a friend of us and also did the “Deathroll Casino” music video and stuff. When I told him about the idea of making a DVD, he said “Yeah, let me do it!”. So on one weekend we did as many songs as we could and picked 14 in the end.

So you didn’t decide at first which songs will be on the DVD?

Sammy: Actually we didn’t even have a setlist for that, we just had some kind of idea and would have chosen a couple of more songs if we had had the time. But also the 14 songs were more than I had imagined to do. We didn’t want to drop any of them, because they were all good in our opinion. The live acoustic thing is so honest, you know, but of course we mixed it later and our director had to cut it. It’s already been filmed in January, so it was on hold for a while.

What have been the challenges during the filming process?

Sammy: The schedule and the live thing. We took three takes of each song. So there was a lot to do for the guy who cut the video. There were like 14 videos, but the cutting is of course not as fast as in a regular music video. Actually it was a really funny weekend to do that and I’m amazed about the results.

How did you handle the acoustic arrangement of the songs?

Sammy: It was a kinda natural way. As I said we’ve played some acoustic shows before, so we knew how to create acoustic versions. Actually one year and a half ago Ilari, Japa and I did an acoustic tour in Germany – for that we had already rehearsed and arranged many songs. Some of the versions on the DVD are ideas of that time – we just added some drums etc.

What are your favorite songs on the DVD?

Sammy: There are many. For example songs like “Gods Of Rewind”, I think, when you do it in the electric style, there are always so many distorted guitars that melodies are drowning. But when you present it in a smaller arrangement, the melodies come up better. Then there is no genre kind of limit. When you do it acoustic, everybody is listening to songs. You could even play it for your grandma. [laughter]

Do you have any favorite, Ilari?

Ilari: I tried to figure it out, but I can’t pick up any. It’s too hard to say.

Is there any Private Line song that wouldn’t work as an acoustic version?

Sammy: You can always arrange it, but we never tried it with songs like “Prozac Nation”. But we could make a country song or something like that. Most of the songs are melodic, that’s why we could do everything with them. One song that would have been nice to include in this DVD is “Anyway” from the “Evil Knievel Factor” album. I think it was something like number 18 on the list and we didn’t get that far in two days. [laughs]

Which acoustic albums from other bands do you like?

Sammy: When I was young I really enjoyed “G N’ R Lies” from Guns N’ Roses, for example. But first I heard “Appetite For Destruction”, of course. But when they showed that they can also do some acoustic and moody songs, it convinced me that they are a really good band.

Ilari: I like “American Recordings” from Johnny Cash, of course. You have to like that, otherwise there is something wrong with you.

It’s been three years since you released your latest album called “Dead Decade”. But are you already working on new stuff?

Sammy: Yes. We have really much good stuff and we should now start doing the arrangements. Hopefully we will start really soon to get it done. But I have to confess that I wasn’t that productive within the last years as many things were going on. But the guys had some rehearsals bringing ideas in, even though I am kind of the “Motörhead” of Private Line [laughter]. I’m the singer and I normally do the melodies. So I check the guys’ ideas which I like and write some lyrics. In that way I’m like a filter, you know. But in general everybody is working on songs. I was kind of surprised about the guys: When I said that I haven’t much material than usually, they said “Let’s check what we have”. And I was like: “What the f***? We have so much material! Now I have so much to filter.”

In which direction will the album be heading?

Sammy: Of course it’s too early to say, but we’ve been talking about it within the band. We would like to do a good rock album.

Ilari: A straight forward one.

Sammy: Maybe not that much diverse, but more with the true sound of the band. I think we have a good self-esteem or something like that for doing it, but for the last album it was quite difficult. It took too long and we did everything by ourselves. That was kind of a hard process, but still I’m really happy with the results. I really like the “Dead Decade” album. It was a darker album than the previous ones, but I already said after that album that I’m sure that the next one won’t be the same. But even though we had this little bit darker theme in “Dead Decade”, there were songs like “Black Swan” that came really easily and quickly. And they’re really kind of rockier songs. And still it’s weird that we can put songs like “Ghost Dance” and “Black Swan” on the same album and it still sounds like Private Line. Maybe that gave us self-esteem as a band. We can do anything what we want, because it will always be Private Line. We don’t need to worry about that we’re going too much into somewhere. In the end it’s always Private Line.

What’s planned for the rest of the year after this little tour?

Sammy: We will play in Bar Bäkkäri in Helsinki on New Year’s Eve a full band electric gig. But we don’t have many future schedules.

How will you celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve?

Sammy: I’m Santa Claus. You didn’t know that? I am! So there’s pretty much going on. [laughs]

But where is your beard?

Sammy: At home. Actually I really work as Santa Claus. But not for my own kids – they are in India right now with their mother. So I will have a really relaxing time. I won’t see them on Christmas this year.

What about you, Ilari?

Ilari: I don’t know yet. I guess we’ll go with our family to some nice place where it is peaceful and hopefully snowing.

So you don’t celebrate at home?

Ilari: I don’t know it. It would be one possibility. We decided not to stress about it.

What about the Christmas presents? Is it a big part for you?

Ilari: Of course. Usually I buy everything on one day.

Sammy: I don’t stress so much about the presents. I’m kind of a lazy guy. Of course I will get something for the kids, but I’m already doing my job as Santa Claus, so that is enough.

What can we expect from the show tonight here in Cologne?

Ilari: We will basically play the songs from the DVD and we expect a really intimate show.



Interview & Fotos: Lea S.
Website Band: www.privatelineweb.com

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