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Santa Cruz
Interview mit Santa Cruz, 26.06.2014, Helsinki/Mbar



Hinter Santa Cruz verbirgt sich nicht nur eine Stadt in Kalifornien, sondern auch eine junge Hard-Rock-/Heavy-Metal-Band aus Finnland, die 2013 ihr Debüt „Screaming For Adrenaline“ veröffentlichte und erst kürzlich durch Deutschland tourte. Ich traf die vier Jungs – Archie (Gesang, Gitarre), Johnny (Gitarre), Middy (Bass) und Taz (Drums) – am 26. Juni 2014 in Helsinki zu einem Interview. Lest hier, welche kuriosen Erfahrungen das Quartett in Deutschland gesammelt hat, was die Jungs vor Auftritten nervös macht und was ihnen den größten Adrenalinkick gibt.

Thanks for sharing your time with me here in Helsinki’s Mbar for a while. But recently you’ve been on tour in Germany. Which experiences and memories did you bring back home with you?

Archie: There was a crazy thing, yes, this beer called “Faxe”: 1 l with 10 %. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in Germany, so I count it as a German experience. And ever heard about “Travel Pussi”? We spotted it at every gas station. Out of curiosity we had to try it out. You have to put water in there and some kind of lotion to get a particular smell. Did you try it? [looks at Taz]

Taz: Maybe, maybe not. [laughter]

I´ve seen on Facebook that you’ve also been in my hometown Cologne, as you posted a picture in front of the cathedral…

Archie: We didn’t have a show in Cologne, but we went there to see the church. It’s beautiful. Right after that we went to a park for chilling out a bit. Then I suddenly saw a huge dark cloud on the other side of the river. I was like: “What the f***?” Then the wind came and little rocks started to hit my face. So we decided to leave the park quickly…

Yes, we had a really horrible storm on Whit Monday, I remember. But have you also been on the top of the cathedral?

Santa Cruz: No, next time then.

How did you celebrate midsummer this year?

Archie: We actually had a gig. On Juhannus eve I was with my family, as I didn’t see them for a while. So we barbecued and drank a lot of beer. Then the next day we had a show at Nummirock.

Are you all based here in Helsinki?

Santa Cruz: Yes.

The bandname Santa Cruz sounds like summer, sunshine and happiness for me. Can this feeling be also found in your sound?

Johnny: Especially in our live shows…

Archie: We’re always having a good time, we laugh a lot. We enjoy it all and you can see that when we play live. We are not there to be angry, instead we’re there to party. In the tourbus we’re also always having fun…

Middy: There are lots of bands playing a role – so to speak. They pretend to have a good time, but when we had a good time on stage, we’re not afraid to show it, you know.

When did you decide to become musicians and found this band?

Archie: It was probably when I heard the first time “Paranoid” or “Run To The Hills” – songs like that just hit me hard, and I knew that Iron Maiden make those sounds with the guitars. From that point on it was clear for me to become a musician.

Johnny: I found the band with Archie in 2007. It was like a “click” right away as we wanted the same thing. We had the same passion. Then we found these two guys [pointing at Middy and Taz] who shared the passion with us.

Are you from the same neighborhood or met each other in school?

Santa Cruz: We are all living somewhere around Helsinki…

Archie: I remember seeing Johnny for the first time with his waistcoat. He had a big W.A.S.P. patch on his back and I was a huge W.A.S.P. fan…

Johnny: Actually it was Mötley Crüe…

Archie: I think it was W.A.S.P.

Johnny: I had a W.A.S.P. shirt!

Whatever! [laughter]

Archie: Well, I said to him: “Hei, what are you about? Can you play?” Then I heard him playing and thought: “Yeah, that dude can play.” We’re both guitarist, but when we started the band, we decided that I’m gonna take all the singing, ‘cos I was more of an asshole as singers tend to be – no, just kidding. I’ve been singing before that as well. So it was natural for me…

Professionally or learning by doing?

Archie: I’ve taken some singing lessons, but mostly I’ve learned it by doing live shows and just doing it. It took a lot of years and I was so frustrated. I remember that I was singing in the shower and recorded it. But when I listened to it, I got sooo angry and asked myself why it sounds so fucking bad. [laughter] I didn’t realize that you have to practice it for years and years to get better, you know. With the guitar it happened a lot faster; that came more natural for me.

How does a Santa Cruz song usually come into being? Who starts with the first riff?

Archie: Well, there are always bits and pieces. Let’s take for example the latest single “Wasted’n’Wounded” which is not released yet: Johnny had this certain riffing as a basic song structure. Then we added a melody of mine and did the chorus of the song. Then I came up with the melody for the verses.

Johnny: The demo of the whole song was ready, but the chorus wasn’t good. But then I remembered an old melody of Archie, that we already recorded for our first album. It was fucking great, so we used it here. Then we came up with the title when we were touring in UK.

Archie: Actually it was in the morning, a morning after hell. We had a crazy party over there…

Middy: That’s why we called the single “Wasted’n’Wounded”. [laughter]

Archie: Another example is the song “We Are The Ones To Fall”: I actually have a video of me being in Rome. I was walking on the riverbank as suddenly this melody started ringing in my head. Then I took the iPad and recorded a video of me singing. Later I showed the video to Johnny and said: “These are some cool vibes, dude, they’re darker and more mysterious than the earlier stuff we’ve done.” Then he came up with a heavy riff and we made the structure of the song.

Johnny: I think, it was the first time that we really reached something what we’ve been looking for. Especially in the studio with only me and Archie, we were recording vocals and still trying to figure out the chorus…

Archie: We changed the first version to a more melodic one. First it was like this… [starts singing the chorus]. But then we were in the studio, well, I don’t remember how it came about, but I think we were sitting on the couch and I was playing guitar and asking, what we should do with this part. I think I sounded a bit like Jared Leto…

Last year you published your very first album called “Screaming For Adrenaline”. What kind of things pushes your adrenaline up high?

Archie: Gigs, definitely gigs, as well as fucking, sucking and drinking. [laughter] Well, it’s worse to pretend than being honest. But yeah, all kinds of stuff: gigs, for sure, and once I did this bungee jumping thing which was the biggest kick of my whole life. I never felt that alive! And at Nummirock last Saturday I climbed on the top of the stage construction…

To what extent are you already working on new songs for the next album?

Archie: We recorded like half of the album and will go back to the studio soon.

Do you already have a title for the next album?

Archie: No, not anything close. We usually try to think about it for a long, long time and you come up with all kinds of suggestions, but then it just comes out of the blue, when you least expect it.

Tomorrow you’ll play on the Tuska Festival here in Helsinki. To what extent does Santa Cruz fit to all the metal bands playing there?

Archie: Well, we rock harder than anyone else. [laughter] Okay, there are also a couple of good bands…heavy metal fans are looking for real adrenaline and fucking aggressive live shows, but not too many metal bands do that nowadays. I think that even extreme metal heads will love our band.

Johnny: When we played at Nummirock with its really hardcore music, there’ve also been a couple of metal heads shouting “Yeah”!

Middy: We had a signing session in the tent and there was a guy with an Emperor shirt coming to us asking for an autograph. Music is good when it comes from heart – and the same with Black Metal. It’s Rock’n’Roll, but it sounds different. I think that metal people are open-minded.

Archie: We’re a metal band at the end of the day. It’s all the same thing. I know a lot of people that listen to Hanoi Rocks and Dimmu Borgir. Hanoi Rocks is a real Rock’n’Roll band and, okay, Dimmu Borgir is not that good, but Mayhem or someone like that. It’s just the same attitude.

Johnny: Actually the drum beat of one song of our first album, called “Nothing Compares To You”, was inspired by Dimmu Borgir.

Middy: Can you believe it? The softest song on the album was inspired by Dimmu Borgir! [laughter]

Archie: I don’t remember it being inspired by that…

What can we expect from your show tomorrow?

Archie: Fire! You can expect a full Rock’n’Roll show. 45 minutes of four guys doing it as if it was the last 45 minutes of their lives – and the pyros on top of that as well as fast guitars and me climbing on the roof…just come and watch us!

Are you still nervous when you enter the stage?


Archie: There’s always just a bit of excitement, but I’m not nervous. To be nervous for me is like to be scared to go on stage, but excitement is like “Yeah, let’s do this!”

Johnny: And if you’re nervous before a show, it’s gone in that moment when you enter the stage.

Middy: The only thing I’m nervous about is if the gear is working, ‘cos my amp is like cheap and breaking down every other week. So the technical things make me nervous. But when you go on stage and hear a sound, then everything’s fine.

Archie: I have one thing that I’m sometimes nervous about: When we’re playing club shows in the middle of nowhere and we’re in the backstage waiting for the showtime, then we get nervous if there’s anybody in the audience. You know what I mean? Because you don’t see the audience in that moment. But our last shows have been pretty full, though…

How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?

Archie: …shit. [laughter]

Taz: …Rock’n’Roll.

Johnny: …light.

Middy: …the worst thing you do in your life. [laughter]

Archie: Music is cool, it’s not shit. It’s excitement and larger than life.




Interview & Fotos: Lea S.
Website Band: www.santacruz.fi


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