LORDI - INTERVIEW ON 'LORDIVERSITY'

LORDI – SEVEN ALBUM MONSTER PROJECT 'LORDIVERSITY'

Finnish band Lordi won the 2006 Eurovision Contest and made a lasting statement with that. Fifteen years later they are still alive and well and made a lot of interesting albums since the Eurovision victory. Maybe some music fans didn’t take the monsters to seriously at the time, but they have been proven wrong. Singer and mastermind Mr. Lordi is a man with a vision about where he’s going with this band. That vision is visual, musical and lyrical. The corona pandemic inspired him to launch a ‘crazy’ idea about recording several albums at once and releasing them in a box. I had a great chat with Mr. Lordi about the whole concept, the idea behind it and how it came together. Enjoy!

(Geert Ryssen)

How did you come to the idea to release seven newly recorded albums at once?

Mr. Lordi: ‘In fact I wanted to release ten albums! But we can’t really talk about Lordiversity, without talking about ‘Killection’ (their 2020 studio album - GR). That was kind of a fictional compilation album. When we started the tour at the beginning of 2020, we were just one month into the tour before corona stopped us. I knew form the beginning that this virus was not going away soon. I know how people are, I knew they were not going to behave and this would take at least a year or maybe two. Time has proved me right! So, that ‘Killection’ album was only released for two months and here we were. So I decided that we had to record the next album. I was thinking about what we could do to top ‘Killection’. The most boring way would be to record just a normal album. In the end I wanted to make a part two of ‘Killection’ with all the different genres. At last it was my idea to release the full fictional back catalogue (laughs). I started planning what we could do and then I presented it to the rest of the band and they were in for it. When I presented the idea to our A&R man, he thought it was insane and didn’t want to do it. I explained the plan and managed to convince him and he agreed, but he thought that our manager and record label would tell us to fuck-off anyway. That turned out different. Our manager was totally with us and said it was the best idea we ever had. He took the idea to the record label and it took some months for them to decide. They were concerned about the marketing and the release schedule. They also thought that ten albums was really insane, so they went for seven. So now I know that insanity starts somewhere between seven and eight or nine (laughs). It took me three months to write everything and I can tell you that we could easily have done those ten albums.  Then it took nine months to record, mix and master the albums.’

Let’s talk a bit about every single album in the box. ‘Skeletric Dinosaur’ made me think of early Kiss from the very first moment.

Mr. Lordi: ‘You are absolutely right! The sound is derived from the first three Kiss albums and a little bit of AC/DC or early Alice Cooper. On this album we worked exactly in the same way as we worked on ‘Blow My Fuse’ on the ‘Killection’ album. We went to the same analog studio and everything is vintage there: the recording desk, the instruments, the effect pedals, everything is from the seventies. The only digital phase was the mastering. It sounds like a seventies record because it’s recorded on seventies equipment (laughs). Most of it was recorded live. If you write that kind of record, you have to consider the fact that you can’t write riffs or use sounds that weren’t invented yet.’

On the second album ‘Superflytrap’ we enter the disco era I think.

Mr. Lordi: ‘Yes! For this album we went to a studio where a lot of disco records were made in the seventies and early eighties. It was very strange, because the guy in the studio said that all we had to do is open up the mikes and the sound will be there. And so it was (laughs). The whole setting of the studio is to get that sound. It was the most enjoyable record to make, we had so much fun. The songs are happy, it’s fucking disco you know. The purpose of disco is to make you move on the dancefloor, to make you tap your feet. Everybody in the studio was in a happy mood.’

Then there’s ‘The Masterbeast From The Moon’ which is a different beast with some spacey sounds, some melodic rock influences and even progressive elements.

Mr. Lordi: ‘Yes, it’s kind of a conceptual album. It’s progressive with a full story line, it’s almost like a movie score. It’s like an homage and tribute to some of the Rush albums. Through an album like ‘The Elder’ by Kiss, I was more turned towards bands like Rush and Pink Floyd. It is a piano based album and not a real band album. On this album the band is just giving a background structure. You can take that all away and it still stands. But you can’t take the piano off. This is an album written on piano and the band is just backing it up. It’s a different kind of monster! In contrast to the disco album where everybody was having fun, this is really serious. With this kind of record you really try to keep your focus on what you are trying to do. You really try to do something that is artistically high level. We made all these records in the right sequence, so after doing ‘Superflytrap’, this was really cool. Hella (keyboard player – GR) played the whole album in just one day. She had a classical training and could read from the scores and felt totally in her comfort zone. The arrangements and orchestrations are my work. Some people think I got help for that, but I didn’t, I know my shit! I may have some advice sometimes about the range of some instruments. Like I wrote a flute part in an octave that can’t be played on a flute, so I gave the player the freedom to play it in the octave that can be done.’

Does the fourth album ‘Abusement Park’ have something to do with the Kiss movie ‘The Phantom Of The Park’ or The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’?

Mr. Lordi: (laughs) ‘Apart from the title, no! The pinball thing comes from the fact that I am a pinball machine collector myself. The guy I bought some pinball machines from told me that there’s never been a song about a pinball machine, well there’s of course the song by the Who, but that’s not about the machine itself. There’s a funny story about the cover, because I originally made it for Udo Dirkschneider, but his manager thought it wasn’t fit for his image, so I was glad that I could use it now for this album.’

The fifth album is called ‘Humanimals’ and is more like a melodic rock album.

Mr. Lordi: ‘Right, it’s inspired by late eighties AOR and there's one name that is crucial: Desmond Child. The idea behind this album is that if I had recorded this in that period with Desmond Child as a co-writer, what would it have sounded like? Desmond Child is my favorite songwriter of all times, he’s the fuckin’ master of the universe! The last song of the album ‘Humanimal’ was written during the sessions for ‘Killection’. In this box of seven albums there’s two that are actually my favorites and they are ‘Superflytrap’ and this one. In my head they are the best Lordi albums ever.’ (laughs)

Then we have ‘Abracadaver’ which is a real heavy metal album.

Mr. Lordi: ‘Sure, it’s a thrash metal album. This was the most challenging album of all, because nor I and nobody else in the band was fan of thrash- and speed metal in the past. I was more into hair-metal and AOR at the time that bands like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax came on to the scene. It was not my style, but all my friends were listening to that, so I heard them all. I was the only one that was still listening to Kiss or twisted Sister and Wasp or Alice Cooper. I didn’t buy any of those thrash and speed albums, but still I was influenced by them. I got later interested when Judas Priest released ‘Painkiller’ and when bands like Testament came up. ‘Abracadaver’ was the first time that I tried to write thrash or speed metal. Those original bands tried to do exactly the opposite of what bands like Kiss, Scorpions or Def Leppard were doing. I was mostly formed by the way someone like Desmond Child would write a song and doing this exercise was very interesting for me. Those guys use different chords and make it sound twisted or out of tune. That’s how you write it. For me it was an interesting experience, but Amen (guitar player – GR) was asking me what the hell this was all about. Amen is an AC/DC guy, he’s an Ace Frehley guy, he plays rock’n’roll. He’s doing all the solo’s and acoustic parts. I do most of the rhythm parts on the albums, because I have a More diverse style of playing. I told him to listen to Kerry King (Slayer – GR) and Kirk Hammett (Metallica -GR) and figure out what they are doing. He said “it’s just noise!” I said “exactly” (laughs), it’s not about the melody at all. So he learned to do a lot of shredding.’

Last but not least there’s the seventh album ‘Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular’ which is more like electronic, industrial.

Mr. Lordi: ‘Yeah, it’s different again. This is exactly how I sounded like in 1995. I was going back to my old demo’s. This was absolutely the easiest album to make because I’ve been there. 1995 was the year that the first song by Lordi was officially released. It was a local compilation album where different bands got a song. Ours was called ‘Inferno’. I thought it would be interesting to make the reality and the fiction meet and go full circle. I intended to include that song, but after all I didn’t because it’s crap, bullshit. It isn’t any good. You can hear it on You tube. But style-wise, it’s that industrial rock or metal thing. But it’s also a very progressive album, with lots of different parts and things.’

So, that’s an impressive new release altogether, but the question now is, how you are going to manage this in a live situation?

Mr. Lordi: It’s difficult for any band that has more than five albums to select songs for a live set of seventy-five minutes. What we are probably going to do is do one song of each album, but we have to make the choices ourselves. That is not always what the fans would like to hear. I’ve been in that situation myself as a member of the audience. We will go on tour with Sabaton, but we will play as a support, so we will have only forty-five minutes or so. That is not the place to play twelve minute songs (laughs). So, it will be the familiar songs like ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ and maybe a couple of the singles that come off the ‘Lordiversity’ box. After that, there will be the festival season, but again, it is not the right place to play new material. The people there want to have a good time and the music is a soundtrack to the party. It will be a year form now until we are going to be on our own tour. That will be the first time that we can think of playing songs from ‘Lordiversity’. Of course we will do a couple on the Sabaton tour and on the festivals, but it can only really start within a year!

Lordi is a band where the horror theme is never far away. Is that also the case in all seven albums?

Mr. Lordi: ‘Sure there's some horror on every album. Mind you, this is Lordi, I love the horror theme and there will also be some dirty sex’ (LOL).

 

The 7-album box was released in late November 2021 on cd and on vinyl (AFM Records). It's a great piece of work! I really love it. (GR)