LORDI‘s newest release, “Killection,” took the monster rockers to a new level with a concept based on a fictional compilation album. While all of our questions will need to wait for Wille’s interview next month, we did get a chance to speak with the two artists, Henriikka Klint-Connelly and Sanna Vakkala, who were brought on to do art for the limited edition boxed set!
Hi and thanks for taking the time to do this interview! How does it feel, waiting to see your artwork published?
H. Klint: The pleasure is ours! And the feeling is really unreal, in a good way. As a small independent artist, this kind of opportunity doesn’t come everyday. So this all still feels amazingly unbelievable.
Sanna V.: Thank you for having us! It’s a nice mix of slightly nerve-wracking but also very rewarding. As a digital artist it’s always exciting to see your work in physical form, printed on the paper, but the scale of this project is beyond my comprehension.
Have either of you been published before?
HK: If I don’t count the Liminka School of Arts comics class’ annual publication “Mörmörutto” all the way back in 2012, I’ve self-published two comic books, the latest being “Hereafter” in 2016. I also did the gate-fold art for “Winterider“ by EVERFROST.
SV: This is the first time for me! I’ve done some public murals, paintings and other random projects, but I’ve not had my comic art published before.
We’ve heard through the grapevine that Mr. Lordi saw your artwork at Kemin Sarjakuvakeskus [Kemi’s Comic Book Center]? What exactly is the story of how you became a part of this project?
HK: We met Mr. Lordi at the renewed Arctic Gems & Comics VIP opening and ended up having a pleasant chit-chat; during the discussion he complimented our works on the wall and hinted at something about looking for artists for a comic-related project. At that time, I had no idea it would be LORDI‘s 10th studio album of all things, until he contacted me a few months later.
SV: We are both volunteers at the Arctic Comics Center in Kemi, now known as Arctic Gems & Comics, which hosts a wonderful collection of comics from around the world as well as a beautiful gemstone gallery under the same roof. We moved the Comics Center into the same building with the gemstone gallery and helped with some painting and poster work. Therefore, we were the first ones to get our art on display on the small Local Artists Wall, which Mr. Lordi was introduced to by the chairman of the Comics Center during the opening event. Some of LORDI’s artwork is also a part of the comic exhibition, but I don’t think either of us knew he was going to be there.
Were there other artists in consideration that you know about, or was it just you two? And, do you know if Mr. Lordi was out looking for artists for the project, or was it originally just Mr. Kaarle and himself doing the art and he added you in when he saw your art in the Sarjakuvakeskus?
HK: He mentioned he was considering someone else too but I’m not sure who it was.
SV: I don’t believe there was any particular hunt for fresh artists at play. It was a very organic and spontaneous conversation about how he could use some extra hands for his band’s comic projects as life sometimes gets in the way of creativity and time management becomes a problem. He liked our art styles and expressed his interest in getting us on board for the next album’s comic book, and of course we wanted to do it! We were buzzing about it all day afterwards!
So how many songs did each of you draw? And who decided which artist did which song? Were there any squabbles/arguments over who did which song, or was it easy to decide?
HK: We were given free hands when choosing which songs to pick. The only rule was that the same artist shouldn’t draw two songs in a row, so there would be a steady variation between the art styles. We worked really well as a team, so there were no problems deciding who would draw what.
SV: We were four artists against eleven tracks that we needed to cover. Mr. Lordi let us pick the songs we liked the best, which gave us the best story ideas and so on, and we figured it out among ourselves. Mr. Lordi ended up drawing two comics and illustrating the radio intermissions while Henriikka, Mr. Kaarle, and I each drew three comics. Luckily we all had fairly different preferences so we mostly got the songs we really liked, and we could also swap them freely.
Obviously you got to see the lyrics for the songs – did you get to listen to the album as well?
HK: Yes we did. This way we got a good idea of what we were working with. I’m the kind of person who starts to imagine music videos and animated movie-like scenes in my mind when I listen to music, so being able to listen to the whole album made conceptualizing, visualizing, and eventually storyboarding an even easier task. And of course, music also brings inspiration to the work.
SV: Yes! We got the chance to listen to the entire album while choosing the songs we wanted to illustrate. I didn’t remember the last time I had actually laid down on the bed and just listened to a whole album of music, and it was a very special moment. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Do you have one or two favorite songs from the album, and are they different from the songs you chose to draw, or did you want to draw your favorite songs?
HK: On the first listen I right away loved “I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You” and I’m actually grateful that Sanna and I decided to swap each other’s songs so I got a chance to draw that one. I also really started to warm up to “Cutterfly” as I was drawing it.
SV: “I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You” and “Evil” are probably my favorites. I claimed “Evil” as soon as I heard it, as I visualized a story for it right away. I think I also did the same with “I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You,” but Henriikka and I decided to switch that song and “Like a Bee to the Honey” between us later on.
If there was one more song you would’ve wanted to draw, which one would it have been?
HK: Maybe “Up to No Good” but it’s right before “Cutterfly” in the tracklist, so the song order rule was in the way of that decision, haha!
SV: “I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You,” of course, but Henriikka already nailed that one!
Finally, for everyone else out there who wants to see more of your artwork, how do we find you/what should we look out for?
HK: Right now I’m illustrating stories for children in a certain project that’s still in progress, so keep an eye out for that. I can be found on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter under usernames henriak or henriak92 and I also have a home/portfolio-site where more info and my regular cutesy art can be found. See you there!
Interview by Bear Wiseman