Interview with Lordi — “All these genres here are actually ingredients of your standard normal Lordi sound.”

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Right before the pandemic, Finnish hard rock act LORDI had the idea to create a fictional complication album, Killection,” with songs spanning from a fictional 40-year period. Now, LORDI are releasing the back catalogue for that compilation album: seven albums in one day under the moniker of “Lordiversity.” We talked with Mr. Lordi himself about the upcoming records. Watch the video here or read the complete transcript below…

Hi Mr. Lordi, thank you so much for doing this promo day. Hope you’re not too hungry, I was just informed you haven’t eaten all day!

I’m good. I just ate half a chocolate bar. [laughs]

So well it’s been a while since we last chatted. How have you been during this pandemic?

Busy as fuck.

I can imagine. Seven albums! The last time we talked, it was about Killection,” of course. You mentioned then that “Killection” was supposed to give the idea to fans that your band had existed for 40 years. Now you’ve been working on the back catalogue for these fictional 40 years. How was the experience for you?

Very, very nice. I would say that these corona times or the corona era, or whatever you want to call it has been one of the best goddamn times of my whole career. A lot of us didn’t have to go anywhere, so there was time to create and there was time to do this. I mean, let’s face it, without corona, this wouldn’t have been possible. So I’ve been very creative. I’ve been very productive. Well, and now as an outcome of that, there are seven full albums now. So I’ve been good.

That’s insane! You mentioned that, of course, this is a byproduct of the pandemic and I read also that you were originally wanted to release ten albums. Did you feel like you had to compromise a little bit because the label said you can only do seven?

Oh, absolutely. There’s 35 songs that I did demos for that were left over from this, you know. We really did have to compromise because we had to select the albums that we’re not going to be doing from the “Killection” timeline, that were the albums that were mentioned, on the “Killection” compilation. So we had to choose the other stuff we’re not doing. So we kind of combined [them] because there were quite a few albums from the ’80s on “Killection,” I think four. I think that we skipped three of them from the ’80s. We made it work. Luckily, on every album, there are quite a few songs, so you could touch all these different genres there. That being said, while we all already were deep in the process and we had all the plans locked, that’s when I realized that, oh shit, we should have done a country album. And we should have done a complete electronic album. So that’s two things I would have liked to do. But those ideas came in too late.

Yeah, that was actually going to be one of my questions whether you have any genre that you would still be interested in exploring. Anyhow, is that something that might still happen in the future, considering you also have three unfinished albums.

Well, as long as there are people that are stupid enough to finance my stupid ideas, sure. I mean, I’m not the one to blame. [laughs]

Did it take you long to convince the label or were they on board from the getgo?

It was funny. When I first got the idea, I was laughing out loud with myself at home like “hihihihi this is crazy” for a few days. I had some other ideas too, but this was the only one that really made me smile. And so I called our drummer, Mana. And we came up with a plan of how could we do this. Then, I called our A&R, Janne, who said that absolutely not, that is the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard. And it took like one hour and 15 minutes to convince him and he said, “sure, I will say okay, I am on a board, but not because I want to be part of this craziness, but I can tell you that okay, I’m on board because I know it’s safe to say that I’m okay because I know that your label and your manager will tell you to fuck off.” And then, sure, we’ll see about that. I called our manager and he said that “it’s the best idea you’ve ever had.” And then he started negotiating with label and the label did not say no, but they didn’t not give a clear yes either. I understand that, because they had to really think about how to finance it, how to… with all the logistics marketing, advertising, release schedule, how the hell… So it took a few months, maybe two or three months for them to actually come up with the final green light and final yes. But as a result of that, they said well, ten is too much but seven we can do.

Well, it’s still a nice compromise, I guess. Did it take them longer to decide over the seven albums than it took you to write the album?

No, no, I was waiting. Our manager told me that, start writing stuff. But nope, I am not going to start writing before I get a green light. I am not going to do anything for nothing or in vain, so I waited for the final yes, and then I wrote everything in three months, all seven albums.

When we talked about “Killection,” you mentioned that you were kind of annoyed with the fact that all the songs on an album sound the same and wanted to break free from that. Now, you’re going back to that, but then seven times. How was the experience altogether?

This was nice and fun to play around with the cliches of any given genre in any given time. It was so much fun to figure it out. How those certain sounds were done and what you need to do, how to make certain songs or certain genres sound as as authentic as possible. What are the writing things that makes it… there are all these little things that are so much fun to actually… it’s good to have some sort of set rules that you kind of have to follow. It’s nice. And you’re given the rules of the game and then you are playing the game and it’s quite fun actually.

How much research went into this whole project?

Basically, what I did was for every album, I wrote them in a chronological order in the timeline. So for example, for let’s say the ’75 album, for 2-3 days, I had an intensive listening session with myself. I only listened to the first three KISS albums and then some Alice Cooper, some BLACK SABBATH, some AC/DC, and I just wanted to get into the mood. I did not touch any instrument. I was just soaking it in. So after 2-3 days, my mind was completely in that world. So I automatically started writing that kind of stuff and then I repeated that with every single album. Then, I listened to disco for a few days and stuff. And so on. Of course, with some genres, I did do some research and kind of like well… not research, but analyzing and just educating myself by really listening to what the different instruments are doing in different eras. Basically, most of that work, I already did for “Killection.” I already knew that, so it was really relatively easy.

The only genre that was a bit challenging or not as easy as the others was the thrash metal thing, because that is not something I listen to a lot, or not at the time when it came out. I never tried to write songs in a thrash metal style. So for me, it was a big question mark, how to crack the code because when I realized that actually the code of writing a thrash metal sounding song is to do everything completely the opposite way than what the guys do that I was listening to at the time, the AOR / hair metal guys. To do it it with completely opposite choices of melodic structures and what scale to use. You always have to change it one half step upward, up, or down, or something like that. So you make it sound a little bit out of key in a way and that’s how you make this evil sounding thrash metal riff. That’s when I realized that okay, everything when it comes to harmonies and melodies, when your ear tells you that it should be major chord, it should be minor, and the other way around. So you are doing the exact opposite, that’s when I cracked the code and I did everything opposite to hair metal, and that’s how you write thrash metal sounding riffs. And it worked.

I was actually very surprised by that specific album because it sounds like it’s out of your comfort zone a little bit, but at the same time, it sounds very LORDI; a nice balance. “Killection” supposedly holds the best tracks of these now seven albums. If you look back, do you think “Killection” would still contain the same tracks?

Now if there would be “Killection,” I don’t think any of the songs on “Killection” would be on “Killection.” I don’t think so.

I also noticed that you kept the SCG intros. Is it your idea or goal that people listen to the albums in a chronological order?

I would like people to listen to these albums the same way they would listen to any band’s back catalogue. If they feel like listening to okay what did this band do in ’84, or what did they do in ’75? Or let’s listen to the mid ’90s. I don’t think people are listening to any band’s catalogue or album. If they find a new band, oh, it’s been there for a long time that they would actually listen to the albums chronologically on the timeline. I don’t think that, but I don’t really give a fuck how people are listening to them but I would just give advice to keep an open mind. If you already know that I fucking hate disco, then don’t listen to that. You know, unless you share the exact same taste in music as me, there are bound to be a few albums that you are going to hate and probably a few others that you will like, that’s how it’s going to go. Unless you have exactly the same taste in music that I have. Then you will love all of those albums. For me, and I only realized this like this summer or a few months ago, I realized that the thing is that all these genres here are actually ingredients of your standard normal LORDI sound. You need a little bit of disco, a little bit of thrash, and you need a little bit of this and that, you put them in my head, which is a pot, and then you stir the pot, and then you get the soup out. That’s where you get your standard normal LORDI sound, because they’re all influences that I have. Now the soup is served, all the ingredients are served separately. It was really much fun to write in that style and really have those rules and guidelines on how it would sound like if we would do just disco, for example. For instance, the album “Abusement Park,” which is like early ’80s rock or heavy rock, and then the AOR [albums], those are not that far from typical LORDI stuff. Because, you know, I’m so highly influenced by these things, so I don’t think it sounds writing-wise that much different from your average LORDI. Sound-wise, we try to make it to sound like it’s from from the ’80s.

You already mentioned that there was a lot of planning involved related to the label side of things. Was there an equal workload while writing the album? Did you do something differently?

Well, like I said, I listened to a lot of music, then I soak it in, and then I just sit down and start writing. That’s how I did this. I don’t really know how to answer that. I mean I just do what I do and then I can go into this zone – as I call it – and then, I’m just there without eating without anything. I lose track of time. It’s something very natural for me.

What about the recording process? I guess one album is already a lot of work. How about seven?

Well, it wasn’t seven times the work actually. We had a formula what we came up with with Mana, originally. We came up with this formula, we decided on how many songs are going to be on each album, that was one of the key factors here. Then another thing was that I was recording a lot of the songs at my work room. Usually, that would be the time when I record the demos, but then we skipped the demo phase completely. So the demos that I was writing and recording were already the albums that we were doing. So we skipped that stage completely, which meant that I had to make a huge digital leap from 1992 to 2020, meaning that the first thing that we got from the recording budget was a brand new Apple computer with ProTools and all that, and I had to learn how to use that all of a sudden. So I recorded most of the stuff at my home by myself and then when I was done, I sent it to the next guy, and they went to the studio recording the album. The only album that we did in the same way as our “Killection,” for example, or what we usually do, was to “Skekeletric Dinosaur,” the 1975 [album], which is recorded analogue. Even “Superflytrap,” we did go to the studio to record the drums and bass there. But it took 9 months for us to record all seven albums. So it sounds like whoa, but actually it’s not. It’s a little bit more than a month for an album. There are albums in the world that were done in a fucking week. Including mixing! So it’s nothing special really. There’s plenty of time in 6 weeks, for example, to record and produce an album. No problem.

You mentioned that you learned how to use ProTools. Is there anything else you learned in the process?

I don’t think I learned anything about myself in the process. No. Well, if it’s even possible, I think I’m more full of myself than I was. [laughs] Hey, look what I can do! Try to do the same.

Do you know if there are any other bands in the world who have released seven albums in one day?

Up until this point, literally half an hour ago. Until that point, I knew that we were the only band in the world who has ever done anything like that. Half an hour ago, someone just told me that two weeks ago, some American band released nine albums. I have no idea who they are now. But I’m going to check out what it was. But that’s what I’ve just heard. Fuck.

I blame the label. If you would have gotten a green light for the 10 albums. [laughter]

Yeah, record labels should always listen to me.

I come from an art background. When you released “Killection,” I thought the concept was something an artist would do. Do you see this whole project as an art project?

Yeah. It’s not just about music. Even though it’s 95-90% of the whole package, it’s not just the music, it has to have everything else there too, with the visuals, with the album covers, with all the artwork, and with all the graphics. It’s a full thing. I asked the label guys when I was about to do the phoners, whether journalists get the full album or did they just get them a link to listen to them? No, no, we just got the link as a pre-listening. Fuck. That means you’re missing the point, unless you see the album cover. You cannot read the booklets and shit like that. You’re missing the fucking point, that is so shitty, because it is part of it. It’s meant to be consumed in a way that you are also seeing something, so not only listening.

I honestly thought that was a shame as well. I would have very much have liked to have the physical product before asking these questions, because I’m sure it’s worth the while. What can you tell fans about the box set actually?

Well, there’s seven different albums. Well, of course, if you look at the album covers, for example, those you can see already online. So you know, every album has its own sound and its own visual design. So they are trying to be as accurate of a picture of each time as we could do it, including the album’s front cover artwork. If you get the box set, then all the booklets are similar on all the albums. If you get the CD boxset, then you’ll get an actual big poster by using the seven part booklet strips. So this little thing. In the vinyl box set, you get this big book. It’s always fun to have like little… I already forgot your question, by the way. [laughter]

That’s okay. You pretty much answered it anyway! So, you’re also releasing a Christmas song and music video. What can you tell fans about that?

Well, it comes out this Wednesday. Yeah, it’s a Christmas song called “Merry Blah Blah Blah.” It’s an animation and it was made by me and my good friend Mr. Kaarle. We started doing this in August already, so we had this song already in last August or something. That was our first test try-out for an animation. We did that and now, yeah, this was the real thing and we barely made it to the deadline with this video. So what can I say? Well take a look and listen to it. It’s a Christmas song by LORDI, so the attempt was to turn things completely upside down. So what if Santa this year would actually grant your wishes, whatever you wish for, and what if you would wish for revenge on someone or something. So there are, for example, pigs and turkeys who are eating people now and Christmas trees who are cutting down people, and put them up inside, you know, standing in the corner for a month and cry out.

I see. So very jolly things, once again. It’s a bit tricky still to to ask you about your next plans. But are you planning to bring these seven albums to the stage?

Ask any band that has seven, now we have ten albums, but in few days we have seventeen. You cannot do that. You just cannot do that. Then we will have seventeen albums of material to choose from to do live and obviously we are not going to be able to do that. On our own tour – whenever that’s going to happen – we might be able to do one song from each album. That’s within the realm of possibilities, but not likely because even on these seven albums, there are, for example, “The Masterbeast From the Moon,” there’s not that many songs on the album that we could pull off live, that it would do justice for those songs. I don’t think it would sound that good. That’s not the style of music that we should be even trying to attempt live. Maybe a few songs here and there. We could, but you know, it depends on the genre. But I would say that maybe at best we could do one song one off each album. But then there’s this “Monsterman” and “Hallelujah” that we kind of have to do. They have their spot on the on the set too.

Alright! I think that’s it for my questions. Any last thoughts you want to share with our readers?

Merry Christmas. I mean, Merry Blah Blah Blah.

Written by Laureline Tilkin