Interview with Lordi — “It’s the default setting of a Finn, the social distancing.”


LORDI recently released their latest album “Killection,” but in the midst of promoting the album throughout Europe, their tour was postponed due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. The band is now hosting an online concert instead on 22 May 2020. We had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Lordi about their tour, playing the new songs live, and the upcoming streaming concert. Read the entire interview below or listen to the audio.

Hi Mr. Lordi! First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview; how are you doing during these complicated times?

I’ve been fucking busy. Surprisingly busy. I mean the tour got cut short when was it? Two months ago or something like that. Immediately after that, within two days I started to think about the streaming concert and we started setting it up. Basically, up until today, there are two things that have been occupying my time, one being the stream, the other one is thinking about the new record because you have to use this spare time for something. You just can’t stay at home and roll your thumbs, so funnily enough, even though the tour was cut in half and it will be postponed to next February, so almost a year, I haven’t had any spare time at all (laughs). I’ve been busy as fuck.

You mentioned that you had to postpone your tour and cut it short right in the middle. Can you tell us what went down while you were still on the road? I hope it wasn’t too chaotic?

No, it was interesting actually, because we started the tour in mid-February. I think February 16th was the first show and within the first week or week and a half, we were already in Italy. We played in Lombardia and Venice or something like that and a few days after that we went to Austria. There was only a gap of two or three days and then we noticed that in Lombardia, exactly where we were just a few days before, the outburst of the virus had begun. Then, we were supposed to go to Rome and Florence the week after that, but we decided to make a U-turn, three hours before the Rome area and cancel those two Italian shows. We thought that if we get caught in Italy, we are not going to be able to continue the tour if they close the borders. Little did we know that at that time, this whole virus outbreak would actually go across Europe and the whole world. We were just saving that week and the tour, so funnily enough, one week later after that, we were in Spain, in Madrid and Barcelona and (laughs) a few days later after we left Spain then in Spain the same thing happened, the corona outbreak happened there. So eventually it caught up to us. We actually got to do 20 gigs, which was exactly one month. It was during mid-March when we had to stop. One Saturday, when we were playing in Leipzig in Germany, we were supposed to play in Stuttgart on Sunday evening, but instead, I found myself on my home sofa on that evening rather than Stuttgart on stage (laughs), that was interesting, fucking weird I have to say because it all happened so fast. Obviously, in the last weeks of the tour, we were still checking out the situation and every single day was a struggle. We didn’t know whether the show was going to happen or not, but obviously, we didn’t cancel anything anymore. We were just waiting for the official statement, the venues, the locals, and the administrators of each country, each area, and counties to make the decision and I know that it’s the same thing with venues and promoters too. Nobody wants to cancel anything or postpone anything before it is the only choice. But yeah, it was interesting.

Some bands who were on the road during the same period and in the same area got sick. I hope everyone in LORDI stayed healthy.

Well, the good thing is that none of us are healthy to begin with and everybody is sick. Everybody who tours knows that they are gonna get the flu at some point of the tour. I would say that most of us or at least half of us had some sort of flu already during the tour. Some people in our crew and in our band think that maybe they even had the coronavirus already, but a really mild version of the infection. I don’t know whether I have had it or not, but I’m good. I was healthy. Most of the crew and the band were all good, nothing more than a little sniffy nose.

Here’s the thing, personally, I’m not afraid. It’s really difficult for me to relate to people who are really fucking scared about the corona, for example. I understand it and I take it very seriously, but for me personally, if I get it, I’ll get it, if it’s serious, then it is, if it kills me, then it kills me. There’s no use of worrying before it happens. That’s my motto in life, the only thing that I’m worried about is that if I have it and I’m not aware of it, that I, for example, give the disease to my mom, who is over 80 years old. It could be fatal to her. That’s my only concern about the corona situation personally, but of course, I take it seriously. I’m not going around hugging people (laughs) or sneezing and shit like that, but then again, for me, because I live in the middle of a forest, I rarely have any human contact anyway on a daily basis. I don’t see people, I enjoy my solitude, you know what I mean? The only place where I see people is when I go to the grocery store, or Prisma, so when I go to get some food or when I go to see my mom. I’m used to the whole isolation thing anyways. I mean, one could even say that in my normal routine life corona has no effect, it’s no different to me! (laughs)

Sounds very Finnish of you! (laughs)

Yeah (laughs). For Finns, social distancing is pretty natural. Have you ever seen a fucking bus stop in Finland where there are people who are actually standing next to each other? No! No one fucking does that, there are at least two meters between us anyway, so it’s a natural distance for Finland and we don’t fucking care. Social distance, what is that? It’s the default setting of a Finn, the social distancing.

Last time we talked to you was about the release of “Killection” but by now the album has been out for a little while and you have even played some of those songs live. How was the experience playing the new songs?

Good, as always. It’s always fun to play new songs, but it’s completely different to play the songs in the studio and especially at the rehearsal loft than when you compare it to playing in front of a live audience. During the shows, it’s influenced by the audience and the crowd’s reactions. Once again, I and the band were wrong. We decided to play “Blow My Fuse,” because it’s one of the band’s favorite songs on the album. We noticed that that song that didn’t go to well with the audiences and then we kept hearing that we should play “Cutterfly” and fans were asking why we didn’t play it. Well, we decided not to play “Cutterfly” on the tour, (laughs) we didn’t rehearse it. That’s how it usually goes. Most of the time it seems like the fans and the band have different opinions on the favorite songs on every album. It’s always good to play new songs and we will continue playing the songs again next year (laughs) when the tour finally continues in one year.

Well actually, now I have to correct myself because there is still a chance that we will continue the Finnish leg of the tour in September. That’s the only part of the gigs and the shows that has been postponed to this year. Everything else, all the festivals, every single performance that we have agreed on this year, has been postponed to next year, to 2021. The Finnish shows, however, are still in the air. They might happen in September, but of course that’s up to the Finnish government and up to the Finnish situation if those shows are gonna happen or not, we’ll see.

You’re obviously also going to do a three hour livestream concert, you mentioned it won’t be a typical LORDI gig and it’s not going to be a typical streaming concert; what do you have in store for the fans?

Well, the stream will be completely different than what we would usually do. The point is that I find it quite embarrassing in a way. It makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s awkward to watch a band playing live when there’s no audience. It just feels wrong and it feels awkward and clumsy, so we decided not to do that. That was one thing. Another thing is that we cannot help the situation, because when our tour got cut short, we had to leave all of our gear in Germany. It’s right there, right now even, in Germany behind closed borders because everything went so fast. As I said, we were in Leipzig on Saturday and on Sunday we were already back in Finland. Everything that we need for a show is in Germany right now, so what can we do? What can we do that is worth watching? We decided to go to the complete other extreme.

What we’re doing now since we don’t have the show, we don’t have the stage setting, we don’t have the technique or anything. So we’re going to sit down in a ring with all the time of the world, at least three hours, that’s a promise. We are playing songs as if we were at the rehearsal loft, just shooting riffs, talking bullshit, and smoking cigarettes. The fans decide the setlist, not all of it, but most of it. We asked their opinions and their wishes, and we based the setlist for the stream on those requests. That means that we have to rehearse a lot of songs that we have never played before or the last time we played them was 2004 or something. That was a mistake (laughs) so yeah, it’s definitely going to be a different LORDI experience because even though we look nice and pretty, we are not gonna be jumping around like crazy, because that’s not the whole thing. We’re actually sitting on bar stools and playing the songs to each other in a way and to the fans, of course. In between every song, we get questions from fans and we will answer them.

We are not in a rush at all, we are gonna take our time now to take it easy, for example. If we fuck up some songs, we might play them again because (laughs) honestly, many of those songs are the kinds of songs that we have never ever played before and many of those songs are meant to be B-sides or bonus tracks. They were written or arranged in a way that we thought we would never ever have to play them live, but no, since we asked, and the fans told us what songs they wanna hear, we are playing them live. There are a few songs that turned out to be more difficult to play than we thought, you know, not technically but just to get them working properly, but as always… I always say the same thing, we try our hardest not to suck. (laughs)

Lordi at Jäähalli (2019) – © Laureline Tilkin

Yeah, this is indeed a very different kind of experience. You’re used to playing on big stages all around the world; are you looking forward to it?

I am, because it’s going to be loose and relaxed, or at least I think it will be. When you do a LORDI show, everything is timed to the second pretty much. We know that next song we are gonna do this, the next song there are the wings, then there’s the saw then there’s some other effect or the drum solo with the confetti or whatever. There are all these little factors that we have to remember that have nothing to do with the music that, when you play the songs, you have to concentrate on the playing and performing the songs but also there are the stage effects and the stage performance you need to think of. So this is completely different.

Now we can actually just concentrate on the performance, only to play and play those songs. I’m very much looking forward to it, even though we have had two long rehearsals for the stream and the last one being on Sunday, a few days ago (laughs). It’s gonna be hard on my voice, I can tell you that. It’s not a problem for an hour and a half or two hours, no problem. It’s not even a problem to do a three-hour live stream and doing twenty-something songs. It’s not a problem, but the length of the whole thing that we’re gonna do it in three hours and if it goes over three hours then it goes over. We are not gonna cut short if the time goes by and the time flies, then we make it longer. It doesn’t matter, but it’s gonna be, in some ways it’s going to be more difficult than a LORDI show. At least then you know that it’s going to be done in one hour and forty minutes, this won’t be done until the last song is played that we decided to play.

We will answer or try to answer as many as possible of the fans’ questions that we are getting there on the show. We have a host present during the show who will keep up the conversation and we have already shot inserts for the stream. There’s a little bit more content to it than your typical standard stream. There’s more to it, it’s more like a LORDI TV show, you know. It’s a LORDI studio live with extras. We even have some cool people saying hello for the LORDI fans, we have Dee Schnider, we have Michael Monroe, and people like that.

Lordi at Jäähalli (2019) – © Laureline Tilkin

Alright, that sounds very cool. I’m down to my last question, I remember from last time that you never know what to say when asked for your last words, so instead, I’m going to ask you instead how fans can support you the best way?

Yeah (laughs), the best way to support us is to buy tickets to watch the stream. Many people have been asking us why some bands are doing it for free and why LORDI fans have to pay for the ticket. Here’s the thing, have you ever gotten for free into a LORDI show unless you are working there or you are working for a media? I mean, of course, obviously, we want to get paid for our work (laughs). There are a lot of expenses because we try to do it in a professional way with a professional film crew and production company, so it will sound good, it should sound good and look good. So the best way to support the band at the moment is obviously to get a ticket if you are into seeing LORDI. There are people who are asking if it’s going to be on YouTube afterwards… No, it’s not going to be on YouTube and the second we will see that it is on YouTube, we will take it down. That’s the whole point, (laughs) we are not doing this for free. For some people, it’s impossible to understand that bands are not doing it for free. This is our job, this is our livelihood, this is what we’re doing. For some people, it’s impossible to understand that musicians need to pay their rent and buy their food too! (laughs) There are expenses for living for musicians too and it’s just crazy because there are people think that if it’s on the internet it’s supposed to be for free. (laughs) Well, in our case no. But to conclude your question, yes, the best way to support LORDI at the moment is to buy the ticket for the stream and watch it if you want to (laughs).

Alright, thank you so much for the interview. Best of luck with the show!

Thank you, we’re gonna need some luck because like I said, difficult setlist for the band (laughs).