11th December 2014
Interview by Rowena Lamb
Photographs by Inty Malcom
Prior to their last gig on this tour, IV managed to grab some time with Olli and Pepe for a quick chat.
First of all welcome back to the UK, but already you’re about the leave the UK as well.
Olli: Last Blast from the Past, the last show.
And to end it in London.
Olli:Yeah it’s really great. Even though it’s just a mini tour in a sense as we’ve only had like 7 dates.
Pepe: In the past we’ve done a whole month so this feels like a really small trip to the UK.
Olli: But don’t worry we’ll definitely come back later.
With your video for ‘Back To Paradise’ being set in Camden, I’m assuming that was the inspiration for your lyrics; take me back to London.
Olli: You said it perfect, I mean that’s exactly what I wrote about.
You’re lying to me but I appreciate it. So what was the inspiration for those lyrics.
Olli: Back To Paradise lyrics? I wrote it so long ago.
Pepe: You were just a little boy back then.
Olli: Yeah. The process of writing that song was so fragmented. Basically it’s just my thoughts of how to handle this whole tour life, being on stage. How I see rock and roll; this is paradise for me and being on that stage it the best thing I can do with my pants on. You know what I mean. The first line, ‘this is the opening night, for you and me and the rest of our lives alive’ it’s like, we’re here, right here right now. It would be pointless to be on stage without the crowd, so I’m just singing to the crowd and asking, begging, please take me back to paradise and do that roar, do that sound.
So what you’re saying is that the London crowd is the best crowd.
Olli: Of course.
Pepe: We’ll see it tonight.
It should be.
Olli: Well that’s why we keep coming back. That should be the single. If we stopped coming back that would just mean the crowds suck here. It’s guaranteed that going to be back in London for sure.
I only came across Reckless Love about 6 months ago and I was going to ask about the inspiration for the lyrics, but it’s pretty obvious for a lot of the songs that much of it comes from a very healthy appreciation of women.
Olli: Yes, and the question is?
When you’re sat there with the lyrics, I’m not sure I want to know what you were thinking about at the time, but how does the song writing process go?
Olli: The usual process is that he (Pepe) sends me a rough demo of the song, basically just an acoustic guitar and his voice.
Pepe: Just acoustic guitar and gibberish lyric melody.
Olli: Or just na na na na na. That’s like the blue print for me and I just start doing the word puzzle and I put syllables after another and see if it makes any sense.
One of the things I noticed and liked when I first heard your songs is that because of the genre, it’s instantly recognisable. Normally it takes me quite a while to get into a new band, but straight away though I didn’t know Reckless Love, I felt I knew the music.
Olli: That was the aim when we first started out writing the first record.
Pepe: Yeah, we really tried to find a narrow road where there’s no one else really on that road at the moment.
Olli: Back then, during that time about 2009 when we wrote the first record, and the time before that there was hardly any hair metal bands doing their thing. Steel Panther wasn’t there and it was just empty. We grew up during the hair metal heyday during the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s and we adored the bands back then, their style and especially the energy, the positive energy. Because at least in my opinion, and I share that opinion with him, the fun stopped after the 90’s in rock and roll for some reason and 80’s hair metal and 80’s rock and roll was the last genre of music that really appreciated the true essences of rock and roll for us.
Pepe: Which started with Elvis already.
Olli: He wrote songs about partying and girls and love and just about having fun. He wasn’t gazing at his shoelaces and whining about how miserable he is. Because that’s bullshit, that’s not rock and roll, not to me.
After listening to three of your songs I was hooked, and bought your first two albums on the strength of those songs, especially after ‘Coconuts’ I bloody love that song.
Olli: Right we’ll scratch that one off the set list.
Was it a cunning marketing ploy for album sales to have that instantly recognisable music?
Olli: It was a conscious choice to kind of sharpen the edge, to make it more hair metal than it already was. But when we think back to that time, all the songs on the first record were basically there already we just reworked them. We use the word we super charged them to make it more hooky, to make them better songs. But we didn’t really change our style, we were always hair metal.
Do you have at the moment a favourite of all the ones you’ve done?
Pepe: The ones on the next record.
Pepe: Actually it’s a true answer, you’ll think so. We have lots of demos down for the next record, so they’re going to be good.
Is this going to come out next year?
Olli: Hopefully yes, but you never know in this business. I mean is there ever going to be another album, is it all going to be singles these days? Is it all just going to be videos on YouTube or Spotify, or what the hell is going to happen? One thing’s for sure, all the schedules and all the promises that we make, the timetables are going to be delayed. That’s always the thing in the music business.
You’re going to aim for this date, plan for that date and expect it this date.
Pepe: Yeah, that’s how it goes. I mean there’s more than a year until next year’s end, so I hope we’ll be able to get something out by that date.
Olli: There’s a really good chance.
You’re not going to promise anything, but maybe.
Olli: Better not because when we released Spirit we promised that it was going to be out next Spring. Because that time, two years ago we had everything ready; we had the whole complete album, artwork and everything we had it ready and then our record label said let’s postpone it for half a year.
Pepe: There’s a million reasons.
Olli: So we needed up just sitting on our arses [Pepe: Yeah and started writing the next one]. We went back on tour.
Still your first album was only in 2010, so to have a fourth album in 2015 that’s a lot really quickly.
Olli: When you put it that way it kind of is, but we aimed for 2014 originally.
Pepe: So it feels like it’s delayed already.
Olli: But when you think about it all our favourite bands like Van Halen, Kiss and Led Zeplin they just put out an album per year. But of course the music business has changed so much, but yeah we’ve been pretty busy.
But it works, because normally a band releases an album, you go one tour, and then you have to wait a bit and then you might get another album. So this way it does nothing but help build your fan base because you’ve either got an album or you’re touring. Do you think that’s something that’s helped you, having that constant movement?
Olli: It’s both helped us and in a way it’s been a necessity for us. We’ve put out a record after another quite frequently because that’s also to do with record company politics. If the first album had been released everywhere in the world we might have toured the world for two years, but since it was only released in the UK and Finland and I think in Japan, and that was it so we only toured for half a year or a year. After that we thought what the hell, lets make the next record.
Pepe: What’s there to do, let’s make a record.
Olli: So lets make it even better this time so our record label decides to release it everywhere (which never happened) and the same thing over again. We kept on touring and once the touring has stopped you cannot tour endlessly on one record. So we thought again let’s do another record.
So if you had that amount of time off to kill and you were going to do a secret album that would just be released on the internet, not under the name Reckless Love, what kind of album would you do?
Pepe: I think I’d make a really rootsy blues album, with lots of moaning and grating guitars. Or I’d make a Prince-like funk album, something like that.
Olli: I’d do something really metal, I really enjoyed ‘Metal Ass’ that we did for Spirit, so I’d do something Judas Priest-like; something really really heavy and metallic. Or King Diamond type of stuff, something really theatrical with lots of riffs. You know with Lady Gaga kind of imagery, really weird shapes and shit.
I’m now imagining a King Diamond/Lady Gaga mash up.
Olli: It would work won’t it?
Well you’d have to do it and prove it to us. You could release it untitled and see what people think.
Pepe: And then ta da! It’s us.
I don’t know if you want to say, but do you have any gigs or festivals lined up for the UK next year?
Olli: We don’t have anything lined up yet, or anything that we could speak about but there’s always plans. But nothing’s confirmed yet so again we can’t go and make too many promises. But one things for sure, we’re going to come back, eventually.
When you chose the title of your tour, are you saying that when you have your new album you’re not going to play any of the older songs again? The Last Back to the Blast Tour could suggest that.
Pepe: It could be.
Olli: Or it could not. Well, the thing is, we chose that name for two main reasons. One because we wanted to hear a Scottish reporter say it out loud during an interview. The other was the aspect to make you think that. We’re not sure what’s going to happen, but one thing’s for sure when we come back the next time we’re gong to have some new material for you guys. We’re not going to tour with this album anymore so it marks an end of an era in a sense for Spirit, so we’re going to move on.
Will you be playing any of the new songs tonight?
Olli: The set list is going to be a combination of all the three albums we’ve done so far.
Pepe: It’s going to be the best of the best.
Olli: But no new songs this time.
Before you leave the UK, is there anything you want to say to the UK crowds before you go?
Olli: Well it’s a don’t worry be happy kind of attitude. Keep that up!
Pepe: Thanks for coming out to our shows, it’s been a blast.
Olli: Let us be the soundtrack to your…blast.