rushonrock editor Simon Rushworth caught up with frontman Olli Herman ahead of the band’s return to the UK in March.
rushonrock: After 10 years together does it feel like this band’s journey is only just beginning?
Olli Herman: On the one hand 10 years feels like forever and on the other hand it only feels like yesterday when we got this band together. Usually bands fall apart after a month when the guitar player goes and joins another band and his old friends break up and the cycle begins again. I guess nobody had a big ego in our band or maybe we were just very boring characters but we never had any of that. Now we’ve got two albums out and we’re doing great!
rushonrock: After releasing two albums in a year are you making up for lost time?
OH: Once the first record was out it was in nobody’s interest to keep everyone waiting for the second album. I’m a music freak myself and I’m always desperate to hear new songs by the bands I love. We recorded the new album in between gigs which is easy enough to do in Finland. People only really come out to gigs at weekends back home so we’d play a couple of shows and then spend the rest of the week in the studio.
rushonrock: Why did you start off as a covers band?
OH: It didn’t last very long. People have made a bigger deal out of that than it was. We’ve been playing together for 10 years and that part of the band’s history only lasted for a year! It’s easier to get a band together and get straight into gigging if you start out playing covers. And we just didn’t have any songs at the start. We played other bands’ songs to keep ourselves amused until we’d written a bunch of our own.
rushonrock: What prompted the decision to write and play your own material?
OH: The ambition grew within us. We had no idea that we had the potential to write songs together. You have to learn how to write together as a group and until that point our songs weren’t that great! We didn’t want to publicise them until they were the way we imagined them. In the world today there are so many ways to hear new music all of the time that when you do decide to release something it has to be good. Otherwise it will just get lost in the crowd. It’s a DIY culture that we like but timing is everything. There are hundreds and thousands of bands out there and millions of songs written every day. You have to make sure your song is the best there is at any one time. As a result we really put some thought into our first album. On album number two we raised the bar even higher.
rushonrock: How did you do that?
OH: The first album was hair metal. Period. With the second album we had to go even further. We had to review the concept. Hair metal has been around for 30 years and the songs have been written over and over again. So we had to ask ourselves why bother doing it all over again ourselves? We had a philosophy. The hair metal bands were the pop bands of the time but just dressed up as metal bands. Look at Motley Crue’s Girls Girls Girls – it had a really poppy melody. And we wondered if we could do that. So we approached Animal Instinct as an 80s pop record with a nod to modern pop music. You look at the song Hot and that’s got the most modern pop influence underpinning it. It uses the dubstep part of Britney Spears’ Hold It Against Me and you can’t get much poppier than that!
rushonrock: Have you been surprised at the positive reaction to the band in the UK?
OH: We hadn’t done anything in the UK with the first album so we were kind of nervous before the first London show. We genuinely worried about whether there would be anyone in the crowd. We were standing behind the curtain and I couldn’t see the audience. It was so quiet that I didn’t think there was anyone there. But then I was the last member of the band to go on stage and there was just this huge roar. And that was all down to the first record. It gave us the confidence to write the next one.
rushonrock: Why is hair metal proving so popular again?
OH: Rock music has been way too serious and too dull and dark for too long. There has been 20 years of bullshit and I don’t really know why. Rock n roll was always about having fun – you didn’t see Elvis staring at the tip of his shoes. The true essence of rock n roll is fun and in the 80s the best bands acknowledged that. Hair metal and what we do is the perfect escape from reality. People come to our shows wanting to be entertained. Why would they want to come and see me moan about how miserable I am?
rushonrock: What are the key ingredients of a Reckless Love song?
OH: There has to be some mindless fun in there. We don’t think too much. There’s all the time in the world to think. Our songs are all about taking it easy and going crazy!
rushonrock: What’s your dream hair metal bill with Reckless Love opening things up?
OH: I suppose Def Leppard and Van Halen as co-headliners and us as the opening act – that would be an interesting night. That would be the dream but we’re happy to play with anyone. Look at Steel Panther getting the chance to play with Leppard and Motley Crue! We’ll see what happens but the only thing we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope for that kind of opportunity.