The Finnish stars head out on a new headline UK tour in October and RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with frontman Olli Herman to get the lowdown on a band on a roll.
rushonrock: Spirit sounds like an album that was a blast to make from start to finish…was that the case?
Olli Herman: It sure was a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun in the studio. But it was hard work for me. Vocally I think it was the biggest challenge I’ve faced – I backed myself into a corner because of the sound we wanted on this record and I had to deliver. But I love challenges. I think I pulled it off. If I was happy to stand still as a vocalist then I wouldn’t progress at all and what’s the point in that? I’m always looking at ways to push myself. Spirit is the sound of a band that’s really progressed as musicians and I honestly believe this is the best music we’ve made. The album’s sound is a combination of that progression and a better production – we wanted to bring a fresh pair of ears into the studio this time and we used a new mixer. He was like a gift from heaven and took us to that next level.
rushonrock: Now that you’re firmly established as a party metal band par excellence is the pressure on to produce more and more singalong anthems?
OH: It’s not really a pressure. It’s what we love doing. It’s just what comes out of us naturally. We don’t know another way of writing songs so the anthems will keep on coming. It’s the kind of music we’ve all been listening to since we were kids and it’s the only music we want to play.
rushonrock: Is the songwriting process pretty seamless?
OH: It’s a very natural process but every song starts off in a different way. I suppose there’s always an idea for a melody – Pepe has loads kicking about in his head – and then I start to add the lyrics. With I Love Heavy Metal we had the chorus straight away and then filled in the blanks. With So Happy I Could Die all we had was a riff and then we built the rest of the song around that. But then on the previous album we had the lyrics to Born To Break Your Heart first and the music came second. There are no hard and fast rules – that’s why we have so much fun writing.
rushonrock: I Love Heavy Metal will resonate with fans of 80s hair metal the world over – tell us about that tune?
OH: The line ‘I Love Heavy Metal Until The Day I Die’ is something I’d been thinking of for some time. It says it all about Reckless Love. It’s a song we just had to write. We had that line, wrote the chorus and then had a load of fun slotting in the song titles and band names. The most difficult thing was narrowing down the list of bands and lyrics we wanted to include. I remember we had a pretty heated discussion about that! In the end we concentrated on the classics and the most well-known bands from the 80s. As much as we love hundreds of bands from the late 80s if they didn’t record what we feel are the classics of the era then they didn’t make the cut. We’ve always loved the big riffs and the commercial successes.
rushonrock: What’s the ideal formula for the perfect hair metal anthem?
OH: There are so many different types of what I’d call the perfect hair metal anthem. We always aim to include them all on a Reckless Love album. On Spirit we go from the soft ballads to Metal Ass and So Happy I Could Die – the more metallic tunes. There’s a lot of variation but it’s all hair metal! We’re always chasing that perfect hair metal anthem but I don’t think we’ve discovered the winning formula…yet!
rushonrock: What’s your ultimate hair metal anthem?
OH: I’ve mentioned most of my favourites on I Love Heavy Metal. One song that is mentioned that probably captures the mood of that era the best and is a real personal favourite is Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue. I just love that song.
OH: I think I have six pairs of his boots now and so there’s bound to be a few difficult decisions to be made when it comes to packing for British dates. It’s one of the best things about being in a band and knowing a boot maker who likes Reckless Love! For a long time I really struggled to find a decent pair of cowboy boots in Finland and then someone told me about this guy who lived around the corner! It was love at first sight from both sides! He’s a really good guy and he’s a traditional bootmaker running a small business who I love to support. He was really into making some smoking hot boots so I told him to go for it. He’s old school with a modern twist.
rushonrock: Apart from cowboy boots what’s your biggest rock star vice?
OH: One can never own enough pairs of sunglasses. There are things in life that need to be big and sunglasses need to be big. I’d hate to restrict myself to one or two pairs so I don’t – I buy them at every opportunity! They’re the complete opposite to cowboy boots – boots are something you consider buying for a while and cherish the time it takes to finish them. Sunglasses are an impulse purchase. And I can’t fight the impulse.
rushonrock: You’re back in the UK in October for another run of headline dates but how can you top last year’s autumn tour – including your London residency?
OH: Of course it’s going to be a tough job. But I think we have an idea of how we can top the last tour. The visuals for the new record allow us to do something a bit different – we love the artwork and anyone who’s seen the videos will understand what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of paint and that’s a theme that’s going to run into the tour. In the past we haven’t had the budget or the images to put a lot of visual effects into our shows but I think that time has come. I’m not making any promises – and it won’t make the music any better – but I’m hoping our fans will like what the see. And of course the set will include new songs – that always ups the ante. Plus we haven’t toured in six months and we’re a band that loves playing live. We’re so enthusiastic about getting back out on the road. It should be awesome.
rushonrock: Is the long term plan to pack in more headline shows or are you looking for a high-profile arena support slot to expose Reckless Love to a wider audience?
OH: A support with a bigger band is always an option. We’d never want to close any doors. If there’s a good opportunity to open up for a big name at bigger venues then of course we’d do it. Like a flash. But right now the priority is to make our headline shows as professional as possible and play as many different places as we can. We want to push the new album hard and that’s not always possible when you’re anb opening band.
* Picture of Olli Herman By Georgia Rawson