Intervjuade finska sensationerna Räjäyttäjät i samband med deras spelning tillsammans med Bäddat För Trubbel på Härden i början av februari. Då resultatet blev väldigt bra väljer jag att nu publicera den på bloggen i sitt engelska originalutförande. En uppdaterad version på svenska kommer i pappersupplagan av LB IV som förhoppningsvis finns att tillgå innan det står 2014 i kalendern
Finnish rock'n'roll madmen Räjäyttäjät have exploded like a bomb in the underground. The first shockwaves were felt through their now sold-out cassettes on TNT Tapes & Records and the debut EP under the wings of classic etiquette Bad Vaguum. Vodka marinated lunatics surrounded by sloppy rnr-noise whose gigs were said to be something else - blood, sweat, and floppy penises in an unholy alliance. I recently witnessed the Soumi boys live for the first time and got totally destroyed. A half-naked maniac frizzles, crawls and creeps while not missing a tune on his guitar that is all over the place. The rhythm section guides the wildman with a steady hand whereas he detonates as much on stage as out among the perplexed audience. This scenario might sound like a spectacle and that was exactly what we got pushed down our sore throats. 60 years of rock'n'roll molested by three eccentric brains crash-lands in the wilderness of central Finland. Their full-length on Dead Beat Records are equal parts good times and insanity. Dr Feelgood meets Stooges meets Carl Panzram. Buy the LP, crank it up, get yourself pissfaced and wake up puked upon in a shabby alley-way in Jyväskylä.
Interview and introduction by Marko Gillingsmark
We start off with a very cliché question to kickstart this interview. You were just out on your first Scandinavian tour with the fabulous Bäddat För Trubbel. How did it go?
Jukka: It went well, Good trip! We saw BURGER KING, IKEA, RASTABURGER and also vegetarian food in Göteborg was GREAT! Oh and that Jönköping burger place too. Want to show the guys TUEN GRILLI in Lappeenranta if we ever go there with them. Basically we just sat in the van and drank beer while Hjelle and others took good care of us. I was very happy to find that BFT guys like EDDIE MEDUZA too but still wondering what they think about Hank C Burnette aka Melvin L Rockbottom. Alex accidentally smashed my fingers with the car door when leaving Göteborg and I was crying like a baby but fortunately I had some Gin for instant help and rest of the day was fine.
Alex: Slight exaggeration by the (guit)artist there, but fingers are his livelihood, so I think he was more in shock (I mean, there was no blood or fingernails flapping. As for me, I was expecting to get more cranky, pissed off etc., but it was really fun and, apart from a touch of claustrophobia on the boat at the Stockholm gig (as I imagined it plunging into the icy depths because there were too many people onboard), I really enjoyed all the different kinds of places we played, the people we met, and the Bäddat guys themselves. I played on one of their songs, and their drummer played on one of our songs... it was great!
Silli: It was great. Good gigs, nice people and Bäddat! Great music and lovely guys...have to get them to Finland at some point.
We continue with questions designed after the standard fanzine formula. When, were and how did you start as a band? Do you play in any other bands than Räjä? Do you love rock'n'roll more than your girl/boyfriends? Are you on social welfare? Do your gigs attract a lot of spikey jacket punkrockers?
Alex: I was on a train coming back from dropping my son off at the airport after New Year in 2011, when I got this ‘emergency call’ from Jukka. It’s usually a slightly weird transitional time of the year for me when Stirling goes back to Scotland, so this was perfect timing. Yes, I could play a gig in a couple of days time. At that first gig on January 6, 2011 there were about 7 people. One of those ‘legendary type gigs’ I like to think, like the Sex Pistols playing Manchester Civic Hall for the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Tony Wilson etc...
Jukka: Yeah, we started together 6.1.2011 when my friends from Oulu (Death By Snoo Snoo and Vene) asked for a local band to play with them in Ilokivi, Jyväskylä. I had started Räjäyttäjät a bit before with my friend J on drums (plays nowadays in totally great band Mustat Kalsarit) but it didn't last longer than one gig and rehearsal demo recording. Nobody liked that gig, haha, no future for this kind of band!
Silli: The band got started in the way that there were actually a couple of gigs aready booked but there wasn’t actually any band! I knew Jukka, and he knew Alex, and so we started to play.
Alex: As for the other questions, I’m the only guy in this band who doesn’t play in any other bands than Räjä at the moment, but that’s fine. I love rock’n’roll sure, as much as my wife, I think not, but we do have arguments about it sometimes along the lines of.... how can you like any other kind of music but the kind I listen to? (me)... then I realise how incredibly unrealistic that is, go for a walk, have a reality check. I have twins, so get a bit of child support welfare but otherwise do not get any for myself, but I thoroughly approve of it and think it’s a small price to pay for having a more homogenous society than the fucking ‘United’ Torydom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland... (where I’m from. The guys wanted me to be from Texas but hey....)
Jukka: ...and well, I don't have a girlfriend, but maybe someday i'll get an ELK, just like OLLIWER HAWK had in the 70's!!! And for rock'n'roll.. My aim is to just explode it.. So I guess I don't know about love that much... And yes I play in Rambling Boys and Kylmä Banaani 2 too.
Silli: Just rock’n’roll. And yes, of course I like rock’n’roll, it’s what Räjäyttäjät is all about. I also play in a band called Talmud Beach too.
Jukka: I'm WORKING FOR THE KELA at the moment, on a sick leave. and on gigs, think we are more for Popeda fans and such..
Alex: Ha, ha. Well, I don’t think so... At our gigs are all kinds of people: hippies, yes punk rockers, but also older people (this might be the Popeda thing he’s talking about), but there’s plenty of weirdy beardies and even sometimes mods and skinheads too (luckily they seem to be the non-nazi kind).
Räjä have a rumour of being a shit hot live band. What can we expect from you on stage?
Alex: Hot (and cold) shit has been known to happen on stage (maybe Jukka will one day tell you about his Odobox effect unit), but basically our name means The Exploders, so that is what we do. We are lucky that there are many kinds of ‘explosion’ that can happen on a stage, so hopefully people still come away surprised and happy (or offended). One woman just couldn’t comprehend the Stockholm gig, it was like her brain was shorting out between polite and angry mode. On the one hand she wanted to say how much she loved our gig, on the other ‘but why the nakedness?’ like a demented robot, and then she looked like she was going to explode and all her careful make-up melt away in some kind of mental meltdown. It was quite strange. So maybe it’s the audience that explodes, rather than just us...?
Silli: Shit is hot and our gigs sometimes too! I don’t know about the audience, but I don’t expect anything, just really nice to play. There’s always lots of energy involved when we play live and that’s the way it should be. Räjäyttäjät räjäyttää!
Jukka: Drunk mumbling, falling from stage, bad playing and loss of control. Some demented Adult Oriented Rocking too. Usually it takes more time for me to show my ass to the audience than what happens in the usual Ozzy Osbourne or AC/DC gig but i'm trying my best---NOT.
You recently released your debut LP on Dead beat Records after one EP and two cassettes. Can you tell us about the record? Why did you release it on an american record label and not your own TNT Records and Tapes Service?. Are there exclusively new songs or are some the same as on the cassettes?
Jukka: We were just stupid, haha?! There's two songs straight from tapes (Tikkalan Masat from first tape, Piimää & Carilloo from "Räjä Kevät"), some old songs re-recorded and some new ones like Keskiyön Jälkeen and Veen Päällä Savuu that is a cover of Jolly Jumpers song Smoke On The Water. But all in all it's a RÄJÄ & ROLL CONCEPT ALBUM and in that sense there is much more to it than on those tapes.
Silli: I don’t think there was any great masterplan behind it, actually we didn’t think anything. He just asked and we did it. Yes, there’s couple of tracks from the cassettes, but mostly it’s new recordings and couple of new songs.
Alex: Only a couple of songs are the same as on the cassettes, yes, but different mixes etc... Dead Beat is from Cleveland Ohio, and although it’s not Texas it sort of fitted in with this Americana obsession that is so much part of Ganes etc. Finnish culture (...is what I think). The first pressing has already sold out so we’re waiting for a bigger second pressing. It wasn’t the most practical of decisions to release our first record like this, but when has rock’n’roll, or should I say räjä’n’roll ever been ‘practical’? Next record is the ‘real LP’ and 100% RÄJÄYTTÄJÄT on TNT Tapes & Record Services.
A friend of mine described you as The Flaming Sideburns but totally on the contrary. You are rocknroll in the way they thought they were but couldnt deliever on stage and on record, at their behalf it only became lame rawk. Comments on that?
Silli: Heh, I don’t think there’s any point of comparing the two bands, totally different kind of stuff…
Jukka: Yeah, I've never liked that band either and I'm totally out of that world they represent on their "we are the rock'n'roll gods" wank. we are here to destroy all that.
Alex: I’m afraid I don’t really know anything much about their music, but I met an ex-girlfriend of their lead singer at one of our gigs once I think!
A question about how you write your songs. Even if you play rather straight rock I can sense a pretty loose vibe in your music, it sounds like your material is improvised in the rehearsal space. Is this conclusion accurate?
Alex: Yes, in the rehearsal space, but also one song (Keskiyön jälkeen) was actually played for the first time on stage, yes. In that sense we are basically free in the best sense of the term, without being some interminable jam. But Jukka has the main idea for a song usually, so in that way it’s actually much less improvised and more thought out than other bands he might play in.
Silli: Of course there’s lots of improvisation, but there’s allways some kind of (even a vague) idea in the songs that we do. Usually the ideas come from Jukka or then we do something together. I think the way we do it might be quite strange to most other rock’n’roll bands.
Jukka: Yes, not that much improvisation on the first thought, usually I do the songs, quite strictly arranged actually, but the bands chemistry always explodes them into unknown territories. You can never tell what they sound like after few rehearsals and gigs. Of course there's different ones but songs like A-kaljaa differ quite a lot every time we play it and it's based on just two different kind of really basic riffs. First it was just an instrumental jam but then..nowadays it can be almost anything.
Alex: Yeah, but Jukka certainly doesn’t inflict any heavy-handed ‘this is the way it should be’ stuff on us (even if he might think so), as most of the time he welcomes how we might change the original thing as a group. All of us need a bit of the unexpected to make it real, energetic and dynamic... and maybe the audience pick up on that. Silli often says he doesn’t want to have to think when he’s playing for instance. And we might shout at each other on the stage and stuff or throw instruments around. But it’s a fine line and sometimes we’re not sure if we’ve overstepped that line occasionally. Generally, if all else fails we explode.
Which bands and artists made you realize that raw, primitive punk and rock'n'roll makes your heart beat a little bit faster. As with many others born in the 70s and 80s maybe Nirvana opened up doors to the underground or did you discover cool shit through other gateways?
Silli: yes, I liked (and still like) Nirvana a lot, but for me the older bands were a bigger influence. Hurriganes of course, but also bands like Stooges, Roky etc. And of course Sleepy Sleepers from Lahti Finland! Do an article on them in your mag!
Jukka: I've never known that much nuggets stuff or garage punk or whatever. Hurriganes and songs like Hot Wheels, Get On, Oh, Baby Doll have done it much more powerful to me than anything else. One important thing was when I got my first Stooges records and at the same time listened to Can, track MOTHER SKY sounded actually quite a lot like Hurriganes and particularly when hearing Stooges song OUT ON THE STREET I realized that Remu must've heard it when Ganes did KEEP ON MOVIN'! Of course The Sleepy Sleepers is the most obvious influence and it's quite close to my heart me as I'm from a little place called Nastola just right next to Lahti. Their fucked up "concept albums" have just the right spirit. have to say also that the bands like Radiopuhelimet, Jolly Jumpers, 22 Pistepirkko and all Läjä Äijälä's bands have made a big influence on me.
Alex: Guess what, I’m not Finnish, so forgive me for not being that moved by Ganes or Sleepy Sleepers. I was born on the last day of Woodstock in 1969 (which I see as somehow significant for “raw, primitive punk and rock’n’roll”). Bands that make my heart beat a little faster: the Stooges, MC5, Nuggets stuff for me like Wimple Wynch, the Outsiders, and all that stuff... and then there’s The Fall, at least up until the early 90s, and Hawkwind (to name a few). Jukka also LOVES the Fall (even the later stuff). Jukka IS ‘totally wired’ (and so am I at gigs). I liked Nirvana too, but later, has to be said.
I’ve seen you being compared with Hurriganes a couple of times, even yours truly are part of this "problem". But musically I can't see any urgent similarites except that you both play rather straight rock'n'roll and origins from FInland. Does this comparison feel ignorant and irritating or do you consider it as a compliment? Or are you even big fans of Hurriganes? Personally I think they are a cool rock'n'roll band but a bit overrated in the bigger picture.
Silli: I think there’s no point of comparing anything to Hurriganes, because nobody can do what they did. Totally unique band in every way. But of course I take it as a complimentary, but it’s bit too much…heh!
Alex: Silli’s original first love, so I think it’s a compliment and I’m not annoyed by that. It was definitely intentional that those similarities be drawn, as this was a very important band for Silli and Jukka, perhaps the first band they ever got into, and I respect them for that. If they need me to be Remu for a bit I can pretend, but I am the only non-Ganes fan in the band I have to say, and maybe I stop us being too much like them. Two’s enough!
Jukka: Compliment of course. They are our heroes and our biggest influence in terms of playing rock'n'roll. Of course we are not like them in any sense and that is the way it has to be.
I don't know anything about contemporary finnish punk, rock'n'roll and garagerock. Are there any cool bands you can recommend to the readers of Levande Begravd?
Alex: Two off the top of my head: Atom Mouth Gimlies and Transentiset.
Silli: Lots of good bands. Achtungs, Mikkelin Pamaus, Kari Peitsamo, Mustat Kalsarit, Pää kii, Splits, MODERNI ELÄMÄ, Hurriganes, Haistelijat etc.
Jukka: Yeah think they both mentioned the same bands I was about to say, and there are new bands coming up all the time... and of course bands like Radiopuhelimet are still going strong, and even Läjä's DEATH TRIP is playing gigs again.
I’ve been told that rock'n'roll has been dead and buried ever since I was born but even if raw rock music isn't the musical power it once was, it’s still alive in the underground. Sometimes it even makes small attacks at the mainstream. Don’t know what I wanna ask with this, or yes I do! How do you feel about the condition of rock'n'roll in this day and age?
Alex: It’s fine because we can access music from any time and place much more easily and rock’n’roll will never die for me. Long live Little Richard!
Jukka: I'm not interested in that really. I mostly listen country & western and finnish schlager.
Alex: Hmm... yeah right. It’s true Jukka loves flea markets, the home of Finnish schlager, and I guess he has to take some time off the R-word, but he DOES listen to ROCK!! As for Silli, he hates these kinds of questions about genres. Actually I hate the whole concept of genres too, drawn up to put us into little boxes I guess.
You do a cover of Roky Ericksons Bloody Hammer titled Verivasara. It´s basically the first time I’ve heard anyone interpret The King without me getting red on my cheeks and I feel the urge to cover my ears. How come you gave Roky a try with your brand of rock'n’roll?
Silli: I don’t think we even thought about it that much, just did it. We don’t think about these kind of issues, we just play!
Alex: Yeah, we just did it and people liked it. Might actually have been the first song we did that I really felt good about playing. I didn’t know the original when we started playing it. In my head it was ‘Let’s Build A Car’ by Swell Maps. Roky Erickson, I’d like you to meet Epic Soundtracks (even if he’s dead and you’re not).
Jukka: I think it was quite obvious for us to play Roky, and doing that song was Silli's idea. For me the title VERIVASARA sounded like lost song from some lost finnish JYTÄ band (meaning 70's hard rock) or maybe it’s something Dead End 5 or Kummitus or Colombo could've done. Strange but it always feels good playing it. We have also played “I Walked with a Zombie” sometimes too.
Shit! Being from Finland I have to ask these stoopid questions. Are you drunk a lot and what are your choice of booze? Are you depressed? Do you like to spend hours in the sauna?
Jukka: I've had mental issues since my teenage years but I think most Finns have had them... This winter has been really hard. I actually gave up drinking recently and everything is painful as hell. Maybe i'll GET back ON soon with my favorite brands KOSKENKORVA (that song 013 is about that) and the cheapest gin in Alko (finnish drugstore chain) . I don't understand this culture of tasting expensive beers. I always take the cheapest, and in bar usually A beer (A-kalja) that is a bit stronger than our ordinary beer (mellanöl). (actually you had to wait some time to get these answers from me because few days of good ol' drinking period here… and of course sauna is always good, I try to have sauna as often as I can. as i really don't like taking a shower that much. so there might be some good shit-stinking effect on our shows too..)
Alex: I’m not Finnish, but it is my home country now and I love getting drunk and spending lots of time in sauna and occasionally pissing in the shower (thanks for the lesson Moderni Elämä). If I’m not driving, which I usually am in the band, I’ll drink pretty much anything (pastis, wine, Belgian and British beers, cachaca, rum, gin etc.) but just not all the time, I just can’t. Unlike Jukka I like real ale (for the taste, not the price!!).
Silli: Heh! I think I was more drunk in Sweden than in Finland, thanks to Bäddat För Trubbel och starköl! (strong beer) I don’t spend much time in sauna, propably go there once a month…I think Alex is more saunaman than me!
As conclusion I will give you a number of finnish bands you maybe can say a few words about.
Silli: Ei saatana. Kuuskytyhdeksän perssilmää.
Alex: I have no idea, but it appears Silli thinks they’re more like ‘69 Arses’
Jukka: Don't know any of their songs. All I remember is that sometimes you hear on the radio this horrible "potato in his mouth" mumbling singer and that must be this band.
Nolla Nolla Nolla
Silli: Haven’t really listened to them, some say they’re a classic?
Jukka: Never really listened to hem either but I believe i'd like it. Our roadie was asked to sing on their new incarnation, so I don't know how well they are doing today!
Alex: Heard them on a compilation once, can’t really say anymore.
Alex: Yeah I really like their first single “Poliisi pamputtaa taas”
Silli: Manse rocks.
Jukka: FUCKING BEST BAND! I love both their early punk rock and the later more shlager kind of stuff. First group i've ever listened too and still love them. Kahdeksas Ihme LP is one of the most important albums for me personally. On the first edition of our first tape Räjä & Roll All Night Long is a song called "Ajan sataa kahtakymppiä" (I'm Driving 120 kilometers on hour") That's a straight rip from Eppu's "Keskiyön Cowboy" (Midnight Cowboy). Also in "Löysää paskaa" there's some unintentionally picked lyrics from KALJAA NUORILLE song that is for me their best punk era song.
Silli: Suoraan Losiin, Rane Raitsikka! Great band!
Jukka: Great great band, just played Run Rabbit Run last weekend over and over! Had a talk with Rane after some of our gigs. Didn't really understand what he said about me but I took it to my heart with gratitude.
Alex: I like Olli Pauke for all his cantankerousness, love, and tales of Aston.
Silli: One of a kind, great band!
Jukka: Their first 7" MTV-ep has had really strong impact on me. Really great band, and some songs on SPERMARKET LP were actually recorded here in Jyväskylä in the building next to where I live now. Quite a few of my friends have also played in LN recently (if it's Olli Pauke and your granny on bongos then it's a LN gig!). Closest to that I’ve got, was breaking their cymbal stand and guitar effects at a Jyväskylä gig I "organized".
Silli: I thought that I had forgotten this band. Apparently not, fuck.
Jukka: Uhh this is something I think most of the Finns want to forget. I'm glad I'm listening to Jim Pembroke now and not getting their awful hits on my mind.
Alex: Ha, but yeah, Jim Pembroke is another English guy (far more prolific than me) who also ended up in Finland for a long time. I guess he needed ‘room to live’ (as Mark E Smith would say).
All the best,