Friday, August 29, 2014

ssSHEENSss Interview

H:Harri Pikka (lead guitar)
M: Mikko Kiri (vocalist)

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
H: Since the recordings of Strapping Stallions at Encrypt studio in spring 2014 we've mixed the album with Tomas Skogsberg, sealed the record deal with Soulseller Records and got the amazing artwork from Markku Metso. Currently we're busy setting up the promo for Strapping Stallions, rehealsing and playing live.

2.You have a new album coming out in October, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
H: Just got the first review of the album from,   They said we're  a "very  great sounding  mixture  of  hardcore  punk,  stoner,  garage  and  and  classic  rock. ssSHEENss  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  energy  with  their  musical  sound  taking  the  heaviness  of  metal,  the  rawness  of  punk  and  garage  and  the  melody  of  classic  and  gothic  rock  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own". I think that's a pretty solid description about  Strapping Stallions. It's definitely a golden classic album!

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
M: Lyrics come from everyday life mainly. The good things that make life worth living for, and all the shit you have to deal with to go on. Being arrogant enough and possessing a big heart inside your chest. Music and writing has always been a some form of therapy for me. And it really helps the performing in live situations to really "sing like I mean it". Screaming my lungs out smothers the flame. Teemu (guitar player) has made some lyrics for us also, he is more of a storyteller then I am.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'ssSHEENSss'?
M: Teemu (guitar & backing vocals) invented the name, he's some sort of a movie junkie. I think the very first name for the band was "Dipshits", and the music was supposed to be very fucking raw hardcore punk. Did not turn out that way. Dipshits was also already taken as a band name, which we figured out later too.

H: Teemu called me and talked me about his band idea, "Psychedelics" it was called. Later the name transformed into Sheens. I think Sheens first came from the family Sheen / Estévez. The first logo I ever drew was a snake hissing the band name with lots of letter S's. We released the first album under the name Sheens. After that I came across with lots of bands with the same name. So I think ssSHEENSss came from the snake hissing, Sheen family members and from all the cool things the letter S represents: sound, sex, smoke, space, satan, soul, snakes, sauna etc. The more the merrier!

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
H: There's always a slight feeling of danger when we play live. Best so far have been Hamina, Kotka and Helsinki gigs. Show at a surprise birthday party in a biker club was also awesome!
M: All the gigs have been great. I don´t know about the one in Mikkeli last year, we were all so wasted we don´t remember anything. The show was pretty mad I guess.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
H: Yes!

M: Yes, there are gigs coming. Only in Finland for now, but we got high expectations.

7.On the album you did a Joy Division and ZZ Top cover, what was the decision behind doing your own versions of their songs?
H: Joy Division thing happened between long period of time. We had a song called "Solarium" which is basically the music you hear on our "Love Will Tear Us Apart" cover. Somehow I started to play  melody line that was almost identical to Joy Division song. So we twisted our own song into a cover version with the lyrics and main melody theme. It's very recognizable when the chorus kicks in. To me the beginning of our version pure Slayer, Dead Skin Mask-style guitar riff duel. We had a very strong vibe when recording the basic tracks with drummer Juho. First words from the controlling room were something that included "Sepultura" and stuff. 

H: ZZ-Top cover was more straight forward: we just recorded it in the studio. Mikko did awesome vocal lines there!

8.The album is coming out on Soulsteller Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
H: Jorn is a very cool guy, haven't met him in person yet, our relationship is on a virtual level at the moment. Soulseller has a lot of cool bands on their roster and it seems Soulseller is just getting the motör going. Lewis & The Strange Magics is very good!

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal and rock?
H: Feedback has been good. Lots of headbanging and dancing at our shows.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
H: I have a long history playing death metal so I can easily slip into more heavier stuff. There's lots of electro music men in ssSHEENSss also so it's a wide autobahn for us. I'm really starting to find 80's rock, so welcome big choruses.
M: There will be big choruses and sweat and blood and tears.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
H: At the moment I'm headbanging to the Killer Be Killed album. Max Cavalera and Troy Sanders really delivering it! I'm really liking Dave Elitch's drum work and Greg Puciato's feeling on vocals. Just got speakers installed to my kitchen also so heavy cooking going on. Some Billy Idol, Derek & The Dominos, Judas Priest, Mastodon, Jimi Hendrix and lots of Bon Scott AC/DC in my stereos at the moment. Of course I've been listening to the ssSHEENSss Strappin Stallions master we it got from Audiosiege! 

For me influental bands in the early days have been Jean-Michel Jarre, Entombed, Carcass, Morbid Angel, Bob Marley, ZZ-Top, Metallica. As a teenager I got into Black Sabbath and other early 70's rock, a little older I really got into Danzig, Josh Homme related bands, Fu Manchu and Nick Cave. Most kicks a still get from the darker side of music, the minor triad. I'm working in a music library and I have some serious delta blues and ambient dudes as colleagues, great fun!

M: I don't think we want to name any specific bands. I'm pretty sure the album speaks for itself.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
H: sports, movies, allotment garden, fishing, family and friends.

M: bodybuilding, Harley Davidsons, guitars, amps, pedals, bicycles, skateboarding, eating and drinking... just generally speaking.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
H: Thanks for the interview! You can find new ssSHEENSss album Strapping Stallions through Soulseller Records and your local record store, our debut album you can find at Cool videos from ssSHEENSss are in youtube.Come see, hear and feel us play live! Party on, love and respect!

M: Thank you.

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