EXCLUSIVE:INTERVIEW WITH JASSE- THE SINGER AND FRONTMAN OF FINNISH ROCK BAND
Interview by Kiki
Photo Credits: Jari Kääriäinen
Kiki-Your new album "Fight as one" was released on march 20th, is the 8th hybrids' album and comes straight after the amazing "Ghost town Carnival" which was released in 2004. Can you tell me a bit about how did it come to life and how was the writing and recording process? Why did you wait so many years to release another album?
Jasse-After last album our drummer Korak didn' t have time for Hybrids anymore since he has his own Backline Rental company and had his first baby born and had his long-term heavy band 45 Degree Woman to release their first album and releasing it. So, when he announced this one evening, i immediately called Saska (our original drummer Kelly's little brother) cause we'd been longing to play something together since our first punk band when we were tiny kids(!!), and he said YES, so I knew right away the "core" of what next album is gonna be like. After that all songs and title of the album and creative side came surprisingly easy for me.
Due to financial problems we had to stretch penny and wait for all fucking annoying time-table matchings etc. shit to click, recording/mixing/mastering stretched almost on to one year's period, and after that all promotion (and for business reasons) we decided to put album out early 2009 to gain better coverage in the press + media. Also, we had Illy from Private Line to play as a substitute guitarist for almost one year too before we found our new guitar-hero Juho! All these hassles just made couple of years fly past so fucking quickly!!
Kiki-I admire you a lot as a songwriter: your lyrics are so evocative and so deep. I think the best feature of your songs is that everybody can see a bit of itself in each one of them. Where does the inspiration come from, and how is your creative process? Who writes the music and how it mix with the lyrics?
Jasse- Thanks!! You know, it's the best reward for this whole writing&playing & struggling with personal+financial problems 24/7 to hear that someone actually appreciates what you do, and that someone has really LISTENED what I sing, and what do I think of the world around me. That is indeed the reason why I do this and keep on trying to put out albums although on many dark days every fucking thing seems useless, hopeless and pointless.. But I have to do something, and this is the only thing I can do well, and the only thing that interests me...which is quite sad don't you think, heheheh.
Since the beginning i've written ab.90% of our music and almost 100% of the lyrics, and on the past 3 or 4 albums (Fight As One, Ghost Town Carnival, Stardom Is Here, Drugster) I've been pretty happy how the lyrics and music have gone together, and not need to cough loudly or blush when listening to "embarrassing" bits with some friends, heheh.
Actually, I'm very pleased on lyrics on this whole new album, for once I've surprised myself, and that really doesn't happen that often, believe me! Don't ask how they came up, I just don't know, they just came from somewhere and that must be the reason they have a very honest and personal feel to them cause they've very real this time. The next album might then be completely different lyric-wise cause I think I can't get, or want to get more open than on many tracks on Fight As One, if you know what I mean. I have to keep at least SOME things secret to keep it interesting for listeners.
Kiki-Is there any of your song you are damn close to and why?
Jasse- Medicine Train was something I wrote at one go, maybe within 30minutes or less, and I still had one verse and couple of lines left out cause i didn't want it to be too long. It just came out as it was and even had rhymes and all by accident when i switched the order of some lines! I hummed it on to c-cassette cause it's based on the rhythm of the words. The music of the chorus and the chords I searched later according to this vocal-track cause i didn't have any guitar at hand cause I wasn't at home. This is one of my all time favourite Hybrids´songs.
Dancing On Roses is my absolute favourite too. The lyrics and music and the feel of the song go together very well and it's maybe the most simple song basically music-wise/"theoretically" we've ever done, and it works. Very beautiful song in my opinion. Sad, real, melancholy and true..that makes it beautiful. And it's NOT a ballad by the way, heheh. You're free to check it out: we shot a video of this one too along with title track Fight As One, so search it from YouTube!! (link below)
Kiki-You started your career in early 90s, listening to your music through the years I feel a certain difference between the various steps of your musical journey, how did you changed as a man and as a musician during all these years?
Jasse-Of course years change you in some extent no matter are you a bank-clerk or lorry-driver or rock-dude/dudette. Or let's say that if the years DON´T change you then you haven't learned anything. It's good to hold your ground and be what you are no matter how hard it may sometimes be, but always have to remember that good advice and questioning your own ideals/views and staying alert and open to other people's opinions is what makes living easier. And I mean easier for yourself and that way for us all in the end:) Being your self or being just stupidly stubborn isn't the same thing.
Oh, did you wanna hear something about music-side changing too, heh. Well, I can't give you any advice on that! Let's just say that I wish our latest albums sound better and got better drive, playing, singing and groove than the ones we recorded back in early 90's!
Kiki- The band has gone through several line up chances? How did this affected your music? How is the mood with the new line up?
Jasse-Line-up changes are tiring cause you have to build all things up again and again when new guy joins the group,,,it's exactly like a relationship or marriage, although I've never been married, except that you're having these mind-games and arguments and honeymoons and ups and downs with THREE other people and not just one. And that is quite fucking stressful, believe me, i know what I'm talking about.
But: it's also the thing that has kept us going on for so long: when new blood flows in, you get the kick same as in falling in love! If you're married for almost 20 years, can the sex be as interesting with the same person...? hmmm, I'm not a marriage-councellor, I'm a rock'n'roll singer, but you know what I mean, heheh
And to your question: the mood at the moment in the band is like shagging a new italian mistress!!
Kiki-You live in Helsinki, Finland, which is a city where you can breath music everywhere: clubs, live shows, rock bands and great chances to get feedback from media and people. In Milan, where I live, music is not considered that important, especially rock/alternative music wich never comes to get media attenction except for the big international names. How your city and the chances your city gave you influenced your way to feel music? Do you think you would have done something else if you were not in Helsinki?
Jasse-To get it right: I'm originally from countryside of Finland, from the fucking backwoods, from the corner of some fucking potato field, so THAT was what drove me into music cause there wasn't anything else to do! You know, in first six grades there was only about 25 kids in our WHOLE school, so you get some kind of idea what kind of "metropole" I'm from, heheh.
If I'd be from Helsinki, I'm sure I've gotten into many different kinds of bands instead of one and I wouldn't probably have had the nerve to concentrate on just music, or be so humble person that I basically am. Who knows, but I'm afraid I'd been a teenage alcoholic and just hung out at some skateboard-park and drinking beer if I'd had the opportunity of growing up in Helsinki... Well, how would I know! I moved to helsinki for 20years ago and....I've pretty much been an alcoholic for 20 years now. There you go!
Kiki- Being Finland such a musical country, would you like to suggest our readers a bunch of good finnish bands, so they can check the music out and maybe get in touch with finnish musical culture?
Jasse- It depends on what kind of music you like. But in any case: check out HYBRID CHILDREN first, heheh. Home Junior is my own fave from new+young bands. Hanoi Rocks of course, especially the 80's albums, they just split up. Babylon Whores is my favourite "Death Rock" band, but they've split up too unfortunately. Disco Ensemble and Lapko are for "Emo"-rockers, not that much for my taste though but ok. Well, I've listened to so old shit lately, and Frank Sinatra and Social Distortion are not from Finland, so here are some: Tehosekoitin, Terveet Kädet, Private Line, Pelle Miljoona & 1980, Lama .... All the mainstream bands you knew already right...? HIM, The 69 Eyes....etc
Kiki- You've been playing with Hybrids since early 90's, how did you get to music career and which were your main influences when you started? How did they changed if they did?
Jasse-I answered to this partly on 7. But main influences were finnish and british 70´s punk rock and Ramones of course, and a finnish band called "Hurriganes" (with a "G" yes) and their "Roadrunner" album, that was what got me into music when I was a kid. And I still listen to all those bands. After that the list is too long, but from hardcore-punk such as the Exploited through the Beatles through Hanoi Rocks & the Stooges to early Metallica & speed metal to Nirvana and Bad Religion and Misfits. And all that time I've liked finnish drunken-folk singer-songwriter Irwin Goodman, which is traditional finnish "protest"-song stuff with absolutely brilliant "Greetings from the Asshole / I'm a drunk/ Fuck the goverment" -lyrics.
Kiki- Talking 'bout Jasse, what do you do in your spare time?
Jasse- Watch TV a lot at couch under the blanket at home, keep my phone disconnected and read. Eat burgers, fajitas, pizzas and kebabs and lock myself up home, and just try to enjoy every minute. I don't do anything else really. And you don't believe how much work this band accuires to keep it running!! Gigs and album releases are just a tip of the iceberg! You wouldn't believe how many hours I've been sitting and clicking the fucking computer, talking on the phone, thinking+writing songs, rehearsing and rehearsing and sweating bullets stressing out things to decide and to take care of all shit, not to mention the financial side which is always a fucking nightmare cause we're always broke, huhh. Well, I've also learned how to stretch pennies, or cents to avoid having had to go to "real" work. All the other guys have dayjobs though. So they are rich, hähhhäh And "I'm chasing nickles and dimes, while the rest of the world passes me by" , yeah, Mike Ness was right: it's the story of my life too, heheh.
Kiki-Your album has been released in Finland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands and Luxembourg, are you planning any other further release in other countries?
Jasse-Of course, we would release it EVERYWHERE if we get an enthusiastic company to put it out. And it doesn't matter how small the company is, as long as it's reasonable, so give us a call or send e-mail!! Our manager-guy Mr.Sepi Seppälä takes care of these releases in abroad, and he's not a greedy man at all, so don't be shy, contact him immediately if you know how to get Fight As One out in Italy too!!
Kiki- What are your future plans? Any chance to see you live in Italy?
Jasse- There was some negotiations of us playing on July at Glam Attak in Torino, but that didn't work out, so there is a slight chance for us to do a couple of dates in northern Italy next winter, but let's see, I hope we get there again since it's been some 4 years we last visited Venice.