DATE OF INTERVIEW:
29th October 2010
Following in the footsteps of Finland’s kings of glam, Michael Monroe and Hanoi Rocks, Kuopio’s four-piece Reckless Love are the latest and finest hidden gem - truly ready to take the world by storm with their high energy, no nonsense attitude and feel good rock. Fronted by ex-Crashdiet frontman Olli Herman, Reckless Love first came together in 2001 as a hugely energetic live act with the thirst for the best things in life. Eight years of small scale touring, two line-up changes and four demos later, the band finally took its current form and found their own recognizable sound. Looking and sounding like a cross between every 80s Hair Metal band, some would say Reckless Love are the modern day Motley Crue and Cinderella combined. With their arousing and joyful party attitude the band offers a true alternative for today’s rock scene, where everything seems so dull, glum and serious. The Helsinki-based outfit’s self-titled debut album features 11 original tracks, matching the old school values of the classic 80s hard rock with their 21st century take on all things Glam Rock. As a result of their success at this year’s Download Festival, the band returned to these shores just three months later for their ‘Back To Paradise’ tour and, following this, secured a slot on the Firefest bill at Nottingham’s Trent University venue, where Metal Discovery managed to catch up with the band’s lead singer, Olli Herman; talking about how he draws so much energy from the audience; how the band got their name “Merry Metallers” and why sex and rock are the only sins he is not ashamed to admit to...
METAL DISCOVERY: Hello Olli!
OLLI HERMAN: Hi, let me grab some drink...hmm where are all those Coca drinks when you need them most?! [laughs]
(Olli Herman on Reckless Love's standpoint within the contemporary scene)
"...people always will try to compare your music with some previous stuff, but that’s just something you would expect in this industry. For many years the rock ‘n’roll was so fucked, really ...and still is fucked in many ways. Either way, we are pretty sure that we are bringing the real power rock back to life!"
Interview by Marija Brettle; Photography by Jadranka Jade
Reckless Love in Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 24th September 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Jadranka Jade - www.metal-discovery.com
MD: Are you are aware that, tonight, there is crowd out to see you from 35 countries? I hear there are fans even from Japan, Russia, Brazil...?
OH: Oh really?! No, I didn’t know that! Where did you get these facts from?
MD: From one of your promoters, who couldn’t hide his joy from us...
OH: Yeah...that’s one way to celebrate the Firefestl! [laughs] Believe me, that is quite a usual thing on our gigs. Our first gig in Finland, in Tavastia, was a sold out show. Fans came all the way from Japan, Greece and Italy. It is such an amazing feeling; it makes you humble, really. It just shows that people who love this kind of music are really loyal and dedicated fans. I think people have been missing long enough the honest and pure rock music. As well, the whole fun and party scene that goes with it, really.
MD: You recently played at the recent metal festival, ‘Loud Park 2010’ in Japan, alongside with bands like Korn, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne and Motorhead. How was it for you, standing on the same stage as some of the biggest names in rock?
OH: It was amazing, but also an overwhelming feeling if I may say! Our first gig in Japan and it’s something that makes you think, so we must be doing something right. It was a massive thing for us...great experience all in all. We were a bit surprised and blown away to see 15,000 people singing to our songs, word by word. Yeah, I mean, I almost lost my voice there ‘cause I got so excited there I screamed at the top of my voice! [laughs] You soon realise that you draw so much energy from the audience and if you are not careful with it, is going to wear you out. I mean, after the show I was completely shot down, wasted... almost had a meltdown. [laughs]
MD: This is your fourth time playing in the UK -what kind of receptions are you getting from the British fans during the ‘Back To Paradise’ tour?
OH: We love coming here because we’re enjoying a lot of success in UK. Yeah, we have a lot of fans here, and we sure don’t want to let them down. And Firefest is our way of showing them that we mean business! Then Download Festival was one of the best and most memorable shows so far for us in the UK...awesome crowd!
MD: At Download Festival, Reckless Love, together with Cinderella, did cause an absolute storm with the audience. For a while, it felt like going back in time; I mean the whole 80s vibe was there?
OH: It is not about bringing back the 80s vibe, or the revival of the 80s sound. It is all about the new school, the new school of merry rock! [laughs] It is a completely new phase in music; a new thing today. We are pretty sure that the time is right for real, honest power rock music! I think lot of rock fans have been missing for decades now the real sound of rock music! I mean, of course we drown influences heavily from the 80s and the 70s, as well as some stuff from the early 90s. But that’s the way it goes with the music...well, people always will try to compare your music with some previous stuff, but that’s just something you would expect in this industry. For many years rock ‘n’roll was so fucked, really...and still is fucked in many ways. Either way, we are pretty sure that we are bringing the real rock back to life! And I think that the people in Britain are ready to party and embrace once more the real classic rock...yeah, classic, merry metal rock! And it is the same with every other part of the world, like Japan, America, Russia...same as everywhere else in Europe. I mean, we get plenty of emails from mainland Europe. Italy is a hot spot for us. We did only one show in Italy and we got tons of emails asking us to come back. We got plenty of gig offers there. It is wild out there!
MD: What do you think of British crowd? I often hear from the bands that the British fans are the toughest crowd to please when it comes to rock music?
OH: Oh, sure is the tough one! Yeah, but for us, it’s always been great...and I am not sure why is that? Probably, British people are ready to party and have fun again. And it’s the same for the music critics...I mean, I don’t know why that is but it is funny; I think that critics here are very easy on us. [laughs] And not just easy on us, they really are praising our record. What more I can say -we are just so thankful to all those people who support us and appreciate our music. We really are very humble by all the reaction we’re getting from people and magazines, especially here in Britain. What more is there to say...we sure hit the nerve!
MD: Sure you did. Well, lately you’ve often been called “one of the best and hottest news” in the world of rock’n’roll. How did you take these complements?
OH: What can I say, I am speechless; this is a huge honour for us. We are really surprised and quite overwhelmed with the whole media attention here in Britain. And the feedback and reactions we are getting from people, from all sides of the world. We did many interviews for the British magazines and we get great gig and record reviews which, again, it is just an awesome feeling, to say the least. It is so positive that I started to wonder have we done something wrong, because nobody hates us...[laughs] Oh yeah, there are always plenty of haters too! I guess some people just don’t like to have fun...
MD: I agree...but then what is there to hate about you? You sure have managed to capture the essence of party rock...there is a great element of fun in your lyrics. And you really know how to deliver brilliant shows every time.
OH: Thanks for that! I mean, we are four truly dedicated and professional musicians before everything. And all the hype and excitement around us is just an added element. But there will always be some people out there who won’t like us for one or another reason. Or they are maybe just envious?! [laughs] And we are fine with that...that’s pretty normal in this business, you know. The internet is the best place for that this day...I mean, either you love our record and our shows or hate it! But one thing for sure - we always try our best and deliver great shows...half naked or not!
MD: And you were brave enough to bring back the best of the 80s and 90s rock, with party attitude with full force.
OH: This is the music I grew up listening to, and these are the people I look up to, and got hooked on. Buy their records, and listen to the same tracks a hundred times. Why? Because it was the honest, beautiful, raw sound of rock!
MD: When did you really get hooked on rock? Who was ultimately the real reason to get you into rock music?
OH: I always talk about this...and these guys [pointing to Pepe and Hessu] give me real hard shit later, because I always end up talking about this same story. But I will say it again. Well, after all, they are really some very important starting points in my life...and very strong, very vivid memories for me. They made me what I am today. And these guys are the reason why I am here! Basically, all started when I was probably 5 years old, sitting on the back seat of my dad’s car. He put on the radio and there it was, the master of rock, David Lee Roth, with a ‘Just Like Paradise’ track. This was the song that really changed everything for me...
MD: So, not much surprise there, how you ‘took on’ to some of David’s antics later and mastered so well all those amazing and often dangerous acrobatic kicks and stage moves?
OH: Well, I have no problem when people ask me how much is in me of David Lee Roth. For me, it is just a real honour to be compared with my ultimate hero, and the man I have massive respect for! I have great respect for what he is, and how much fun and excitement he truly brings into rock music. I just can’t understand what it is all about, being angry or being depressed while on stage. It doesn’t really go with the whole idea and attitude of rock ‘n’ roll...that’s not rock’n’ roll! I mean, if you think of it, the roots of rock, Elvis and Chuck Berry. In their time, it was all about having a good time! Making people happy, not miserable. And sure as hell, that didn’t change much during the 70s, or the 80s. It is just all about the party time music!
MD: Are you referring to the whole era of the grunge music? The music genre that more or less changed the whole mood of rock music at the time. Bands like Nirvana?
OH: There was really some good songs with Nirvana and, hell yeah, one of the greatest bands of that era. It was like, all meant to be in the whole process of the music evolution at that time. And it was a great era in the world of music. But everything after that, it is just a sad, sombre story in a way about the band and Kurt Cobain. I just can’t get the idea why anyone would lose their spare time or hard earned money to go and see some guy who is so fucked up and depressed and find out how miserable his life is. A guy who, the whole time of the show, is gazing at his shoes and wears the same clothes he wears at home. You know, you have to choose between one band that is depressed but has a big name in the world of music, or there are the bands like Reckless Love, playing about sex, romance and fun. Easy going good mood heavy metal! I mean, have a blast with all sing–a-long songs...nice and simple! Get drunk, forget about all the fun, excitement and tomorrow... just enjoy today! [laughs] There is something about this academic word that I just can’t fucking understand! Why do people pay big money just because this band is a big name?!
MD: With the ‘Reckless Love’ album you got great reviews and all positive feedback from your fans. But to get there, it sure took you quite a long time. Tell me more about the making of the album ...the whole creative process of it.
OH: Sure, it was a quite a long process for the band. For some of us far too long, though! [laughs]
MD: Why too long?
OH: It was all down to finding the right record label, the right management really. Over the years, we did lots of stuff, gigs, but at the time it was more about having fun. I mean, all our lives was a step towards this album. We have like twenty something years to prepare and get to this point musically, so no wonder it is a great album! Or just a perfect one! And, so far, we are truly proud with the results and the feedback we are getting from people. The truth is, we wanted an album that we can buy ourselves. And that’s what it is.
MD: What is the dynamic in the band in terms of who does what?
OH: Well, Pepe definitely is the main creative force when it comes to song writing and then there is Jalle and Pepe together. But then the producer Ilkka [Wittanen] calls some big shots in the whole process of making of this album. He is the good guy and he just hooked up with Pepe so well. He ended up producing the great album because he’s got a very good idea about the Reckless Love music. He got into all that ‘merry metal’ stuff. And I am always there when we are writing the melodies. Just to adjust to my voice. Not really compose them, just feeding them, giving them ideas...giving them brainstorming then they do the lyrics.
MD: How did you hook up together as a band?
OH: I’ve known Jalle since I was four years so we are practically brothers. I know Pepe since I was ten. We grew up in the same neighbourhood, went to the same school. Hessu came later. I know him through my ex-girlfriend...he is a friend of hers. I met him on the show, with this AC/DC cover band. They were three grumpy old men. And there was this beautiful young guy in a background, playing drums. During the whole gig that night, Hessu was ‘trashing’ the drums and smiling all the way through. We get together and, after a few minutes talking and running through a few Reckless Love songs later in the rehearsal place, that was it. We were ready to rock! At the end of our first gig together we had offers from two major record companies. So everything after that happened pretty much very quickly.
MD: Were there any other titles or names come up for your album?
OH: At the time it was like a tribute to our own idols. Their first albums were all self-titled so we wanted to make a self-titled album. We all looked up to our idols. Everyone in the band has their own heroes like Van Hallen, Led Zeppelin...all the greats! I mean, the music, the sound, lyrics...the whole shit -it is the essence of Reckless Love! Everything is in it. Nothing to add, nothing missing...it is all there. That’s why there is no other name there to promote. Why bother naming the album something different from Reckless Love?! The whole album is the story of our lives, anyway.
MD: So, all the references of love, sex and romance in your songs, all are part of your real life experiences then?
OH: Everything, yeah...
MD: Let’s start with the song, ‘Beautiful Bomb’?
OH: I came up with this idea about ... just thinking of the word bum.[Laughs] I was in the gym, working out, and I saw this girl with a short skirt doing some step-exercises...hmm, you know, like her ass bowing to my face. And from where I was, all that looked hot and inviting. So I got back home with that line in my head, beautiful bum. But I couldn’t write the song like beautiful bum...that would be really damn stupid. I mean, in a bad sleazy way. So I came up with the idea of changing it to a beautiful bomb but with a more sexual underlining to it! I muddled up with the idea and thought about all those women I dated. Well, I always love women with the nice bums! Good, sexy bums are always nice to look at too...! [laughs]
MD: But not just romance and nice bums. There are also lots of lyrics with more sexual references and messages. Songs like ‘One More Time’, ‘Badass’, or ‘Love Machine’?
OH: Of course, everything about us is sexual, on or off stage. We are just one of those young, healthy and sexually charged four guys 24/7...like-right now! [Looks for some nods of approval from his band mates]. Well, we are just like many of the twenty something guys. I mean, there are times when you don’t want to be with that person, but the sex is just so awesome and you try just one more time. And you go again one more time, and one more time...type of things that you sometimes cling on to in life, although you don’t want to.
MD: You mean stuff like from the song ‘One More Time’?
OH: Oh yeah, just like that! You know, you don’t need to worry about that too much because, after all, sex is supposed to be fun! [laughs]