Interviewed by Adrian Hextall (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
An interview with a member of Lordi can always be a little bit unnerving. Do you get the musician or the monster? If the latter, will you find your soul sucked from your body by the time the discussion is complete, to then find yourself back on the street a mindless husk destined to walk the earth for all eternity?
Today, I am speaking to Hella, the current keyboard player in the band. To provide a little background on Hella, we look to Lordi’s official explanation as to her origins.
Hella´s original human identity and origins remain unknown, despite intensive investigations. All that is known for sure is that she is one of the victims of the notorious madman just known as Ruiz, and is the twisted result of his insane experiments . Hella was captured and held in captivity for months by Ruiz, until eventually she was brutally cast in plastic and rubber. Ruiz´s sick compulsion was to try to build a real living life-size doll for his own amusement. A dozen dead bodies of young girls were found in his cellar at the time of his arrest in the summer of 1985. They were all severely burned when they were dipped in hot plastic, their joints were punctured, and bones were broken by handmade maximum sized metallic bolts and screws. Some of the victims had their scalps cut off and replaced by blond wigs. Their eyes removed and replaced by poorly painted glass eyes as well. These operations ultimately lead to the victims deaths. Plenty of physical evidence remained, leading to the conclusion that there was a 13th victim. But her body was never found. This undeniably disturbing evidence, one eyeball and a scalp, was found to belong to one mysterious girl who miraculously was able to not only stay alive, but also managed to escape after her operations. Her whereabouts are unknown, but many eye witness reports have been made during the years of her. This one sole survivor, ”living doll” is known as Hella.
With that in mind and hoping to get insight from the musician and leave the interview, soul and mind intact, we start to discuss horror movies and their influences on the band and music.
Hella: Well, Mr. Lordi is, of course the one who mostly created everything, starting from the characters and the music. And of course, we are involved with in it a lot and all of us are fans of all kinds of horror movies.
I wouldn’t actually like separate any particular genre or anything, because I think everything from splatter to the movie theater, the horror movies, everything is included. There might be elements like picked up from any — a good example is that we were in Nashville recording our album and then we were watching one movie and there was this little girl in the movie saying something like “Daddy, I don’t like you any more”, or something like that. And that line end up on our album and this, “I want to kill you.” Not exactly the same words but the idea came from that, just this little girl repeating a sentence and how creepy is that.
MGM: When you put the music videos together as well, because I imagine you’ve done videos for the new album as well. Are you looking to mirror all the horror movies that are out there? I take as an example, one the band did, before you joined, which was Blood Red Sandman. That was pretty much molded on the Evil Dead movie, for example.
Hella: Well, the most recent ones were not actually made by us. The script and the directing was done by others. So, yeah, the earlier ones were directed and scripted by Mr. Lordi and his friends more.
Nowadays, things have been more out of our hands. Of course, there is like — for some example, the latest video, Scare Force One was made by Finnish, talented, young film-makers and they thought this whole idea of the music video and they showed it to us, and we liked it, and we’re like why not. So, yeah. The thing with that has a little bit changed. Maybe lack of time has driven us to let other people do that?
MGM: You’ve become more reliant on other people to do all of these things for you now?
Hella: Yeah. The Riff video was as well that there was an idea from outside of the band and we just saw, oh, that sounds fun. Let’s do that.
MGM: It became one of your big songs in the last few years.
Hella: Yeah. It was actually quite a fun experience. We flew to Prague from Finland and everything was done within a really short space of time. We flew to Prague then in the middle of the night we shot the video in the supermarket and then flew back to Finland, and that was it. That was pretty wild.
MGM: Now, you’re obviously touring here at the moment. But one of the reasons, of course, you have to come over was for the concert on Friday night when you perform again for the Eurovision. How is it still, I should say, affecting the band? Are they still grateful for the publicity that Eurovision gives them? Or is there more of a desire now to sort of step away from the cheesy pop side of things?
Hella: Well, it was actually just a coincidence that it happened to be my on our European tour, timing wise. But it did force us to schedule our UK dates because we were here in the UK, anyway, for the BBC. I would say that the real Lordi fans have nothing to do with Eurovision. And then what you’re being known from Eurovision gives to us is the knowledge / awareness of the band for those people who don’t follow the genre.
So that’s what it gives us, which is of course a positive thing. There’s no doubt that Lordi is wanted on talk shows more. Or, for example, this concert that we’re in (Celebrating 60 years of Eurovision) and it’s always positive but I would say that the audience is different than it would be there without Eurovision seeing our shows.
MGM: I saw maybe the last 15 minutes of broadcast when you were all on stage at the front. And of course, as all of these artists from over the years from Eurovision, and then Lordi in the big monster costumes. It does look completely different, doesn’t it?
Hella: Yeah, it does. And it felt actually that we were a little like — well.. out of place in a way, but in a positive way. I like the Eurovision, the whole concept. The way I see it as like an entertainment and like a celebration of — how would I say? There’s a very positive spirit with being different. For example, take Conchita Wurst. I really, really admired the way she appears publicly because, of course, she gets a lot of comments about her appearance and face about; “who are you, what are you doing and this is so weird” and way more hard, hurtful comments than I just said.
And the way she reacts on them is that, “Thank you, I appreciate your comments, and you have the right for your opinion but this is what I am and I do what I do.” And that’s exactly what I love. Of course, she’s very talented singer as well and her songs was awesome, so it was very deserved win. But her, as a character, it’s representing just do whatever you want to do and don’t care about what other people think. That’s what I appreciate about it.
And this year, actually, the Finnish representative is the first punk band ever been in Euro Vision competition, and I really recommend people to take a look. They’re all somehow disabled. How the whole band actually got started is from the kind of like a community centre for disabled people and there were music opportunities as well and they just put together a band like from there.
I think the songs that they do are really good. They do well with that they do. I think it’s a very interesting act to see on stage, and hopefully, people are open-minded enough to see their talent on their own way.
MGM: Thank you. Let’s now talk about the latest album. One of the things that I’ve seen a couple of people comment on is the style of the albums. You seem to switch, every album between say predominantly a hard rock album and then the metal album, and then a hard rock album. But this one seems to be a very unique blend of the two. Scare Force One has definitely got some really heavy moments on it, but then it’s got more of this sort of hard rock sing along chorus. Was that the intention this time to really blend the two together or did it just work out that way?
Hella: I would say that it — because doing music is very creative process. You kind of can’t control what comes up when you get the ideas. It just ends of being something eventually. Of course, you can analyse later that what affect it and what kind of influences you got from the, of course, the music that is on nowadays affects as well without you even noticing it and all of that stuff.
So, I would say that it just ended up being like that, and there’s new stuff that the band wanted to try out. For example, Scare Force One has a little bit of the, I would say, experimental theme. There’s a little bit of elements that are not so obviously a Lordi thing.
Everyone in the band, of course, brings their own ideas to the table and, Mr. Lordi might bring a hundred on the table. Then eventually all those ideas can end up on the album because they become one story as well. Sometimes there might be a song that was already on the table years ago and now would be a good time and this would fit on this album.
MGM: Was By the Hammer of Frankenstein the band’s choice for a lead single from it? Or was it picked through by the record company? It seems like a very good choice. It immediately captures the Lordi sound. Everybody would recognize it the Lordi tune.
Hella: Yeah. I think Mr. Lordi again has his opinion with those but eventually, it’s the record label who picks it then they releases.
MGM: Now, of course, part of everything you do is around the theatrics as well when you get up on stage. Tell us a little bit about your costume, because it’s one of the newer outfits. Did you input into the design for yours?
Hella: Yeah. Actually, well, everything started from that. I was able to bring my ideas, what kind of a character would fit on me, and the doll was immediately there. And funny enough, Mr. Lordi had the doll idea already, it was a perfect match.
MGM: And does it feel, when you’re on a stage, does it feel like it’s you? Or would you get away and you feel like you’re in the character mode?
Hella: It is me and, of course, it’s a kind of an alter ego thing, but it’s a character created by me, so it feels very comfortable. And like Hella is a little bit reckless in the way she performs, I love that style that I can totally give everything.
MGM: One of the things I like about when you’re playing on stage is you’ve got that almost hypnotic glazed look, as you stare into the crowd. Are they all things you’ve worked on to give yourself, as you say, the look?
Hella: Yeah. It’s funny because I really didn’t work on too much. They just come. And so that’s how it should be because we’re not actors. We’re characters that are built on our real personalities. So, that’s then makes it easy to be on stage and to be your character.
MGM: How long does it take you to get ready?
Hella: Well, I’m really fast. For me, like if I need to, I can do it in 10 minutes. But then again, Mr. Lordi takes about three hours. It depends on what the technique is that the mask is built with, because he’s a little bit of a different, but everyone else is in there between.
MGM: Does that mean, for example, his mask at times isn’t reusable? Is it like, you know, not — can you actually take off and reuse? Or is it a lot of time a one-off?
Hella: There’s pieces that needs to be remolded after every few gigs.
MGM: I know you’re all trying to avoid as much as possible any pictures or anything outside of your outfits. Are you able to walk around at home without being recognized by everyone?
Hella: Yeah. Yeah, because, of course, if you really want to find out the personality behind there, that nowadays quite, eventually, quite easy. But the thing is that in the band, only the characters are there.
So, that’s just how it is and like, eventually, fortunately, I think the Eurovision was a little bit of the difference but people don’t even care that much for the real identities behind the characters because they want to see the characters.
We are quite boring. Yeah. And especially in Finland, like I think in general in Finland, people — no matter if Madonna would walk on the street, people will leave you alone. So, they’re like totally no problem with that.
I don’t personally, for example, have any interest on being any kind of a celebrity. I love actually that that I can. I’ve been in a bathroom at a venue where people are waiting the show and they’re talking about me there, and there I’m next to them washing my hands. That’s kind of fun.
MGM: That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
Hella: Yeah. And it’s definitely a good thing. It’s not that I’m like terribly afraid of being recognized. Some of the fans do know how I look, and if they come and talk to me on the street, it’s fine. I can say that yes, I am Hella and I can chat, and that not a problem. But as far as like the so-called big audience doesn’t know, know the identity.
MGM: In terms of the album, can you give me a couple of your favourite tracks. Those that you would say these are the ones, that, if you’re getting into Lordi for the first time, you should listen to these.
Hella: My favorite tracks from the latest album is ‘Hell Sent in the Clowns’ and ‘Scare Force One’. The reason why they are my favourites is that they are not typical Lordi. They are the more of a sound of this new Lordi album. That’s why I would recommend everybody to take a look on those, as well as I always like the songs that keyboards comes up a lot. So that’s, of course, part of the thing that I loved.
MGM: I think if the keyboards were missing from the Lordi songs, that would be missing the key ingredient because you bring the melody to the music with the keyboards.
Hella: It is. Yeah, it’s true that the way the songs are built like really needs all of the instruments there. The keyboard has always been a part of Lordi and there will always be keyboard sounds.
MGM: One last question then, where are you taking this next when you’re finished in the UK?
Hella: Well, I’m staying off on maternity leave.
Hella: Thank you.
Hella: So, I’m having a little break for the summer. Yeah. Summer festivals are coming up for the band and… But I’m not going anywhere. I’m just stepping aside until the baby is big enough. It’s something that needs to be brought out, because we don’t want any kind of a confusion why I’m not all of the sudden not out on stage. So we will probably need to just to tell the real reason. But I’ll be back!
As their UK tour concludes, the next opportunity to see Lordi will be in August 2015: