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Private Line: Finnish Democracy?

Boyband or not? This is the question everyone has to answer for him or herself when it comes to the Finnish band Private Line. But in one point everyone has to agree, these guys know how to rock. No matter if itīs a groovy rock song or a heart-melting ballad they always put all a lot of feeling into their songs. During the Trash Fest II in Helsinki we met sweet Rockī nī Roll guitar hero Jack and talked a bit about Private Lineīs next plans and the upcoming record!

How are you doing today?
I am very well - waiting for the show

You have played here last year already, are you happy to be part of the Trash Fest again?
We really appreciate that Mama took us again as headliners for the first night of the Trash Fest II. Itīs cool to play here, I think we gonna play some new material as well tonight, so itīs this tension point for us tonight also. Itīs like, you know, if you play the new stuff the very first time it makes us a little bit nervous.

Can you tell us a little bit about the band, when you were founded ect.
Private Line was started in the middle of the 90s, so ten years ago, or it was 1996 or something and I wasnīt in the band back then, but Sammy, our singer, and drummer Elias formed the band and I joined in 2002, so seven years ago. Well, first Private Line, back in the 90s, was more like grunge kind of stuff and the guys werenīt, well, I shouldnīt say not so serious, but you know, like having fun and well, in the beginning of 2000...well, of this 21st century, everybody moved to the capital Helsinki from Jyväskylä, you know where we all are from, you know, in the middle of Finland, small city and yeah we started working together here, and I joined the band because the other guitar player left to Timo Rautiainen ja Trio Niskalaukaus, which was a big act back then, and the guys asked me to join and we started to work fulltime with Private Line so we released our first official EP in late 2002 and a couple of years after that we released our first album, yeah so the story goes (laughs)

You have been on a small European tour last September, how was that experience for you? Is the crowd different in those countries compared to Finland?
Well, we have played, before that last yearīs tour, in Germany and Switzerland and Austria also, we were playing some gigs in Italy and one time in Germany, but like some gigs here and there, but not that kind of full tour in the middle of Europe, so it was a great experience and we were totally surprised, how many people came too see our shows, we thought it is a success because we havenīt released our albums in Germany, Austria or Switzerland so I know people get records to buy in the internet or download it, like pirate thing and so but I donīt mind because people came to see our shows and they were singing the lyrics all along and it was great to notice that, we played 11 shows in the middle of Europe where we havenīt released our albums and there are people who come to see our shows. It was great for us we were really, really surprised and happy about it so we gonna come back there, I think it was good promo work for the middle of Europe.

Was there a place you liked the most?
Errrrr...mhhh well all the shows were great. There where different kind of places like smaller rock clubs and bigger clubs, and I shouldnīt say which show I liked the most īcause the audience everywhere was fantastic...oh sorry I didnīt answer what kind of audience there was... I think they were a little bit more enthusiastic about the music and singing the lyrics than in Finland cause we have toured so many times in Finland so you know people are not so crazy about it all the time, in Germany for example people were so, how could I say? Mh...Well, they looked very happy (laughs) but anyway… sorry, what was the last question?

Which place you liked the most.
Oh, ok I think Bochum was great even though we had some technical problems but that wasnīt our fault but I liked the show and Munich also. I think it was one of the best shows. Also Berlin even though it was at Wild at Heart which is a really, really cool place but little bit small but anyway...there were a lot of good shows.

Now I have to ask how about Switzerland? It was a little bit… well, how shall I say, the band didnīt look that happy and the club was very small.
Oh really? (Laughs) You have been there? Ok, Well I was happy I donīt know if someone wasnīt but well of course we were a little bit stressed īcause we were like driving through France and what other places during the night I think we were little bit tired you know and also delayed to that show for almost 2 hours, actually I donīt know how many shows we were playing in a row back then so it was our 8th or 9th. show so....we were little bit tired but anyway we were happy about the Switzerland gig. It was a strange place, little bit small and I think also the city was a little bit small but it was cool because it was my first time there.

Next time we get you a bigger club.
Yeah, yeah cool, well there were strange kind of rules in that club, you shouldnīt smoke when no one is in, when the audience isnīt in but when the people are coming to the club you can smoke, so like what the hell? In Finland we have it like just the other way. But anyway it was cool and I liked it (laughs)

Do you have any plans for a new record?
We are doing it all the time, writing some new material still, īcause we werenīt happy about all the songs but we have lot of songs already and I think, I canīt promise but I think the new album is coming during September something like that. Itīs like our Finnish Democracy (laughs) not Chinese, not 14 years but Evil Knivel Factor has been releases 2006 so itīs been almost three years but we know the albumīs name for years, so we know the name but we donīt have all the material yet. But itīs gonna come and it will be definitely our best album. But we wanna do it as best as we can so thatīs why we havenīt released yet. We wouldnīt release an album that we are not happy about it. We wanna do it that there are not songs that we donīt wanna play or wanna hear, we want that every song is like a single song, you know? I am not sure if people gonna like it, but we will like it.

Thatīs the main point, you do this for yourself not for the people, it has to make yourself happy.
Yeah, right, but itīs been a lot of different kind of difficulties during the recording of this album but I think itīs gonna be a little bit darker than our earlier albums but I donīt mean that gothic way, I think lyrics gonna be bit darker īcause thereīs been lot of death surrounding us that itīs so...(starts smiling) there are also some happy moments.

Can you tell us more about the production work? Where will you record it? Who wrote the songs?
Well, errr, we wrote together at this point, there are songs from Sammy, me and Ilari and letīs see, if we get some other one.. we gonna record it probably in Helsinki, we have already recorded stuff in Helsinki but there is some usual record label bullshit that we have to work with so we are not so free there are some new plans but I cant tell you about it but all this things combined together makes it not so easy to release only an album īcause you have to think about so many things. Thatīs just stupid bullshit we donīt like but we have to do it.

So you donīt have a “save” record label behind you?
Letīs put it this way, we are having discussions, and itīs gonna work out fine.

How are your plans for 2009 with the band?
The best album in the world, (laughs) I think we gonna play these couple of shows this spring like tonight and Sunday in Tampere and some other shows as well and maybe some summer festivals but I think we gonna concentrate the whole summer and prepare for the new album and I think also there is a lot of work to do to arrange the tour after the album release I think we gonna start the tour in fall. We gonna tour this year also in the middle of Europe as many countries as possible. So I think itīs gonna be in the end of 2009 when we start the tour and itīs gonna last till the end of 2010 or something.(laughs) But we definitely go back to middle Europe and we have to start planning all those touring.

Do you have any other music project next to Private Line?
Well at this point it takes almost all of my time, my personal time. Iīve been trying to live my personal life as well but I have some projects. We have this therapy projects with other guys from Private Line and Stereo Junks guys, those evil boys, but those are therapy for us we gotta play some pop songs, and well I have some projects but I canīt tell you about those īcause (points to the recorder) maybe later (laughs) letīs put it this way: hear you later!

One last questions who of you is a Johnny Cash fan?
Johnny Cash Fan? I think all of us!

Just to know who took away my sleep after your gig in Switzerland. I had the room next to one of you in the hotel! At least now I know that not girls are the ones that talk more.
Ahh. (smiles ashamed) Now I remember that J.V. who was doing Ilariīs part, you know J.V. from Machine Man? He had his laptop with him and he was listening Cashīs Hurt or something, send your greetings to him. (laughs) but we all like Johnny Cash, anyway!

Do you have some final words for the STALKER readers?
Well stalk around, buy our new album and there it goes, come and see the shows. This usual bullshit - make love not war!

Thank you for the interview!
Thank you!

Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Private Line
Date: 2009-05-12

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