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Spiha - spiritual ways to find a name & finnish band brotherhood

Spiha is no new band from Finland because they are already around since 1998; however, they couldn’t really stand their ground in Germany unlike their fellow musicians HIM, The Rasmus, The 69 eyes, Negative and others. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to introduce the band to you a little closer on their first small tour in Germany.

In addition to a tour report that is online for a couple of days we could win Henri Lönnrot aka Henry Lee Rock (vocals), Juhana Rantala aka Ringo Deathstarr (drums), Timo Paavola aka Daemon P.A. Volume (guitar) and Mikko Juntunen aka Junza (guitar) over for an interview. Whoever laughs about their stage names only has to think of Jyrki 69 from the 69 Eyes, who, back in the days when they still played glamrock, called himself Jyrki Darling … those kind of things seem to be compulsory for many Finnish bands.

Since when does you band exist and where does your band name Spiha come from?
Henry Lee: Our band was formed in 1998. There’s a little story about finding our band name.
Daemon: Well, this story is a little bit crazy.
Henry Lee: We were sitting all together at Daemon’s place and discussed about a good name for our band. At some point Daemon went to take a shower. From there, he of course couldn’t really hear us too well thanks to the rushing water. We talked about the band Birds, by the way a legendary band from the 70’s, and because Daemon didn’t get anything we rolled the disc over to him. It kept on rolling to the front of the mirror – the wrong way round. Hmm, and because the mirror was steamy, the upside down and mirror-inverted logo of the Birds looked like Spiha and thus, the name sounded nice and moreover, there was something spiritual about it. The name was meant to be!

What are your musical roots?
Henry: Hmm, they come from different directions. I, for example, like the stuff from The Cult, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam but also from The Doors. Yeah and then there are also old bands like Jerichofuzz with Sacho Superstar. By the way, Sacho is something like a mentor for me. And of course, not to forget, the legendary Black Sabbath!
Ringo: Yep, and of course Motörhead for my part!

What do you think, why do a number of bands from Finland get more and more popular?
Henry Lee: Yeah, that’s how it is because you find a certain depth in this kind of music. Just look at e.g. Hanoi Rocks. This successful Finnish band is around since 1981 or Heavy Games, too. They are the roots of garage style, street rock. Rock n roll isn’t just a temporary fashion but a way of life.
Junza: For one thing surely because the roots of Finnish bands in different types of rock and metal are combined with different kinds of other styles. And besides, we set a high value on the quality of music; it’s about knowing how to play instruments and setting the whole arrangement. By that the sound gets more vivid, varied and has more depth.

How do your songs come about?
Henry Lee:Hmm, sometimes the lyrics come up first, sometimes Junza’s or Daemon’s riffs are there first. It’s some kind of teamwork with us. The sound, the lyrics – both build up at the same time. We create our music in a lively way.

Has someone of you played in other bands before?
Henry Lee: Hmm, Junza, our lead guitarist, played in Fish Faces. Before that he was in a band called Pump. Then another little crazy story: Ringo, our drummer, used to play drums with HIM. One day Ringo stood behind the bar in the legendary Tavastia and avidly tapped beer. We were looking for a drummer that night and so we just asked him if he wanted to play in our band. Ringo concisely said yes. End of story.

The latest album “Spiritual Hallucination” was just released. Your first record is called “Egoreaktor”, on it is the song “Samurai Of Sound” – isn’t the voice of Jyrki 69 heard in the song?
Henry Lee: Yes, that’s right, Jyrki from the 69 Eyes is a very good friend of us. It’s cool, we both love the music, the same clubs in which we sometimes hang around together. The story with Jyrki’s voice in the song “Samurai Of Sound” was indeed a crazy idea. By the way, Jussi 69 is also a very good friend of me.

How is actually the vibe among Finnish bands – are there feuds going on?
Henry Lee: No, nothing like that! There are many bands und not all of them are close friends but we respect each other. Surely, some bands are more successful but that’s okay. Well, in this way the interest in Finland and its rock n roll grows.

Are you actually all from Helsinki?
Henry Lee: No, we are from different places but stay in Helsinki and surrounds. Junza is from Kallio.
Daemon: I come from Rovaniemi, it’s in the North of Finland, straight next to the Arctic Circle and not too far away from Oulu.

Could you imagine to live in another country for some time?
For some time, yes. I like Paris a lot; I was there only last year. It’s a lively city, culturally and also because of its particular architecture; I love this city and its atmosphere. Of course I visited the legendary grave of Jim Morrison – this was a special moment in my life.

Are there certain movies or books that you like?
Henry Lee: When you’re asking me that way, yes, the Kalevala is definitely the book for me, it’s the Finnish national epic. It describes the mythical prehistory, sort of the cultural-historical roots of Finland. If it comes to movies, I really like movies by Aki Kaurismäki. I met him, by the way, a short while ago personally; he’s really cool. His movies are ingenious, taken from real life but with a brilliant sense of humour.

Was that your first tour in Germany?
Henry Lee: Yes, just today we played for the first time a gig in Berlin, in the K17. The vibe and the atmosphere in the club were good, the fans were cool and rocked out. We heard that some of our fans took on hour-long drives to see us live. We look forward to coming back soon! Be cool, rock on and don’t forget to respect each other!

Author: Anna Routsis, Photos: www.spiha.net, translation: Kathleen Gransalke
Date: 2005-11-04

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