The hype around the early years of Negative has calmed down so far, but the band is more active than ever. They have obviously matured since their last release „Neon“. The young finnish band Negative owes a big part of their success to their charismatic singer Jonne Aaron, who agreed to meet STALKER in Zurich despite his voice problems.
How are you doing?
I’m doing ok. I feel good but my voice is cracking down. I don’t feel that good because of that.
Oh that’s bad, do you think you are able to sing tonight?
So, you try to give your best!
Yes, every night but the new songs are really demanding songs for the singer. But it’s all good, I just have to open up my voice, but I didn’t have enough time, because I slept so much.
Oh, ok but will you have enough time now, not that I keep you busy because of this interview?
Ok, how is it to be back in Switzerland?
It feels good. I like the venue and I’m really looking forward to it, what it’s gonna be tonight. We have a really tight set at the moment with Negative. We started touring spring 2010 with the new album “Neon”, so we have done quite many shows already. Now we started this part from Netherlands, then we went to Germany, Czech Republic and Romania, there was something more… oh Hungary. And now we are here and yesterday we were in Austria.
How was it to drive here, because of the snow?
I don’t know, I was sleeping (laughs) But it was good. I love to be on the road. It’s great to see the people are coming to see our band over and over again. And it’s really nice, it warms up my heart. It makes it worth to come up here.
How where the shows until now?
They were great. Yesterday I had the best energy so far.
Were there many people or how was it?
It was… good. How can I say it wasn’t sold out but it was good. Wait, I can show you some pictures. I got some pictures. I love to take pictures from stage. (Shows some pictures of the crowd on his knackered phone) I cracked my screen (laughs) there is the last night audience.
Oh Wow! Ok, it looks very crowded. Nice.
Yes. (Laughs) Enough to make a great show.
What do you prefer, playing in Finland or somewhere else?
Mhh… both of it has great sides. I love to play in Finland because you are able to go back home after the show, because the distances are not long, if you compare to Europe. To be able to tour in Europe or abroad, you have to stay away from your loved ones. So it’s not that easy. Especially if there is something going on back home, like one of your loved ones might be sick or something, you know. Then you are a little bit worried about her or him. Then it is really difficult, but you just have to handle it. But I love to be... here. So maybe outside of Finland, because it seems like in Finland, people think that Negative just exists. Know what I mean? They think we are still around, we are there. We are something that they are taking for granted. Whenever we come around, it seems like that people are really exited and they showing that, because we are not able to come every week here. That makes it a bit special.
So, the crowed gives more to you because they don’t see you every week?
Exactly, but I love these Finnish women who are touring for us here.
Oh, they are coming from Finland to see you here?
Yes. Every show. I really appreciate it. This is really impressive. It is really nice. But I love to play in there. I mean we released the DVD “In the eye of the hurricane” 2006, it was in our home field Pakkahuone and that’s my favorite venue, still in Finland. I love it.
I read in the Forum that some of the Fans are disappointed that the tour is so short, how come? Do you already have plans for a second part?
Yeah true, but we gonna Tour with “Neon” for the next two years. You shouldn’t expect a new album at least in two years. We are touring for “Neon”, it was released six months ago, so we are doing it in small parts. We are not doing it in row.
Because it’s much easier, to have a break in between and do the promo. Everything takes time, so now we have Southern America Dates for the spring. So let’s see. I’m looking forward to that. And UK gonna be there at some point. We are working for that. That is the main target for Negative at the moment besides this touring. So we wanna get to the new territories.
You are only five people in the band since Gary left, will it stay like this?
Actually he was just two months in the band. We feel better that ever like it is now. It was different with two guitarists, we realized that we made our sound even straighter and more, how can I say…special nowadays when there is not two guitarists. We did a hard Job to make it work like it is now and we never gonna take a second guitarist anymore. At least if we gonna add something we gonna add some “Backing vocal” ladies. Let’s see. (Laughs)
Ok well, I don’t know if your female fans would be that happy about it.(laughs)So, your record “Neon” has been released in July 2010, why did you choose the Title “Neon”?
We wanted to try something new, actually it was Larry’s Idea. He came up with the name. It was something not that obvious.
(Larry, who is also in the room, says something about Neon to Jonne)
Actually yes, our Studio was decorated with all these Neon-Signs that we ordered from EBay and bought them to L.A.- that’s how it came up. All this big Neon Lights, they have fascinated us in some freaky way. And in Greece it means something new as well. There are a couple of meanings. In Finnish it means “they are”. Neon Negative! “Ne” is they and “on” is are. So there are many meanings behind that.
Ok, and all this meanings fit to your record and to Negative as well.
Exactly, if you think about breaking point Karma Killer was already with one guitar. But this time we really did it alive in the Studio, everybody was jamming. We just took the best parts.
You recorded “Neon” in L.A., why did you choose to do it there and how was it?
Actually this Jeff Blue, a songwriter who discovered the New Metal scene, came to Finland to discover some new Finnish Bands and he randomly heard some of our stuff from Karma Killer and he got really exited about it and he invited me to Helsinki at his last night in Finland. I went there, I took a train and went to his hotel room and we were listening to all kind of music of Negative and to all kind of music which we both liked, and then he invited me to do some Co-writing with him. That was a good idea and in a few weeks I had already booked five flights over there and I went to his mansion. He had a great mansion up in the Hills, probably the coolest view on L.A. there was a valley and on the other side was this Hollywood sign. In the heart of Hollywood. I spend there a few weeks, one month and I was writing stuff and he was like my spiritual coach. And we came up with two songs “End of the Line” and “Jealous Sky” for Neon. And little bit “Believe”. I think that he gave me a new perspective for “Believe”. And then I went back to Finland and we did lot of demoing with the band and it was a really long process. If it’s gonna be this long as I already told you, we gonna tour with this album for a long long time.
So you have somehow enough at the moment of doing records?
Yes! I can’t think about a new Idea yet. Anyone shouldn’t be worried about how short this is because there will be new tour dates. The Band will come around again.
What do you prefer then? Doing the record in Finland or L.A?
Actually the reason why we went to L.A didn’t come clear yet. So I went to Jeff’s place and I met our producer Jimmy Westerlund, we were getting wasted. He got really interested of producing our Album, and actually I was like:”What the hell, why not!” I came back to Finland and I told the guys that I met this guy and that we should do it there. He had a real Gear over there and a nice place, so we went there, that’s the Deal. That’s the end of the Story.
So of course recording it was really nice and inspiring, it was like a dream come true. To find myself in L.A. and doing my morning running every morning and eating fresh fruits for breakfast and then go to the studio.
And how is it when you are in Finland?
It’s different. I like it as well maybe next time we gonna do something else on the moon or something. (Laughs)It was a long distance and it was good for us. You know the Band spirit went like this (claps his hands together) it was the last moment to make it tight as it is now. After Chris left the band. You know what I mean. That is the end of the story, he is history, that era.
Now you have a great team spirit, you mean.
Yeah, everybody trusts each other. We have a huge spirit in the band. The atmosphere is really creative and supportive. We were all fucked up back in 2006. To much toxic things.
It’s all about balance nowadays. We were much younger back then, we are still young (laughs) so it is not about getting wasted all the time. The thing why we are here is to make great shows for the people and after the show everybody can do what ever they want. And before the Show just as long as they are able to play great shows.
How about your fans: I heard that Fans in Russia almost tore Jonnes pants of. How are that kind of situations for you guys?
It was scary! I have seen all kind of things, probably all the things you can see as a performing artist. I have seen them all. Nothing surprises me anymore. Few days ago there was a male fan climbing on stage and started to hug me and kissed me and he pulled his tongue all the way in my throat. That was so disgusting.
And now you are sick because of that.
I don’t know. That can happen. But somehow it turned me on (with a whimsical smile)
(Laughs) Ok well then, but what do you think is it flattering for you to have fans like this or annoying?
I am not scared of the girls, I know I can deal with them. But when there is a well trained, masculine man climbing on stage and you can see that and you don’t know if is he aggressive or not. You know what I mean. And he was full of love, after the show his friends told me that they didn’t know what happened to him. He is usually calm and something happened during the show, so… (Laughs) Maybe he though that I wasn’t the real Jonne.
(Tourmanager appears: “Last Question”)
Ok, If you look back on the past years you have been doing music, are there things you regret and that you would change if you could?
Oh yeah. Back in 2006 I would take a holiday and cancel some touring with Negative. But you can’t turn back time, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here, so no regrets at the end.
Ok, then thanks a lot for your time, have a great show and all the best for your voice.
Thank you, thanks a lot, now I go and get some food!
Author: Sandy Mahrer, Photos: Negative, Warner Music Date: 2011-02-15