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STALA & SO. : When Monsters Turn into Snuggle Tigers

Extravagant outfits, flashy make-up and on top of it a huge load of glam rock. Thatīs Stala & So. When you see those guys live on stage, you simply have to move your ass because all the fun they seem to have spreads straight to the audience. Their songs are catchy as hell and will stick to your brain for weeks. The world needs a band like this and not only with their debut album “This is So.” (released on February 16th), the band has brought a fresh breeze to the music biz. STALKER took the opportunity and met the entire band before their gig at the Trash Fest IV.

How are you guys doing? Ready for the gig tonight?
Stala Yeah!
Nick Gore Of course!

How is it to belong to the Mama Trash Family now?
Stala So far, it has been great! You should ask the same question after the show. (laughs) No, I was just kidding!

Yeah, maybe you donīt like it after that anymore.
Stala I think we will like it. I guess we were one of the last acts that were put into the line up, so we are happy to be here.

Well, I guess there are a few fans coming just for you guys
Stala Yeah, probably! I guess three. (everybody laughs)

Three, ok, well I guess there will be some more. You had a gig last Sunday with the Eric Singer Project at Nosturi, how was that? [Eric Singer: current drummer of KISS, ex-drummer for Gary Moore, Lita Ford and Black Sabbath, the eds.]
That was great. It was awesome!
Others(Agree with him)
Nick Gore One of the best gigs we have ever played!
Stala In a way, the Kiss Fans are the toughest crowd because they only want to hear Kiss songs. Of course, there were a couple of our fans in the front row, you know, the girls were there, screaming whatever...the older guys were like... (crosses his arms in front of the chest and makes a serious face) standing there like this with the first songs but during the last song they were already (raises his arms in the air) or maybe they were cheering us because they knew it was the last song (laughs)…but actually it was really nice. It was one of the best gigs that we ever had, like, playing-wise and the audience and everything. We had so much fun. Even though we played only a 30-minute set.

Could you please introduce Stala & So. for the ones who donīt know you yet? When did the band form? How long are you playing together?
Stala Well, me and Nick founded the band back in …
Nick Gore 1997
Stala And the other line up was totally different. And weīve been doing this on and off over ten years. Well, obviously we had a small break because me and Nick were playing in this one monster band, you might know? (laughs) So we were doing that for couple of years. I almost did it like 10 years. And this line-up, Hank on the Drums… he is the newest member, heīs been around about...
Hank I joined last year!
Stala Yeah, about a year ago. He played most of the songs on the album, so heīs been in the family now about a year. And Pate and Sami came 2005. This is kind of the first time that we are really doing this seriously. And so far, it really has been so much fun.

How is this change, turning from just a side project to a full-time band?
Stala Well, obviously it is more work we have to do by ourselves. But it has been great, you know we always had the attitude that we can do whatever we feel like. And now we can do it, like, honestly. We donīt need to hide ourselves anymore like me and Nick had to do for a couple of years. And now we can be true to ourselves. Itīs relieving in a way.

I can imagine! You took part in the Eurovision Song Contest national qualification in Finland this year, unfortunately you didnīt win. How was this experience for you? Are you sad about the fact that you didnīt make it to the ESC in Düsseldorf?
Stala Well, actually we reached the goal we were aiming for. Get Finnish people to know who we are. Our main goal was to be in the Finnish finals. So we achieved it. You never know, it might be a good thing that we didnīt win it because otherwise the Eurovision stamp might be too big on us. And now we are not a Eurovision band, we are just a band who was there in the Eurovision thing at some point. And I already have that stamp on my forehead because of Lordi.
Sami J. Probably you donīt need it twice.
Stala You know, in a way it was a good starting point for the band. To get more people to know what Stala &So. is about. To win new fans.

So you prefer it that way, than going to the ESC again?
Stala Yeah, somehow.
Sami J. It is easier to say now, or it is easy to say “No, we didnīt want to win!” Of course, but if you take part in a competition like that, you want to win. You are disappointed if you donīt win. But for us it is like, to get there was like...That we achieved a lot with that! To have some publicity, like media and such, plus the experience… it was a lot of fun. I mean for all the artists, those were really nice days. But I mean who knows, we didnīt win and thatīs it! (laughs)
Stala I guess the best thing was that it kind of gave the band an opportunity to be a band again. Because first, I was kind of doing this as a solo or whatever. But because of the Eurovision we kind of re-formed So. again.

Is this why you also changed the name from So. to Stala & So. or is it because you are obviously very well known because of Lordi?
Stala Well, I donīt know why we changed the name. It was maybe because it first was my solo thing but then… because the guys around me were the So. guys so we wanted to add the So. there as well. First I was just supposed to be Stala but now we kind of feel So. needs to be there and we already have the history so why waste it. And weīve been thinking about it that maybe in the near future we will be just So. again. We have to see. We can change the bandīs name with every album (everybody laughs)
Sami J. Anything & So.

Lordi was very successful, how is it for you now to start all over again with a new band?
Stala Well, like I said it is much more work because we are kind of managing ourselves. We have a really small label and basically, you have to do everything by yourself… but in a way itīs challenging and itīs fun. Sometimes itīs a pain in the ass but you know thatīs the thing. With a band like Lordi there were so many things that you canīt get a hold off. And now we can do whatever we want, no one will say “No you canīt do that!” But of course, there are always like pluses and minuses. But right now we are in a good situation.

I am sorry that I have to ask that but how did it come about that you are not part of Lordi anymore?
Stala Well, they kicked me out (laughs) The whole thing was, I was pretty unhappy with the band last year because I wanted to do my thing and like I said, me and Sami, we agreed over a year ago that we wanna do this kind of a band as a solo project and then Nick also joined us and then Pate and Hank. And the Lordi guys knew that I am doing my solo but they were like: “Ok, lets see what will happen!” And then in a way when the Eurovision thing came, when YLE [Finnish broadcasting company] called and asked me to join the Eurovision thing, then it was like this, that we had to make the decision really quick. And at that point I wanted to do this because I kind of saw that as an opportunity, to finally do what I like. You know, I am not a teenager anymore and I had the opportunity to finally do what is the love of my life. And obviously the Lordi camp wasnīt happy about it!

Were you disappointed that they didnīt support you?
Stala Well, at that time a little bit. But of course I totally understand the reason.

Well, but it is not like that, that nobody knows who is behind the mask.
Stala Of course everybody knows, you can google it and then you see everyoneīs faces. But you know, it was their choice and I apprecciate it and Iīm kind of happy about it.

So, you donīt regret it?
Stala No,no! Maybe in the future I can put that sweaty costume on me again. You never know, but right now I donīt miss that!

You released your first Record “IT is So.” on February 16th, how have the reactions been so far? Was it kind of helpful that you joined the ESC thing?
Stala Yeah, of course it helped! Because we got some new fans. And so far the fans like it but still… as we have a really small label you canīt find our album for example in big supermarkets. But the fans seem to be happy about it and they like the songs. And we are proud of it. And right now we started to rehearse because we will release a new EP this fall. And a year from now we will release another album. So we have plenty of songs and we need to release them.

Why should people buy “It is So.”?
Stala Well, if they like good music (laughs) There are eleven good songs.

So what is the difference between Stala & So. and other bands?
Stala Well, we have the better songs obviously!
Nick Gore That is true!
Stala If you like melodic hard rock and of course, we have a really strong image as well, the whole 70īs Glam Rock image, so the whole package is kind of like… Our mission is to have fun with RockīnīRoll.

So this is also what people can expect when they come to see a show?
All Yeah!
Pate Vaughn I hope so!
Sami J. Well, isnīt the music about fun anyway? At least RockīnīRoll. You know you shouldnīt take yourself too serious. Of course, we are not trying to be a joke but anyway it is all RockīnīRoll.

Well it should be like this, but some bands do it because of the wrong reasons
Stala I guess there are to many of those bands that are kind of like: “They have seen so much and they wanna kill themselves!” so we are kind of the total opposite of that. So letīs have some fun and have a big party! Well, I have always liked bands like Kiss, Motley Crue who are celebrating RockīnīRoll. It is good fun and being with the guys and basically Sex, Drugs and RockīnīRoll…and Tits! So thatīs the thing. When you blame some good music for that so thatīs a perfect match!
Pate Vaughn Itīs just about having fun and now we are part of it!
Stala I donīt know there are plenty of people they just donīt get it! They are watching us and are like: “Oh my god, bunch of whatever!” But it doesnīt matter you know everyone doesnīt have to date us.

Well, I think itīs fun to watch you!
Stala Thatīs the thing!
Sami J. If someone is asking the question: “Why?” I always reply: “Why not?” One band that also represents all this is Van Halen, of course! Itīs all about having fun! I would go and buy our album and come to see us play!

Sure, but you also have the best outfit of them!
Sami J. Me? Really?
Stala We call him Marianne in Finnish!
Sami J. This is this kind of Candy with a Red-White Paper around.
Stala Peppermints!
Sami J. Or a lighthouse! (everybody laughs)

Are there already plans for a European tour? Or what are the plans for the near future?
Stala Well, right now we are working on it, we are planning that we might do a short tour this fall. You never know! Right now we are working on it, so lets see!

So the plans are to tour Europe?
Stala Yeah, of course, we have plenty of fans in Europe! So we would like to go there but we have such a small label, we donīt have that multi-national record label behind us so itīs always that we need to get some money first! But we are definitely working on it and we wanna go there!

Do you have some final words for the STALKER-Readers?
Stala Final words….??? Revenge our deaths! (everybody laughs)

Always the same stuff? Buy our album and come to see our shows?
Sami J. Well, that of course! But I donīt know…
Stala Mh.. just have fun and listen to our music while youīre having fun. So thatīs it.
Sami J.Naked! (all laugh)
Stala Yeah, drink beer and get naked! (everybody laughs again)
Sami J. And then have fun, and then drink some more beer and then put clothes on and get naked again
Stala But you canīt get naked again if you donīt put your clothes on!
Sami J. IF..you put on clothes get naked again…
Stala Yeah but it is impossible to get naked again if you are already naked…
Pate V. Yes, it is!!! (everybody laughs)
Sami J. Isnīt that a possible song?
Stala We need to figure this out!

Ok then guys, thanks a lot for the interview and enjoy the show!
Stala Thank you and we are So. (laughs)
Sami J. And sorry about the confusing end! (everybody laughs)

Check out http://www.stalaso.com/

Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Band
Date: 2011-04-22

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