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Velvet Six: Living like Batman

Velvet Six will be back in Helsinki to play a show on 18th February 2012 at "Bar Loose"; but we have already met two sixths of them before their gig at the "Zombie Love Club Halloween Party" Which role models do they have? And in what respect has their childhood dream of being Batman become true? The "Next Generation Goth Rock Superstars" answered all our questions here...

As this is your first interview with STALKER, would you like to introduce yourselves?
Matias: Matias Muotio. I play the bass.
Olle: Olle Wallenius. I sing.

And, Matias, you are new in the band, if I`m right?
Matias: Yeah, that`s true. I think it was back in April when Olle called and asked me if I wanna join the band...

Why did the former bass player leave the band?
Olle: He was living in Sweden so it was... Well, too far away for all the processes like rehearsals, recordings, playing shows... Our old bassist couldn`t show up at some gigs so we needed someone to fill in for him.
Matias: So I played a couple of gigs with Velvet Six, just to fill in for the old bassist, and that`s how we met first...

And now you are a regular band member of Velvet Six. How about the other guys in the band?
Olle: Well, on the keyboards we have Miro Kronqvist, on the drums we have Henrik Björkgård and on the guitars we have Sebastian "Sepi" Pesola and Richard Vikman.

Is the number of band members the reason why you call yourself "Velvet Six"?
Olle: Yes, it is, but... It`s also the number of the beast! [Laughter]

And why "Velvet"?
Olle: Well, it`s glammy, it`s dark... Like leather...
Matias: Like dark leather! [Laughter]

How did Velvet Six get started? I read something like the band was founded "in 2004 in the dark city of Kokkola"...?
Olle: Yes, the drummer and I started as a duo, playing some Depeche Mode in acoustic style, and then some other people started to come into the band... And leaving the band...

Where do you know each other from? Are you all childhood friends? And are you all originally from Kokkola?
Olle: Well, I met one of the guitar players when I was out drinking.
Matias: Real friends, as you can see! [Laughter] And, no, I`m originally from Vaasa.

Vaasa as well as Kokkola are located at the west coast of Finland and I hear you rather speaking Swedish than Finnish to each other. Which of this two languages are you considering as your mother tongue and which one do you prefer to speak and why?
Both: Swedish!
Matias: Yeah, Swedish is our mother tongue and we prefer to talk in Swedish because it feels more natural. Although we can also speak Finnish, of course. It`s our other mother tongue as we have grown up bilingually.

And what words would you use to describe the style of your music? On your facebook profile, you just say it`s "very dark" but I think it`s not depressive or something like this...
Matias: It`s a hard question...
Olle: Yeah, well, let`s say "Dark Rock". It`s commonly used for the kind of music we are doing.
Matias: "Dark Gothic with dark humour"...

Which bands are your major influences?
Both: Type O Negative, Danzig, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, Misfits...
Olle: The Doors, of course. I think everyone has at least a certain phase concerning The Doors while growing up...

How about musicians who inspire you? Or being role models?
Matias: I`m a huge Metallica fan so they are a big inspiration for me, especially James Hetfield. And Phil Anselmo from Pantera is a really big inspiration for me as well.

Now we are talking about bands and musicians who create much heavier music than you. Do you think that those inspirations will influence your own music in that way that it`s going to be heavier, too?
Olle: We are working on our second album right now and I think it`s gonna be much darker and heavier in fact...

You are already working on your second album?
Matias: Yes, we are writing new songs for it.

Are you already in the studio for the recordings?
Olle: No. Tonight we have this gig here and the day after tomorrow we will play in Närpiö. After that we will have a small break to write new music for the next album. The half of it is almost done already. I think it`s great. It`s better than the first one although nothing can top the first one. Have you listened to it? "Dark City Nightlife"? Do you like it?
Matias: Of course she does!

Of course, otherwise I wouldn`t be here to interview you. So how about you coming to Germany to play at the big Gothic festivals like M`era Luna and Wave Gotik Treffen? Your music would fit perfectly...
Olle: We haven`t checked it out yet but it would be fun to go to Germany to play there, of course.

We´ve already talked about role models. How about HIM and Ville Valo? Velvet Six are partly very reminiscent of HIM, in my opinion. Are HIM role models for you?
Olle: Of course!

There is even a videoclip of you and Ville Valo on youtube. Can you tell us more about that?
Matias: Yeah, it was filmed at "Bar Ilves" which belongs to "Tavastia" and "Semifinal". We played at "Semifinal" on that night and he was there to see our gig. It was in summer, in July, when we played there with G.L.A.M.. If you haven`t been there, you surely missed something! [Laughter]

No, I wasn`t there, unfortunately. I was too busy. But now we are here and how come that you will play here tonight?
Olle: "Live Nation" organised it for us. I think it`s good to have people behind you who tell you where to go and play because the only thing we can do is playing music... And that`s it! [Laughter]
Matias: We ourselves can`t arrange anything... No way!
Olle: We are not business men.
Matias: Definitely not! By the way, our co-operation with "Live Nation" also started from the gig at "Semifinal".
Olle: I think we have a great agent.
Matias: Definitely! Tiina Vuorinen is great!
Olle: Yeah, she is sweet.

Have you ever been here in the "Kokomo Tikibar"? Are you surprised about the Hawaiian style of the bar?
Olle: No, we have never been here before.
Matias: But the style in here is really nice.
Olle: I should have worn my Elvis shirt... Or a Hawaiian shirt...
Matias: You can still put it on for the gig...
Olle: Yeah... Bloody flowers!

Are you often in Helsinki and could you imagine to move here if your musical career would benefit from it?
Matias: Yeah, if we would have to move here to get further in our career, we would be ready to do so. Absolutely!

Would you miss Kokkola? How is the music scene in there in general? Are there many bands? Any bands that you can recommend?
Both: Velvet Six! [Laughter]
Olle: And, of course, we would miss it.
Matias: Home is always home.

How about other commitments you might have there? Are you studying or working besides doing music? How about other musical projects?
Matias: I try to study beside the music but it`s not going that well. I study "Social Politics", believe it or not. [Laughter] I feel comfortable with it but music is my real thing. It`s the number one. Always! I couldn`t really imagine myself to work in another job. I wouldn`t like it and I don`t want it. I just wanna play music.

Did you ever have any other dreams than being a musician, for example in your childhood?
Olle: Of course, being Batman! [Laughter] But I think being Batman and what we are doing now kind of works together `cause we work at night and we are dressed in black.

So performing disguised as Batman could have been one idea for tonight`s show...
Both: No!
Olle: I would rather prefer to be disguised as Frankenstein.
Matias: And about other musical projects: I actually have one, a Thrash Metal band called "Metaphor". I play guitar and I "sing" in it. It`s not that serious but... And Richard has another band, too, called "Rest In Silence". But I don`t really know what kind of style their music is...
Olle: I think it goes to the direction of To/Die/For. And I don`t have any other musical projects. I have to run this circus...[Laughter]

All songs from Velvet Six are written by you, Olle. Where do you get the inspiration for them from?
Olle: It comes when it comes and mostly it comes when you are in a dark situation or something like this...
Matias: You can`t force inspiration - and you shouldn`t.

Your music is not only reminiscent of HIM but also of bands like Joy Division...
Olle: Yeah, we love them, too. We used to play a coverversion of them, "Love Will Tear Us Apart"...

And there is a coverversion of Depeche Mode on your album, "Never Let Me Down Again"...
Olle: Yeah, our music is kind of similar to theirs so we just had to do it. We also did a coverversion of Eddie Murphy`s "Party All The Time" which can be found on our myspace profile...

Yeah, talking about social networks: It seems that you are not so active on them. What is your opinion about facebook & Co.?
Olle: I think it`s good but none of us is really into all this computer stuff.
Matias: And we don`t know what to say.
Olle: Yeah, it`s funny in a way. For example on facebook: You can write something, then click the "Comment" button - and then it`s published and people start to bombard you with all the games and stuff...
Matias: It`s horrible!

So you have private profiles on facebook?
Both: Yeah.

So our readers can send you friend requests... [Laughter] Personally, I think it`s great and in a way also brave to bring back the Gothic Rock `cause these days it`s all about Hair Rock...
Olle: You are talking about the Sleaze scene, right? Well, our music has some sleazy influences but in a dark way. Dark`n`Sleazy`n`Glammy`n`Humorous.
Matias: All that in the same package!

If you could choose a band to go on tour with: Who would it be?
Olle: Probably Led Zeppelin! No, I`m just kidding...
Matias: The 69 Eyes!

Oh, so you are a fan of them, too?
Both: Yeah, absolutely!

So it`s a kind of honour for you to play within at their singer`s events series, isn`t it?
Olle: Yeah, I think Jyrki69 is somehow like the Goth king in Finland. He should be crowned as such. [Laughter]

If you are looking back to the times when you were working on the first album "Dark City Nightlife", are you happy with what you have achieved since then and which steps have been the most important ones for Velvet Six so far?
Olle: Well, we started to record "Dark City Nightlife" in autumn 2010, I think. We played quite many gigs during the whole summer 2011, especially on festivals. Our album was released in February 2011 and in between, our bassist left the band and Matias came... By the way, we should make new posters, I think, because we have another bassist... [grins] And the biggest step for us was to start the co-operation with "Live Nation".

Ok, we are almost done so it`s time for the "Famous last words"...
Olle: Oh, are we? Well, times flies when you have fun... Famous last words? "Love comes when it comes"... [Huge laughter]
Matias: Check us out, support us and a big "Thank you!" to all who supported and helped us so far, especially to Tiina Vuorinen and all our fans!

Website of Velvet Six: http://www.myspace.com/velvetsix

Author: +photos Stefanie Singh / Promotional picture by Velvet Six
Date: 2012-01-26

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