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Hellcity Punks should be a familiar name for STALKER readers already. The Finns have recently self-released their first full-length album "2159: The Rise and Fall of the Underground", and they are currently playing some gigs all over Finland. However, singer Janze still found some time to answer a few questions via e-mail.
Where and in which condition did you wake up this morning?
Home. Exhausted from this week´s gigs. We played wednesday at Tampere and yesterday at Vantaa.
Your new album – a concept album – “2159: The Rise and Fall of the Underground” was just released. Please shortly tell the story?
First I wanna say that ”The Rise & Fall…” is a theme album about this post-apocalyptic city called ”Hellcity”. A global nuclear war has just ended leaving only a few people alive. The remaining have divided in two groups; ”The Believers” lead by the merciless ”Priest” and ”The Underground”, a small bunch of goodhearted men and women, whose leader is a girl named ”Angelina”. So it’s basically a story about a fight between good and evil. Who will end up winning remains to be seen…=)
How did you come up with the idea of making a concept-album? How did you create the story? Who influenced your sound?
After what I said in the previous answer, it’s quite obvious that the main influences come from movies and comic books. The movie ”Sin City” being the biggest of them. But the lyrics are also very much inspired by the stuff that happens around us in today´s world. For example ”Danger in the Radio” is about media’s power and how easily people can be manipulated by it.
Since the debut album (2008) and the single “Angelina cries” (Autumn 2011) some time has passed. Why did it take so long with the new album?
In fact we had the songs for the album ready already in 2011 but we weren’t quite happy with them and decided to write some new ones. We recruited a producer (Ilkka Wirtanen, Reckless Love, etc.) along and started the writing process from a clean slate. The process was long and full of blood, sweat and tears but it was totally worth it! Now we have an album coming out that we can truly be proud of!
How did a day look like in a record studio? Who is hanging around there? How were you prepared? Have you rehearsed everything beforehand and just pressed the record button or did it take lots of creative try-and-error in the studio?
When we recorded the basic frames of the songs there obviously was every one of us there and also our producer, Ilkka Wirtanen, who obviously was there every day. Then came drum recordings when there were only Dennis. For the guitar parts Otto & Heikki, and for the bass parts Heikki 2. Keyboards were recorded in Ilkka´s office and then there were Janze & Otto with him. There were some studio days of course when everyone hanged out there and had fun. (Jalovina) For the vocal parts only Janze was in the studio with Ilkka, and when it finally came to the point where only background vocals were to be recorded, we all were in the studio.
We had the songs rehearsed pretty much like they are on the record, so it was pretty fast project. We had time to do all the arrangements beforehand.
To what extent has the “new” line-up changed the division of tasks with the new material?
A lot actually. All the music was written & arranged with the whole band, everyone contributing and creating ideas. The music is much more modern and diverse. There’s elements from many different genres in our newer songs. From death metal to cheesy pop actually.
Who is Angelina? Is she fiction or reality?
She’s the leader of the Underground. And obviously a very good looking chick! =) Maybe there’s also a real–life Angelina out there…who knows…=)
You are going to play soon in some clubs in Tampere, Vantaa, Jyväskyla, Helsinki and at Tullirock. Are also gig planned outside Finland?
We have some plans, but nothing is settled just yet.
What’s coming up next? Are you already tinkering on a new album?
We are going to play as many shows as possible of course. The tour is being booked as we speak and it looks very good! We’re also planning to release another single from the album and shoot a video to it too. So the near future looks busy and bright for us!
Did I forget to ask you something important?
No, I don’t think so…I guess that was pretty much all.
Where, with whom, and in which condition will you go to sleep this evening?
Hopefully home, alive, and not alone. =)
Hellcity Punks are
Janze - Vocals
Hooligan - Guitar
Otto - Guitar
Heikki - Bass
Dennis - Drum
Their brand new video „Danger On The Radio“ can be found here: