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Negative – Dancing to Scorpions ballads, head between some boobs

Expect the unexpected. For most metal maniacs Finland stands for death, black and gothic metal. But there is a brave horde of musicians that live for the another kind of rock music. Bands like Teräsbetoni or Negative are doing their way in the style of the 80īs. But, of course, with the typical note of Finlands melancholy. Singer Janne explains before a gig on the tour with Him and The Rasmus, how comes.

Janne, your band is on tour with Him and The Rasmus, how would you describe the atmosphere on the tour, between the bands and on the last concerts?
Between the bands the atmosphere is like real fellows. The only thing between the bands is that the guys from The Rasmus and Him are living in Helsinki and we are living in Tampere. There are over 100 kilometres distance between. We are not able to see us with the guys so often. Its fine. The shows being great so far, big places, big crowds, its been a great tour. We had this one day off with these after parties.

It was like a family party?
Yes. Its been a great tour. I can nothing negative say about it.

Do you think that your kind of Glam Rock fits the tour package?
I think we are not Glam Rock, in our case. Of course you can see that there are influences of that kind of bands. Its more like that we are doing what we feel its right. We donīt have any kind of “Letīs do a Glam Rock-thing”. We are just you we are. When we are talking about the
clothes: I just love all the colours of the rainbow. Its not a kind that we say: We are a big Glam Rock band. Our main influences come from bands like Nirvana, which was totally different than the bands from the 80īs and also GunsīnīRoses. And I also love Queen. There are so many bands I love.

Are there no problems with the Gothic Rock-Fans? Do they understand what you are doing?
I think the reaction of the crowd was great. I was surprised in a positive way.

Some people said that you stole them the show last night.
Ok. But I think the show wasnīt that good last night, but its just my opinion, because when we get to the backstage all guys said: Hey it was great, but I think it was a little bit lazy, I felt I was lazy, I think the hole crowd was in a hangover.

This is a Suomi tour package. Backstage in another Suomi tour, with Sonata Arctica and Nightwish, there was much of Finlands Vodka and beer. Thatīs the clichee. And this time on this tour? You are drinking water at this moment.
We are spending our free time in the busses in different ways, take some rest, take some drinks, there is no typical way to spend your free time. But, of course, we have this own bus for the band, there are 3 busses and every band travels for itself. We are drinking some beer, but I was totally wasted when we had this day off. I think all were wasted. I can only say how I felt. I was totally drunk. There was a lot of Jägermeister. Now I love it, I hate it before, its like medicine, but its good for your throat.

You said once, when you are going on stage, your whole personality change. How would you describe your Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hide?
I just let the music flows me around, that is the main thing. I get so much energy from the crowd. I can describe it to have a good sex with someone. There are always two people and you need always two people to have that.

Most time.
Yeah, when you have that experiences. Sometimes is better than sex to be on stage. The mood you have is so different when you are outside of the stage as we are sitting down here and doing this interview. Its just the power of RockīnīRoll, that takes me. I think, Iīm loosing control sometimes. I canīt control what I do. I am stagediving in the audience, I smash the drums or guitar amplifier or fuck the guitar. You have to forget everything, its like a drug. And thatīs why we started to play. Itīs the best part to stay on the stage.

What means your outfit for you, is it just for the action on stage or is it more the church of RockīnīRoll for you?
I think, it is nice, that bands like GunsīnīRoses wear it. I like to wear that clothes and the most important thing is that I feel comfortable with it. There are lots of rock bands from the UK like Oasis, one of my favourite ones, that are on stage and say: Sorry that we are here guys, hope we donīt border you. I think its great that there will come a new generation of rock bands. Hopefully we will become a part of that generation, because I think rock bands should look like rock bands, but most important thing is that this comes from your heart. All the guys in the band played in other bands before and we found each other. All the craziest motherfuckers from Tampere came together and thatīs is, what Negative is.

You are a young band and have two successful albums, that are in a timeless RockīnīRoll style. Are the typical fans of the band older than you or is the a huge crowd of kids that prefer the classical sound and not metal hypes?
I think we have a lot of different aged fans, when we started to touring in Finland, before we were signed we made a lot of shows in Finland in small places for teenagers. Thatīs the reason why all the young people found the band. In RockīnīRoll it doesnīt matter what is the colour of your skin, what is your relation, it doesnīt matter how old are you. Music is the only language between the nations.

Your style of music is not the normal way in Finland. Most bands play a death, black or gothic style. Teräsbetoni told once, that they had problems in the beginning with the fans, because they donīt believe, that this is the music, that they wanna play.
Yeah, I know their guitarist. Itīs the same kind of situation than The Darkness, when they are touring in UK.

Do you had the same problems?
Yes, there were many laughs, people ask: Are they serious? When we made our first main festival shows in Finland in 2003 there were many people that said, that we are another HIM copy. That were teenagers from the basement and also journalists that wrote its just a blonde Ville Vallo. Its been a long road. But I think the reaction in our case was that some hate us and some love us, its much better than: Its ok, its like elevator music.

And that you played more and more shows, was it your way to handle this problem?
I didnīt a fuck, as long as we are stay honour to ourself.

In Finland you were on the top of the charts, sold gold and realised successful tours. What means this success to you?
I remember when I am dreamed about to have an own acoustic guitar. I was 12 years old and my father gave me my own acoustic guitar. Then I started to dream about, that it would be nice to play in a band. That was the next step. Then came the rehearsal room and then we started to play in our own rehearsal room, it was amazing. Its been like step by step and its still like that. You live in a moment. I am here, living for two shows, today and tomorrow, whats going on today and never know whats happened after that. I am really thankful, I am pleased and cursed at the same time for that. There are happened lot of things, that I never imagine.

What are the next steps for the band? Maybe sold gold in Germany?
Definitly! Like all the people we wanna be the best, we wanna be the beautiest and at the same time the ugliest, no not ugliest. Beautiest, biggest, loudest rock band in the world some day. Only the sky is the limit! We have a great time with our best friends and playing RockīnīRoll. There is anything better than that.

You and Larry wrote the most parts of the music. Your new keyboard player Snack gave the band new aspects in the sound. How can I imagine how is working the songwriting process now? Is he included more in the process?
Itīs the same situation for the upcoming album. We have done 85 percent of the music with Larry. But we are doing all the arrangements together with the band. They bring their ideas and we put it together. Thatīs the sound of Negative. This time we wanna try different producers. The main idea is that we donīt wanna sound like HIM. That isnīt bad, but who wants to be a copy of someone. The songs will be much rougher, more psychedelic, its more RockīnīRoll than before. 85 procent of the album are done. We are doing the recording in three different studios in Finland. It could open some new doors for us. We are going back to the roots and become more RockīnīRoll. This time there is only one ballad, a real stadium rock ballad! We are gonna be the new Scorpions from Finland! When I was in school disco, they are playing this band and I was dancing with this girl and my head was between her boobs, because she was so much taller than me. But “Still Loving You” is a great ballad and beautyful song. They are a legendary band.

So, with the next album Negative will take the next step to become the biggest RockīnīRoll band in the world.
Definetly! You have to believe in that. When you are playing in a band and he donīt wanna be the biggest one day, he or she is lying. I want it all like Freddy said.

Author: Ingo Gießmann, Photos: Melanie Haack & hfr.
Date: 2006-02-23

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