If any Finnish band has its share of silly jokes, cheesy rumors and hysterically loud female following, without a doubt you´d recognize – it´s Negative! STALKER had them reveal some juicy details about the band...
It´s true, fragile Jonne can beat any new born kitten or a puppy in charisma and cuteness. Such pale, crystal-blue-eyed blonde is clearly a creature from out of this world, he does not even need to speak so much, as his whole being is so descriptive and vivid, stories are colorful and emotional, so the only negative aspect of all this is that this interview with Jonne Aaron Liimatainen (vocals) and Larry Love (guitar) should really have been done in video format!
How´s it going? Jonne: It´s ok, I like the weather. Larri: Yeah, it´s nice. 25 degrees minus! Jonne: This kind of weather really makes me already wait for the summer time.
Why do you look so tired? Jonne: Because I just woke up. Larri: Yes, me too.
What happened last night? Larri: Nothing unusual, just listening to music at my friends´and staying really-really late and I don´t remember how late. The usual stuff…
So how´s the rock´n´roll circus doing? Jonne: Now we´re having a break with touring, and we´re getting back on the road again in March or in April, we aren´t sure yet, but we´ll keep going with this tour until next autumn, but it´s been great so far, we´ve started in Japan, then we went to Russia, then we were touring in Europe, so recently we played these 12 shows over here.
Do you like Russia so much? Jonne: The crowd is great over there Larri: And always has been like very cool experience to play there, it´s a different kind of atmosphere, more crazy, more emotional, Jonne: People are spontaneous during the show, I believe they aren´t faking anything, really honest.
Do you have any funny stories from the tour? Jonne: A lot of! For example in Japan, our keyboarder Snack, he passed out, he was too wasted in the hotel´s hall way. Larri: it´s in the part of Sinner´s Night/Misty Morning video. Jonne: Yeah, actually there´s a clip in that video, it´s a Slammer Larri: Actually I was wondering that Snack is sleeping there… Jonne: I believe the spirit in a band on this tour, it´s been best ever, honestly. We´re more common, like some kind of 6 wolves or something like that, you know, searching for the victims.
Why do you compare yourselves to the wolves? Jonne: Because they´re lonely ones, and we´ve done this on our own way. Larri: And they also live together, and they eat each other (laughs) And they are really hungry, always and we are definitely hungry, want to do some more and more stuff and more gigs, more everything, we´re feeling anorectic you know (laugh) Jonne: You don´t have always time to eat.
Lonely hungry wolves
And this then obviously has something to do with your latest album, right? What was the inspiration for this? Jonne: It´s about that, the more you eat, the more you get hungry. I believe so. The more you get something, the more you want it, this makes you want it even more. It´s about another side of the coin. It´s always a lot of fun, joy and all these positive things, but there´s always the other side of the coin and it´s about that.
What´s the relation between that and the whole circus-clown theme? Jonne: If you see inside the CD inlay, there´s this young clown, he´s traveling with the train, and in that picture he´s still small and whatever, and in a cover he´s old, but it´s the same guy. We want to show to the people, everything is not always as it seems, you know. There needs to be time for yourself, it´s really difficult.
Are you as you seem, or is there another side to your stage-image? Larri: I would say that people think that we are, more energetic and more crazy, than we are. They think that we have this really, like our acting on stage, very fast and it´s going, like our songs, no space between them, so hectic and many people get this picture that we´re rock´nroll guys, party all the time, we aren´t polite and then they´re really surprised, when we´re writing autographs and then “ok, you´re so polite and I thought you´re all about rock´n´roll, you don´t care anything…” Jonne: Assholes! Larri: Yeah! Jonne: the other reason is that we want to party all the time, so we need to play those songs fast and that´s why there´s no any space between the songs. The more you are on tour, the more you want some space for yourself, having a day off and it´s like… You know, recently I found a new great hobby, flash ball. Of course you´re surrounded by music 24 hours, that´s the main thing. You´re all the time thinking of the new ideas and stuff like that.
Is this how your inspiration comes, if you even believe in inspiration? Jonne: I believe you need to take some break, between writing session and other stuff, it´s like this for me, I don´t know about the other guys. For example when we got our album finished, I´m gonna take like 4, 3, 8 weeks break, that I don´t even think about guitar. Larri: it´s like, when you´re doing, for example, we did those recordings, we went to the studio in November and ended all the covers and stuff in July, or something. So it´s really long process and it´s hard to get your head off those songs, the songs are spinning around in your head, you´re playing them at rehearsals and doing some gigs, so… It takes time. Just yesterday I wrote a new song, or no, it was only an idea for a chorus, but it was the first idea that came out naturally after this “Anorectic”. I just had this melody going in my head, I have to find the chords and stuff, or if I won´t find the chords, the melody won´t leave me alone. Jonne: It´s the same for me. Lately it´s been like, really chaotic, you know, storm in my head with the new ideas. I mean I have some clips from there and there. Larri: It´s like a puzzle, you know, pieces from there and there… Jonne: Yeah, but we need to sit down with Larri and see what we got and maybe figure out something what we can out together, it was like this with “Sweet and Deceitful”, we were working like that. I wanna get back to that, with this working process, I wanna do it like that. Larri: With “Anorectic” it was more like, I was away when we were doing “Anorectic” and I had my personal problems, with my relationship and drugs and stuff and I was kind of away, so… there´s few songs, for example “Glory of the Shame”, “Reflections” we did together.
So you always compose together, what about the rest of the band, what do they do? Jonne: We do all arrangements together, with the band and of course they´re bringing some ideas also, but the main chords and stuff like that. If there´s gonna be a day, in my case for example, that I don´t have any ideas anymore, then I will give space for the other guys, but so far it has been for me like a spiritual trip… how can I say? Like a therapy, express my feelings, show to the people… Larri: The other guys have also wrote some songs, but we´ve noticed it´s different to the Negative´s style. Me and Jonne, we have a kind of the same sense of melodies, very opened, for example yesterday I wrote that chorus and maybe Jonne has some ideas for the verses or intro, or whatever…
So you´re already thinking of a new album? Jonne and Larri (simultaneously): YEAH! At the moment we hope that it´ll see daylight till end of this year.
What should we expect? Jonne: I don´t know yet, too early to say anything, hopefully something different, we want to keep it fresh… Larri: deep jungle (laughs)
How do you write your songs, can you work while on tour? Jonne: Yeah, we spend a lot of time in the bus, traveling… It doesn´t take the place or time where I´m getting my ideas, in a food store or whatever, so during the tour I get some little ideas and when I get back home, start working with them. Larri: That´s how it goes with me, it´s like this little ideas are coming all the time, finding the chords and make sure that I remember them. I never record myself, I just remember everything.
How do you manage to remember this much? Larri: If the song is good enough, I´m going to remember it. I play it for like 5 or 10 times and the next day I try again, and if it still sounds good, it´s worth trying it with the band, but I don´t know, the best ideas just stays in my head and the real work starts when you´re putting all together all the songs, all the arrangements, that´s the most difficult part to get the whole album together, to make it complete, all the songs together, you´ve to find the right songs. For example with “Anorectic” how many songs did we have? 20 ideas or so… Jonne: Right, and we picked only 12.
A phone filled with songs
How do you choose which ones? Jonne: Just a feeling, comes from somewhere, that this fits much better than this one. Larri: It´s quite natural way, you know. I remember you were saying that “let´s try this idea, I have this idea for example that “Planet” song, or “Song for the Brokenhearted” and then we just started to play it, and there wasn´t any kind of competition, this song or that song, it´s just natural and then we´ve realized that we´ve those songs.
And you could always use whatever is leftover, later on… Larri: Of course, because music is forever, you know? It´s immortal. Jonne: But I would like to bring more Queen in our music, for example in that way, their material is always different.
How long did it take to compose “Anorectic”? Larri: If you´re thinking of the first ideas, then it was at the FinnVox studios… Jonne: At FinnVox we were doing the mixing session for “Sweet and Deceitful” and we got that idea for “Reflections”. Larri was playing some chords, and I started to sing… and we recorded it by my phone (laughs) and it was the beginning. Larri: That was actually the first song we started to rehearse. I remember it was at the old rehearsal room, then we changed to a bigger one. Jonne: That I mentioned with the phone, it´s typical to me, the memory of my phone is totally full of ideas. When I get the melody, when the melody comes, when I get some idea, or inspiration, I always hmmm (does a continuous humming noise) it into my phone. Now I can´t use that phone anymore, because it´s too full.
Now you need a new phone! Jonne: I already have! I was thinking to get a computer, I´m very excited about that. Nothing big, but something I can do, like play different kind of instruments, like one by one, do some demos of different ideas, I don´t know… I´m always also interested that you are able to do some funky and disco things, I mean, it´s even more fascinating me, because then I can try recording my own ideas, dance music… I´ve heard that Manton is the most easiest recording program in the world. Larri: I don´t like those machines, they´re too digital for me… I remember all my melodies. I think it´s also something that keeps your brains awake and going on. You notice it when you´re playing the song or some idea for the first time, and then when you´re playing the idea for the second time, it comes out totally different. The pieces are starting to get together, somehow you´re unconsciously thinking… it´s a strange feeling, you know….
Which of your songs are you the most proud of? Jonne: I have to say I´m most proud of “Anorectic”, it´s my most favorite child, the whole album. Always what you´ve done recently is the most important. I mean, with “Sweet and Deceitful” songs we´re also very pleased, we played them all live, “Goodbye”, “Dying Feelings” and stuff like that, “Better Without You”, if you know those, rare B-sides, what we don´t play usually…
For the fans this is very special… Jonne: and for us too! It was like, “yeah, now we´ve this song and this song…” It was then honestly more fun than usually.
I´ve read that your favorite song is “Still Alive”… Jonne: It´s old biography, but it´s a very important song to me. There was a little bit different, the lyrics were a little bit different back then. I wrote it when I was 14-15, I wrote the lyrics, during those years I was struggling with myself, I was going through some changes, it was like surviving, a survivor´s story, like a rope to hold on to. After that song I had this very strong feeling, that now I´m able to, I´ve got this self-confidence. After that song I wrote “Lost Soul” and stuff like that, and it was very inspiring time, so…
Your songs are then quite personal. Do you write any fiction at all? Jonne: All very personal. Also with this “Anorectic” I wrote a lot of material, about other people´s lives also, so it´s not all only finger in my ass, so… Because like Larri and some of my very close friends, they were going through some very difficult things, stuff like that, I like to write about those things, when you aren´t so… you need to find some hope, before you´ll be able to write anything.
This makes you quite an optimistic person I think, always seeing some light at the end… Jonne: I like to, I like to think that way because you know, you´re master of yourself, everybody is master of themselves, so have a little faith, I believe in that. Larri: When you´re deciding something like this, Negative thing, when we´ve started with those members, got the record deal, it was such strong feeling, that the decision to stop schools and everything and concentrate only on Negative, I think it was such big decision, such big thing in our heads, that we´ve made this decision that it´s the rest of our lives, that it´ll follow us to the graves, you can´t stop now. Jonne: We can´t stop now, we´re too far. I don´t want to regret something for the rest of my life, I want to see the rest of the Gods. It´s natural that in any job you lose your motivation and stuff, and I´m always thinking that there´re six of us, I´m not alone, so we get some motivation from each other, when someone is getting desperate. Larri: You can definitely see when somebody is going through some hard stuff and sometimes, for example, I am very close to Christus and I can notice when he´s going through something and I try to cheer him up and it´s going, when I´m depressed, he notices. We´re close friends and we´re a good band in a way, we talk to each other, we can talk about everything, it´s like a family, no secrets. Jonne: Whenever there´s some break when we don´t see each other, few weeks or whatever, and when we get to the rehearsal place, we can start from that when we separated last time, you can´t see the time before, or it take a few minutes… Larri: it´s like charging the batteries and starting again.
What´s your attitude towards drugs? Jonne: Everybody decides, as I said, everybody´s their own master. Larri: Maybe I would say that people really should consider alcohol as a drug, it´s really hard, people are really doing bad stuff with alcohol, beating each other, don´t remember what they are doing, and maybe when I have seen many people smoking pot, I haven´t seen anybody fighting, so… If you would ask me, it would be better if marihuana would be legal, and no alcohol, it´ll be more peaceful. I am definitely against hard drugs. Jonne: I would say that hard drugs are an eternal problem, and everybody should decide themselves, if they take it or not. To me, I don´t use it, it´s like alcohol is my favorite drug.
What´s your favorite drink? Jonne: I like White Russian, it´s a good one, my favorite. I also like beer, depends on a mood and on a day, everything, if you´re drinking for the first day – anything goes, but for the second day, I can´t drink two days in a row, I can´t. Larri: Fisu, you know Fisu? To me it´s kind of a problem that I cannot drink, you know… If I start – I drink the whole week or something, then I´m in such bad shape and so on, I just don´t like it.
Drinking on stage – rather not...
What about drinking on stage, during the show? Larri: I´m not using alcohol before gigs. Jonne: It´s like, to me personally, I´m gonna forget the lyrics and I´m gonna mumble even more than I do now, you know.. Larri: It just takes the creativity away, it´s the kind of poison, it makes you head blurry, and maybe a couple of beers wouldn´t be so bad, not totally wasted, but there´s this problem of always waiting and waiting and waiting and if you start early, the first thing in the morning, it is sure that you will be very drunk when it´s time to do the gig. Jonne: Days are long, but to me, at the same time, why I don´t drinking before or during the shows, it´s because I want to feel and use all my instincts, I want to sense the audience, sense the band, the music – everything! I want to know all the time what´s going on, and I don´t need alcohol because I´ve got the music. Larri: We´re also learned from the hard way, when we´ve released our first album, we were drinking heavily before and after the shows, it was kind of crazy circus sometimes, or always (laughs)… Jonne: I´ve tried this also a few times in early days… We were headliner, there was some band competition in Vammala, in Finland, it was ice-hall show, so big for us, we were actually recording “War Of Love” during those days, and I started to drink before this band competition has started, there were like 5 bands and we were the headliner, you know, Negative and in those days it was a big chance for us! And I don´t know why, I just started to drink… Larri: and it was the last gig of the year, I remember, it was kind of a celebration, Tommi brought all those liquors… Jonne: Yeah, Tommi brought alcohol and I start to drink and I didn´t even notice how fast the time was running, and suddenly just like that, somebody came up to me and said “Hey, you have to go on stage! NOW!” and I was like “WTF?!” and I sat down all that day in the dressing room and when I got up and then I realized I was too drunk to sing anything but it was, at the same time, I didn´t care, what the fuck. So we went to the stage and the first lines that I said was: “Fuck off Vammala!” or “Fuck you, Vammala!” Larri: “Fuck you all!” Jonne: Yeah, “Fuck you all!” and I didn´t remember the words or anything, I was just laughing on stage and Antti, he was very upset, and annoyed and he came to me and he was like (does an angry face impression, imitating his furious band colleague´s silent words “sing, you moron!”) Doing those lip moves… Larri: And Christus was just laughing the whole time, just laughing into the microphone (does a loud evil laughter) Jonne: And I tried to hit him with the microphone (Larri laughs) and he was showing his middle finger to us, and Larri took a hark (does a very vulgar and rude spitting gesture) in the middle of his face… Larri: And then I went to the audience, cos you weren´t there first, so I kind of went to the rescue… Jonne: And the mixing guy, who was working with us in those days, Peve, he was like 120 kilos or even more, and he took that punk-rocker under his elbow (does an evil demonstration of this procedure) and there were 3 police cars, and they were like: “Who is the singer of the band?” and it was light already, they were cleaning the places and I was sitting there… Police officer came to Tommi and he was asking that “Who´s the singer, who are the members of the band” and Tommi showed to that police officer who are in the band and the police officer said “It would be better if we took care of those guys” cos there´re like 5 or 6 cars with those baseball sticks, waiting… Larri: It was a great show! (laughs) Jonne: And in Hämeenkyrö, when Uniklubi were supporting us, it was the first time when I got drunk, there were some fans and they had some very strong stuff and I drunk that all, and I was also driving the tour bus, and the handbrake was on and I started (does a Crazy Annoying Frog´s impression), and it didn´t move, and if you´ve ever tried a motorcycle…And Christus was naked at the stage, during the encore, we were all like: “Let´s get ourselves naked, all of us!” and Christus was so wasted, I mean, we all were, I mean, you were (points at Larri)! And Christus was getting himself naked and the rest of the guys, we were waiting and he´s getting first on the stage, and he was, you know, totally naked and we were laughing! And the audience was there were young girls in the front rows, you know (does a creepy scared face expression) There was also Jussi from Uniklubi…
I also remember your Tavastia show last year, where Christus had some kind of plastic tube going up his microphone, what was this? Larri: It´s a Talk Box, it´s actually a guitar effect. The sound is coming from the tube to your mouth and then what you´re playing comes into your mouth, and there´s your vocal microphone and you´re using the tube to create this sound. Jonne: You know this trademark Bon Jovi sound (does a croaking sound from “Living On A Prayer”), that´s Talk Box.
So that´s what it was!? It looked so… Jonne: pervert! I know! We should´ve put some kind of dildo on it, so he´s like taking a blowjob… Larri: not so many guitar players use it anymore, I´ve never seen… Slash used it, Aerosmith too, but I don´t remember many… It´s a cool machine! But you can really break your teeth, because if you play very loud, the pressure gets too high and so your teeth will blow off, so many someday Christus won´t have any teeth anymore!
Christus really seems like the most extreme, crazy guy among you all… Larri: He doesn´t have any natural protecting-yourself instinct, he´s not afraid of being hurt or dying or anything – “what the fuck?! Let´s go!”
What about the rest of the band, for example what would be the most romantic thing about Snack? Larri: He´s always treating his women in really gentlemen… Jonne: He´s always holding his girls, you know… Larri: Yeah yeah, going to the restaurant and buying flowers, always going some candles and all this… Jonne: He reminds me of Moe Szyslak from the Simpsons, you know? The guy, who´s keeping the bar, he´s wearing an old suit… Larri: He´s doing the traditional things, you know. When we had our gig at Helldone and when HIM were playing at the last day, he was watching fireworks with his girlfriend, watching the stars… Jonne: And he´s always going to all the sightseeings on the tour, with his girlfriend, it´s like, he´s very active in that way, when all the other guys are lying in hangover.
And how did he earn this kind of tasty nickname?
Jonne: He was Snack before, he was actually Nakki before he came, it´s the same thing. He looks like Nakki, he´s short and thin.
”Larri is totally annoying when he is drunk!”
What is the most annoying thing about you, Larri? Larri: (laughs) Ask Jonne! Jonne: He´s totally annoying when he´s drunk. Larri: I agree! I have this other person coming out from my head, Jonne: Right, when he´s been drinking many days in a row… Larri: Hard liquors or vodka or something, when I go to sleep and somebody wakes me up, I´m a totally different person. Jonne: It´s scary… Larri: I am really-really cruel, I say things which I´ll regret, “fuck you all!” or “I know what I´m doing!” and stuff like that…
What is your most memorable drunk experience? Larri: So many things… Jonne: So many, but when I was 12… in the town where I used to live in my childhood, I was getting drunk for the first times, ever, and I passed out on a street, on a highway, a lot of traffic, big city buses are going… some girls they saved me, they took me into some parties and they were friends of my big brother, Tommi and they were like 6 years older than me, they were like 18 and I was 12 years old, and they were like: “who is this kid? We need to take care of him” and then I woke up and was surrounded by flowers, and my hair was all over with mud and they carried me inside of the house and in the next morning I woke up and I was like: “what is this fucking smell?!” and I looked on the floor and it was a lake of puke, puke lake next to me, and then I´ve heard that they were friends of Tommi and I was so afraid that he´ll find out, Tommi was like father to me, and I always scared him, you know, when smoking behind his back and stuff like that… Larri: and I´ve this one thing in my mind, when were playing this one gig at the summer festival in Japan, it´s called Summer Sonic and there´s also this Nikki Sixx, in a new band, Brides of Destruction, and I was really-really drunk and I just went to the backstage, opened the door and went in there, and they were doing an MTV interview and suddenly all the camera, all the journalists looked at me and I was like: “Huh?! I´m Larri from Negative” and they were like “ok, hello, but you have to leave!” and I was like “ok…” and they thought I was leaving, but I went straight to their mini-bar and took their drinks, from there, then they got very pissed off, the manager threw me out and the next day there was an official complaining to our record company about my behavior… Jonne: Our label guy was close to doing a hara-kiri! Larri: That was kind of stupid… Jonne: Now you can laugh… Larri: Yeah, now, but back then it wasn´t funny.
What´s the weirdest thing about Jonne? Larri: (takes his time to think…) ammm, errrr…. Hmmmm… to me it´s weird to understand how he manage always, how always his phone is missing. How many times have we´ve looked your phone?! You might think it´s the time to learn how to take care of your phone, but noooooo, every time the same! Jonne: I agree! It´s all the time the same, when I´m leaving home, I´m always looking… when there´re some friends of mine, they get annoying that I´m always searching for the phone, for my phone and then it´s finally in my bag, or pocket Larri: (laughs) I know! Jonne: We are the same kind of persons with Snack… Larri: They´re the slowest to leave! You´ve to say half an hour before “we´ve to go!” if you want to leave on time with Snack… Jonne: that´s the same, that´s why I was late today.
What´s the funniest thing about Jay Slammer? Jonne: He´s working out! It´s like, first it was “oh, it´s good to you, it´s good to you” but now he´s getting obsessive with that, he´s all the time like (does an angry obsessive muscleman´s impressions, working his biceps intensively) Larri: And he´s talking about food, you know? Healthy food and stuff, it´s totally different than before, he was like eating everything, and now he´s always saying “Potatoes and sausages aren´t good” (laughs)… Jonne: He´s obsessed by that, it´s funny, I mean, he used to go to Hesburger and McDonald´s and now… Larri: but you can see the results! Jonne: Before, when he used to have this kind of, you know, tummy, during “Sweet and Deceitful” and “War Of Love”, we were thinking to get him a refrigerator on stage, right next to him, so he can between the songs, eat some sandwich and now we´re thinking to get him some running machine… Larri: I´m very glad for Jay, we can see he´s really in good balance, playing lots of drums, doing lots of sport, the right kind of attitude…
Shit in a plastic cup
What is the cutest thing about Mr. Anatomy? Larri: Hmmm, it´s a difficult one…
No cute things in Antti at all?! (surprised) Larri: (laughs) well, I don´t know if this is cute or not, but I have this kind of image in my head that he has a really strange kind of taste of… for example, making gifts to his girl or something… Jonne: If he´s buying for some girl, when we were in Japan for example, and he bought her morning shoes, but he didn´t check the size and he bought the wrong size, but they were very cheap! They were a wrong size, but he tried… I´ve heard that already three times he bought wrong shoes for the same girl! And she was really pissed off… Larri: Drunk Antti is also cute! When he´s really-really drunk, he looks Japanese, you know?! Jonne: Also cute is that he´s very curious.
What about, except anatomy? Jonne: Everything! He always wants to know all the details. I mean if you´re telling him, for example, “I bought a new car, it´s red” and he´ll be like “why is it red?”, “what kind of?...” and all this, “Four wheels?!” – “why four wheels?!” and stuff like that… Larri: And he´s always repeating all the stories, like “ok, so you went to the car store… and then?!” – “and ok ok, so there was the selling man, ok… and then?!” Jonne: Yeah yeah, like that! “and what then happened?” – “you paid, ok, and then?...” – “what then, what then???” and it just goes on!... Larri: And one thing, he likes bad smell, everything that smells bad. Jonne: Yeah, that´s weird!
French cheese! Jonne: Shit! Larri: It´s not that he´s liking those, but… Jonne: …he gets something from that, you know? Really bad smell… like when his socks smell like hell, he´s like “check this out, check this out!”… Larri: The worst smell I ever smelt was when Antti hadn´t had shower in one week, we were in our rehearsal room, and he was touching his balls with his hands and they were really sweaty and then he came to me from behind and put his hand right in front of my nose and it was so fucking bad smell! I remember it still, it comes to my mind right away, the whole day I was like “Fuck Antti, I can´t get it out of my head!” Jonne: Back in the early days, in our old rehearsal place, we found some shit in plastic cup, behind the amplifier… Larri: Under the keyboard Jonne: There was shit in a plastic cup and we were sure that it was Antti, but he never admit that, but we knew it was him and he was “no, no, I won´t do anything like that!” Larri: Of course not! Jonne: And he was blaming Uniklubi, because they were rehearsing right next to us… Larri: But there were no signs of breaking in, or anything, so it was pretty obvious that it was Antti. Jonne: So obviously he has some kind of fetish on that, things that come out from the human body.