Interview with Machine Men (Antony)

For a moment I thought I was listening to Bruce Dickinson’s Accident of Birth album. How much of an influence that album made on you?

I think the album has been the biggest reason for our music style. It’s a great album.

What do you think about his new solo album?

I remember when I heard the album for the first time and my expectations were very high, but actually I was a little disappointed… But the album needs more time to open, like Bruce’s other albums too – I think the new album is brilliant!

What Bruce Dickinson albums do you like the most?

I think the Accident of Birth album. It’s very versatile, but I like The Chemical Wedding and Tyranny of Souls as well. Skunkworks is totally different than these three albums, but it’s a very good album too. And there are good songs on Tattooed Millionaire and Balls to Picasso, like “Tears of a Dragon,” “Change of Heart,” “Cyclops,” “Born in ’58.”

And what was your reaction to the Maiden reunion that happened a few years ago?

My dream came true. I really like the two albums they have released since then. Those are good albums. I think I like the Brave New World album more… But Dance of Death is also good.

What would be your other influences?

Queensrÿche have been quite a big influence too. Ozzy has been my mentor like Bruce. They have made lots of work for their success and I think it would be good for every musician to follow their example – I mean in music things of course – not sniff some ants from the ground like Ozzy did – but he’s Ozzy!

Prior to Elegies you already put out an EP and a full length. What should we know about them?

Okay, let’s talk about us! Yes, we released an EP and our first album Scars & Wounds through the Finnish label called Dynamic Arts Records. I think these publications are more like 80s heavy metal or mixes of all decades since the 70s. Lots of different styles of heavy music, but still good stuff!

How were they received by the press back then?

We were surprised how well the media took these albums. We didn’t expect anything, but we were happy about it. Of course when the EP was released the media started this “Maiden stamp” thing. Of course we helped them too by playing Maiden songs live, so we are guilty for that too.

Are these discs still available in shops?

Well, the releases were very small, but the Scars & Wounds album is still available in Finland. I don’t know about the rest of Europe or Japan though. Selling numbers are still a mystery as well. Not enough anyway! But we are happy we got the chance to record the albums.

How did you find your way to Century Media? Have they heard the previous album or you sent them a demo?

We made a demo tape and our manager took care of the deal. Thanks to him – we are satisfied. We were in Dortmund over a year ago with our guitarist J-V negotiating with our managers and we met the guy from Century Media and talked a little bit but maybe that meeting is not the reason why we are in the label – we were too wasted – thanks to cheap German vodka! (Laughs) Actually we had quite many good options from other labels, but Century Media won.

How many albums have you signed for?

One album and 665 options! (Laughs)

Well, let’s see the new album. How does Elegies differ from the debut album in your opinion?

I really think we have found our own thing. Elegies is much darker and heavier than the first one – mixed with little bit 80s heavy metal to the dark metal rock of the millennium. I’m really happy with the new album and finally it’s coming out.

What was the initial idea when you started writing the songs?

The first song to the album was “Daytime Theatre.” Before we started to write the songs we had negotiated what kind of feeling should there be on the album. The idea was to do a different album than the previous one – I think that is the only thing that you should think before you start writing. But the next album will sound different than Elegies, that is for sure, but I don’t mean some fucking rap album. Little bit different than the previous – I think it will work.

Please let me know about the way you work on the songs.

We make songs completely ready before we take them to rehearsals. We make “bedroom tapes” with machine drums, but I’m able to do all my vocal parts to a song and try different things, which is a very good thing. Sounds like the computer has just been invented (laughs). But anyway, that is the way we work.

And who is responsible for the lyrics?

I am. I’ve written the lyrics since the first song of Machine Men history. I think it’s easier to interpret lyrics when you have made it yourself. And I’ve never seen any lyrics from the other guys. Maybe I don’t want to see. (Laughs)

What do you deal with in your lyrics?

I’m writing about this world, how I see this world – my feelings – my opinions – my experiences etc. Now I’ve written about sad things because I think it’s easier to find subjects and it’s more meaningful to me. I’m from the dark Finland, so please understand me. (Laughs)

Do you have a favorite song on the album?

I think “October;” it’s a very personal song for me, but the song changes every day. “From Sunrise to Sunset” is one of my favorites too and “Dream & Religion.” This band is my dream which keeps me alive and my religion is music. I sold my soul for rock ‘n’ roll a long time ago.

You have also recorded a Bruce Dickinson cover song. Who’s idea was it and why “Freak”?

I think the idea came from me and our drummer Jarno. “Freak” was the song we used to play with our cover band and we didn’t have much time to think about the song or to record it. I’m not happy about my parts in the song at all, but what can I do – the album’s running time was too short so we had to do this. Now we know we have to do a little bit longer album next time.

Was it a big challenge to do that cover?

We fought against time in the studio. We recorded the song in a different studio than the album, but a big challenge for me was the singing parts, because I had a very bad day to sing. I’m not satisfied, but I think you already know that.

You have recorded the album in Nino Laurenne’s studio. How did things work out there?

The album sessions took 25 days and we spent lots of time in the studio, long recording days just to stay in schedule – watching porn movies – drinking – playing some heavy metal – stuff like that. Nino was the leader of course. We were pure innocent young boys before the sessions, but Nino led us to the wrong path, but hey, please don’t tell my mom. (Laughs)

Do you know Nino’s own band Thunderstone? What do you think about their music?

I think it sucks! Just kidding! I don’t listen to that kind of music much, but it’s a very good band and they have some good songs. I’ve just heard two songs from their first album and they were very good. I’ve never heard their second album and just a few songs from the new one, so it’s impossible to say a correct opinion about their music, but anyway, they’re great guys!

Btw, how is the local metal scene in the area where you live? Are you in touch with other Finnish bands?

Actually we are the only band in our hometown Suolahti who is in this kind of situation, but I live in Jyväskylä, 42km south from Suolahti and there are a lot of bands. Bands like Swallow the Sun, Atakhama (second band of our guitarist J-V). They are all great persons.

How many gigs have you played live so far?

We have not counted, but if I say 60 gigs I don’t lie much. We had about 40 gigs in Finland last year and Earthshaker Festival in Germany this summer will be our first gig outside of Finland. I really hope we will have a lot of gigs this year, because it’s the best promotion you’ll get. We are still negotiating about the European tour for September, so we’ll see. I really hope we’ll get this great change to show what we can do, so maybe – we’ll see in the fall.

Which band would you like to tour together with?

If you ask my opinion it would be definitely Ozzy, but Iron Maiden would be good support for us too. (Laughs).


  • Zoltan Koncsok

    Zoltan Koncsok was an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. His musical taste covers almost everything from Classical Music to Hard Rock, from Progressive Rock to Heavy Metal, except the real extreme ones.

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