Interview: Ivana Sataić (ivana@venia-mag.net)
Photo: Tamara Vodicka

The 69 Eyes has late in September of the last year released their impatiently awaited album ”X” that, in yearly overview of our editorial office, took the position number two in selection of the best albums of the year 2012.
The 69 Eyes, ”X”, and bands current ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ European tour was a chance not only to enjoy in two unique live experiences on concerts in Bratislava and Vienna, but also for an interview with the frontman Jyrki69 in Vienna about the album ”X” but also his recent visit to Nicaragua as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

J69-Vienna2013-intieVENIA: Last time when we were talking the album ”X” wasn’t released yet.
JYRKI69: Yup.
VENIA: You said then that you’re a bit afraid how people will react when it is out, so now when you’ve already played in Finland and partly in Europe, how do you feel about that?
JYRKI69: I think on social media immediately when the record is out all fans gave us total support and we are so happy that the fans really liked the record. But that’s what’s the reaction, for instance tonight and yesterday, you can see it live when we play actually many songs from the album. I think we play…. How many songs, Timo, we have played?
TIMO-TIMO: From the new album?
JYRKI69: Yes. Six songs?
TIMO-TIMO: I think six.
JYRKI: Yeah. And I think it’s pretty much if you think it’s like 1/3 of the set. And people seem to like it and they dance and sing along with new songs so it’s cool! It’s cool, really, and I’m super happy and I think it’s like… I’m even surprised that reaction was totally that positive because, of course it’s cool that we have great fans who come after the gig and tell us: ‘Oh well, we expected this and that and so on..’, but now I think, those people who are active, who are writing around, they really seemed to like it and that’s what they comes to tell at the shows also. And you can see them after shows when we’ve done signing or some talking with people, people seem to really like it so it’s great! I’m happy that we succeeded. But most of all we really like that record ourselves. Still. You know…. Of course when it’s fresh you’d like what you created but now like after over half of year since it’s out I think all of us still really like it. But I, of course, thinking of the future – maybe at some point I was thinking like we should do the next record in a similar kind way. Now I already have some little new ideas for the next which interests me so let’s see what happens in the future and every day inspires the thing for the next one.

VENIA: Yeah. And how did you decide to release two ballade songs as first two singles?
JYRKI: Well, I don’t actually think that Red is a ballad. For me, it’s just a really strong song with the strong melody and, like somebody said, it has just one strong emotion. It’s very simple song, one big emotion. That’s it. I don’t hear it in my head as a ballad. But, I mean, as I perform it live, maybe you can think of it as a ballad in that sense. But I really like it, it’s my favorite song to play live, it’s something what I really enjoy to see how the audience react.
Borderline is definitely a ballad in the classic sense but it felt so good, and it sounded really nice and I personally, of course, enjoy it very much because in that song my voice is like main element and it’s fun to sing and perform.
Well, The 69 Eyes is just doing what we want to do ourselves. Red was, of course, originally picked up by the record company, they said: ‘you should have this as the first single’ and it was really good move because it turned out to be the biggest radio hit we ever have in Finland by far. But Borderline was just the song that we really liked and it felt cool and we also wanted to do the video for it in New Orleans so it was fun.
Now we have a kind of interesting situation, the third single outside of Finland is Love Runs Away but in Finland the third single is Tonight so…

VENIA: Why you’ve chosen two different songs?
JYRKI: I have no fucking idea. It’s not important for me, we play both songs live so…. I don’t care. I think somebody thinks it’s way to do it. I think the main point of releasing EP with Love Runs Away or Tonight is to have two extra songs, Rosary Blue by Kat Von D, that’s the radio edit version and that hasn’t been available before and now also there is Dracula’s Castle song we wrote with Rudi Portrudi from the Fuzztones, that’s also available on the EP. I think that’s the main point of having an EP out.

VENIA: And why did you release ‘Rosary Blue’ only on iTunes in the first place?
JYRKI: That’s like music business tactics, really. You know, when you’re releasing music through Spotify and iTunes you have to give them something special, so those things are that music business related things.

VENIA: Did you expect that good reactions on that song with Kat Von D?
JYRKI: I don’t know what kind of reactions are.
VENIA: Well, I don’t have that much time to follow everything but according to some circle of people in Croatia who listen to your band and so on, that’s one of the best songs of the album, so that’s why the question is why is available only on iTunes.
JYRKI: Yeah, might be… thank you… I think it’s really strong song and we succeeded in doing a really beautiful thing. But, you know, it’s cool just to have… it’s more like a very special thing for fans, seriously, so… Let’s see if we release that one as a single later as well. At least in Finland for radio purposes. Because it’s really cool song, it’s really cool to have different song out and all of sudden it’s starts with some other singer that just boring old me so… *smile* It would be interesting to see will it work out for radio.

VENIA: I don’t know did you see comments on YouTube but I noticed few where people ask is it possible to get that song only in male version, only with your voice?
JYRKI: I have no idea. Actually, I’ve sung the whole song also but I think it’s like a female line, the beginning line: I’m under the water… I mean, what the fuck, that’s for girl.
VENIA: You’re not under the water?
JYRKI: Yeah. For a girl it suits better. I have a different image in my head but for a guy it’s insane like I’m under the water. I’m drowning to absinthe or something.
VENIA: Aha, I get it, and not into water.
JYRKI: *smile* Yeah… it would be pretty strange. So I think it should really be a female who start the song with those words.

VENIA: Ok. So before we finish I want to ask you about this recent thing you’ve done with UNICEF. You’ve been in Nicaragua.
JYRKI: Yes, a week ago.
VENIA: How that happened?
JYRKI: That was something that was planned for a long time. Nicaragua and UNICEF invited me there, they said they wanted to have Nicaragua on the map and we planned that trip for a while and I had a chance to bring my favorite photographer, American Estevan Oriol from Los Angeles who has done Back In Blood record cover for us, with me to document the trip. He filmed lot of material and, of course, did photos and we will bring out lot of material from the trip to put Nicaragua on the map and tell what’s going on there. It’s the most poorest country in Central America and it’s really interesting structurally, it’s like 53% of the people are under 18 years. So there is lot of children and unfortunately their conditions are very difficult at some points so UNICEF has a lot of things to do there and they’ve started very cool things and it’s really interesting in that sense that if you think of like UNICEF the first thing that would probably come to see your mind is like starving children in Africa and so on.
But my topic there was like child trafficking and girl’s sexual abuse, so those are very hard topics and UNICEF is doing great work, for instance they helped to start the police department there in Nicaragua which is specialized for this child trafficking and young girls sexual abuse cases. Before, there weren’t any special forces for that. There is lot of stuff coming out from that. As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador my mission is going to see what UNICEF is doing and my mission is to tell what’s happening there and so on. You know, everybody can be a part of charity work, maybe next Christmas when you buy Christmas card you can buy couple of more extra UNICEF Christmas cards which is the easiest way for instance. And also, of course, you can take part of Nicaragua campaign. You’ll find all information, just go to www.unicef.org/nica.

VENIA: I read you’ve met there some of those girls….
JYRKI: Yeah, I met a lot of girls in my life.
VENIA: *laugh* Yeah but the question would be a bit different this time. How does affect on you when you meet someone who’s been involved in child trafficking or sexual abuse if you consider the fact that you’re coming from the country in Europe that has a better legal or police system and stuff like that?
JYRKI: I think child trafficking is a global problem and it happens in Europe too.
VENIA: Of course, but luckily not that much.
JYRKI: And also young girls sexual exploitation but….. There’s gonna be a lot of material so pay for it and you will learn.
VENIA: Ok.

VENIA: And in the end, the message for people in Croatia, as we don’t have the chance to see you there on this tour.
JYRKI: Thanks for coming to the shows if you had a chance to come! I think this tour seriously has been, and I don’t know if I always say that, but I think this is the best times we had. I mean, you can see this when you’re on stage. I don’t know, it’s like….we feel very powerful not only because we enjoy the new record and the current situation, this tour has been wonderful, the audience has been really great and we are actually happy, we are fortunate, we have a lot of people coming to the shows every night wherever we play and we are so happy for it. It’s great to meet this great people and every night has been like perfect, really.
So, I’m thankful if our Croatian fans had the chance to come to see us, but let’s try to make something work that we can come to play at your country soon. Or if it doesn’t work, at least I’ll try to come there as DJ. 2013 is a long way to go, it’s not over yet.
VENIA: Thank you!

Official web: www.69eyes.com
Croatian fan web: www.the69-eyes.com