Interview: Sara Profeta i Ivana Sataić
Hybrid Children is certanly one of the most interesting bands you can find is you direct your attention to the reach Finnish music scene and convince yourself if you read first of two parts of the interview we asked for the bands leader Jasse during the time we spent in Helsinki.
VENIA: Can you introduce the band members and give us brief information on the history of the band for those who haven’t heard of you yet?
JASSE: Our first EP came in 1991 for one very independant label. Actually we did three 7” EPs for that label and in 1993 we released our first album. ‘Been doing 6 albums to this day and 7th album is coming. “Bleed Baby Bleed”, “Honeymoon in Babylon”, “Uncesored Teenage Hardcore”, “Drugster”, “Stardom Is Here”, “Ghost Town Carnival”…this is gonna be 7th album. And also one 2CD compilation which includes on some multimedia versions because the DVD went at the time 2001 or 2002 with this compilations. And we’ve been having couple of changes in the line-up, from the original line-up there is anyone else except me left. Well, Pale, our bass player has been since 1993 so he has been almost all the time. He came into the picture after the first album, immidiately after the first album and now also after last album we have changed the guitarist and now we have even younger guy then we had before. This new guy Juho, spelled J-U-H-O… so he is just celebrated his 22nd birthday so it’s kind of cool to have a young blood, there is always younger and younger and also the new drummer that we have, he is my oldest friends, since I was 0 years old… actually I was 3 years old and he was 0… and he is the little brother of our original drummer whom with we formed this band. Kelly is big brothers name. So now with the drummer we’ve gone the full cirlce. We were laughing because we were just kids when we formed our first band. I was maybe 8 years old and he was 5. I was trying to play some guitar and he was playing drums. And now we are here like 30 years later and we are sweating like a pigs at the rehearsals, doing gigs and starting to record a new album on September. I think it comes early next year or something because we are not sure who is gonna publish it. We got some negotiations and it’s not gonna be a problem.
VENIA: Hybrid Children is a very interesting name. How did you choose it, what does it actually mean?
JASSE: We picked it up from some other rehearsal room from band from our town, our village. They had a name suggestions on the wall, what they should call their band and they didn’t want this Hybrid Children name. They didn’t want to use it so we took it. We knew it, of course, that it comes from Metallica’ song from “Master of Puppets” album, this song called “The Thing That Should Not Be”. There is that line: “Hybrid children watch the sea / Pray for father roaming free” so that is where is origins from. And I was also at that time, in 1986, a huge Metallica fan. In the early days and “Justice For All” album and I went to see them many times, every time they were in Finland or in Sweden.
VENIA: Have you been on the concert here a few days ago?
JASSE: No, not now. I haven’t seen them since… When was the last time I saw them?
VENIA: You also stopped listening to them after 1991?
JASSE: Actually, I like their “St. Anger” album. And also the “Black Album” was good. And it is ok but it’s kind of mainstream. But this is something people don’t tolleratate. Because our drummer also likes “St. Anger” album although it’s long too long, the songs lenghts are too long but still it got some perverse anger and also what people don’t like it, it’s cooler to search the points. It’s actually really rocky and really angry. If you want to cause a little stir in the bar you just say: ‘I think that “St. Anger” is much, much better then that crapy “Black Album”‘. And people: ‘How can you say that? “St. Anger” is crap.’ No, it’s not, it’s my opinion so it’s just as wise as yours’.
VENIA: And what can you tell us about your band. How much has the band musically changed from the beginning, it’s a quite a long time?
JASSE: Well of course it has change but in my opinion what we play much better now and my voice, which I haven’t been keen on my voice, has developed and got better during the years. And also there are lot of differences that come to when other people listen to, like completely different. We have slow down although our next album is going to be I think the fastest one since our second album. That’s just because of the change of the drummer. Now we have a better drummer so now he can play fast so somehow we ended up doing faster songs. I think the style hasn’t change that much. In my opinion also becasue we can easily play something from our first album and put it on the live set and still it wouldn’t sound anything like: ‘what the fuck is this?’. So in that kind of sense it doesn’t change that much but it’s everyones own opinion, of course. I think we sound more peaceful in a way then in a first albums we tried to do lots of tricks and we couldn’t play really fast because of limits of our.. that we could do. So it was a little bit shaky and for myself we’ always tries to bring some new elements to the stuff to keep it interesting for ouselves. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any point doing it if I was just repeating the same elements. But it is also becase the people has changed in the band, it always make something a little bit different.
VENIA: It usually goes like that: people influence other people, or fans influence the band…
JASSE: Yeah, I think it has been also like that. Because the people in the band automatically like the same kind of bands. Our earlier stuff were like combination of like melodic punk-rock or rock music and a bit metalic edge on the guitar. That has always been what we’ve been about. So all the guys who have been playin in the band somehow obviously likes the same kind of music. Becasue I have been writing songs since the early days maybe all the lyrics almost, like 95% of the lyrics, maybe more, and about music it is maybe 90% I’ve been writing so obviously I’m not so tallented so that’s the reason why we got the same feeling in the songs, the certain kind of melody lines and vocals and stuff so I think that is some kind of Hybrid Children.
VENIA: Your album “Ghost Town Carnival” was released in 2004. What was happening with Hybrid Children since then?
JASSE: After the album takes one year.. that passed just like that. One year goes to the.. I just don’t even think about new album. Because the album is like kind of a diary for me but if nothing new happens then I have nothing to write about. It’s kind of a painting or kind of.. but if I have anything else to add, anything new so why doing the next album? Because we are not depending on money. We don’t do this for money. I work, I don’t have to do it because of the money. So it takes couple of years to come up with new material, new ideas and basically to live to get something to write about. So during this three years we’ve just… I don’t know… where did they go? We’ve played couple of gigs, Finnish gigs, and then after that it was maybe one and a half year without our new drummer and last year our guitarist had problems with his back, he has a back surgery… so basically last year and a half has been learning to play with new drummer and writing new stuff.
VENIA: What can you tell us about the story behind the last album? Also, you said the songs for the new album are ready, can you compare them with the songs on “Ghost Town Carnival”?
JASSE: I just thought about this the other day and noticed that the last album was like almost 5 years between last album and “Stardom Is Here”, and then we did couple of new songs for this 2 CD compilation but I don’t count them. Of course “The Carnival” was mainly… I had a really seriously depression maybe like 2002 and that was mainly for me realizing suddenly: ‘ hey, I’m and old and got any money’ and I had this relationship that didn’t work for a long time and suddenly I found that our band didn’t work at that time, that was the time when our earlier guitarist moved out of town and I wasn’t so good guitarist and everything and the whole band was kinda pulling me way behind me and nothing did work and I thought ‘What the fuck i should do? I can’t do anything else, this I can do is this band as become a kind of burden for me. Suddenly everything came in the same time so I was really depressed. But then after… that came much from that depression and stuff that it was quite dark. I count is quite dark and in the lyric wise. I think I was hopeless and also trying to find that hope from somewhere. I always tried to keep that hope in the songs that they don’t go too much like: ‘oh, nothing is gonna work and I’m going to kill myself’, you know gloomy heavy metal lyrics there is no hope and I’m gonna commit suicide, but that’s not our stuff, I tried to find a hope from somewhere. But still I think that was kind of my diary which is really kind of sad and now this new album is more like… the melodies and the songs I think music wise. I think it is lot more more positive in a way, not so dark. I’m not sure how people hear it but I think it’s more easily listening. Not in a way like radio but easily. It’s not so dark and it’s more fresh I think. It’s faster and melodie lines are maybe more happier. Not exactly if I’m gonna said like it’s happy music. I think people who listen to happy music wouldn’t find it happy at all but it’s in my mind, that’s my own expression, I want be like that. Because it also seems that if I’m not satisfied with things how my life goes but still I’m now maybe in a happier mood or something. I would like the next album to be very heavy to listen to. Maybe it’s gonna be a little bit ligther. I’m not sure is that what other people would think but…
VENIA: You’ll get the reaction, what people say…
JASSE: Yeah, we’ll see that next year.
VENIA: But you know, people usually say that art doesn’t come from being happy but from a little bit heavier moods.
JASSE: Yes, that’s the truth. Also, we have beed disscusing this like 10 years ago, there was one friend of ours who said that the happy man doesn’t write a good song. And that’s the truth. Almost all the good songs that are really touched people are made from suffering or something. At least in Finnish culture the music is really sad. It is a joke among us: ‘all of this good songs wrote Finnish people when they were drunk’, it’s all about heartache and you know: ‘it’s rain and it’s so hard and my mum just died and all my kids died and I’m here just drink and drink and neighbours big dog ate my cat and I got tired..’, there have been a lot of jokes about that too. But I’m saying that the same elements are in our songs, saying about, you know, snowing like hell and then you see there is nothing to do because it’s really dark here. In Finland is at a winter time really dark and cold and damned and depressing. So of course that is in the songs. And in the moods of people.. it would be different if we would be livin in Californian sun. That is also what we talked, how could HIM go… I understand they go really well in Europe but if you live on the Californian sun where people are surfing and skateboarding and then you’re doing this real dark stuff: ‘bury myself in your black heart six feet under in this pouring rain”, I thought ‘ok, it goes here’ but try that there with your cabriollete in the sun and you’re listening to this dark stuff…
VENIA: Who knows, maybe they find it exotic.
JASSE: Yeah, true. That’s also the reason why we like Beach Boys here. It’s gloomy and the dark here so that’s why we like happy songs.
VENIA: There are a lot of interesting rock bands here in Finland when you think about that. I don’t think there is another scene in Europe that is so lively as Finnish one now. But mostly the media and everybody concentrate on metal bands, we don’t know much about the punk rock scene in Finland.
JASSE: Well on our web site our webmaster was on this punk scene. Of course I don’t mind about the label to have punk influences because those are also my influences which I still like to listen to. But we are. actually I don’t know about the punk scene. I don’t know if there is any decent one because. we have this punk infuence but we have never belong to some kind of punk scene. Looking like this for people who listen to punk rock we are look like hippies. And for the heavy metal scene we have been always been too punk rock or ordinary rock music so I don’t know about the punk scene. But I think also we have the band called Disco Ensemble, they are kind of punk or rock category if you want to categorized and I have to categorized something. And kind of this kind EMO influences too. So I think that is kind of uprising thing come from Finland and actually it’s kind of stuff that I also like. But traditional punk stuff, that is so underground in Finland that I’m not sure that its got any bigger potential but I like Disco Ensemble . I like the band, really good… and they are quite good coming up. They have been touring lot of things in Europe and in England.
VENIA: You’re actually around the whole scene in Helsinki and in Finland, you know pretty well what is going on around the whole scene in Finland.
JASSE: Yes, well, you can’t avoid about that pretty much in Finland because it is so small country and it seems all the bands are somehow decent. There are just two music papers here in Finland so we just read through them and see what is happening. I don’t know what is going on the music scene except for a little bit like harder stuff, rock music where are loud guitars. So I don’t know.. there is upcoming scene, I don’t even know how to call this music but somehow louder and radio friendly stuff. Lot of bands coming from there but, you know, I’m and old redneck, I just listen to Frank Sinatra nowadays and old punk rock records that I used to have – Discharge, Anti Nowhere League and Social Distrotion and this kind of bands and also old metal bands that I used to like. I haven’t been listening to new metal bands for 15 years or something, but the old ones are still good. And Metallicas “St. Anger”. But, what music do I like.. I’m going to a full circle agan back to the things I used to like, that kind of music that was the first thing when you were just a kid. But I think it’s mostly the same with everyone, you listen to some music for your whole life… when you were just a kid and listening to someting and you get some kick out of it, that’s something that stay with you all the time. When you’re old you put them on and reach a memories and that’s what music is always about, I think. Memories and the feeling.
Also I have to tell you the story, I went to a Florida couple years ago, three years ago, with my friend and I thought ‘ok’ because it’s always when you go to somewhere and they you buy a new CD and you listen to it and somehow when the years go by and then you put on that record and feel like that. The same was when I was on Thailand in a year 2000 I bought one Finnish punk rock’ band record and now still when I put it on it’s a good feeling about the first time on Thailand. So, to that Florida trip I took a few albums. One of them was Green Days “American Idiot” which I thought there is a sunny Florida and Miami Beach and I will listen to that and also The 69 Eyes’ “Devils” so which I thought it’s a gloomy stuff which goes on with what I said about having a sun and HIM there doesn’t quite fit and listening to Beach Boys here in Finland on -30. And surprise, surprise, we were listening to that The 69 Eyes all the time. So the sun was shining and my friend was driving the car, we had that Dodge, we were drinking beers and driving to the west because once we were here we had to see that sunset, there is no point going there to Florida and not seeing that and it was like: ‘Devils….’, cool. Still it’s really funny that when I listen to that The 69 Eyes’ “Devils” album it brings me back memories of being really hot and sunshining and endless beach there…
I noticed that somehow over the years.. Every time it seems that I have that The Ramones period on the spring time. It was a spring time in my childhood when I first heard The Ramones. And this spring was also – where are my old Ramones albums?! And there was like three weeks I was just listening to Ramones and reading books about them. And the same about when I listen to Sex Pistols whatever time it is it always brings me back to summer when I was a kid. Then I listen to Jetro Trull always in the autumn, sometimes in September.
the second part
VENIA:We want to ask you about some other influences than those you’ve already mention.
JASSE: You mean, what I’m listening to? Tom Araya from Slayer once said, I have some taped interview and he’d been asked: ‘So what are your influences’? He laughed and said: ‘You don’t want to hear my influecnes’. And his influences were nothing like Slayer.
Well, lately they have been Frank Sinatra and then I’ve been listening again quite a lot of Pink and album which is good and also I’ve been listening to… it’s so much about, as I said, that it depends of this periods of time. Then I just read some book about The Clash or something and I just, you know, take all my Clash vinyls and all the books that I have and go to the library, it goes that way. But I think that I can’t name anything. because everything just seems to melt somehow even if I listen to really crappy music. I hear something that really annoys me or isn’t good at all, that might give me a kick to write something. If it has this negative effect I think: ‘listen to this kind of shit, I can write a better song than this’, then I write something, just listening to something that I don’t like at all. Lately it has gone that way. If I hear something that I don’t like I might find some good pieces in that and said: ‘it shouldn’t be like this’ and then I make my own version which of course doesn’t sound like it at all.
If you mean in general where the whole band’s influence is, it has always been a couple of bands that everyone has liked. For example our bass player listens to heavy metal stuff still, our new drummer likes Foo Fighters which I don’t like at all. I think Foo Fighers are too well played, everything is really in order, every sound and stuff and I find that really boring and I find it a little bit like plastic, like somehow artificial. It’s always been that every guy has been. actually I haven’t heard from our new guitarist what he likes… does he like The Misfits. Because there has always been: ‘hey let’s put The Misfits’ arguing somewhere in the bus going to the gig and: ‘hey, I don’t want to listen to a fucking Slayer, it’s the morning, let’s put some happier stuff’, then I say: ‘let’s put Frank Sinatra’; ‘No, no’. And then our T-shirt salesman says: ‘hey, I got this Johnny Cash, it’s always good’, and then: ‘It’s always good but not now’ and I say: ‘How about The Misfits?’ and then: ‘Ok, let’s put The Misfits’, that’s how it goes. Also, might have been old Metallica as well in everyone’s life. But I don’t know about our new guitarist, because I don’t know him too well because we know him for maybe one and a half month, and we’re just learning what he likes. And he likes Rancid and ska music which is something I hate. I don’t like ska at all. Except Madness, that’s mainstream ska music and that’s something I like.
VENIA: The new punk rock is ska/punk pretty much….
JASSE: Yeah. But I like Rancid. I have to ask Juho if he likes The Misfits or not. It might be that we need to change the guitarist here. He can get the boot immidately if he doesn’t like The Misfits. (everyone laughs). I’ll say: ‘By the way, what do you think about The Misfits?’ and if he says: ‘No, they are not so good’ – “Ok, then you can leave!”
VENIA:So can you tell us something about your The Misfits cover, it is a song .
JASSE: I almost forgot that we have done a Misfits cover on the album. That was also because of. that has always been one of my favourites. We thought we have only 11 songs and said: ‘Hey, why shouldn’t we do some cover songs also?’ and we’ve been playing it on the live set because it’s so easy. Our earlier guitarist Lauri hasn’t ever played it, he haven’t even heard the song before and we were maybe on his first gig ever when he played in Hybrid Children, when he played only a half of the songs because he didn’t have time to learn more and it was some place somewhere in the backwoods, as we say behind the Gods back, somewhere where no one cares in Finland, and that was Lauri’s first gig and we started to play some encore numbers, “Smoke On The Water” and “Paranoid” and stuff like that and said: ‘Ok, let’s play We are 138′ and Lauri was: ‘What song are we going to play??’ and we said: ‘ok, just play along’ because they are just three chords, it’s really simple. You don’t even need to hear the song. So this is how Lauri played it live for the first time without even hearing the song and he said ‘why wouldn’t we do it for an album?’ and that’s the last song on the album and the last song we play live, people know how Hybrid Children show ends. There’s no gonna be any more encores after we’ve played “We are 138″, everyone knows after that it’s: ‘ok, bye’ and we go off to the bar for a drinks.
VENIA: What do you think about punk scene globally? Earlier there have been much more British bands, now there are more American, what do you think about that?
JASSE: I’ll have to disappoint you. these are the only ones that I like. As I said, Bombshell Rocks – their new album is quite good, and also Rancid – but that’s quite it. Also, Social Distortion, they’re an old band, my favourite of like Californian punk. Bad Religion. the last two or three albums I haven’t heard. They’ve always been big, successful. I’ve always liked them.
VENIA: What do you think about Hybrid Children being compared to the Backyard Babies?
JASSE: Well, when I think of music, it’s not completely like punk rock. and Hellacopters, they are more rock – by the way, I like Hellacopters. I like Backyard Babies’ Stockholm Syndrome, but I wasn’t too keen on their last two albums. They have a really good attitude and energy on-stage, and the songs have been. not so predictable. And they’re really nice guys, by the way. I can see the connections between us, musically. as The Wildhearts, I don’t know if you know The Wildhearts – an English band. There are bands that, if someone wants to know what kind of music we play, you can listen to – it’s like the same genre, not punk music, not metal – it’s D Generation, The Wildhearts, 3 Colours Red and The Backyard Babies. those are the bands I don’t mind being compared to, ’cause those are the bands that I like and it seems to be like the same kind of music we play.
VENIA: Are you going on a tour after you release the album?
JASSE: No! (everyone laughs)
Yeah, sure. we were supposed to play in Moscow the 1st of September and I would like to play at every place where I haven’t been, but our guitarist is on holiday, so we can’t play then, so we switched to December. We’re happy to play anywhere, if there is some transportation, just get us the drinks and some food and someone drives us to the stage and say : “Ok, the amps are here – just plug in – play – now, 1, 2, 3 – go!”
VENIA: Fair enough!
JASSE: Yeah. Of course, we are going to do some Finnish dates, we’re quite lazy, we are not going to play to any supercrappy places that we have been playing. You know, two gigs every week, do some really well-organised dates, 10 to 15 dates here in Finland in the bigger cities which aren’t that big anyway (laughs), and festivals and some kind of happenings on the bigger venues.
VENIA: Do you have some message to the people who would read this?
JASSE: If anyone wants us to play somewhere abroad, this exclude Finland because we’ve been here everywhere and we have seen this places, been there done that. so anywhere abroad if someone wants us to play and somehow all the expenses cover that’s ok with us. We can come anywhere including Greenland to play for Eskimos, wherever, we don’t mind. Even if there will be some penguins there on South Pole in the audience. (everyone laughs)
VENIA: Just like now when there was that concert warning about global warming. There were a band who played for a three friends on Antartica or somewhere.
JASSE: Really? Was that plan or?
VENIA: Yes, it was a plan because there supposed to be a band on every continent, including Antartica.
JASSE: That would be cool! It would be better to play a gig there before it melts away. But we are around for so long and you can be sure we would be here even when South Pole melts. You can put that as a headline. (everybody laughs)
VENIA: Thank you Jasse!