“It’s not going to be a video interview is it? If it is I’m going to have to do my makeup”. Those are the words of Reckless Love vocalist Olli Herman before we sit down to talk glam, fans, and tours, along with drummer Hessu Maxx, both hailing from Finland, and playing Nottingham Rock City tonight. Drinking a Diet Coke and a Tuborg respectively, and with the rather off-putting sound of the air conditioning, we begin our conversation with perhaps the two most impeccably groomed men in glam.
How’s the tour going so far?
Olli: Well it’s been really one night, I mean we got really excited yesterday, first UK tour in over a year so it was a bit nerve wracking as well but they were a good crowd, 500 people there, y’know a huge roar as soon as these guys stepped on stage, I was still behind the curtain and I was wearing in ear monitors so I hardly ever hear the audience but in there… that was cool. The show was nice and the reception was really welcoming, great.
Smaller venue tonight, do you think that’ll be even better?
Olli: Yeah but it’s sold out!
Hessu: Last time we were here we sold out too.
So, the new album, it’s amazing! But what are the themes, apart from, obviously, sex…
Olli: Life! Every lyric it’s based on the element of truth, it’s about my life or somebody close to me, life wouldn’t exist without animal attraction, that’s any great love story, love at first sight doesn’t exist, it’s attraction first, and it’s something that grows between you two. That’s how stories always kick start. That’s why we open up the shows with animal attraction. We weren’t actually writing a theme album, it’s just a bunch of really good songs.
You played Download in 2010, any more plans for festivals in the UK this year?
Olli: Oh yes, plenty of plans! We have offers so that’s great. We just have to choose where we wanna be and look at the big picture. It’s our management and our agent actually who choose and we told them can we please get Download again, it was so nice! (laughs) We’ll keep our fingers crossed!*
How important is image to the music you play?
Hessu: It’s kind of important… (both laugh)
Olli: It’s equally important. People pay their hard-earned money to come to see the show but if they just wanted to listen, they’d listen to the record. We want to give them something visual as well.
Hessu: It’s a ‘show’ business, so you really got to be that.
Olli: We wanna make this thing as big as possible, not in the terms that we want to make millions of bucks for ourselves but we want to use millions of bucks to make the show more visual and more huge, so we’re aiming for that “Kiss” type of thing, video screens and plenty of bombs! (laughs)
Are the fans different over here compared to Finland?
Olli: Last time we were over here I remembered why I love performing here so much; people every song, someone in the audience knew those lyrics, better than I do! In Finland they’re mostly so wasted they can barely stand up (laughs) so it feels like proper rock and roll fans here.
Do you find more of your fans are your age, or do you get older fans?
Olli: It’s “ladies and gentlemen, people of all ages!” (laughs) I think the older people come for the nostalgia trip, they see something like the good old times, then there’s the kids like “Motley Who?” (laughs) Kids though, how could they know? I was born in 1983, Hanoi Rocks stopped playing in 1985, I grew up only knowing their name, the first time I ever saw Michael Monroe’s picture was in an album sleeve, and I didn’t even know he was Finnish! It’s an honour to see them live; he’s an amazing front man.
Who do you take inspiration from?
Olli: Van Halen, Kiss, Def Leppard, Guns n Roses of course, the first band we ever listened to was GnR. It went on from that, since then we’ve broadened our taste in music.
We know you’ve got some very enthusiastic fans, have you ever had any weird fan experiences?
Olli: They can get a bit scary sometimes! (laughs) There are plenty of stories!
Hessu: Last night, someone’s boyfriend gave me this (shows me a picture of himself with a female fan) and says “this is from last year you should probably have this”.
Olli: That’s nice…
Hessu: Kinda weird. I mean it’s a nice memory but what am I gonna do with this?
Olli: It can get pretty intense. In Italy we had bodyguards; they were tearing out our hair, taking our earrings!
Hessu: Screaming and crying! We’re heroes, but it’s not nice! (laughs)
Olli: In Finland, back in 2005, a girl bribed our hotel receptionist to get a key to my room, so I woke up in the middle of the night and somebody else is in my room. Now we have better hotels, so don’t bother trying it! (laughs) They say they’re our girlfriends or sisters.
Do you have a lot of media attention back home?
Hessu: Oh yeah.
Olli: Too much at the moment… (laughs) no, no, I’m joking. But yeah we do. A bit too much in a sense that nowadays the tabloids are getting more into our personal lives, I rarely get to talk about music anymore in Finland, the press are into what we do offstage. It’s awkward in an interview where they ask about your personal life.
Hessu: It’s shit but y’know, they’re gonna ask! With this new album we were on the cover of every magazine you can be in Finland, and every TV show where you can perform as a band.
Olli: In fact, after this tour, I’m flying back to do a TV show called Voice of Finland.
Hessu: Like a different Finland Idol kind of thing.
If you weren’t in Reckless Love, what would you be doing?
Olli: I think I’m such a narcissistic person, and I love my own voice, I’d be doing radio or something, in Finland.
Hessu: For me, probably start up another band! (laughs)
Olli: It’s an impossible question to answer, there’s no “if” in my world. I’m not the greatest singer on earth, I don’t even try to be, but this is what I “do”, there’s no ambition, I don’t want to be the best singer ever, it’s a thing where I decided; “I’m going to do this, and you can’t stop me!”
Catch Reckless Love in the UK on tour with Black Veil Brides from March 24! Dates here
*(Reckless Love have since announced they WILL be playing Download Festival this year!)