Hungarian metalheads can be really passionate – that’s a fact. And that’s why is Lordi a delighted returning guest to Hungary. However, the Eurovision Song Contest was a huge turning point in the band’s career, but after 12 (well, almost 13) years is quite a boring topic. So, I took the opportunity and I was trying to ask Mr. Lordi everything else besides that. And it’s time to show you the unmasked Mr. Lordi – well, not literally, but you know what I mean.
-During your career, you’ve been in many countries. Which one is your favorite city so far?
-Well, my hometown, Rovaniemi in Finland. That’s my favorite city, absolutely. But I mean it! The thing is that I like small cities, I like small towns and small cities more than big cities, you know. But for example I like London a lot, I like New York and that’s pretty much it. (laughs)
-You were pretty young, actually only 6 years old, when you started to discover the magic of makeup. What was your mother’s reaction to that?
-I was six or seven, I’m not sure about that, but around that time, yes. But she already saw that – you know – something like that might happen. So she was alright.
-And did she help you to choose and buy the right makeup stuff or something like that?
-Well, actually yeah! (surprised) I mean she actually did help a lot. Nobody has actually asked me this before, but I think she actually was the one who got in touch with the local theatre and their make-up people. And I got tips and hint from there, I got the tips to get certain literature, certain books. One of those make-up books is still my bible you know, so… You know, when you’re a fucking nine or ten or eleven, you don’t really pick up the phone and call like ’hello, this is blablabla…” No, my mom did that.
-And how did you discover new makeup stuffs and techniques?
-Basically, I was just learning by myself. Remember this was like in the early ’80s, way before the internet or anything like that. So, I was reading the makeup books and watching a lot of horror movies, science fictions, and fantasy movies. And there was a magazine, called Fangoria which was an American horror magazine. It was basically about all the effects and all the makeup stuffs. Like a monster magazine basically. So that was something, I was a subscriber – well, pretty much until the whole magazine went bankrupt in 2006 or 2007 or something like that.
Back in the ’80s when you rented a video of a horror film or whatever, you didn’t really get any bonus discs about behind the scenes, just sometimes you have seen some behind the scenes stuffs.
I remember seeing Michael Jackson’s Thriller’s behind the scenes thing on MTV – I recorded it on VHS, and that was one of my holy fucking cassettes and I watched it over and over again. But there were some videos, that were like tutorial kind of stuff from horror films. And some documents about mask making and all the stuff. But basically, it was just from the books and the Fangoria magazine.
-If I know well, you do all the looks for the members of Lordi. Where does your inspiration come from when you work on the costumes?
-Well, it’s getting harder and harder every time to come up with new stuff and new ideas, because the characters need to stay the same of course – people will need to recognize them. But for every album, they are a little bit different and something new yet. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t. Right now I feel that the band looks the best. Well, not necessarily with all the members look the best ever, but I like my costume, it’s best at the moment, and I really like Ox’s and Hella’s too. And our drummer, Mana is the best Mana at the moment. So sometimes I kinda have to think about the idea, what’s the whole theme, and then how should that fit and how should that manifest itself. So well, I mean if you look at my costume now, it doesn’t really say anything about Sexorcism, but it has the same visual line like the others.
The characters always need to look like they are from the same band, and from the same era. And yeah, it is quite difficult.
But this time it was easier than the many other times in the past, there have been really-really difficult times deciding and trying to come up with new ideas for new costumes for the old characters. For example, here’s the situation of me and Amen: this is our 9th or actually 10th costume already. So a question comes up: how many different kinds of versions can you make out of Mr. Amen or Mr. Lordi? It’s already the 6th version of Ox – or more? And even for Hella and Mana – it’s already the 3rd or 4th version of them. So the character needs to stay the same, but you try to think of something new and that is quite difficult. And the inspiration usually comes from horror movies. That’s where it comes from.
Well actually my new costume idea did not come from horror, it came from an old Gene Simmons costume. Which is not the first time when a Lordi costume’s idea came from a Gene Simmons costume, but this was something like that … In my living room I have one Gene Simmons. Well, it’s not an actual figure, it’s a singing doll – and I was looking at that doll… It’s not actually like one to one scale. I mean, the proportions are wrong on the doll, but I was like: „well, that would actually look pretty cool, if it would be real. Why shouldn’t I do it?” So that’s where I got the idea for the new Lordi costume. Those little spikes – you know Gene Simmons used to have the same kind of spikes in the ’70s. Now he has them too. So yeah, its nothing had to do with horror, it was all Kiss. (laughs)
-Are you working on your next material?
-Oh, yeah! Even though we are still on the tour (the interview was done in November – editor’s note) for this one. Sexorcism only came out on May, but yeah. You know, I always think ahead already. I’ve been thinking about the 10th album, while we were already recording this one, which was like one year ago.
-If you could be anyone for one day, who would you be and why?
-Probably Gene Simmons. I would like to try how would it feel to be Gene Simmons. Yeah.
-And what would you do during that one day?
-I don’t know. I hope I would do a show, and get to fly on the ceiling and split some fire, and squirt some blood. And I would love to wear the costume, I would love to wear the platform… Well, I have platform boots too, but the dragon boots are the fucking classic shit you know… So…
-Which Kiss song describes you the most?
–God of Thunder. If you would have asked what is my favorite Kiss song, or what is my all time favorite song, the answer is the same… So yeah, God of Thunder is pretty much the answer to these questions.
-Most of the fans don’t know, that you are also a painter. You had exhibitions in Helsinki.
-Yeah, three or four, or maybe even more. But yeah, in Helsinki I had three I guess and in Rovaniemi, there has been maybe 5 actually.
-What kind of paintings do you do?
-Well, of course, all the Lordi album cover artworks are mine. The paintings are not for sale, they are just for being there at the exhibition. Pretty much it’s the same – you know, it’s monsters. I don’t do any Lordi related painting, unless they are for an album cover or a booklet. Mostly it’s about skulls and monsters and you know… Pretty much that’s the whole theme there.
-How much is the working process different to sit down and painting, than writing new songs?
-Very different actually! Because it’s completely two different things. I mean they have similarities. Both of them should come and they usually come up naturally, and you have some sort of plan when you start it. Even painting or writing, you have some sort of idea, and you can have a free hand, you can just swing it, it doesn’t matter. Just like in music: you can just start jamming something, and you mind up with a good song, or a good riff at least, or even a good melody. Or you can just start painting, and you do not know what you gonna do. But usually, with some planning, it’s actually better. The music takes longer because it’s technically a longer process to record a demo for a song. It’s a little bit longer than painting. But then again, I would say that
when I’m painting I think into that world a little bit more. I lose a track of time, and it also happens when I’m writing something.
Now I think of it they are quite similar actually… I was too fast to say that they are two different things, but actually, they are pretty much the same.
-Who is your favorite painter?
-Well, I could pull the Kiss card and say Ken Kelly, who painted the Destroyer and Love Gun album covers. Yeah, why not? I would say Ken Kelly, let’s pull the Kiss card again.
-Please tell us what are the main differences between Mr. Lordi and your real personality?
-Height! It’s one difference. (laughs) Well, the personalities are different, because I considered to be a nice guy and I try not to hurt anyone else, I try to be understanding, well… I try to be a nice dude. Whereas Mr. Lordi is not even trying. Mr. Lordi is like a negative side of myself. It’s all the aggression, and all the bad things, and all the dark fantasies that I might have, you know. Of course, in reality, I would not wanna fucking kill and rape babies but as a fantasy as Mr. Lordi – yes, that’s what he does. That’s my outlet channel, you know. So he is completely different.
Don’t forget to check out the full gallery of Lordi gig at Barba Negra.
Interview: Afrodite Szeleczky
Copy editor: Alexandra Égi
Photos: Péter Tepliczky
Artwork: Dalla Chiara Artwork