War Is Over But Wait There Is No War, As We Caught Up With The Excellent Mikko Von Hertzen Of The Fabulous Von Hertzen Brothers
WeRockWebzine:: Hi, great to see you.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Hi, your prepared.
WeRockWebzine:: There a ground breaker, every one loves haribo’s.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: This is such a great idea thank you.
WeRockWebzine:: Excellent set, it was brilliant fantastic.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah did you see that.
WeRockWebzine:: Yes we did.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Ohh really, cool.
WeRockWebzine:: How was it for you?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: It was really good, i mean i think this is the third time we have been to Pwllheli or how do you say it, the third time but the first time playing the main stage and i really enjoyed it you know, i was a little hesitant because it’s afternoon but i know everybody who comes here they are open to hearing new stuff and new songs because they have so much good music here during the weekend, it’s like people come here for music they want to listen to it so that’s always a great thing. It’s not like your going into a bar and people just pass by and have beer, so it was nice yeah.
WeRockWebzine:: You have had three number one albums and another two top five albums in your homeland, has this surpassed your expectations?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yes totally, i mean if you look at the mainstream music nowadays, i was very surprised with the last album that we were number one and we stayed on the top quite a while but the thing is with us in Finland is there such a long background we have a very steady following and if the first song of the album is working and the radio’s are playing it usually we end up quite high on the charts because then people get to know oh those guys are again doing stuff. I think we are quite a unique Finish phenomenon you know being a little bit progressive.
WeRockWebzine:: Your own unique sound?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah, we are not like competing much with others, everybody knows us as like really strong headed fellows who do what they want and many peopl e in Finland want to hear what we come up with.
WeRockWebzine:: The only other rock band i can think of Finish is Brother Firetribe which is a totally different sound all together it’s more melodic.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yes it’s more like power metal-ish.
WeRockWebzine:: Speaking of first songs ‘War Is Over’ is an excellent song, where did the inspiration for that track come from?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Well it’s been coming for a while, we had it in a drawer, we already had one version of it was already ready for ‘New Day Rising’ but on that record we felt like were just going to go for the straight forward rock songs and because we were also working with Garth Richardson in Vancouver and he is more well known producing rock albums like Rage Against The Machine And Biffy Clyro and so forth, so we decided to choose the songs that suit his production style, and then on this album when it came clear that Sonny’s playing the drums for this album we knew that ok it’s now or never for this song because he is such a fucking awesome drummer and he can pull out the five or six beats that need to be groovy and working well. So we decided ok it’s alot of work it’s a huge epic song but lets do it now and it was really my big brother that did most of the work because, originally it’s his composition and i wrote the lyrics to it so i’m very happy that he did take that ball because otherwise i don’t think we would be here i think that song really defines the band and i’m really proud of it.
WeRockWebzine:: Do you feel your gaining the much deserved international recognition now?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: You know the thing is that i am buried in reviews of the new album, people send them to me we have this world chat group and whenever there’s a new review we get those and they have been very positive but you know the world is full of good music and to stand out from there it’s not only the music that makes the change it’s also the people you work with, it’s there networks it all has to come together in a manner that you kind of get to the stages that you belong and all that stuff. I think it’s a little bit too early to say if we are going to get the international recognition that we deserve, we’re definately getting international recognition from the press but that’s only one part of it are we going to reach the people who like this type of music that’s a totally different story and i really hope that will happen of course. My creative self is already very much satisfied because i think we made a really cracking album and that’s like the most important thing, that’s the thing you leave behind when your six feet under you know you made something.
WeRockWebzine:: That’s there for ever.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah that’s there for ever and we did well and i’m really proud of it, and anything that follows well ok let the world endeavour this what we have done and it will take us some where or not whatever happens i’m peaceful and i’m happy with the result anyway.
WeRockWebzine:: Do you think personally it’s your best work to date?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: I really think so i think we could bring to this album all the sides that we are really good at, learning from Garth’s way of thinking, learning from many many things and the fact that we decided to self produce this album was a very conscience one, we felt like now we have all the knowledge we know what we’re going to do next, we need to do this just by ourselves and give it to the world as a very much a brothers album and forget about the numbers and economics of it, in a way that we just need to do this as well as we can, that’s also why i think we feel very confident and proud more proud of this record than the previous one because we know that it’s our own vision of where the band stands.
WeRockWebzine:: Do you find yourselves as brothers closer to work with or do you think it makes it a little more difficult?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Well you know personally i’m always trying to, because i know my brothers so well i know what there good at, i try to always remember how lucky we are to be able to do this together, we’re not fighting much we know each other so well that when there is a bad day or when there is somebody fixed on an idea there no use arguing that’s why i also like when we were producing this album, the person who came up with the initial idea for the song was also the skipper of producing that song, so we know how to give room to each other, we know how to encourage each other and we know how to tell each other your doing fucking amazing work and that kind of like it’s a great thing, we can also find faults with each other but that doesn’t lead anywhere. I’ve always thought if we can harness that thing we have in common and that energy within us and make an album and bring it to the stage it has so much power because we all drank from the same breast when we were kids, we have that very kind of mutual way of thinking and when there’s three guys doing that on stage it’s very powerful and we need to tap into that rather than the differences.
WeRockWebzine:: Who has the final word in any minor differences you might have, who says you know what we are doing it this way?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: It really depends, when we are creating it’s always the people who had the initial idea, so he has the vetol right, we all work together on the songs but then if like i trust my brothers blindly i know that they are the ones in there songs so that the end result is going to be the best possible, of course if they ask for my help or my advice or my input i will definitely work my ass off to bring something more to the song but i trust them and i know they trust me, for example in the lyrics i always ask them do you have anything in mind for this song please tell me give me anything if you have like a random idea, something where i can get a grip from and then i’ll start work on the lyrics from there and then before we record it lets go through it together so everybodies happy because that also like really important so i don’t mess up with my lyrics to there songs.
WeRockWebzine:: Now you’ve toured with a host of top names Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds To Mars, Biffy Clyro, The Wildhearts and ZZ Top, do you have a favourite moment or story from any of those?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: So many stories, what i tend to always talk about in interviews is that when the Foo’s were in Helsinki and they were playing our home city, the guys are so like there so nice to there support bands and they came and they asked, Dave Grohl comes up to me and asks did you guys have enough time to sound check are you guys alright do you have everything in the back that you need and all that, that just goes to show that if your in this business you treat everybody in this business as your equal. Like you and me there’s no difference between us i make music you make interviews we are all in this together you have to get that nobody should be egotistic or narcissistic in this business because, there’s another story of another like person who was big in his own eyes and i had a very bad impression of him and i never talk highly about him in the interviews but i always bring up Dave Grohl and the guys how somehow they didn’t raise themselves up to be the stars and everyone else is under them they were like yeah we’re going to have a great gig we’re in this together, everybodies input is needed and i always try to keep that as a guideline for myself when i’m touring if we’re doing shows where we are headlining, you never know the band that supports you might be the band that you want to support at some point so treat everyone equally and always try to take care of everybody happiness and that’s your input, that’s something i always share in these interviews because i feel everyone should treat everyone right.
WeRockWebzine:: Whether your a listener or a maker.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yes Exactly.
WeRockWebzine:: You recently released your brand new album ‘War Is Over’ which i believe you and your brothers went off and wrote one or two tracks then came together and put it all together, how was that experience?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Well you know after ‘New Day Rising’ we were kind of like tired and that took so much of our energy, and we started feeling not only like among the three of us but the people around us like the record company were not paying attention to the band anymore and also the management company we used have didn’t have a plan, so things started crumbling down like a house of cards everything fell apart, so we had a talk the three of us like do we still have it in us to continue and what does it mean to continue and how should we go about it, then we decided ok the first thing we need to have is songs, without good songs we’re not going to do anything anymore and that was it, it fell apart and this is maybe a good time to wrap it up. So we decided ok we don’t have to have any pressure just like take our time and use the cabin we kind of like worked from our phones calender and we were like you go that week and i’ll go that week and lets just see what comes up and play around with ideas and if someone has songs we will listen to them and if there good enough we’ll talk again whether we should commit ourselves all three of us to start and continue working as a band and we did that you know we all worked individually and we came up with ideas and nobody was interfering in our work and we could have that space and we all took that space to be creative and i think the reason why we used the cabin so much and it’s also mentioned in the press release is that because we need to some how we are all very similar in the fact that we need to get out from the day to day life in order to be really creative and so we use that for that we just say to our spouses and kids that daddies going now for like a week, i need to go and fully concentrate on that song. The we kind of like started sending each other stuff and we noticed that there is something in this and these songs are fucking great we need to do this, and so we sat down we went to the cabin the three of us for a week played around with the ideas went through all the ideas and decided that ok these are the twelve songs that maybe we should work on and then what key is good for my voice, change the key here and there and went through the songs like that and then ok lets start working lets do it and then we just worked and worked and worked.
WeRockWebzine:: With obviously the press and the coverage it’s been getting it was a very good idea to continue?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah i really think so.
WeRockWebzine:: We had the opportunity to review the album and we gave it a 10 it was top class.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Oh Thank you thank you.
WeRockWebzine:: Your in the middle of a tour to promote the album, how has the response from the fans been to the new material?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Very good, we’ve been very courageous you know where we’ve played a lot of new songs, so touring now in England, we’ve been here for a week this was our i believe sixth show here and of course it takes a little bit of time to get the new songs to like sit in it’s place on the gigs because even though you’ve rehearsed it, it’s always different at the rehearsing studio just playing the songs and being on stage performing the songs is different because your like how am i suppose to move to this song and your just like ohh fuck i pressed the wrong peddle, stuff like that goes on all the time but the more you do it it starts sitting in its place and now i start feeling many of the songs are like pretty good there and there are a few songs that i still need to ok i know the two songs we need to go through tomorrow in the sound check when we are playing in Bristol so these we maybe to rehearse a little bit, lets go through this once again or what we should do in this part so it takes a little time but all in all the response from the audience has been very good and i think like you said the album, it’s one of those albums that needs a little bit of listening because it’s so kind of like full (full of shit) full of stuff so it’s needs like 3 or 4 times to spin it then you go like bloody hell.
WeRockWebzine:: That’s a great album.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah it’s like a bouquet that has so many things like flowers different colours and this and that.
WeRockWebzine:: You have the tracks that start off in a certain way then it goes in a different direction then comes back and then a different direction again, it really is a cracking album great put together as well.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah it is and we really worked hard and like i said those ten tracks that we chose, it’s a great exibition of work the brothers can do, every single song is like a piece of art by it’s self and it stands on it’s own, it can be in somebodies living room and people will go oh that’s a nice piece of art, so it doesn’t depend on the others but at the same time it’s a whole if you just put your headphones on take the booklet in your hands and spend one hour with that album your going to experience something pretty cool and that’s what we always strive for, we want to take the listener on a journey and portray everything all the aspects that makes our band what it is, so we want that experience to be full, so we are not into releasing a single here and there and all that we need to have something substantial something that people can go like wow and yeah that’s a cool song.
WeRockWebzine:: When i reviewed the album it was about 3oclock in the morning with my headphones on all silent and that’s how i got the review done, and it was an excellent album brilliant.
WeRockWebzine:: The future for Von Hertzen Brothers now you’ve had this album the bars raised a bit more?
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Yeah i think what we’re going to concentrate on now is just enjoy ourselves because you know the part where you actually like challenge yourself is like done, we made the album it’s out there people can now enjoy it or hate it or whatever, but now we are just like trying to enjoy what we have done. Touring and playing to people is always the fun part that’s always the part where you get to share the music because when your in the studio and can be a little bit lonely just working and one day your like this is just fucking horrible then the next day your like this is the best thing ever and it’s kind of ups and downs but now its like all good and i just hope of course we made a good album, i think everybody all the bands that have succeeded in there minds in there music are like recording wise have that kind of missionary hat on there heads you know going places and proclaim we are a good band and of course hoping that because we changed the record label and we have a new management and a new agent we’re hoping that there networks are working well for the band so that we get to play new places and seeing new people and kind of like reach new audiences, rest of the year we’re busy in the UK and Finland then we will have a break in January then February onwards we’re touring again so that’s what we aim for to be able to have something new to play to our fans and maybe find new audiences as well.
WeRockWebzine:: Brilliant thank you very much.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Thank you.
WeRockWebzine:: We wish you all the best and hope to catch you again soon in the UK somwhere.
Von Hertzen Brothers:: Thank you so much and see you soon.