"We're the band that time forgot. We're the band that refuses to die. We're the Helsinki Vampires."
Conceived in Finland in 1989, dark rockers The 69 Eyes have come a long way and shaped the genre of 'Goth 'n' Roll' like no other. With several platinum selling albums like Blessed Be and Paris Kills released around the millennium, the quintet not only reached #1 of the single and album charts in their home country of Finland, but also plunged the world into their sinful cosmos of love, death and eternal melancholy and outlived any other band emerging from the goth hype of the early 2000s. By developing their sound further into sleaze rock on Devils (2004) and Angels (2007) and not shying away from pitch black Elvis allusions in singer Jyrki 69's majestic dark voice and unique dance moves, the band established their worldwide following by relentlessly touring Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
And while the concept of time seems to play no role in the life of vampires, the year 2019 marks a reason to celebrate and blow out more candles on the cake than most other bands will ever be able to see flickering in front of their eyes. It's time for the 30th anniversary of The 69 Eyes - and of course they prepared something special from the damp cold of their crypts:
"Ever since the first rehearsals I felt that we had something magical coming", singer Jyrki 69 contemplates. "And the nickname of the band - The Helsinki Vampires - does us justice. We're the band that time forgot. We're the band that refuses to die. We're the band that refuses to change members. In all these years, we never saw a reason to stop. After our first 10 years, people have asked us how long we think we can keep this going. then again after our 20th anniversary. But we're still here! And this is how rock'n'roll works: If you get it right, it keeps you going forever".
Leaving their dreams behind has never been an option for The 69 Eyes and their new anniversary album, West End has a truly apocalyptic taste to it and it seems that vocalist Jyrki, guitarists Bazie and Timo-Timo, bassist Archzie and drummer Jussi 69 are more alive than ever, while dancing in the ruins of our world:
"The title West End evokes a dark image - when something dies, something new takes its place and we all have to change in order to stay alive. I feel like this planet is at a turning point. The end of the western world is near and the question is: What will happen when the west ends..? The title has multiple meanings for us. but be assured it has definitely nothing to do with The Pet Shop Boys or London", he laughs.
Having been together for 30 years now, spending over half of their lives as a well-established team, the band refuses to recycle their sound over and over again and show no signs of slowing down in tempo. Therefore most of the songs on their 12th studio piece West End are up-tempo rock anthems full of heaviness, black memento mori moments and dark humor: "At the moment I would say it's the best record that THE 69 EYES have ever done and if you've been avoiding us till now, it's about time to check us out and this is a good album to start with. It's a modern rock'n'roll record, fitting for 2019."
But what would an anniversary party be without lots of guests? Three highly acclaimed vocalists are joining the fun on the tracks "Two Horns Up" and "The Last House On The Left" - Cradle Of Filth's hellish frontman Dani Filth, the Duke Of Spook Wednesday 13 and Alice Cooper's daughter and Beast Blanc vocalist Calico Cooper.
"My friendship with Dani Filth dates back to 1995 or 1996", Jyrki remembers. "I was DJ-ing in Helsinki at Tavastia and one day, Cradle Of Filth played there - I hit the night with Dani, we partied hard and were friends ever since. Ten years after that, Cradle took us on tour to the United States and those were the best weeks of my life. And when you have friends in other bands, you find yourself saying 'hey, we should do something together' and now it was finally time to invite Dani to perform on one of our songs. We found a track that really suited him, 'Two Horns Up', and it will kickstart the album - a really cool surprise for our fans, I think. The other guest we have on the album is Wednesday 13 - he's a good friend of ours since the Murderdolls days and we've toured together several times. We kinda lost each other for a couple of years, but it was so great to meet him again, since Dani, Wednesday and I are all big horror fans and we have so many things in common. 'The Last House On The Left' was the name of the first Wes Craven movie and I always loved the title, so it was perfect to invite Wednesday as a guest. However, the song also needed a female voice. But I didn't need to look far - Calico Cooper from Beast Blanc and daughter of Alice Cooper was the perfect fit for the track and it became the perfect Halloween horrorpunk song for this year - Dani Filth, Wednesday 13, Calico Cooper and The 69 Eyes on one track."
While "The Last House On The Left" is a homage to the cult horror film of the same name, the pitch black fairy tale "Burn Witch Burn" can be seen as a comment on today's social media madness and the title of the decadent rock hymn "27 & Done" speaks for itself and pays tribute to the deadly side of Hollywood and the tragic 27 Club.
"I'd been hanging out a lot in Hollywood recently and I got a bunch of demos from our guitarist Bazie", Jyrki explains the state of mind he needs to be able to get into the songwriting mood. "After a night out at a bar, I didn't go to sleep and I went out to sit on my hotel room's balcony and watched the sun rise over Sunset Strip. And I thought: I have time for myself, so I listened to the new demos and started to write lyrics. I got really excited at the time, but once I got back home to Finland, I forgot about it again and whenever I listened to the tracks, they didn't inspire me at all anymore. But then I returned to Hollywood and suddenly it started to make sense again and I discovered a totally different angle. It really mattered where I listened to the songs. The track '27 & Done' for example deals with the idea of Hollywood and everyone coming there to make their dreams come true, but it's very seldom that they succeed, and this is something you can see everywhere. It's a place that makes you desperate and I wanted to get those dark vibes into the song. But on the other hand, the track is also a celebration of life - we should be excited to be here, everybody's a legend and they should realize that we should enjoy what we do instead of worrying what other people think. And of course, there's a bunch of dark humor in every song and several levels of interpretation."
Cat No: MASLP1106
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