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Reckless Love: 'Spirit', Hopeless Romantics And Skulls

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 Written by Gemma-Louise Johnson

Olli Herman is preaching the Reckless Love message: “We’re saving the world one town at a time, and we’re here to provide the best soundtrack to the best part of your life.”

The band’s story began back in 2001, when they were a teenage Guns N’ Roses covers act, and has taken several twists and turns. Their line-up has seen its share of reshuffles, while Herman enjoyed a brief spell as frontman of Crashdiet, but their over-the-top brand of glam metal has always survived.

On September 2 the Finnish troupe will release ‘Spirit’, their third full-length album. So, spandex at the ready and lock up your daughters as we talk residencies, stealing from David Lee Roth and why Herman’s Dying To Live.

Congratulations in advance on ‘Spirit’. What’s in the name?

Thank you very much! We chose the title because I think it’s a perfect description of what the record is and what we managed to capture on tape. I think it’s got so much of the spirit and fire of Reckless Love, it’s got plenty of homages to hair metal history and our own idols. I think we managed to capture plenty of Reckless Love’s ‘Spirit’ on the record.

Where does it sit in comparison to the band’s previous releases? What can fans expect?

I think it’s a record of a band on tour, because we were on tour for two years straight when we started recording this album and there’s plenty of stuff from the road and from tour life. I think this album shows the most metal side of Reckless Love. We haven’t done a metallic sounding album ever and at the same time, I sincerely think that this is the best album we’ve done so far, we’ve outdone ourselves.

The whole album sounds genuine and the songwriting I think has developed massively, it’s more liberated and sounds more authentic. We decided to write a full-on metal sounding album and that was the only restriction we set ourselves, we didn’t limit our songwriting in any way and I think it was really liberating to write songs like that.

How did you approach the songwriting process with this record?

Pepe, our guitarist, is the guy who writes most of our songs, and he writes with our producer Ikka [Wirtanen]. Our bassist, Jalle [Verne], also took part on Metal Ass and wrote that together with Pepe. I think our approach has always been the same; if it works with an acoustic guitar and a single guy singing the tune then it’s gonna work for the whole band.

That’s the rule that we use when we write songs. For this one, the only thing we changed was to not think about the pop or the radio play aspect of it all, and just do some songs for headbanging. We also did a couple of soft ballads for the album, Edge Of Our Dreams and Hot Rain, and just decided, "Yeah! Let’s have a huge power ballad for the album". We wrote a couple of ideas and those two were the ones that stood out first, so we decided to finalise them, and they ended up sounding great.

Rock stars are one of your debut’s biggest influences and pop stars on your sophomore record, Animal Attraction, but who are your influences on ‘Spirit’?

I think there’s always hair metal bands at the core of Reckless Love and the spirit of Reckless Love. We are hailing from the history of hair-metal, but I think the classic, heavy metal type of stuff...I really like Iron Maiden myself, I have always loved Iron Maiden. There’s plenty of Judas Priest in there, there’s plenty of Accept and on the other hand of course, with Hot Rain, there’s a lot of Prince influences in there and that poppy type of stuff.

Everything from classic heavy metal to ‘80s pop, that’s pretty much been the influence for this album. At its heart it’s just hair metal with an exclamation mark, we just wanted to put the emphasis on the word metal. It's hair and metal - it’s hair metal.

The video for Night On Fire has a voodoo vibe about it, was there a particular theme you were trying to convey with this album, both visually and musically?

I have always been into visual side of things. Approximately a year ago when we were on tour, I had this idea of incorporating a skull into the next album’s artwork, because we already knew we wanted to do a metal album. A skull is like heavy metal symbol, everybody’s got it and everybody's used it at one point, but we just started to think that a skull doesn’t fit, a basic skull just doesn’t feel like Reckless Love. So what would it be if a merry metal band used a skull? Obviously we started thinking of colours, and right at that time I think the [Mexican festival] Day Of The Dead theme and sugar skulls were really a popular thing in tattoo culture. That was our intuition to use sugar skulls in the artwork and it just started from there.

The Day Of The Dead as an original festival is more suitable for Reckless Love. If we would celebrate death, we would do it in that way because the people are remembering and celebrating the dead, they’re remembering how they were when they were alive, they’re celebrating life, not death, and that’s reflected in the lyrics as well. Dying To Live is one of the best titles of the songs to reflect that idea. I managed to completely change the meaning of the word and completely change it around, you know. I don’t want to die, I’m dying to live.

You did a string of residencies at the Barfly (Camden, London) last time you were here, how did that idea come about?

The thing is that bands don’t really do that anymore and we’ve always wanted to incorporate some of the history of hair metal into the modern day. It was our manager’s idea to do a residency and all the hair metal bands did residencies back in the day. At the Sunset Strip, Motley Crue had a residency at Whiskey a Go Go, and Van Halen had a residency at Roxy Theatre and what not.

Every band had a residency at some point, and we just wanted to bring some of that old school way of doing things to the modern way. I think it was a treat for the fans as well, because Barfly is such an exclusive club and you get to witness like four consecutive shows, there’s only a week in between and I think it was a special treat for us too. We had some special stuff made for the tour, exclusive merchandise for every show and changed the setlist every time we played, and had some guest stars on stage and did different covers every night. It was a bunch of fun.

People often say that some of your songs are quite corny, do you consider yourself a hopeless romantic at heart?

Definitely. That’s the perfect description of me but I’m not hopeless. I sure have hopes. It is a part of me, I just cannot help but love things, that’s part of the reason behind the band’s name. I know there’s a song on the new record that deals with the whole hopeless romantic part of me as well and there are on all three albums.

You’ve often been branded the next David Lee Roth and Van Halen are quoted as one of your biggest influences, would you have been able to achieve rock star status without Eddie and the boys?

Never! I’ve stolen so many moves from Dave Lee Roth, I’ve stolen so many things from him and I’ve done it long enough that I’ve changed him a little and made him my own. But I would never have started doing this if there hadn’t have been the original line up of Van Halen and it's the same thing with Pepe our guitar player, he’s taken so many things from Eddie that he’s incorporated in his own style of playing. The same thing goes for Def Leppard and it goes for Kiss as well.

Who would you most like to tour with?

Of course I would love to say Def Leppard or Van Halen, we actually already opened for Kiss in Helsinki, but in the end it doesn’t actually matter because we’re gonna go where the fans are and anywhere they want us to play. We’ve played in such strange environments. We’ve played in like this World Cup of Ski Jumping in minus twenty degrees, we’ve played at denim stores, record stores, on the streets. There isn’t a place we wouldn’t do a show, if the fans want us there we’re gonna go there.

Reckless Love UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Tue October 1st 2013 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 3
Wed October 2nd 2013 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Thu October 3rd 2013 - GLASGOW Cathouse
Fri October 4th 2013 - LEEDS Cockpit
Sat October 5th 2013 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Sun October 6th 2013 - WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms
Tue October 8th 2013 - NORWICH Waterfront Studio
Wed October 9th 2013 - BRISTOL Fleece
Thu October 10th 2013 - LONDON O2 Academy Islington

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