interview Machine MenMachine Men is a young talented band from Finland. But it has decided to walk its own way and not to follow the road paved by its fellow bands from Finland as Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Nightwish, by playing a very great heavy metal à la Maiden and Bruce Dickinson, but always with a touch of originality, its own mark. I had a discussion with two of its kind members, Antony (Vocals) and JV (Guitar)…

It’s your first tour in France. How do you find our country?
Both : Hm, yes, this is our 3rd gig?Yeah, it’s great!

And our girls? ;-)
Both : (laughs) Hehehe, they’re a really loud audience, hehe?

Well, let’s talking about your band. Can you tell to the fans a bit more about you, the story of your band?
Antony : Well, we started in 1998 and after few demos, we get a record deal with a finnish small label called Dynamic Artsound, we made one album, and an EP for them. After that we toured in Finland and little after that we started to make new songs and signed with Century Media and here we’re on tour?

Finland is a country with a lot of great bands as Stratovarius, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica (the band you’re touring with), Ajatarra, Apocalyptica, etc. It’s strange that these bands, and yours of course, are so famous worldwide, even though your country is so distant and isolated. I guess that it wasn’t as easy for you to become famous out of your country as if you were german or french…

J V : I think, as you said, y’know, those are big bands, y’know, have played an open role for the new bands from Finland to come with them. We are on tour with them and it’s a good thing for us, y’know, they played an open role for us too?

Antony : I think at first people are more interested in those finnish bands, as you said, we haven’t bad names, y’know, and then they know that these bands are from Finland, so that’s why they are interested in the more.

Me : you are well quoted?

J V : yes!

‘Elegies’ (I consider as being your ‘Powerslave’), which was released on august 22nd, is your 2nd album (after ‘Scars & Wounds’ 2003), without counting the mcd ‘Machine Men’ (2002). Your music is a contemporary classic heavy metal, influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M., especially by Iron Maiden, but also by Queensrÿche. I can easily understand the reason why you never followed the way paved by Stratovarius and Nightwish. But when and how have you decided to play this style of music?
J V : We always listened to this kind of music, y’know, as Iron Maiden or Ozzy Osbourne. And I think it was easy to decide.

Me : so you did what you like!

Both : Yeah

JV : sure! I think we never have thought about the music style, we just play what we feel. We make songs which sound good for us, and then, that’s a style what’s for us?

Let’s talk about the heart of ‘Elegies’. What was the composing process you used on this album and who is composing and who is writing the lyrics?
JV : hm, Antony’s the main composer!

Antony : I write all lyrics and I’ve made and I’ve write one or two songs?

JV : And our drums player and other guitar player write music on it, so it’s a common effort?

You wrote a song called “Dream & Religion”. Is this song talking about the fact that people, when they are lost in this world, let themselves shut up into some false illusions and begin to fall into extremism?
Antony : it’s a story about people, y’know, who don’t have dreams for the future but they don’t know how they’ll come to with their lives. Y’know, I have a dream but I know what I’m going to do, but these people they don’t anything, so it’s just dark for them?

Maybe I’m a numb, but I don’t understand the concept under the title ‘Elegies’. Could you develop the idea which hide behind this word?
Antony : This Title is a dedication so?

You’re great fans of Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson. I’m curious, sorry, but what are your favourite Iron Maiden albums and what do you think about the last IM period with ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Dance of Death’?
Antony : Ah, favourite album? Hmmm?I think it’s ?Somewhere In Time’, because it brings many memories from my childhood, y’know?

JV : For me it’s ?Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’?

Me : why?

JV : Right, it’s ridiculous, as this is the first of them I’ve heard and now it’s my favourite album?And to talk about Maiden have done now, I really like the ?Brave New World’ album and ?Dance Of Death’, hmmm?I think it’s not so classical. It’s a good album, but Iron Maiden did best albums.

Antony : and good songs?

JV : yeah, good songs!

…About ‘Tyranny of Souls’?
Antony : I remember when I’ve heard it first, I thought it was a joke?(laughs) hmmm, I don’t know, I don’t know?it sounds good!

JV : weird?

Antony : yeah, really weird!

JV : I’ve listened to the album a twenty times?And it’s a fucking great album!

…And about the sad events during the IM show in San Bernardino, the last night as co-headliner on the Ozzfest? I guess you were pissed off by the Osbournes, weren’t you?

Antony : are we?

JV : yeah! I think so it’s stupid to destroy one’s show. I won’t it accept ever, it’s a stupid thing.

Antony : I don’t know what is behind this story, I’ve just heard too different stories about that?

Let’s talk about something nicer than the war between IM and Sharon “the witch b**ch” Osbourne…For example about of the music background of each of you…
JV : Yeah, oh?it’s a quite long story, y’know?I’ve started to play piano when I was 4 years old, but I’ve also studied it at school, as the guitar too, so I’ve begin with this music school before this band, y’know. I’ve started to listen metal quite late, about 12, so it’s big (laughs)?

Antony : I’ve started singing when we created the band, in 1997, of course, we had bands before when we were younger?

What decided you to play guitar and to sing?
JV : I’ve just decided once to play guitar because it looked so cool, when I saw it in music videos?I wanted to do that?

Have you already composed some material for a new album?
Antony : yeah, yeah, we have some ideas, I guess, but we’ve not, y’ know…any songs, but just some ideas?

JV : Well, we’re playing together, but it’s too far yet?

Have you something to say about the situation of the heavy metal scene in Finland/Europe/the World?
JV : you mean to compare the scenes? Hm, the crowds all over Europe, especially in France, are really really loud, y’know, And the finnish people come at these shows only when they’re drunk. I think here people come for music?but it’s like almost out to people in Finland if you gave a show to see them drunk always?it’s a shame!

Have you booked some dates as headliner?
Antony : no no, we just play with Sonata?

A last word for the french readers of Spirit Of Metal?
JV : it’s always hard (laughs)?hm?BEER!!! (laughs) Check it out (laughs)!!

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