It's been awhile since I saw them live, actually I didn't knew the band and later I got the CD single. I wanted to learn more about them and so we arranged this interview by email. Hope you will learn more about them as I did...
When do you had the idea for Five Fifteen first?
It was just one of those names that we used when we played in different band competitions with the friends... We always changed the name if we didn't succeed, if the gig went ok, we played under the same name the next one... hee hee! At the end of the 80's there was many so called 'the battle of the bands'- happenings here in Helsinki. Stratovarius and Waltari were in those concerts with us many times.
Tell us about the beginning of the band! Why do you chose that name? What does it mean to you?
It was first 5.15, the idea was that you can say it in every language, like U2 or UB40... The one band that we all liked was The Who, 5.15. is from their album Quadrophenia.
We were schoolmates, started as a hobby and suddenly I realised that I wanted the write songs... and more songs... and more... until it drove the others to the nutcases... hah!!
How did you found the other band members?
Like I said before, Timo, the first guitarist I've known since the beginning, we were ten years old when we first met, the classmates.
The drummer, Suni was the same thing, only few years later. The original bass player, Joni had the coolest long red hair that I've seen... And we met when I tried to sell some pot to him... But hey... I was only 18 years old!!! Lots of things have changed since then... TOO BAD !!! Hehehe...
Maikki I met when I fallen out from the stairs of one restaurant. She had the reputation that she was the guitarist... Like Bonnie Raitt... Or something!!! She was even worse guitar player than me!! But I've had just bought my first keyboards and when she tried them... She was the excellent!!
At least you had some line-up changes during the last years. Isn't it risky to have changes on the lead vocals again and again?
The songs are important, if they are not good, it's the end.
How were the reactions after Saana replaced Hanna?
To tell you the truth, some people haven't even noticed those things. They wanna hear those songs and if they sound good... What's the problem?
Can you tell us about the recordings of your last album? Where do you recorded? Who produced?
Last three records have been produced by Splendid, Mikko Karmila and me. Splendid has been playing with me since '92, but he doesn't want to be in the live line-up. The biggest part we did at Mikko's basement, then we moved to our FOH-engineer's (Sumppi) studio. You can say that he did also pretty much production, too !!!
It was the first time when I didn't want to make compromises... For example "We have to leave this thing like that, because somebody couldn't play anything else..." If someone couldn't handle the job, then someone else can!! In the band decided this is sometimes difficult, but when the record is ready, everybody are happy.
Any differences to recording sessions in the past? With former line-ups?
This was the first record that we really tried to serve the music, not the musicians or the band members.
Like Duffy (the bassist who left us in last January) said: "I really like to listen those slow songs of yours, Mika. I think they are the best ones that you have written... But I don't wanna play that kind of music..."
Suni (he didn't play in "Death Of A Clown..." I told him that I have to record with the better drummer...) said when he first heard the record: "Mika's first solo album, but better than all the previous Five Fifteen albums..."
How would you describe your music? What inspires you musically?
'Traditional, commercial, the singer / songwriter rock'n roll' When I was a kid I listened Neil Young, Kate Bush, Buddy Holly, Led Zepplin, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Queen... I guess it comes from there. Today I have more than 2,000 records, but the songs... Everything that happens around... That's where they are coming from.
On the single My Oh My you have a track from Six Dimension Of The Electric Camenbert. Is it right that the album been re-mastered? Btw, what do you want to say with this title?
All the previous album titles have been taken from the interviews / the reviews that people have done. Six Dimensions... That's how one French magazine described our music... Haha hhaaa haa!!
Why did you name the album Death Of A Clown? Any special meaning?
The joke was over. I was tired to put the golden paint, tired to smash the guitars, tired to be half naked showman on the stage, climbing to the PA-towers etc... The new path... Same shit... Hehe...
On Season Of The Witch you got joined on vocals by Ville Valo. How came?
I was doing their monitors on their first tour. We became friends. He sings in three tracks on our last album.
Which song is presenting the album best in your opinion?
The Prostitute! That is presenting me. I'm your prostitute.
So, this was my first 'lesson' about Five Fifteen and I think that as soon as they will release a new album, we will continue! So, pay attention for more....