Finland now has its own pop punk kings with HUNDRED MILLION MARTIANS. Here they are again, ready to rock and stronger than ever with their new album “Marseille”. Ari (guitar) tells us a bit more about the band, his favourite records, movies and more…
Can you introduce HUNDRED MILLION MARTIANS? How did the band meet?
Hundred Million Martians are Jyrki (vocals/guitar), Pasi (bass/backing vocals), Jarkko (drums) and me, Ari (guitar). We met on our home planet Mars and decided to make a great rock’n’roll band and use it to conquer the Earth. So we did, and Hundred Million Martians has released four albums and a bunch of EP:s and singles since 1996. The first part of our master plan worked out great, but the world-conquering part is a bit trickier. Maybe we should have landed somewhere else than Turku, Finland. But we’re getting there!
You have a new album out, “Marseille”? Why this title?
Because most of the Martians who have infiltrated the Earth live there. There are about 100 000 000 os us here and Marseille (hence the name) is kind of a Martian capital of your planet. Also, Marseille is the most down-to-earth of our records, so we decided to give it an earthly name. Of course we could have called it something like Martian Arts, Mars Bars of Solid Rock Planet, but that would have been stupid because we already have records by that name.
How would you compare “Marseille” to your previous releases?
Well, soundwise there is a big difference between Marseille and the previous one, Solid Rock Planet. Back in the day we wanted Solid Rock Planet to sound raw and garagey. At hindsight that soundscape didn’t always do the songs justice, although there are great tunes on that record. On Marseille we wanted to sound bigger, tighter, clearer and more varied. In that sense Marseille is bit like our second album Mars Bars. HMM’s debut Martian Arts is also a great album in its own straight-forward way.
Can you tell us about Michael Monroe (HANOI ROCKS)’s appearance on this album?
At some point we thought that it would be fun to have instruments on the record that were new to us. We had never used harmonica and saxophone before, and we decided not to settle for second best when it came to finding a player. Michael Monroe is a very, very talented multi-instrumentalist and a great guy. He also lives in Turku, Finland and I already knew him, so we asked him. He was happy to help us out, and weren’t we honoured to have him! He came to the studio, listened the songs a few times and then we asked him to play whatever he wanted. The harmonica solo on Passed kicks ass, and the Under My Wheels -like sax part in the end of I Still Love the Feeling is just great. Michael also spiced up the riff in that T.Rex boogie tune of ours, UC/BC. I’ve gotten the impression that he is also happy with how the record turned out.
What’s your favourite songs on the album and why?
It changes. I think I love Life Ain’t That Bad Girl the most, because it is positive and hopeful – not your average, stereotypical macho bullshit rock song. Across the Street, Passed and Another Reason Why are also all my faves, although they’re all different from each other – punk pop, rock and power pop and what have you. It think Jyrki has written some of his greatest songs ever on Marseille.
I noticed some similarities in your sound and approach with KEVIN K, are you familiar with his albums?
No, I am not, but I went and checked Kevin K out on MySpace because you mentioned him in the Marseille review. You’re right! But if you check out his list of influences there, we love the same bands. So I guess Kevin K and Hundred Million Martians get their drinking water from the same well. Great songs, Kev!
It seems like there’s a lot of rock bands in Finland these days, what’s your opinion about the rock scene there?
I think it’s pretty healthy scene here. Some of the heavier Finnish bands have had international success, and people around the world seem to be interested in the music we make here. Unlike ten years ago, the bands here now know that they can make it big, which gives them confidence, and there are lots of new bands around. Most of them lack personality and talent whatsoever, but there’s also plenty of good music made here.
“Top questions” are always very hard to answer, but can you give us 10 albums that are essential to you?
This is a tough one. Mind you, these are my quick and personal choices, can’t speak for the rest of the guys. In no particular order: Lou Reed: Transformer The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies Hanoi Rocks: Back to Mystery City Iggy Pop: Idiot Rancid: …And Out Come the Wolves 22-Pistepirkko: Rumble City, LaLa Land Jesse Malin: The Fine Art of Self Destruction Dave Lindholm: Vanha & Uusi Romanssi Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska
Any cool movies you’ve seen recently?
I watched John Huston’s The Misfits for the second time. I like that movie, although I don’t quite know what it’s about. But it has Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Mongomery Clift and a great old Hollywood vibe! I also saw Lars Von Trier’s Dogville and Robert Rodriquez’s Sin City again. Amazing movies.
What are your projects now?
Actually I’m on my way to a rehearsal. We’re playing this one-off acoustic gig with ex-HMM guitar player Tuomas, and we’d better to go and learn the songs before it’s too late!