Girls, Revolution, Confetti Machine


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Finland’s Naked is a quartet of nice fellows: The Muff (vocals, rhythm guitar), Zack (lead guitar), Ilari (bass), and Mr. Tikka (drums). The band was formed in Helsinki in 2002. The guys claim that their style was influenced by a vast majority of great bands, that is why it contains elements of various rock genres. Nevertheless, the dominant components of their music are glam and punk rock. The music is cheerful, the lyrics are tricksy, and they are positive people overall.

We met the band prior to their gig in Moscow’s Relax Club – however, me and our photographer Natalie Reshetnikova had to wait for this interview for two hours. The thing is that traffic jams prevented the band from getting to the venue on time, and while we were burning with impatience at the bar, the guys were soundchecking and putting the make-up on. But finally none else but The Muff (a kind of cross between a musketeer and Jack Sparrow) appeared in the room, followed by the entire band: handsome Ilari, uncombed Zack and quite imposing Mr. Tikka. It’s funny that the first thing the singer said after sitting down on the sofa was whether I intended to do an interview with the whole band. There was no way I would refuse, and the other three Naked guys were already approaching me anyway.

The guys backstage are just the same as their reckness image and their music are. They are noisy, talkative, roaring with laughter and very funny. They talk all together at once, interrupting each other, and none wants to stay in the background. And they like jokes, too…

I see you are not naked…

All together:
Not yet!!!

Well, what does this name mean to you? It’s quite provocative, you know.

The Muff: Everybody likes to get naked. I think you too… Don’t you like to get naked?

Hmmm… OK, maybe sometimes.

The Muff: That’s good, you see.

And you call yourself The Muff. Why?

The Muff: Do you know what it means?

Yes, I know. But why did you choose this name?

The Muff: Actually I didn’t choose it for myself. When I was a little baby my family started calling me Muffe. And then when I started to play this devilish music I thought that I needed to make it sound more American and without knowing that it means “hairy pussy” I changed it into The Muff and it got stuck. And I’m against shaving you know… (the guys roar with laughter)

Great. You say that your style is different from anyone else and you call yourself Broadway Rock Band…

The Muff: No, that was last year. And it’s new season now. So now we are Atlantic Rebel Rock Band. We don’t want to make the same shitty album two times.

Can you describe your style in a few words?

Zack: I think it’s somehow old-fashioned. Something from the 70s.
Ilari: It’s also a lot of humor. Music should be fun.

Maybe that’s the difference between you and some other Finnish bands? Many of them tend to be… let’s say melancholic.

Ilari: Yeah, dramatic!
The Muff:
I’ll sum it up when you’re asking what kind it is (Naked) – it’s the best kind!

I see. So you try to be active and vivid.

The Muff:
Yes. And we just want to be ourselves.

Have you brought your famous confetti-machine with you?

All together: Famous???

Yes it is. That’s the first thing they say about you in the Internet.

Zack: Of course it’s with us! Maybe we should give it a name if it became famous.
Ilari: It was made before World War II and it survived somehow. And still operates.

Zack: Maybe we should call him… Hubert! (everybody laughs)

What a huge name!

Ilari: The thing is very heavy. It makes a lot of noise. And it’s not very effective actually.

But still you like it.

Ilari: Yeah! And we take it everywhere!
The Muff: It’s got a lot of personality!

As far as I know you are ready to release your 4th album.

The Muff: Oh yes, the album number 4! (sounds so proud)

Ok, can you tell me a few things about it?

Ilari: It kicks ass!
The Muff: Yeah, it will kick your ass and it will make you want to go out on the streets running and screaming! But it’s not ready yet. We have something like 15-20 songs.
Zack: And we have had them for maybe 3 years!
The Muff: Right. Wee started writing these songs even before “Superstate”, our last album, was released in Finland. So we’ve been writing this album for something like 2 years, but we’ve been recording since last July, though we started recording demos for it more than a year before.
Zack: And we have made many demos for it…
The Muff: Every song was recorded 4 times, then scratched and done again… just to get the drive, because we need to make an album that is really “naked”.
Zack: And that’s our first album that has no outside producer.
The Muff: We do it all by ourselves. So it sounds just like it’s supposed to sound.

Who comes up with the ideas for new songs?

Ilari: These two, Zuck and The Muff.

And where do you get your inspiration from?

Zack: Anywhere.
The Muff: For example, if you do something crazy now maybe I’ll put it into a song, because I write the lyrics… So it’s all about getting inspiration. If you sit at home you’d probably wind up writing a song about sitting at home. But who wants to listen to that?
Ilari: Probably some people who are sitting at home…

Talking about the lyrics… It seems that one of your favorite words is “revolution”…

The Muff: No, my favorite word is “baby yeah”! Actually there are 2 words… You know, you can say something very beautiful and then you go “baby yeah”. That’s great!

Cool. But still, what kind of revolution do you want to start?

The Muff: AAAAAAAAA!!!! (I’m going deaf) I don’t know.
Zack: Maybe the revolution of minds…
Mr. Tikka: The revolution for happiness. Having a good time you know.
Ilari: Or the revolution against music in Finland.
The Muff: Oh yes! As you said… I’m quoting you…
Zack: So you can’t say that The Muff thinks music in Finland sucks.

Oh no, I didn’t say that!

The Muff: But you said it’s dark! Something like “uuuuu… it’s so co-o-o-old… I want to touch myself”. So it may be the revolution against things like that. We like to make fun.
Zack: We like to meet new people…
Ilari: Girls…
The Muff: Exactly! We love “siski” (the Russian word for “tits”). And other Finnish bands don’t.

Oh, I don’t think so!

(The theme of tits made guys so exited that they were just shouting all together at once for a while, so it wasn’t easy to get them back to the interview.)

I know that you two (Mr. Tikka and The Muff) re brothers …

The Muff: Yes! I’m the older one!

You are kidding me. I don’t believe it.

The Muff: OK, he is the older one.

Actually one can see it. So I was just trying to say that… It seems like lots of Finnish musicians have relatives in other bands or they play in the same one.  It’s like family business…

Zack: We are not from Tampere. That’s the thing they have there.

But why are so many Finnish guys interested in music?

The Muff: There’s something in the drinking water, I guess.
Mr. Tikka:
I think when you have the possibility of playing with your brother it’s cool. I like the music, I like the style of the band. And I’m happy playing drums for it.
Ilari: And for example, if your father is an artist too… You know, this kind of parents give the children a better opportunity to practice.

Is your father a musician?

Ilari: Yes.
The Muff: And our father is an actor. And Zack’s father is a professor.
Ilari: He’s the black sheep of the family!

Then, Muff, why haven’t you chosen the profession of the actor?

The Muff:
Oh no, I’d be a shitty actor. If I can’t even remember the lyrics of my own songs that I’ve written, how can I remember everything in a long script? But maybe I’ll start making porn…

Still your music videos are quite interesting.

The Muff: They are interesting because all the directors have been nutcases. And all the videos are black and white. In our next videos it’s gonna be color, fire, “siski”…
Zack: Yea, we’ve got to find money for the color…
The Muff: …our hot bodies…

You’ve already had your “hot body” in one of your videos (“No One’s Perfect”).

The Muff: Yes, but let’s shoot Ilari’s this time. Actually we want to make a rock’n’roll video that just looks fantastic. We’ve got to find the money.

Oh yes, about the money… Do you have some other jobs? Or is music the only thing you do?

The Muff: I’m a gravedigger… OK, just kidding.
Mr. Tikka: I have the job on the side.

What is it?

Mr. Tikka:
It’s in the… (Here comes The Muff and I fail to hear the rest.)
The Muff: And I have a job in advertising! Ilari plays with other bands and Zack has no job! (starts to giggle)

Is it your first time in Moscow?

The Muff: First time in Moscow and third time in Russia. With the band. But I think I’ve been here before… No, it’s the first time for me and (turns to the other guys) I don’t know what about you.

(All the others agree that it’s their first time.)

So how do you like it?

The Muff: Great so far. We’ll see how crazy people will get during the show. Then I can say better. It all depends on how many “siskis” we’ll see.

The last thing is: would you like to say something to your fans? You know it’s quite difficult to find anything about you even in the Internet…

Ilari: Go in Google and write “naked”! Or “muff”… (here comes the loudest laughter I’ve ever heard)
The Muff: Well, when it comes to saying something to the fans, it’s always some cliché like: “Hey-hey-hey! Keep on rocking! Buy our new album, bla-bla-bla”. Or “don’t change the page”, you know. Well I hope our fans are gonna like our new album when it comes out. And hopefully we can come back here.
Mr. Tikka: And I hope that people will see that we are genuine on the stage.
The Muff: And we don’t want to kill anyone.

Ok, then I wish you good luck!

Naked on the Internet:

Special thanks to Bella (Violet Promotion) for arranging this interview

Questions by Ksenia Artamonova
Photo by Natalie “Nuts” Reshetnikova
April 3, 2009

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