the tongue's got the cat

Did you choose to take on the role of a mummy, or were you assigned to that character?
I've always been interested in the history of ancient Egypt and when Mr. Lordi and I started to think of a character for a guitarist, I think it had something to do with it. Our first ideas were Texas Gas Station Zombie, I guess it would have been jeans and oil rags and a cap haha, and we also had the idea of a porn Caesar character who would have worn leather pants and carried a whip. Those just didn't feel natural, even though we had a lot of fun planning those. Then we sat down, once again, and there was this question in the air: »What would be the coolest character that no one has done in the music business yet?«. And after brainstorming, we came up with a mummy and we both were really excited about it. It fits my personality perfectly, even though porn Caeser would have been cool too, haha. Then we had to come up with a name for that mummy and damn, that was hard and it took so long. I spent many many weeks thinking about it. And this is a true story: After thinking about the name, and not really having anything, one night it came to me in my dream. I can't remember what it all was about but there was a mummy called »Amen«. I immediately called Mr. Lordi and yelled into the phone »It's Amen, it's AMEN!!« and Mr. Lordi was like »Umh... what what... who is this, what time is it umh...?!« and I said »Mummy! Mummy! His name is AMEN!« and Mr. Lordi goes »Cool. Good night.« and I was so hyper and energetic that I couldn't sleep that night and I was wondering how Mr. Lordi could continue his sleep after such great news. The next day we talked on the phone and we both were so happy that we finally had a name for the mummy: Amen-Ra.

If you wouldn't have taken the career path to become a musician, what would you have likely become instead?
I've always had more than only one path in my life. I studied information technology and I still work in that field as an engineer. I consider myself 50% musician and 50% engineer, haha. It's only a positive thing for me. If I would be a full time musician, oh man, I think it would drag me down. I love to have something totally different in my life than tour bus, shows, masks etc. To me, it's really important to also do other things beside music.

How did you become a part of Lordi? What is the application process to become a rocking mummy?
I got to know Mr. Lordi because of KISS. We are huge KISS fans and those maniacs sooner or later find each other. That's what happened to us too. We spoke on the phone a few times and every KISS fan in Finland knew him because he was the president of the KISS ARMY FINLAND. We finally met on the way to Sweden to see KISS (surprisingly). We got along very well and when he moved to Helsinki we started to hang out. Then, one day, he asked me »Would you like to join my band?« and I was a little bit surprised because I didn't know he had a band! And well, he didn't, from my point of view. He made songs, demos and planned the concept but there wasn't any actual band there. I said, »Well, sure, what kind of music it is?« He played me a few of his demos and I got really really excited because it was waaaaaaaaaay heavier than what I had played with my band Junction back in the days. I said »Hell yeah, I'm in!« Then, I always remember this like it happened yesterday, he got a little bit more serious and suspicious and he said »Umh, there's one more thing...« The atmosphere was really weird suddenly, and I wasn't sure what was going on. »Well, you are a KISS and horror fan so you probably understand...« I was like »Understand what??« This guy is freaking me out. »I want the members of this band to dress up.« I was relieved. »Sure, I like to wear cool clothes on stage.« »Mmh... I was thinking more like...« »More like dressing up like KISS?« »No no, more like...« »What... Dude you are freaking me out! Dress up like a woman? Sorry, not my thing.« »No no, I mean like monsters.« And that was a BOOM! I got the fucking chills all over and I saw the picture in my head immediately - monsters on stage - that's the cooles shit ever!!! And then, I guess we talked every day about Lordi during the next 6-7 years, dreamed of a record deal, shows and all. Honestly, there wasn't a single day when we didn't call each other. It was one of the best periods in my Lordi history.

What do you prefer, the writing and recording process or playing live?
Playing live. That's my shit. But, I do write all the time so I guess I like that too. But it's a lonely work and that's why I rather write songs together with other people. It is really hard for me to finish the whole song from beginning to end. I guess I'm lazy. I need inspiration from other people and hanging out and writing new material is really cool. Working alone is not, but that's something you have to do too.

IS there a city or country you haven't played in yet that you would love to play in?
My dream was to someday go to the airport with my guitar knowing I will have a show outside of Finland. I always talked about Germany, »Damn, I hope someday I'm at the airport and we are on our way to Germany.« The 2nd Lordi show was in Germany already so that dream was fulfilled quite fast. This has been an amazing journey, there's no words for how grateful I am. I've played in so many countries that I honestly thought it's not even possible. I still want to play in South America and Australia for example. Africa would also be cool!

What's your all-time favorite Lordi song? Is there one that's specially fun to play live?
There's no single answer for this one. When looking back, those songs on the first three albums are the most meaningful to me. Then again, I love »Nonstop Nite« for example, it's so much fun to play! »Biomechanic Man« is also a killer - I could play that riff again and again and again...! All time favorite... if I'm forced to say something here, I'd say »Not the Nicest Guy«.

On a comfort level between 1 and 10 (10 being the most comfy), how comfortable is it to wear the costume?
Depends on the era and how my mask fitted on my head back then. There has been comfy level 1 shows there and then, there has been comfy level 10 eras. In general, it is on a level 5, haha.

What is your absolute favorite encounter with a fan?
Usually those meetings are super fun when someone talks to me about Lordi without knowing who I am, lol. When I did my first Guitar Clinics 2017, there was nothing but awesome meetings with the fans! It was so intimate and they enjoyed it and I did too and we were like a one big family there. There was so much monster love in the air that everyone had a smile on their face and some tears in their eyes, including me.

Any weird fan gifts?
Usually gifts are really cool! Something related to Egypt, wine, sex or so. During the Eurovision years, I got so many soft toys that I could have set up a store just for those cuddly toys!

If you could design your ultimate dream guitar, what would it look like?
It's one of my dreams to have a custom guitar series. Maybe one day, who knows! I kinda planned it already, haha. It would have the shape of a woman, some rusty and golden elements, a dusty axe. Plus, I want it to have some built in special effects.

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