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The 69 Eyes

Several sides of one personality

Theres a category of people who do a success in everything they do. Jyrki Pekka Emil Linnankivi (a.k.a. Jurki 69) can be easily referred to this category. Jurki is the head of a major Finnish pharmaceutical company, artist, model, a UNICEF representative, and last, but not least he is one of the most charismatic musicians in Finland. This interview is devoted not only to the musical side of The 69 Eyes (the band has recently released a new album Angels), but about the other side of Jurkis talent
The 69 Eyes
Will your book Root 69 be released outside of Finland?

I dont know.

And will all band members take part in the writing process? Or was it just your duty?

Oh, I just wrote some notes from the road and thats it. They wanted to have some printed version. So I wrote some comments.

Ville Juurikkala has been your photographer for quite a long time already. What sorts of moments did he try to capture from the road? Did any of you take the camera into your hands to try to contribute?

Hes just a friend of the band so hes been traveling like three years with us. Hes not here at the moment, but the idea of making that book was his traveling with us and taking pictures of us. I felt like I just didnt have time to take pictures, I wanted someone to take pictures or keep a sort of diary while we are traveling. So when we met him I just told him that we need assort of photographer to tour with us. And he agreed to do it and it was cool. I really miss him right now. That book is mostly like a diary from the last but one year. Its about was happened after we released Devils album. And I think hell do another book in a couple years for us, because he is always around and he is traveling with us.

The first limited edition of Zombie Love comics has been sold out. How will the second edition be distributed? Will it be possible to buy the book outside Finland?

Its possible to buy everything. You can order it via Internet. The first edition of Zombie Love was sold out even before it came out. (laughs) Now the second edition is around and i
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ts cool as were touring here in the USA. And lots of our fans have this book. Its funny to know that all the stuff that Ive been drawing like 25 years ago is interesting to people even these days. And as afar as drawing is concerned Im going to release a kind of comic book. Im drawing every day here on this tour. I just try to keep myself busy.

The title of your new CD Angels sounds like a parallel to your previous CD Devils. Is this contrast supposed to be reflected only in the title or also in the music and lyrics?

Well, when we were releasing Devils I already had an idea of how the next CD will be titled. People began saying that the album Angels will be a kind of soft record with mostly ballads. But its actually on the contrary. Angels is much harder than Devils, its more like really dark record, but at the same time it follows the same theme, and you can see it when youre holding this album in your hands. And the opening track is a title track Angels, like on the Devils album the song Devils. So as Ive already said the album follows the same idea. But its a funny harder record, it turned out to be more rocknroll, more glam rock, its darker, harder and heavier album than Devils. So I guess here we speak about DARK angels, their wings are badly burned. They are fallen dark angels.

Your love for Los-Angeles city is very well known. Does the album title have anything to do with this love of yours?

Yeas sure, you know. There is even a track on this CD called Los-Angeles. And of course the title Angels also refers to the city of Angels- thats how Los Angeles is being called. So w
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eve been hanging around here during our tour, and when we were working at the album Angels we were flying to Los-Angeles very often and especially to Hollywood. I think the Angels album is inspired by the most apocalyptic places in the world, Hollywood Babylon, Hollywood itself. Its a really inspiring place to hang out, and one of the themes Angels is based upon is Hollywood and craziness of all that place so I can say that Angels is our version of Straight Outta Compton (by group N.W.A.)

Speaking about inspiration. What place in Helsinki inspired you to write music? Which place gives you inspiration?

There is one place in Helsinki. Its like an island surrounded by see. Its so close to see, and see is something that i really need. I couldnt think of living in the mid-country without any see around. For example the other day I went to the see at night to have a walk, because its something which i really need. See is the most inspiring thing of Helsinki and its very beautiful no matter what season it is: summer, winter, fall or spring.

Who made the cover artwork for the CD Angels?

Its like a pair to the Devils album. Its like the similar theme. Its inspired by Hollywood, its love, death.

Youve been traveling together with Cradle Of Filth. What impression do you have from this tour?

They are our friends, we had a great time and everything was just amazing! All the shows were sold out.

You have a lot of talents singing, drawing What other forms of art would you like to try out?

I like movies,
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and if some director of a horror movie offered me to take part in it I would definitely try it out!

Sure.Your comics book Zombie Love - Vampires, Ghosts and The 69 Eyes' is top at the stores. Are you still drawing comics?

Yeah, I am planning to have a next album out as soon as I have time to sit down and finish the 1000 of ideas I have. Of course, during my spare time on the tour I am drawing sketches for this album, I am drawing our songs.There's gonna be art to Gothic Girl, Christina Death, maybe Frankenhooker and things like this. Probably not just our songs, but some other bands songs. Like I said, I haven't had time. I havs started drawing the scetches but I have not yet started the actual work, and there are few nearly finished drawn pages.

Do you have any idea how many pages you have drawn so far?

I don't know. I have not counted. Most of the ready work is in the album. I don't even know how many songs The 69 Eyes have recorded.

Since you're an artist, has it ever crossed your mind to do the artwork for your own CDs or just to include the 69 Eyes ralated comics into the album in any way?

I could have done that always. Some of my favorite artisits, like Rob Zombie, is illustrating by himself, album covers and art and so on. The first 2 singles of The 69 eyes, I did the covers myself, but i think it's better to have someone else to do the artwork, so I can enjoy the result myself. If you, for instance, paint the wall, you'll always see where you painted wrong in your house. It depends on the personality of course, but in my case I want everything to be perfect.
The 69 Eyes
So for me it would be easier to have somebody else to paint your wall. It's the same with the record covers. Our first single that came out I think in 1990 had a comics included, but it was done by some other artist. Actually by then I had never thought of drawing for us, I was doing flyers and posters and things like this, but I never thought to draw for us. It's been a new idea for me to draw our songs into comics. In some songs we have, like Gothic Girl, the lyrics is on purpose simple rock'n'roll lyrics, like any Ramones song. But I always see our songs as short comics so I draw then in the way I see them and in a way they should have been. It would be fun but I think I would also like to draw some Craddle Of Filth and maybe even HIM songs into comics. They have a strong visual line.

How would you call your drawing style?

There's a French description, ligne claire. That's the style. I can write that down for you.

No need. Ligne claire. You do seem to like crispy, sharp lines in your artwork, and having midtone details to a minimum.

Yes, black and white and clear lines. The translation of ligne claire to English from French is clear lines. It's a lot of contrast between black and white and strong lines, a strong style. I learned it from some French and Belgian artist. But I also mix my style with horror and rock and gothic rock and that's what makes it special. The album was released at the first place because I just realised a couple of years ago that no one has done the kind of art that I've done. Of course when I was starting as an artist in the 80s, comics has become a great part of the graffiti culture, tatoo c
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ulture and so on, so it has risen to a really different level. So it always had me interested. This first album was like getting old sketches out of the closet, and now they are avaliable for everybody.

You still are the UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

Yeah, sure.

What exactly do you do?

I am the messenger. So I have had chance to go to Africa for field trips, and seen what's being done for the African countries, and I have been visiting schools and I interview people. It's my duty to raise the agenda, to tell what I know and to make people interested in such an organisation. So if you're interested about what's going on in some parts of the world where children need help, if you think you can do something... just go to page.

Since it loks our whole conversation is about non-music activity, and there's an English edition of The 69 Eyes tour book, 'Route 69' being released this fall, how much were you involved in preparing this book?

Just a little bit. It's a book by the photographer Ville Juurikkala. it's his vision and his art. I was just pointing out some pictures which I think are important for me, but not so much. And so many pictures were left over. I mean, there's going to be a new edition of the book, maybe this year or next year, and it's going to have more pictures. There was like 10000 pictures from the tour and so there's a lot of unseen cool stuff.

How was it working with Apocalyptica on Ghost?

Well all those years we've been talking with Apocalyptica that we should do some cooperation and finally we created a song that needed cellos. So this one seemed perfect, we reached them over. And it was a really nice experiment and I am proud of their result. This song will be released as a single from the album later this year.

Is there any chance you will play Ghost live with Apocalyptica, like it has happened with Lauri Ylonen and Ville Valo on Bittersweet?

I don't think we'll have time for that and The 69 Eyes have never played this song live yet. We have saved it cos it's such a cool track from the album so we want to keep it there.
23 2007
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