616 - Threat or opportunity?


 I was very confused when, a while ago, I noticed on YouTube a video called "616 - One Way To Love". I watched it but couldn`t really focus on the song because everything was just so...HIM. The music was love metal, even look and mannerisms were way too similar to the ones of HIM ́s frontman that I got pissed and felt like I had to say what I really thought of it all.

I quickly turned to Facebook and publicly declared how stupid the whole thing was. Usually I don´t go around insulting people like that, let alone matters related to musical taste but that day something in me just snapped. Maybe my love for HIM was deeper than I thought, maybe it got into holy territory...I cannot really explain what happened to me.

It only took me a few hours to regret my nasty comments and, after realizing that, deleting them would have been even more embarassing than writing them in the first place, I decided to just let them be and promised myself I ́ll never make that mistake again.

I then thought of approaching the problem from a different angle by writing Matthew, the band leader: I called myself an "asshole", apologized for the whole thing and asked if he ́d be willing to be interviewed about his music and his band. Thanks to Facebook filters I never got an answer from him but, as a consequence of incredible coincidences, I remember deciding to properly give 616 a listen one night while I was walking through the streets of Kerava. I won ́t go much into detail about that now, but let ́s say that I finally managed to get in touch with the gentleman also known as Eden Boy.

P.S.: the excerpt of Cinderella Valentine on YouTube sounds f***ing awesome! 

Hello Sir! Your band 616 is not very popular in Finland yet. How would you describe it to the audience out there?

- Hello there! I ́m very busy with music at the moment, writing and recording the new album take a lot of time but the new tracks are the best ones I ́ve ever written! 616 is a goth rock band which plays love metal and I put the band together a little over a year ago with some of the best musicians out there. We want to carry the torch of Love Metal, since there aren ́t many bands out there that do it, and keep this genre alive but with our own "twist" to keep everything fresh and new.

The band just published its first single "One Way to Love" a few months ago. The second and third single will follow soon. What are your thoughts about this and what ́s in store for the future?

- Yeah, the music video of our first single came out not long ago. We wanted to make things properly right from the start. Very soon I ́ll go to Las Vegas with Pascal Payant, a French- Canadian filmmaker: he won many awards and he ́s also a very talented screenwriter. When he asked me to compose a song for his upcoming movie "A Night Without Tears" I replied "Damn right I ́m in!". In Vegas we ́ll shoot two music videos, one for his movie and the other for the band. Pascal is extremely creative and our collaborations are very promising. We will publish the new video in January 2020.

I heard your manager lives in Finland. How did you get in contact with him?

- Yes, his name is Charlie Erasmus and he just moved to Helsinki!
Bam Margera had shared our music videos all over Instagram and they caught Charlie ́s eye. When we got to talking, we found out we had mutual friends and he knows many big Finnish musicians; he has experience in the music business and has worked for a record company as well. Charlie is a f***ing cool guy and we get along great! We have many projects for 2020 and he ́s even become the manager for Flat Earth!

I can ́t help but notice that your style is clearly inspired by the band HIM (R.I.P.).You ́ve also been heavily criticized on social media for looking too much like Ville Valo and for sounding too much like HIM. Is this your way to pay tribute to this band or is there something else?

- That ́s true, people have been very critical. There ́s no other band in the same genre that works with Bam (Margera) and we got great exposure thanks to him. It ́s also true that HIM has been a huge source of inspiration for us like The 69 Eyes, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath and Lacrimas Profundere.

I was 12 years old when I first listened to HIM on a CKY ́s DVD; that inspired me to get a guitar and I ́ve been composing Love Metal since I was 13. I really look up to HIM and it ́s been a great honour to work with GAS (Lipstick).

Speaking of my appearance, I can ́t do anything about the way my face looks,ahahhaha! I ́ve been dressing like this since I was really young and I think your own style inevitably ends up being reflected in music too.
I don ́t really care about other people ́s negative comments and opinions; on the contrary, I appreciate the fact that they take their time to leave a comment about what I do.

I hope that, in time, people will focus more on our music instead of judging us solely on a song or a music video.

Your upcoming single "Cinderella Valentine" features Gas Lipstick on drums. How did you get in contact with him and when will be able to listen to the song in its entirety?

- Yes, Mr. Gas Lipstick! I talked to my manager and presented him my new material: he just fell in love with the new single. After finding out that he ́s close to Gas, we both decided to send him the song and he loved it too. When he agreed to be part of it I was in shock! Charlie made all of this possible.
A month later, Gas recorded the drums at the legendary Finnvox studios. I actually just got the master and there will be two versions of the song. I promise it will sound amazing!

...also Bam Margera and John Fryer have made their contribution. Can you tell more about their role in the story of 616?

- John Fryer is a legend in the music business. I contacted him at the very beginning, sent him our material and he immediately showed interest in our music. He ́s been mixing our tracks ever since, he ́s also mixed the single "One Way To Love". He has his own secrets and a sound like no one else.

Speaking of Bam, I ́ve known him since I was 18. I dropped out of high school because I really wanted him to listen to my music. I flew to Philadelphia with only a few hundred bucks in my pocket and walked dozens of kilometers to bring my CD to his parents, which are some of the nicest people I ́ve ever met. When I was 21, Bam asked me to join him on tour and I agreed immediately.

I knew Bam would have loved "Cinderella Valentine" because he also loved "One Way To Love" and when I asked him to contribute to the song his answer was "aww yeah fuck yeah" and after only three days he was in Los Angeles to record the vocals.

Bam has done a lot in the music business, he ́s a professional skater, a TV personality but, most importantly, is a great guy with a heart of gold, always ready to help his friends.
Going back to Cinderella, I believe it ́s by far the best song of the album, although the other ones are not bad at all. I still can ́t believe I had the honour of working with such an amazing team: Bam Margera, Gas Lipstick, Eric Labrosse and John Fryer...and of course my amazing 616 bandmates.

Rumour has it that the guy who drew the famous tattoo that Ville Valo has on his lower abdomen has also drawn the logo for 616. Is it true?

- Yes, it ́s true! Mr. Jarkko Tiitinen is such a great guy! My manager Charlie met him in Helsinki when Jarkko was filming Gas ́ drum recording session. They knew each other already so, when the topic of the new logo came up, Jarkko agreed to make one and the result was f***ing cool!

Tell me a little bit about the songs. Did you write them all yourself? It also looks like you guys are strongly connected to Finland. Do you plan on visiting or even maybe playing a few gigs?

- Some songs were written years ago like "One Way To Love",which I wrote in 2017. I usually write the songs in my bedroom, while I hum a melody and play along on my acoustic guitar. And yes, I do write all the lyrics but also play the songs in their entirety. In the studio I play all the instruments myself, all that you hear on the record is me: voice, guitar, drums, synthesizers and so on. Everything except for special guests and bass; Cam Dewald, my bass player, records his parts in North Dakota and sends them to me to Milwaukee.

Yes, I love Finland! That ́s where all the best music comes from and people seem to be really nice and respectful over there; something that seems to be missing here in the States. I ́m planning to visit in March to meet my manager and other people. I need a little break from the USA and I ́ve never been to Finland; also, I might do a few acoustic gigs over there too so I am really excited! What if I like it so much in Finland that I don ́t want to go back to the States at all?ahahhaha!

Can you give us any informations about the new album? Has it been recorded yet and when will it be published?

The album has nine songs and its name will be "Head over heels" but I often make last minute changes so something can be different. So far, four songs have been recorded and I have seven other demos. I hope to have the album ready by July 2020 so that it could drop in the fall. There will be goth rock elements from the early 2000s, which I really want to bring back and no one else is doing it. I really hope everything will go according to plan.

To finish off this interview, I ́d like you to send a final message to fans, haters and future listeners!

To our fans I just want to say that we wouldn ́t be here without you. All the love and support we ́ve received so far has been incredible and I can ́t thank you enough. I got to talk to many wonderful people through my music and I ́m so happy it ́s being appreciated all over the world, it really warms my heart.

I ask the new listeners to check out our new video and our songs; keep in mind, though, that this is only the beginning and a lot more is on its way! To the haters I ́d say I appreciate the fact they still watched the video and took the time to leave a comment: that helps us grow. I also want to point out that we are not going to quit just because someone doesn ́t like what we do.

We love what we do and we ́re grateful we get to do it, that ́s what matters the most to us. This is just the beginning for 616 and I hope you ́ll all come to see our show in the future. We ́re planning a UK tour for 2020 and, if you want to be up-to-date , then follow our Instagram page @616_official. I would also like to thank my dear friends Bam, Gas, Charlie and Jarkko. Also John Fryer, Eric Labrosse and my bandmates deserve a huge thank you for their hard work and for having been there to make this band what it is now. 

Thank you so much for the translation Ottavia <3