Interview with Sammy and Jack from Private Line @ Trashfest III in Helsinki/ Nosturi 05.03.2010
by Carola Scheele & Jenny

Sammy: Hi!
Jack: Hi!
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Private Line?
Jack: Our band
Sammy: Yeah... and it's like a part – I think it has become a part of me. I don't know. It feels very close. And now even more.

And in which direction goes Private Line?
Jack: In which direction... you mean nowadays?
Sammy: Well maybe. If you call Private Line...
Jack’s laughing.
Jack: What? have to pay a lot.
Jack: Yeah . Have you tried to call the 1-800-Out-Of-Nowhere?
No, I didn't.
Jack: It goes to the United-
Sammy: Gay Line
Jack: Yeah, Gay Line
Sammy: In the United States.
Jack: Yeah, it goes to a Gay Line in the United States.
Sammy's laughing.
Sammy: Yeah, if you are in there.
Jack: The Finnish Radio station YleX tried it in 2004.
Oh. And how much did they have to pay?
Jack: I don't know. But probably they got some good gay porn or something like that.

What is the first memory you have of Private Line?
Sammy: My first memory is... a... long long time ago. With a couple of friends we wanted to finish the band we were in to start another. But basically now I feel that when Eliaz... when I played with Eliaz first ... I think that Private Line was born or something. Yeah, that's it.
Jack: My first memory comes to the... I think it was the year ‘98 or something. I was in the studio with my earlier band Palmcut and I saw the Private Line demo CD in Jyväskylä in Watercastle Studios where Arto Saariainen (?) or what was the name?
Sammy: Yeah.
Jack: … recorded your demo. And I looked at the cover and I saw these make-upped guys and I thought “These guys are looking really stupi... erm really cool”!
Sammy: Hahaha.
Jack: No, I was looking that way myself, too. My first gig in Private Line, I pushed the button for the intro tape. In...
Sammy *murmuring*: Was it in...?
Jack: Joensuu.
Sammy: Maybe, yes.

How important are fan contacts?
Sammy & Jack: Ahm...
Do you like fans at all?
Sammy & Jack laughing: Yes.
Sammy: Yes we do.
Jack: Of course. Of course we do.
Sammy: I think that’s why we do this - for the people who listen to the music and like the band. Of course sometimes... if you have a gig the same day and your thoughts are elsewhere, you can translate it like that we are maybe not into that... but... in the most cases we are really fan-friendly.
Jack: Yeah.

And some bands make tour diaries or video-records from studio work... would you like to do that or don't you like it?
Sammy: We have actually some videos from the now... from the studio stuff.
Jack: Many, many hours.
Sammy: ...but nobody, you know... I don't know... It just...we should take care of it and somebody should put it online and stuff. Maybe we should do that definitely. But when you are there and you’re just concentrating on the music and doing that you just... you just...
Don't think about it?
Sammy: Yeah, don't think about those kind of things. It's just concentrating in this making music and then it's hard to remember that: “Yeah, maybe we should put something online.” Yeah, I think the main reason is this.
Jack: I think there is so many hours of tape... on the roads, from the studios and everything we've done that we don't even remember what is on the tape. Maybe someday you will see. We have to check it out first because I’m not sure what's in there.
Sammy: And also the problem is .. yeah that we have... sometimes if we have the camera around we maybe shot even too much and somebody should do some cuts otherwise people will get so bored if there's like a two hours conference about the next songs direction. And nobody gives a damn.
Jack: And I think that we could release five DVDs at one time when we start to release them.

What are you doing with fan presents?
Sammy: What?
If you get fan presents what are you doing with them?
Sammy: Ahm...
Jack: Depends on the presents.
Sammy: Yes. I got a book and I read it. And that's kind of how it goes. But if it is a Teddy-bear I think I... put it in the closet or something. I hang it and rape it.
Jack: Yeah.

Describe your typical fan!
Sammy: Mhm...ahm.
Jack: You?
Sammy: From Germany. And... I don't know how to describe them. Maybe ahm...
Jack: Make-upped guy or girl. And sometimes not.
Sammy: But I think more like they are all persons. I don't think about those kind of masses that they are some kind of people. It's also kind of surprise because there are so many different kinds of people that like the music. There is not just a stereotype.

What is the most important thing before you go to the stage?
Sammy: Ah... getting confer... I mean getting confidence that everything works. And of course... when this... normally when we have this kind of just one gig I don't have to care so much about voice because normally it works when it is not so much gigs in a row, but today I maybe have to do … try to take care of my voice and do some exercises.
Jack: Concentration with our own group. Ten or fifteen minutes it's just concentration. It's hard to explain, you know.
Sammy: Get the right mood. If it is too hurry to go to the stage and it is just go from somewhere to the stage sometimes it takes to many songs to get into. So it is good to concentrate that all goes well from the beginning.
Jack: Most perfect thing before the show is to listen to old AC/DC records and sing along and have fun and drink one beer and kick the walls and then go on the stage. And then find the right kind of adrenalin.

This is about promo pictures... there was the thought about pictures in pirate style...
Sammy: Pirate style?
Yes, because you were 21st century pirates...
Sammy: But that's over now.
You're still pirates, aren’t you?
Sammy: I don't think so.
Jack: From the heart yes, but...
Sammy: Yeah, it's... because we were 21st century pirates, but we don't have to do the old pirate thing again. We can create it to some new way.
Jack: We've taken some new pictures already. Those are cool.

Well, then tell something about your new songs and about the new album.
Sammy: New songs and new album. Actually we're going to record a couple of new songs more. The songs that are there, I think it's the first time that I feel that... it's more like a, like one big picture. It's, maybe, last album I think it was great but I think it was maybe too much song-orientated... like in every piece itself. But I think the new album is more like a piece together.
Like having a theme?
Sammy: Yeah, it's like having this thick red line from the beginning to the end. As I know it now, because it's not the whole... the whole parts are not even done yet. But the most are, so I think I can say that. And I think that there's some new kind of elements that we haven't done yet. We try to take care that the good elements that we have already we don't mess with them and we keep them with us but we try to bring some fresh new stuff along.
Aha. So the style of the music changed from the start till now, but would you describe how it changed?
Sammy: I don't think that we have changed a lot. It's more like we haven't taken all the pieces from our pockets that there is left. It's more like that we started with something, then you do something the same and something different. As long as there is some new stuff in the pockets, it’s I think a new kind of... and the guys can do so much different kind of things. We’re not worried and we don't think about it too much like “What kind of style is it?” Because when we play it together, it always sounds like Private Line.

Okay. Chose one of your songs and tell the story behind it.
Sammy: Ahm. Let's see, about which one I should speak. Do you want to pick one?
Jack: Hm?
Sammy: Do you want to pick first?
Jack: Story behind a song... hm... I don't know... maybe about the new songs we are playing tonight. About “Down came the rain”. That was the first that came to my mind. It came from the... the idea came from my riff... sounding... a little bit... I wanted there is something from the James Bond style thing. I don't know.
Sammy: Yeah. You played it when we were in a break in the rehearsals and he had the demo in mp3 which he made at home and I listened to that and said “A really cool kind of style there”, yeah.
Jack: And Sammy wrote ah... had the chorus.
Sammy: Yeah. I think I had... there was one chorus which I was playing around for a while and it fits perfectly together, so it was a song. And also the mood about the lyrics and stuff, it was I think it was the same time the song was like... it's really moody. It's not sad, but it's not happy but there is some really strong mood in there and some kind of this... it has also this kind of very strict elements in the mood like this kid’s song “Itsy-bitsy spider ” and “Down came the rain” kind of style. And this “Down came the rain” started to run in my head with this song. It is basically about things that everybody has sometimes the feeling that one day... I think it's normal that when something start to go wrong, when something starts to happen... you know one day can.. you know. When you had a bad day and everything goes wrong and about those kind of feelings. Maybe yesterday was okay, but today all crashes down on me. That kind of thing.

And which is the most important of your own songs?
Sammy: Parts? What?
What is the most important of your own songs?
Sammy: Ah. Okay. Hard question. They are all like... children to me.
Jack: It changes daily.
Well, today?
Jack: Today it is fun to play those new songs. I think the first song “Ghost Dance” is really good and “Deathbedtime Stories”. It's like your favourite music. When you listen to your favourite music it depends on the day which kind of song you play or you are listening to. It's about mood for me.
Sammy: Actually, I think, if I think about it in long time, one song that I never get bored is “Billion Star Hotel”. Somehow it's always fun. Maybe it's because it used to be the last song in the set list and kind of stuff in the moment when the good mood always goes on. And it's a really good mood to play that song. That's why I never get bored to play that song. Other songs are changing daily or gig by gig, when it feels great. But this one always stays or remains the same.

And have you ever thought about recording one of the old demos anew?
Sammy: Yes. Actually we have been talking about that but not lately.
About which one?
Sammy: I don't know. We had some ideas a couple of years ago that we do all of those again or something. Maybe it would have been stupid. I don't know. But I think we talked about it.
Jack: Yeah. We talked about “Grown like Others” and those. One day a couple of years ago we talked about that we had to do “Grown like Others” in some... some different style. I don't know. Let's see what happens in the future.
Sammy: Yeah.
Jack: But those songs are already made so I think there is no point in doing them again.
Sammy: Of course we could make it after all those couple of years but we've played them and we could do them better. But maybe it would just be like... boring.
Jack: Waste of time.

Have you ever written a song in Finnish?
Sammy: Mhm...yes.
Jack: Yeah, you've been writing Finnish songs.
Sammy: Yeah I did!

How is it different from English?
Sammy: Ahm... I think I've done so much in English that it is easier in English. I think there are... when you're writing lyrics and stuff, the syllables and word length and stuff are in English stuck in my head, but in Finnish it's really hard because it is so different. But it's also really interesting. But... yeah, interesting.
And when do you do the set list?
Sammy: Ah... we normally...
Jack: What was the question?

When do you do the set list?
Jack: Aha, okay.
Sammy: We do it normally... it doesn't matter if it is one gig or many gigs. We go to the rehearsal room and play them and try different combinations and then we just think about it like “Yeah this song fits here”. So just like together, I think. And I'm always thinking about some balance. And even when there is are this many gigs we do just one but we have those extra songs, so night by night we just change something there but if it works we try to keep the whole picture there and it's just some songs we're changing. But sometimes we've seen, when there is many gigs, after the first one that it's not a good set list, we totally re-do it. (While he's talking I try to build a camera stand with the help of a beer tin)
Jack: Sponsored by Karjala!

Yes. Let's see if it's working. What is the most important for you on stage?
Jack: For me it's connection with the audience. And of course a good working band and ah... sound for my ears is also important. But I think for me it's connection with the audience.
Sammy: Yeah, if everything works, everything works. Like, as a singer of course the voice and the technical stuff, all this is nice when it works. And then you can concentrate on the audience. And then everything comes from your spine you know. You don't have to think what you are doing. You just live it. That's the best, but sometimes it's not happening. Sometimes you just have to think too much and then you can't enjoy the gig so much. And I think you can see it from the audience as well. Jack: When everything seems to go wrong like at Wild at Heart in Berlin that technical problems are coming then sometimes it doesn't matter.
Sammy: Yeah.
Jack: If you can fix it the mood can be even better than before the problems, because it released the tension about everything. Like “Yeah we got it working again, now we have to rock again!” So it depends what kind of mood-
Sammy: Sometimes... sometimes you first might be bothered about something, have technical problems and then you think “What the hell, just go for it!”
Jack: Let’s have fun again.

For which band would you travel around the world to see a concert?
Jack: Hm? What?
For which band would you travel around the world to see a concert?
Jack: Mhm.
Sammy: There's so many of those bands. So many would be nice.
Jack: Nowadays bands are touring also in Finland, so we don't need to go so far away to see them. But... yeah, all the bands are also coming to Finland, so that's not a problem.
Sammy: Yeah, but tour with...
Jack: Ah, tour with?
Sammy: Yes.
Jack: Ah okay. I thought to see them.
No, no, to see them. No, you understood the question.
Jack: Ah, yeah!
Sammy: And I didn't?
Jack laughing: And you didn't. Well... well original Aerosmith would be nice to see, but they have been in Finland but I haven't seen them yet. I hope that Steven Tyler stays in the band. That would be great. And of course the original The Who would be great but it's not possible anymore.

What do you like to hear from your fans when they talk to you?
Jack: *laughing* A voice.
Sammy: Of's nice to hear that they enjoyed the gig or something.
But you didn't do a gig, so they can't say that.
Sammy *looking shocked*: What did you say?
You didn't do a gig, so they can't say that.
Sammy: O---kay. Then if they had seen a gig or something. Or maybe how much they enjoy our music. If they do or so. Or that some songs are really special to them. Something like that is always nice to hear.

Which habit of a band member would you like to have?
Jack: Excuse me?
Which habit...
Jack: Habit?
Yeah... would you like to have. From one of your band members.
Sammy: Maybe I would take Spits ah... kind of always relaxed kind of thing. I think I've never seen him nervous. Like... he's always so relaxed.
Jack: Yeah, me also. And a little bit relaxation from Eliaz, too.

Okay, then we have a question about German dialects. Do you know German dialects?
Sammy: No.
Do you want to learn some words?
Jack: Okay.
(Then they were trying out some sentences in different German dialects and we had fun listening to them. When you meet them next time, ask them what "a handsome man" in Bavarian Dialect or "Nice to see you" in Berlin Dialect is ;))
Can you speak Helsinki slang?
Sammy: Not well.
Jack: What?
Can you speak Helsinki slang?
Jack: Slang?
Jack: It's different. It's totally different.
Sammy: It's hard.
Jack: (We suppose, that he said something in Helsinki slang, but the only thing we understood was “Mitä Vittua”.) There's a lot of slang words that comes like naturally but… ahm … for me like... Well everybody from our group is from Middle Finland so we... our speaking in Finnish is getting mixed with Helsinki slang and Keski-Suomi slang, you know.
Sammy: I think in Helsinki there's also kind of two slangs. It's nowadays this kind of slang that everybody, so young people uses and stuff. And then there is this old slang which is really hard to know if you're not originally from Finland. It's like these old sailors and stuff who speaks that kind of old slang. And that is really cool, but you know it is impossible to imitate.

We read somewhere that you do singing lessons now.
Sammy: Yeah, I did one.
Why did you decide to do it?
Sammy: I've just been curious. I was curious because I was reading about this Complete Vocal Technique ... this kind of... it's quite new kind of way. Because when I started to sing when I was something like 15 there was no kind of technique for rock singers. There was only this classical and I saw immediately that it doesn't fit for me. The way I sing... it doesn't go with the rules. I was... when I started I found one book in library which was about... like rock singing. And I tried to get as much as I could from that. But this is quite new, this Complete Vocal Technique and I was so interested that I wanted to go there and see how it fits for my... what I used to do.
And does it?
Sammy: Yeah. Yeah it did. And does still. But actually the... this vocal coach… this teacher said that... I said that I want to learn more, but he said that… it's more like “When you don't have any problems, do what you do. If you have some problems then we can find it out”. So I was like: “No, not really, but maybe when we're on tour it's... maybe after six gigs or something... Normally I think that in a voice it goes something like... Normally it works, then it's a couple of days maybe harder but then it gets used to it, to singing so much and then it starts to be okay again”. So, but yeah, it is interesting. I'm just interested. I'm always interested about new techniques and stuff. I don't know.

Do you know this nice Google Streetview-thing?
Sammy: Hm?
Jack: Yes.
Okay. Jack, how was living in Suolahti?
Jack: You've checked from Google?
Jack: Hehe. Was it looking good?
It was green, because it were summer pictures.
Jack: *laughing* Living in Suolahti was really fine. You know, when you are young and frustrated *laughing* it wasn't that fine but that's the reason I wanted to get out of that place. But it’s my childhood home, I loved it. It is a small town... nowadays it's... well it's not Suolahti anymore. It's Äänekoski but... those fuckers changed the name. But for me it's Suolahti. It was great. Good nature and I love the silence around there nowadays. When I was younger I didn't like the silence, so I made it loud with my earlier bands. I love the place. I love it. And I love our summer cottage near by that. It's a great place.

Imagine you had to take part in a Disney movie. Which character would you choose and why?
Sammy: Peter Pan.
Jack: Robin Hood.
Explain why!
Sammy: I don't know. Peter Pan is really... cool *laughing*. Ahm.... I'm not sure if I have to even explain... because he can... fly. That's the thing.
Okay. Jack?
Jack: I like Robin Hood because he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. And that... that.
But you would keep it?
Jack: Me?
Sammy starts laughing.
Jack: If I would be Robin Hood?
Jack: Probably, because I'm poor and a little bastard.

Do you sometimes listen to music in a completely different style?
Sammy: Yes all the time.
And what kind? Give an example.
Sammy: Ahm... Russian folk. I like Russian... kind of... this kind of mood... minor kind of things. It's really similar to old Finnish music because it was taken from there. I like many kinds of... everything. Maybe I listen to more different kinds of music than some other rockmusicians. When you hear something of course something new and fresh is interesting. But I'm not a guy who listens to the same old albums over and over again. Of course sometimes you pick one from there.
So you need some contrast program?
Sammy: Hm?
Something different makes it more... fresh?
Sammy: Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes I was interested in kind of... more like...industrial stuff and that, but I haven’t listen to those kind of things very much lately.
And what about you?
Jack: Ah... what kind of music styles or what?
Yeah, if you listen to something completely different from time to time.
Jack: Yeah. What would be … it. Or what?
Jack: What?
Sammy: We have Spotify, so. We listen to everything
Jack: What do you mean about the question? What kind of music I listen or what?
If you only listen to rock music or also to other styles.
Jack: I listen to many kinds of music. As I've listened always. What I like to listen depends on the mood I have in the different days. It doesn't matter if it is indian stuff music or rock music or classical music or if it is rap music or anything. The only thing that matters is that it's good music. It doesn't matter what kind of style it is. I don't like the different kind of styles, I just like music.

Why did you choose Jack as your name?
Jack: Ah... well...Many many years ago... or at least 11 years ago... in the same kind of period where you had that one Palmcut picture *laughing* It came actually from a cartoon that my ex-ex-ex-girlfriend draw. And it was called Jack Smack and I took my name from that.

And ahm... three years ago... you said in the first Trash Fest Interview that you wanted to have Kylie Minogue's golden pants, do you still want them?
Jack: What? Kylie Minogue's what?
Golden pants.
Jack: Golden pants, aha. But in which question I answered that?
It was in Trash Fest I...
Sammy (at the same time): He has them already.
Jack: Yeah, but what was the question that time?
Which body part you would take from a famous person.
Jack *starts laughing*: And I wanted the pants?
Jack: *laughing* I think the... that Kylie Minogue thing has been like many many years as one of my favourite joke to some questions.
Okay. And...
Jack: Because she's looking good and she recovered from breast cancer.

And then we heard some rumours about some side project of you…
Jack: I have a lot of side projects.
Well, it's called “The Salvation” with Sir Christus and Anzi Destruction and we want to know if it's true.
Jack: That is one of the things that I don't mix up with Private Line. I will tell you later... when something is happening. Or if anything happens.
Okay. Then we are done.
Jack: Hm?
We're done.
Sammy: Okay.
Thank you.