Interview with Nicklas / Carmen Gray at Semifinal Helsinki 10.10.2009
(c)     by Carola Scheele

What does the name Carmen Gray mean?

We get asked that question all the time. And every band... no maybe every band but most bands are like "yeah the name came up because of bla bla bla..." But Carmen Gray really meant nothing. We wanted a band name. And we wanted a band name that meant completely nothing because we wanted to fill it with a purpose.

Makes sense. Only something without a meaning can be filled.

Yeah. Well... when someone says Carmen Gray I want him to thing only of us.

Okay, like being really special.

I read that you only toured in Finland, besides from two concerts in Japan this spring, and now soon you're going to somewhere in Eastern Europe.


So how do you feel about?

Czechoslovakia that's exiting! I'm really looking forward to...
(O.J. comes in and asks something.)

You can take part in the interview, if you want...

Yeah, do you want to come?
O.J: - I only want to say one thing: "Nice to meet me!"
(Goes away.)
Were were we?

Ahm... the question was about touring...

Czechoslovakia ... I've been there once... great beer...

... and cheap beer...

Yeah? I don't know. Is it?


Okay it's cheap. It's great and it's cheap. I love that country already now. *laughing* I have been looking forwards to go there once

And how did it came that it was organizes to that country? As you haven't played elsewhere than Finland so often...

We've played outside Finland in Romania and Japan... and now it's just Czechoslovakia.
(Someone who was also in the backstage area): -Nowadays it's Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Yeah it's two countries now...

Well... Czech and Slovakia... and we're hoping to go to Germany the same time. It's still open. You know... it's just... just hoping. Organizing is not our job; we get told where we can go.

Okay. And what is the most important thing for you during a life show?

The most important thing during a life show... yeah... good question... you're good.

Thanks, I know *laughing*

*laughing* And with my help you will be the best... Ahm... I guess it's for us... that we have fun on stage and do our best. And we hope that the audience gets that vibes from us... And it they do, it's a great show, but if they don't it's still fun for us.

What was the craziest thing that ever happened on stage?

The greatest thing?

Craziest. But you can of cause also tell about the greatest, if you want.

Maybe, the craziest thing happening on stage is when I come on stage. Nothing...nothing really comes to my mind... you now... nothing crazy... everything is normal... of course stuff has happened but that's nothing.

And being on stage, how do you experience the audience? Do you see them more as individuals or as faceless crowd?

Yeah... well it depends... if it's crowded, like 4000 people you can only see the front rows. But I recognize faces. Yes, I do.

And how important are fan contacts? Like some bands do tour diaries and stuff like that.

Jep jep.

Are you planning to do that?

We are really, really, REALLY bad at that.  And I mean... in my personal life in my facebook profile... ahm... I just don't know what to put online.
(Someone who was also in the backstage area): - Don't worry to death!
*laughing* Why? Tell me!
- Cause you're rocking!
Okay. We're really bad and that sucks. You know... people want to know, what's going on...
(Again someone comes in) -Where is the beer?
O.J. tietää, but you can have mine...
-No, I want my own.
Where were we?

Information, tour diaries...

Yeah, we really suck at that. But you know we have help from some fans wanting to help us at that... because we a really only doing our music.

It was really hard to find information in English.


Maybe some fans from abroad might find it hard to translate everything from Finnish...


It is really hard to find information in English.

But... our ... in English, isn't it?

Yeah, but besides from that you only find a small Wikipedia article, that's all, could be more.

Oh, that sucks.


Okay *pretends writing on his hand* MORE ENGLISH IN THE NET... Okay, there you go.

How do you cope with rumours? Well... are the some?

I don't know. Did you hear some?


Mhm... Me neither... not even rumours...rumours are rumours... like... you don't know...

Some people told me, even when they're bad, they work like advertisement.

(Someone who was also in the backstage area): - I have one for you: "Carmen Gray just split up!"
Yeah... well... tell it Seiska *laughing* Yeah.
-You wanted a rumour, but hey, that's a fact...

Sure, and I'm the first to hear it... Oh my God!

Rumours are good, I think... They keep us existing... 'cause honestly it's not that exiting...

... nothing happens...

Yeah. NOTHING! No, that's not true, but it's just not that exiting as people think.

Of cause you still have normal life and don't live in the backstage area...

Yeah. And I really do go home from here.

*laughing*Oh my God, really?

Yes, can you imagine? *laughing*

And how often do you do band rehearsals?

Band rehearsals? As much as we can... sometimes... unfortunately it can go from once a week up till three times a week. It depends on what we are doing.  Now we're practising more and do a lot for the next album.

Do you already have a feeling when it might be released?

The third album? Oh my God... No. We finished recording a demo last weekend. But ahm... from the demo... you know, we do the songs and then we decide what songs we like and what songs fit into the picture and should be on our third album. I really don't know... next year... I can't say anything.

Okay... well, say something about making of videos. Just choose one and tell me.

"At the End of the Rainbow" ... It was memorable... well; of course "Lost in my Mind again" was the first so it was new and rather exiting. But "At the End of the Rainbow" was really professional and... frustrating. We were in the studio for... 20 hours.


Yes. And I was so tired. And then I fell in love with that girl... she's so beautiful... but... she has a boyfriend.

Shit happens.

It's so typical... I don't get between happy people.

Okay...Can you play some other instruments besides guitar?

No... No... I tried but no. I bang a drum but... that's fun, that's just because it's fun. No really... I'd love to play the piano but I'd never... ever... were...I don't know... maybe the guitar took so much time... I don't know.

When did you start?

I think it was when I was 4... My older brother... he's like 7 years older had given me the guitar when I was listening to Guns N' Roses ... "Patience" and I was like "Oh yeah, I love that song!" And then my brother was like "When you love that song so much, play it!"

I read in one of your booklets something like "Thanks to pohjois- Helsingin musiikkikoulu" and in end of august you supported a very young band in Gloria. Was it because of that connection?

Ra? We supported them yes.

It was very funny... like... "There're good... oh... they are young..."

Yeah, they are very young. Actually I started... I quit high school and started at this band school and I played in many bands there, but nothing real ... it was only...

Having fun and learning?

Yeah, and learning. And then, after that, I started this theatre school.


And we had this musical... and Lappe and I had a song together in that musical - he had this band already then- that time called "The Documents". And... After that... I don't know, maybe about a year from that he came and asked me if I want to sing in his band. He wanted to be guitar player, you know... concentrate on that... cause he was singer and guitar player at that point. So, it was very important.

And when you joined the band, it was completed or were there more changes afterwards?

The only change was that O.J. came, he completed us. Until that we were just kidding around, you know, playing covers and stuff like that, but when O.J. came...  a professional drummer... He really put everything together.

Was it hard to get a new consensus when a new band member joined?

*singing* It's been a hard day's night... No, it's been such a long time...  I mean, he came in 2002 or 3, so I can't remember.
(Someone who was also in the backstage area) -Why is she filming your breasts?
She likes them.

Well... I'm not filming at all, you know?

-So just voices?

You got it.


Because my camera is broken.

-Poor girl.
Maybe she just LIKES my breasts!
-You don't HAVE any!
Fuck off!
-I recommend you to get one... or maybe two...

... or even more *laughing*

What did you say?

Well... next question: Which one of your songs is the most important to you?


Yes, I know, good question again...

Yeah... you're so good... But you're maybe asking that question at the wrong time, because we're just recording... you know... new songs...

Okay, then tell me which song you played today on stage...

Means the most to me?


I think it's the song we didn't play, but... you know with Lappe... just fooled around a bit. It's called "Ghost by my side". And it's really important to me.

And how do you get ideas writing lyrics?

That you would have to ask Lappe.

Cause he writes everything?

He's writing the lyrics and he does all the music with his brother. .. Yeah, and he really... he's a really crazy boy. He knows... of course if he brings a song to the rehearsal place and if I don't like it, we can't play it.

So does he explain to you what he wants to express with his lyrics?

No. Somehow... he just knows. You know... what I'm going through and so on... I think actually he follows my life...

And read a little bit your mind?

Yeah, he can read my mind and follows what I'm doing...  I don't know...  I really don't know. You'd have to ask him. It's really strange.


If I don't connect with the song, I just say "Good song, but... hey... no."


Jep jep.

What was the first concert you have been at... in the audience. Can you remember?

First concert...ouch.... I remember my first big one. Maybe... I might be lying, but I'm very sure I'm not... It might have been here at 69 Eyes... I don't know... in 97 or 98. I don't know... I was very young back there...

But allowed to go there?

*laughing* No. But I came with a friend. I liked the show... It's either been The 69 Eyes or Nick Cave... because I've been there, too.

And when did you play your first own concert in front of a huge audience?

*laughing* At Christmas parties in school? No, you mean with Carmen Gray?

Yeah or maybe your first real important concert...

I guess every concert is important... I might die tomorrow; this might have been my last concert... so all of them are important.

So you don't have a feeling about one special, greatest concert?

No, every concert is GRAYT. There are all good, I hope.... at least for me.

Just live for the moment?


And what kind of music are you listening to in private?

Right now?


Mhm... I got this Rage... I'm listening to Rage against the machine right now ... Pistol Grip Punk, that's cool. And Red. You ever heard it?


It's a Canadian band.


"Start again", that's my favourite.

I'll check it.

It's a good song.

And for which band would you travel around the world? Just as an imagination?

If I had the money... It has to be Guns N' Roses.

And maybe they come to Finland and you don't have to travel...

Yeah, they did. Fortunately. I saw them... I fell in love with Guns N' Roses when I as 4.

Yeah, you told me, when you started to play guitar...

And it hasn't gone away until now... son of a bitch...

Good, next question: If you were a teacher at a school just for one day, what would you teach the children?

Wow... Like I can choose whatever I want?


But what about the children?! I don't know...*mobile phone beeps* Oh, I got a message! *reading, mumbling* what would I teach the children? That's really kinky. *laughing* Ahm... I guess I would say: " Children, don´t buy drugs... become a Rockstar and they´ll give you them for free!"

Sounds good.  Ahm... and what would you like to read about yourself in a magazine?

About us?

Yeah, about the band or yourself...

Ahm... Madison Square Garden... We're in there... I'm Grayt!

Okay... Imagine you were a girl, what would you buy first?

*laughing* Ahm... underwear *laughing* because these boxers are really... I don't know... what would I buy... first thing... I don't know... maybe a dildo... I have to know it.

Want more crazy questions?


With which famous person would you like to take a bath with?

A bath? *thinking* Well... a bath... mhm... does it have to be a famous girl?

It could be a boy, too...

*looks completely shocked* What? *starts laughing* Ra... no... Sorry, not one of those... *still laughing* I like goils. ... I don't know... Maybe... what's her name...? Rachel from Friends... What's her name?

I don't know, but I can check.

Fuck... I don't remember her name... She's the one who has been with Brad Pitt, fuck, what's her name? Oh, girl, come on...

Jennifer Aniston?

Yeah. I'd like to bath with her.

Imagine you had to take part in a Disney movie. Which character would you chose?

Oh my god. Disney movie?


Oh... haven't seen that many Disney movies lately... brain come on... ahm...

But once you've been a child...

That's true, I have. And I even have a kid. I have an 8-year old daughter...

Haven't you been in cinema with her?

Yeah, I was but it wasn't Disney I thing... and I can't remember the movie. I really can't remember... But... I guess I would be Goofy.

Goofy, all right.

Yeah. *makes Goofy-noises* I'm a goof.

Okay, next one: Describe the ugliest piece of clothing you have in your cupboard.

Ahm... I already threw it away. So there are no ones anymore.

At least you tell me...


And now one last question: Have you ever sung a song in Finnish or could you imagine performing in Finnish with Carmen Gray?

If you would have asked that question 5 years ago, I would have said no, but ... Cause I'm a Finnish-Swede and when I moved here I didn't know one word Finnish cause I'm from Vaasa... everyone there speaks Swedish. It's a Swedish speaking city. I didn't know anything, but I learned to love Finnish language so much... So actually yes, I would.

And could you imagine in Swedish? If that's your mother tongue?

Oh no... Never. Never in Swedish ... *but then starts to sing in Swedish*
Nej. Ei. No.

Okay, thanks for the interview! Would you like to fill out this questionnaire?


It's not that difficult... other people survived it... well; some really took their time, but...

Okay, I'll take it.

"Results" of the questionnaire see below, and O.J. fill out one too, cause he dropped in by accident and I made him do it. More pictures are in the GALLERY!!!