Hero Dishonest are a fast thrash hardcore band from Helsinki, Finland; who have played all types of shows, including squats, jazz bars, basements and huge rock arenas. Behind them they have amassed a huge amount of touring, including eight in Europe, three in Russia, two in the USA, two in the UK, and countless gigs in Finland during their eight year existence. Such dedication to playing live and addiction to touring is rarely seen in the DIY scene these days. They have recently released their 4th LP, ‘When the shit hits the man’. After touring the album in the USA, Europe and Finland, the band are on a short break before heading back into the studio and onto the road. What follows in an email interview I did with the band in July 2007.
Lasse: I’m Lasse. I play the bass.
Jussi: Hi! I’m Jussi and I’m the drummer of the band.
Vellu: Hi, I’m Vellu and I am The God. That makes me bigger than Galactus. I also do some singing. Mikko does the guitar. He’s not present.
Mikko: I’m here. I’m just slow. Or busy.
LH: The current line up has been together for around five years now. Are you starting to get sick of each other yet? How have you managed to keep it together for so long?
Lasse: When I joined the band I didn’t even know the guys that well, so it’s pretty surprising that we haven’t really ever had a fight. I guess it’s because all
of us have traveled a lot since we were teenagers (we’re all about 30 now), so we have developed a high tolerance for the rigors of the road, and don’t start
crying like bitches when something goes wrong.
Jussi: The current line up has been functioning not for five years but only three. It’s a long time as well with the same group of people and
nothing bad has really occured yet but it’ll happen soon and it will get nasty and bloody if you ask me. No, actually we have learned to like each other
and all know how to cope with all the surprising and exotic things a tour can bring.
Mikko: I think we’re helluva lot smarter than most of the bands around. That’s why we get along.
LH: How have you coped with the transition from two singers to one?
L: Getting used to it live took some time.
J: At first we didn’t know what to do when our other singer Tuukka told us he’s leaving the band. The band had always worked with a dual singer
attack and the quitting of the other singer meant that we had to take a great deal of our old songs out of the set list and start writing new ones for
only one singer. There were some growing pains but now we have overcome them all and the band works better (and faster) than ever.
Vellu: With Tuukka, our other singer, we lost the most handsome member.Lasse rejoices for that.
L: Totally. I used to be the fifth most handsome guy in our band, now I’m up to number four!
M: We had to learn to Photoshop Lasse a bit though. I think this is the best line-up we’ve had. I like the fact that we work fast and play tight as a four piece.
LH: Is the album title ‘When the shit hits the man’ implying that ‘the mans time for shit’ is about to come? Do you believe that there is going to be some huge global problems in the future?
M: In the future?
L: Yes. I think future generations will point to our record as the turning point before the abrupt fall of global capitalism.
V: You mean problems that will affect us in West? The Pink Grim Reaper will shit on everyone, he will give you marked bills and you will get caught,
we will need stronger deodorant. I will move to Gliese 581c before that.
J: I think we’re pretty much living in a world of huge global problems already and the current direction isn’t giving much hope for it getting better in the future either. The shit mankind has pushed towards the almighty fan is bouncing back with ten times the force it was sent ages ago.
V: Scary shit. You silly Earthlings.
LH: What are the best things about your new album?
L: Our picture inside the booklet. We’re so handsome.
J: I like the cover work as well but I think we finally made a really good album, not only the best sounding Hero Dishonest record ever, but with 21 fast enough songs that form a solid record. I’m very happy about the album and how it turned out.
V: I hate it, but I’m God so I have bigger problems to worry about.
LH: How does the your latest album compare to the rest of them?
L: It’s recorded better.
J: I think we knew much better how the new album should sound like and the songs were pretty well thought out already before entering the studios.
M: Better, tighter, smarter songs. That’s easy for us.
LH: Now that Vellu has a baby son, how will this effect the band in the future? Do you think that you will slow down in writing new material and playing gigs?
L: Vellu is indeed a father now to a healthy baby boy. Just yesterday we gave hime his first tinfoil hat! It was beautiful. We’re already writing new material, we all live within a mile from our practice space so it really doesn’t affect that. But we won’t be doing any two month-tours for a while.
J: I agree what Dirty Larry just said. And I think the upcoming tours will be planned with much more care than before.
V: I can’t handle booze that well anymore, but as soon as the kid starts to bring in the cash I can consentrate on my art 100%. 110%!
M: He should pay my living, too. I think the time off from family life (touring) will mean even harder partying. That’ll be the end of our lives.
LH: Do you get much support from the Finnish government or Helsinki council towards being a music group?
J: We refuse to pay taxes so we don’t get the benefits of the declining social democrat system our government has to offer. I think we got some support from a music foundation once to support our US tour. I think it was The Phoenix Foundation.
M: Yeah we got a grant for our US tour, for our latest record plus I got a personal grant for one month’s daily expenses to help my career as an “artist”. I spent it all on another release on my label.
LH: Whats the worst thing about living in Finland?
L: The dark and icy drives during the winter are sometimes kind of scary. Being isolated up here has its advantages and disadvantages as well.
J: Darkness lurking on the snowless dark grounds with no mercy of the piercing winds from the frosty and polluted Baltic Sea.
V: Being forced to live next to Sweden.
LH: In your last album you have a song about the negative aspects of touring in different countries in Europe and bands not touring in Finland. In your latest album you have a song about touring the USA and the negative aspect of some people there. How have your opinions changed about touring since you have recently toured again in Germany and the USA?
L: Actually, the US and Germany are some of my favorite places to tour in.
J: I agree with the big L! And if anything has changed it has changed to better. There’s tons of bands touring nowadays and it’s sometimes hard to get people interested in the shows if you’re not a known band really. There’s less assholes on the shows the last few tours, I think.
L: You’re big!
M: I’ve always loved the USA. It’s got the biggest record stores and biggest everything. Germany is good, too. They are so punctual and the girls are kinda muscular and cute.
LH: Where are the best cities in the world to play gigs? Good and bad.Which ones have you particularly enjoyed and why? Which places must you bring your own fucking toilet paper?
L: Aside from Scandinavia, it’s good to have a few spare rolls everywhere else in Europe. The toilets can be particularly harsh in some eastern european squats, but we have run into those all over the place.
LH: When do you aim to tour the UK & Ireland again? Are there any other countries in the world that you plan to tour in the near future?
L: We’re probably going back to Russia for a few shows by the end of the year. There’s been talk about the UK and Ireland, but that would require at least a week and a half, so we don’t know when Vellu will be able to do that. Hopefully sometime next year!
J: I would love to go touring South America, Australia and Japan someday (I mean who doesn’t) now that those places have shown genuine interest in organizing tours for us.
L: Yeah, that would be sweet.
M: Mmm, Brasil and Russia…..
LH: I noticed that you were going to be supporting Sick Of It All in Helsinki, until they cancelled. How did that come about? What did you ask for on your rider?
L: I think the promoter just asked us. We sent them the basic Hero Dishonest rider, which just asks for some basic medical supplies(Valium, Xanor, Tramal, Somadril etc.), 4 different kinds of diapers, rusty knives, a Swedish flag, some lighter fluid, matches, an unholy altar, a goat, four black robes, four vegetarian meals, some towels and some potato chips. We don’t need all that fancy stuff like some other bands, we’re simple guys.
LH: What punk places would you recommend people to check out in Helsinki? Good new bands?
L: There’s no real punk places now, aside from a couple of new squats that always seem to get evicted within a week or so. But there are a lot of bars that host punk shows, since punk rock is pretty big here now, and those shows usually bring good money for them. You’ll be most likely able
to meet Helsinki punks in bars on the Vaasankatu, near the Sörnäinen metro station. Kustaa Vaasa and Heinähattu are your best bets.
J: You should check out venues in Helsinki called Factory, Semifinal, Liberte, Wäiski to mention but a few. There’s a comprehensive gig guide on a site called Punk In Finland at
http://www.punkinfinland.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=326 that is updated frequently and you should check it out if you’re interested in seeing some punk rock and such on your stay here.