Laid-back Finnish guitarist Linde Lindstrom is a busy man these days. Aside from working on a new HIM album, he is also writing material for a third release by his other musical venture, Daniel Lioneye, a group with a rather fractured history. The sporadic opportunities he has had to record and perform with this side project have allowed Lindstrom to explore ideas he cannot express through his main musical endeavor, and the results have been rather extreme.
Daniel Lioneye’s debut in 2001 was a stoner rock affair that included HIM frontman Ville Valo on drums, and the title track from King Of Rock’n Roll became the TV theme song to Viva La Bam. It was followed up with 2010’s Vol. II, a heavy black metal affair that featured a different line-up and a clearly more aggressive slant that helped Lindstrom exorcise many personal demons. The group toured America this year with headliners Cradle Of Filth and have been converting more followers to their world. The tour also fired up Lindstrom, who has new Lioneye tunes in the works.
A.D.D. recently caught up with Lindstrom to discuss the new Daniel Lioneye material he is writing, and we also discussed how he views his group’s evolution and what he is like offstage.
On the recent Daniel Lioneye tour, while you were doing some of the vocals, Manu Patel handled a lot of the lead vocals and screaming.
Manu was doing the screaming parts mostly, and I was doing the clean vocal parts. I just realized that it would’ve been too much — playing the guitar, screaming and doing the clean vocals. There’s just no way I could do that. Manu’s a great screamer. He’s my fiancé’s friend’s boyfriend. I saw his band Under Blackened Skies live in Birmingham three times and just had to ask him to join. I really love what he’s doing, and the new drummer Seppo [Tarvainen] is a really great drummer. Bolton couldn’t do it this tour, and Seppo was practicing in the same place that we were. I had been hearing his playing for about a year and wondering, “Who the fuck is this dude?” So I finally got the courage to ask him, and he came along. He’s a great guy and a great drummer.
It’s funny to think that you’d be nervous about asking a musician to join you considering how many times you have toured the world.
I know. That’s the way I am, I suppose.
The second Daniel Lioneye album is a lot heavier than the first one, especially as you were working out some personal issues. Do you still have that same sense of anger, and how has playing the songs live been different than recording them?
I love playing this type of music live. It’s a great relief. I suppose the anger is always going to be there. I’ve been into heavier music all my life, so it’s not going anywhere. I really love the line-up as well. I love what everybody has been doing in the band, and the shows were great. It’s a great feeling and a great band.
You were playing for a different audience opening up for Cradle Of Filth. How did the black metal audience treat you, especially knowing that you were coming from HIM? Or did they know that?
I don’t actually know. I think most of the people at the shows had never even heard about us. They didn’t have the slightest idea that I’m in HIM. It was a very metal audience, and every night we got a huge mosh pit and people really appreciating what we were doing. It’s a great feeling. It could’ve gone the other way too, but people really seemed to like what we’re doing. Great audiences.
How did the American audiences been compared with the European audiences you played to?
I don’t know about the metal stuff because we only did three shows in Finland before we hit the States. Obviously the HIM crowd is completely different. They’re teenage girls, and these were metalheads. There have been some HIM fans at the shows as well, but the Cradle fans are metalheads.
I assume some of the HIM fans had looks of confusion on their faces?
Oh yeah, it was very funny. Certain people might have been shocked, but they seemed to appreciate it anyway. Nobody was running away crying or anything like that. It’s all good.
“It’s back to the basics, and it’s kind of refreshing. With HIM you get used to the fancy hotels and don’t have to do anything. You just have to show up to the gig, and this is completely different. I kind of like it.”
Are you working on new material now, and how does it compare with your past work?
2011 has been an exciting year for Daniel Lioneye. We toured for the first time as a band, and it’s really given me a new perspective on our music. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to play for two bands, and for the guys in HIM to all be very supportive of Daniel Lioneye by allowing me to tour during our down time. After our very first U.S. tour and playing at South By Southwest, I am now very inspired to write new music for Daniel Lioneye. I am currently working on new material and refining the sound for the next album. The new music that I’m working on is more on the heavy rock side than the “black metal” style you heard on Vol. II.
Is Manu contributing to the new album?
The writing is primarily done by me, so at the moment I haven’t specifically involved the guys in this process yet. But I think Manu really brings a new perspective to Daniel Lioneye. We’d love to work with him again on the new album and for upcoming tours.
Are there any plans to tour the United States again?
We’re extremely lucky to have Daniel Lioneye fans from across the world. Our U.S. fans were amazing on the last tour, but we have fans in the UK, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia that we want to try to play for too. But if we get the opportunity to play in the U.S. again, of course we would love to.
There’s certainly a sense of humor in what you’re doing.
We definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Do you think that some people might not get that?
I don’t know. It can be kind of complicated for people to get it, especially if they haven’t heard the album before. It doesn’t matter if they take it seriously — as long as they’re moshing, everything’s fine.
What music were you listening to on tour?
We were listening to Lord Mantis quite a lot on the bus. It’s kind of moody death metal. The sound is kind of soft in a way, not too rough, but it’s very heavy with tuned down guitars and screaming vocals. They released one album before, which is not my favorite, but the second album is really good. We always ended up listening to Lord Mantis for some reason.
Especially on this last tour, we didn’t see much of anything. In New York we had a walk around Times Square, and that’s about it. We went to a bar after the show. We were carrying all our stuff, and we were traveling in a bus with Turisas with 12 guys. It was very crowded in there, and we were constantly working, so there was no chance to see anything.
Any word on when the next HIM album will come out?
We are currently working on new HIM material so I can’t really talk much about that at the moment. All I can say is, I am very proud of the material so far and look forward to sharing our new music with you!
Even though you’ve achieved international success with HIM, touring with Daniel Lioneye is kind of like starting over, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s back to the basics, and it’s kind of refreshing. With HIM you get used to the fancy hotels and don’t have to do anything. You just have to show up to the gig, and this is completely different. I kind of like it.
You seem pretty down-to-earth about it, and it sounds like you’re enjoying the ride.
Yeah, yeah. Definitely. You have to stay humble, otherwise it won’t work.
When you’re not playing music, what is your life like?
I love animals. I live in the countryside in Finland with my fiancé. We have a white German shepherd and four sphinx cats. You know, the hairless ones. I just love hanging around with them, and I love nature — just the quiet, forest, walks, stuff like that. That’s what I like. The older I get, the more I appreciate that.
So you’re definitely a laid-back country guy?
Definitely. I love New York and love cities, but I lived in the center of Helsinki pretty much all my life, up until a few years ago when we moved to the country. I haven’t regretted it one bit. When I was younger, I would never have done it, but now it feels great.