Finnish single's chart was taken by a Negative storm recently as the band took pole position with their first single "Moment of Our Love". Negative's new album "War of Love" was released last Friday and I talked to lead singer Jonne Aaron and guitarist Larry Love just two days before the big day.

RockUnited: What's going on in the world of Negative?
Larry: Releasing the new album this week, single has been in the Finnish top 5 for four weeks.
Jonne: Everything is pretty good at the moment; we've been also doing gigs on a regular basis.

RockUnited: It's been said that Negative is a band that looks like Hanoi Rocks and sounds like HIM. Is that accurate?
Jonne: No, not at all. Some might make that assumption if they've only heard our single but once they hear the album I think they'll see that it's nothing like HIM. But I certainly don't mind the comparison with Hanoi Rocks.

RockUnited: So it's been one of the influences in your music?
Jonne: Yes. Our other musical influences are pretty similar, Guns 'n' Roses, Aerosmith, Skid Row and the big bands from the 80's in general.

RockUnited: What about categorising music in general. Do you like to put yourself in some category?
Jonne: Emotional rock 'n' roll. That's what we've been calling our music.

RockUnited: You seem to be pretty positive guys. Why did you name the band Negative?
Larry: Well yeah... it's just a name. There's no need to think about it that deeply.
Jonne: We're still young but I guess it was part of some teenage angst when we thought about the name a few years ago. But it's more credible name than Positive (laughs). It's a good name, we're happy with it.

RockUnited: You've been a lot in the media in Finland and yet you don't even have a record out. How has that happened?
Larry: We've really toured a lot for quite a while.
Jonne: And we have a good manager, he's crazy... I don't really know why people have been intrigued by us from the beginning. As Larry said we've toured a lot and we've really gone close to people. Small towns, even schools, which is really rare.
Larry: Some bands are too proud to do that. They can't swallow their pride and go to a school to play. They feel it's somehow demeaning to go there...
Jonne: But all the work seems to be paying off. For young people in small towns who don't have a possibility to go to rock concerts, mainly because of their age or long distances, we've provided the first real rock 'n' roll concert that they've ever gone to.

RockUnited: So you've worked hard?
Jonne: Humble work. We've gone close to people and now that the record will be out I think they'll go and buy it.

RockUnited: Before doing this interview I run a search in the internet a found you new single and some demos even thou your new album isn't even out yet. Do you think that internet is good or bad for the music industry?
Larry: There's two sides to it. It might be helpful for the bands especially in the beginning but in some cases it might be harmful.
Jonne: Yeah, it might be the format for the future. Who knows maybe there will not even be CD's in the future. But maybe some kind of payment per download would be nice, I mean an artist has to make a living.
Larry: Yeah, it's good to keep in mind that if you want that the band will make music also in the future it's better to buy the CD instead of downloading it from the internet.

RockUnited: If we think about the music industry these days, how is it like to be a rocker in the 21st century?
Jonne: Well this is what I've always wanted to do. And it tastes so good that it almost scares me. But the images of some kind of glamour have vanished, we've been so busy that you haven't had the time to stop and enjoy it all. It's nice to have a number one song but I want to go further and further all the time. I mean we haven't really achieved anything yet. I think if you get a feeling that you have nothing to strive for you should call it a day and quit. But for now we're playing in Finland if all goes well we might go abroad pretty soon.

RockUnited: Have you set any specific dates yet?
Jonne: There have been negotiations about releasing an album in Sweden and in Germany but I'm not sure weather it will be this album or the next. You never know, it might happen so fast that we'll have trouble keeping up with everything. We're not in a hurry but I'm sure it'll happen although a lot depends on what happens in Finland.

RockUnited: I understand that you had a lot of freedom when you recorded your new album "War of Love".
Jonne: We had basically unlimited time in the studio. Our producer in GB Fam Records has a studio where we could spend as much time as we wanted. And of course the record company wanted to make the album as good as possible. So we had no rush at all. "Moment of Our Love" was one of the first songs that we finished so it was a natural choice for a single. It's not as "rock" as our other songs but I think that the next single will be. But we haven't decided what it is yet.

RockUnited: How do you usually write songs?
Larry: The two of us write the songs and arrange them with the band.
Jonne: Yeah we write the songs together but in this album most of the songs are written by me because I've been in the band from the beginning and thus I have written more songs. Larry's been in the band for a year and a half so he didn't write that much for this album.
Larry: We had some thirty demos so we have a lot of songs that were left for the future. Actually we're already writing new songs for the second album.
Jonne: Yeah, we don't want to get into a situation that after a tour we have a month to write and record a new album. So we try to stay one step ahead all the time. You don't want to get too comfortable with the present situation.

RockUnited: Have you thought about what you'd do if something goes wrong, do you have a plan B?
Jonne: No plan B. We're putting everything we got into the band, each one of us. Ever since I was 12 this was all I wanted to do. I will be a musician, I don't know about rock stardom yet. I lost interest in school the day that I saw my first GNR video and got an acoustic guitar from my dad. I haven't finished my studies or anything. No one has been able to take away my dream and I've been lucky to have met four guys who share the same dream. And I'll keep pushing, maybe when I'm fifty I might admit to myself that it didn't happen but not before that!

RockUnited: But some people who are 50 are still rocking hard...
Jonne: Yeah, we better make it sixty and see about it then... (laughs). It's started well and I'm sure that if people have any prejudices about us they'll lose them once they come to see our live show.
Larry: Whenever we play live we give everything we've got. The crowd can be difficult sometimes but we've always managed to get them rocking.
Jonne: When I get on stage my whole personality changes. This quiet and silent man turns into a maniac in front of a crowd. And the response that we've got from the crowd has been just overwhelming.

RockUnited: In the end it is time to promote your new album. Why should people buy it?
Larry: It's one hell of an album. It ranges from "Scorpions-ballads" to rockers. It's a colourful combination.
Jonne: I think it works well as a whole. I think that a true rock album should have a ballad to complement the faster ones and some mid-tempos and we've done just that. It's easy for me to say but I'd buy it.

RockUnited: Any final words?
Jonne: I declare that the "War of Love" has started.
Larry: The world is at unrest so we'll let them have their war in Iraq and keep fighting the war of love.

These guys seem to be men with a plan so check out their website. For now it's only in Finnish but in the front page by clicking on the songs you can hear short samples of their music. I'm sure you can manage without your 101 in Finnish. Don't settle for samples, enter our competition and get a signed CD "War of Love"! See Give-A-Way -page!

Interview and pics: Petri Kautto,

Negative's homepage

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