Finnish Random Eyes is not about murky attitude, but a band who immediately clears the table from troubles when they hit one. They've been roaming the worlds underground music scene for years now, more seriously they kicked off in 2002 in a Finnish band competition, which saw them in the form of three weeks rehearsals behind and new guys from a band called Hallowed in it, who came to fill in since the band didn't have a drummer, bassist and guitarist at the time. The band came and conquered, and Katja put more spirit in the band with her beautiful voice.
The band risked it all while forming it. They left their jobs, studies and formed the band relying on each member taking this as a serious job, with fun attached and a world conquering attitude. They would still be doing this eventhough they never earned a living out of it. The name of the band was created together by their lead guitarist Timo Kuusjärvi and Christian. Timo came up with the Random part and Christian added Eyes to make it have a better ring to it. It never even crossed their minds what it really meant, it just sounded good in their ears.
Their first album "Eyes Ablaze" came out in 2003 with a little different line-up than today. Later in 2004 Random Eyes hired Mikko Härkin (Wingdom, ex-Sonata Arctica) as a keyboard player and their music got a new and heavier direction, sounding like a mixture of In Flames, Soilwork with touches of hardrock coming from Christian's side. They've played with Barren Cross and Tourniquet for example, but it wasn't until April 2005 that the band got a bigger break show wise, supporting Hammerfall in Finland. RockUnited went to check out the show and talked to both singers of the band, Christian and Katja Palin, also a married couple. Christian, who is a very lively person, explained about his stage presence, coming from a hardrock background.
Christian - I've got this certain diva attitude on stage, but that's just my personality, I'm an energetic person. Me, Katja and Timo are the brains behind the band, we write the songs, though our drummer Timo Peltokangas has started writing them also. He and our rhythm guitarist Mikko Tuliniemi handles the management.
RockUnited - It's quite rare that a drummer writes songs.
Christian - Yeah, it is, but Timo has really developed in songwriting.
RockUnited - You've got crunchy guitars with both female and male vocals. Have you been searching for some certain sound with those ?
Christian - Yeah, we're getting heavier all the time, but the melody is still there. The rough vocals are included in little pieces in the songs.
RockUnited - You've got one album out, "Eyes Ablaze" and the second is on the way. Your first one offered sentimental hard rock songs in spiritual or religious atmosphere and stories about eternal battle between good and evil.
Christian - Religion has nothing to do with Random Eyes. I hate religions, it was invented by humans. What we sing about is very positive and there will always be battles between good and bad. Both women and men have these characters in them. Religions are trying to affect us all, but it's working the wrong way. We have no religion in our music, eventhough the band members believe in God. These are complitely different things.
RockUnited - I say Americans are religious like they are, what's your take on that ?
Christian - Well, they're just so cool over there.
Katja - If someone wants to label us a religious band, go ahead.
Christian - But we're not making ourselves known as being a band of Saints !
Katja - The songs deal with our thoughts and the normal everyday life and painful subjects.
Christian - We've got a song that deals with the issue of child abuse, it's called "Innerself". The lyrics go like this "when you touched me, you broke my innerself. You disgraced me, I lit my heart on fire". It describes how the children lose their childlike minds to these monsters. And who's there to save you from this private hell. The person who did such horrors can't be saved by anyone. That person is doomed till the rest of his/her life. I can connect with the matter, since I'm a very sensitive person. I think if you went through such things, you'd grow up to be a really tough person, kinda emotionally numb. And you'd like to do harm to all men, just use them as you wish. All the things you've gone through when you were a child really hurts a person.
RockUnited - Back to your first album. How do you feel about "Eyes Ablaze" material now, after having written the new songs ?
Katja - Personally I love singing the new songs, since you've been singing the old songs now for a couple of years. But they're nostalgic and fine songs, which fans still like, but I'm still eagerly waiting for the new album.
Christian - Our first album mostly worked for girls, they thought it was awesome, they loved it. Now that we've got new material out they're thinking we lost all that (softness and melody) along the way, that we're just playing some nasty stuff now. I think our new material has these viking, death metal, poppish melodies and soaring choruses. It sounds like Swedish metal.
Katja - Now we've got so many influences mixed in, so it works for fans of different genres.
RockUnited - Some of the catchiest songs on your debut were "Hero", "Faith", "Soldier" and "Tomorrow Will Come". Which ones were your faves and the fans ?
Christian - Our fans loved "Soldier", which is kinda heavy and good for playing live. Female fans loved "Hero" and "Faith" and everyone loved "Tomorrow Will Come". We've gotten great feedback on that. Even men loved it. Our guitarist wrote the song about me.
RockUnited - After the first album was released, did you ever lose hope on releasing the second one ?
Christian - No, we knew we had a second album coming out. Many people who have gotten to know me and Katja and have heard our material, have thought that our band has a future. They never thought even when seing a louzy show from us that we suck. When they've heard our lyrics they've noticed they've got hope. Mostly the songs today deal with sex and drugs. (starts singing humoristically about sex). Everyone wants sex and drugs, yeah ! But that's their thing, we're about something else. We want to offer positive things to people, since the world is full of wars today and people lack of love. Kids today don't have their parents around loving them. And even a wife can live without her husbands love. This husband forgets about his wife and searches for love somewhere else. Our songs deal with how people feel about being betrayed. But you also have to forgive.
RockUnited - You finally got "Eyes Ablaze" released through a Japanese record label, Wood Bell Records. Are you familiar with them at all ?
Christian - Yeah. When the label got our album, they went it through like ten times and couldn't believe how good our cd was. So they offered us the deal. We only wanted a distribution deal with them though. And only on one album, 'cos we're looking for other deals also, eventhough we left the deal open with Wood Bell. We want to have a deal with a good company.
RockUnited - Do you think this deal will open markets for you in Japan ?
Christian - There's plenty of Japanese female fans writing to me and also men. But our music (first album) mostly works for female fans. They've loved our first album very much. And of course female fans prefare male singers.
RockUnited - But you've also got Katja, so you attract both fans.
Christian - Yeah, but also female fans like Katja, they like her performance. She's not like me on stage, that aggressive. But Katja brings out the feminine side in the band and us men bring the male side, which is good. Random Eyes is basically me and Katja and without Katja this band wouldn't exist.
RockUnited - You've got the bonus track "Love Me Tonight" in your Japanese release. What is the song like, Europeans are probably interested in knowing more about it if they never get to hear it.
Katja - It's a basic ballad about me and Christian.
Christian - It's an American style ballad, which fits Random Eyes perfectly. We've played it live in birthday parties, weddings, but not with the band in any gigs.
Christian and Katja perform a part of the song here, which sounds like a beautiful ballad. You can listen to the clip from our MP3 Vault or click HERE to go straight there.
RockUnited - You've recruited the keysman Mikko Härkin to your band, who's well known from his earlier band Sonata Arctica. How did he come into the band ?
Christian - He was looking for a place for one night to sleep in and I asked him over, 'cos I was interested in getting to know him, since I had heard so much about him. I played him our latest album and he liked the stuff and asked who's the keyboardist there, which was me. He was interested to play keys in our band since we didn't have one. He's a really nice guy, and since he's not into drinking or using drugs, he really fits in since we don't do those either. Of course we drink some beer sometimes, but we don't get drunk like others. I'm already 27, so I'm not into that anymore. And besides, I was born on natural high, so I probably burn some 2000 J/kg on each show.
RockUnited - Besides Random Eyes, Mikko also plays with Wingdom. How does he manage between these two bands ?
Christian - He told me that Wingdom is the kind of band which plays shows if they get payed from it. But he said he also wants to be with us. But we'll see what the future brings. He likes us and we like him. He's got the same values as we do and he fits in the band perfectly.
RockUnited - Actually most of you are in several bands. How do you manage between the bands ?
Christian - Random Eyes is the first and most important thing to each one of us. Our bassplayer Jorma Rantalainen has his other band Rebelhead, which is kinda like his own kid. I've got my own solo band called Eyez Ablazed, which was taken from our album title. It's hard rock in the vein of Whitesnake, with the attitude of Mötley Crüe. We're like a street gang when we hit the stage, no fear even if we confronted the Hell's Angels. And we're also about glamour. Not with pink clothes, but we've got latex pants.
RockUnited - When comparing the writing and recording process between the two albums, which was the easiest to work on ?
Christian - The second one. The chemistry in the band wasn't alright while doing the first album, but now we've got more respect towards each other.
RockUnited - How long do you usually stay in the studio and how long did that work take from you now ?
Katja - We only did some five songs in the studio, so we haven't recorded everything yet.
RockUnited - Do you have a title for the album yet ?
Christian - No, we haven't thought about it yet, eventhough we've got some suggestions.
RockUnited - Can you tell us about some of the details of the album ?
Christian - It will be really heavy, but the choruses will totally knock you out, they're hits. Each song is gonna be a hit that ends up on the record. We make music for the masses.
RockUnited - So you've gotten heavier, but you also have more groove into it. Was this a conscious decision to go this way ?
Katja - Not really, since the songs build as we go. And we work with them the way they turn out. But I don't know if we searched for that groove for it.
Christian - I did, since I listen to Whitesnake a lot. My vocals weren't too good on the first album, but on the second one I can do fills and stuff. I've got everything in my head that I want to bring out on the record.
RockUnited - Will you have any guests on the new album ?
Christian - Probably not, but Mikko (Härkin) always comes up with amazing things. Thanks to him we got this show, when they realized who's playing keys in the band. Since Mikko is already known in the music business, it gives us certain credibility. But we don't use him, he just wants to do what he can for the band. We're all about respect and interaction.
RockUnited - Who wrote the lyrics for the new songs ?
Christian - We both write them on our own.
Katja - I wrote my lyrics by myself, but I also helped Christian with his.
Christian - Also our friend Starbuck has helped in correcting our english.
RockUnited - How do you work together in the songwriting side ?
Christian - Both of us do some cool things and sometimes we just don't connect with each other. But since I'm a man I have to be humble and go along with what Katja comes up with.
Katja - Christian pretty much trusts in my ideas.
Christian - Eventhough I'm very impulsive and just want to go with the first idea.
RockUnited - Are there any quarrels between you and the rest of the band, since you're a couple working together ?
Katja - When we went to Europe the guys were frustrated since they didn't have their own wife with them. But we don't really go as a couple, because we're busy with the music side. We don't spend much time with each other.
Christian - And some people have been given the talent of songwriting. Some people have other talents. But you can always suggest things, we're open to those.
RockUnited - Having seen you perform live you're a very captivating and energetic band, comparing to many other bands. Are each of your performances as good ?
Christian - Yes, always. Even if we're really tired we give our 100 percent. But I'm always energetic, even at home.
Katja - For some time I've been mostly searching my place in the band, but I think lately I've gotten a hang of it. We've grown more balanced as a unit. And since we've got that groove in the new songs I can handle that much better than some power metal.
RockUnited - You mentioned about the minitour around Europe. How was that experience ?
Katja - Concidering the circumstances it went well. I was really sick with fever and the rest of the band wasn't feeling that well either. But it went pretty well, eventhough the travelling was rough and we didn't get much sleep.
Christian - Our crowd was always very good, eventhough they didn't even know us in some places. When we went on stage with "are you ready to rock", the show rocked from that point on. The audience is like a bunch of workers who need some kicking to get them going. No one wants to see the average Christian or other members of the band behaving normally on stage, so all of us have a certain image on stage. We're show people, who give their audience what they want to see. And you also have to interact with the crowd, speaches and stuff.
RockUnited - Which country was the best to play in ?
Katja - Sweden and Switzerland. People were really nice in Switzerland. But Sweden was really well organized and the crowd liked us. And we stayed in nice hotels.
RockUnited - You played in Bobfest.
Christian - Yeah. Torniquet was the band that got us there. There was supposed to be this doom metal band Veni Domine, but we took their slot. We weren't even a death metal band, but the crowd thought we gave our best. Even the death metal bands were present there during our whole show. If it had been a competition, we would've won. We played a really great show. Barren Cross played in Switzerland. I made friends with their singer, he was really nice. He was like the real goodlooking gigolo. They asked us over to US, but we're heading to England now. We also have some possible shows in Mexico.
RockUnited - For the past few years you haven't played that many shows. Why is that and do you think with the second album out this will improve ?
Christian - The biggest reason for that is that we don't have a management. So if a club likes us, they spread the word and we get gigs like that. We don't have that many connections yet.
Katja - And we've wanted to concentrate on the second album.
RockUnited - You supported Hammerfall tonight, this is a good opening for a band considering the future.
Christian - Thanks to Mape Ollila and Elmu (finnish music association) who made this happen. We wish all the best for both of them.
RockUnited - Do you personally listen to Hammerfall ?
Christian - I don't listen to old school metal much, but I have respect for those bands. I used to listen to them when I was younger, but now I listen to Symphony X, Whitesnake and hard rock. This straight forward kinda metal isn't my thing. I like bluesmetal, just like Whitesnake and Deep Purple, also Ozzy, AC/DC and Dream Theater.
RockUnited - What are the plans from this point on then ?
Christian - Conquer the world ! And this is not a joke. You have to reach for high goals and not like "let's see where we'll end up in". No, we're not losers. We've risked so much. Every one of us could still be working someplace else, but we left all that behind.
Katja - We go straight ahead with full force and we'll make our dreams come true.
RockUnited - When you work hard enough you get better and have a better chance to reach something.
Christian - And Random Eyes has a calling for making this kind of music, we all have this calling in our hearts. There's this fire that takes us further towards success.
RockUnited - Fire burning within...but thank you for the interview. Would you like to add something here to your fans ?
Christian - Many thanks to you ! And fans should come and see our shows. You'll get an asskicking, energetic, testosterone filled experience, added with female vocals.
RockUnited - With female beauty.
Katja - I have nothing more to add to that.