(Photo Credits: MB Photography Scotland)
Finnish brothers Mikko, Jonne and Kie Von Hertzen have music running through their veins and after being in their own bands, joined forces in 2000 to become the talented trio that is the Von Hertzen Brothers. Their sound is a delicious mix of progressive guitar driven rock with layered vocal harmonies. Always a pleasure to listen to and see perform live.
Recently touring the UK with their new back line in Sami Kuoppamäki (drums) and Robert Engstrand (keyboards), the brothers appeared at HRH in November to play a set of fan favourites from their previous albums and new music from their album War is Over which was released on 3rd November 2017.
Lindsay from DTF caught up with Kie Von Hertzen for a quick chat shortly before their HRH appearance.
DTF: Hi Kie, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to DTF today. It’s great to see you over here in the UK again.
K: Oh thank you so much! It is great to come back here, we’ve been here before so it feels really great.
DTF: You are touring the UK at the moment before heading back over to Finland?
K: Yes, this is actually our 6th date on this leg and yes, so far this is so nice and exciting and with new guys in the back row of the band too and it all sounds so good. It is a pleasure to be on the road and playing with these guys. Great talent that I hope we will all enjoy hearing today.
DTF: You guys, being brothers, have been playing together prior to coming together as a band. You must know each other’s styles so well?
K: Yes in one form or another we have always played together and of course we love it.
DTF: Your father was a big influence on that?
K: Yes of course, he still is a guitarist in a “Shadows” type 60s band back home in Finland and we just got a message to say he has been gigging out there and he is saying “oh it went well how did you guys do?”, so it is in our blood.
DTF: He must be very proud of you guys all following in his footsteps?
K: The funny thing is that my father and his brother are also in the same band together so it’s like it’s a family thing for us.
DTF: Does playing with your brothers have its advantages especially when you are on the road and playing together so much, or are their disadvantages? Is there any rivalry?
K; Very much so an advantage, well you know when we started out as the Von Hertzen Brothers we had already had our previous careers in other bands in Finland so obviously came across all the basic stuff, so we were familiar with bands arguing and splitting and so we had experience already. But I have to say even within these years that we have been working together the first years were sometimes you know, but now we have grown and matured and grown in a sense that it is easier to let some things go, not argue about everything.
DTF: When you are writing Kie, do you all come with different ideas?
K: With most of the writing we individually go to a place and do the demos, pretty much all the arrangements, melodies and harmonies are already there. The lyrics no, this is only done after the demos that we then throw around between us three brothers, then when we have done that we know which are the songs we all want to do then Mikko starts to write the lyrics to those.
On this album it’s like for example, maybe two songs which are on the LP version but only the one is a song on the CD version. I did 5 songs and Mikko did 5 songs from which 4 came so it’s an individual that is the composing the work, then we obviously interfere with each-others ideas. Also there is a couple of songs that are on each album which is a part of it from me and a part of it from Mikko. It’s both ways and actually I think it’s really good to have all the possible ways of composing all the time so we don’t get stuck in any sort of a formal dogma. It very much keeps it more diverse, not stale.
DTF: You must have different ideas, more rock focused or prog focussed depending on who comes with the idea to start and this gives you your combination of music styles?
K: Yeah it is exactly, yes!
DTF: The rock scene in Scandinavia is huge, it doesn’t seem to have ebbed away, it has so many good festivals, and it seems a very vibrant place to be for music. We seem to have this in the UK with so many good up and coming bands too. If you could give one bit of advice to a younger up and coming band who have perhaps just signed to their first record label what would you tell them?
K: That is a very good question! I would say just do your thing and keep on doing it, don’t give up. You have to have the flame inside, it has to be that serious that you need to do it, but then you know, don’t just like give in. One day it will happen, just believe in yourself and just do it, believe in yourself and never give up.
DTF: Your new album and performing the new material, are you happy?
K: Oh yes, I am very happy, it is touring well! It is exciting because it takes always a while when you are on stage to kind of get into your body how the music is, how am I supposed to move with this particular song so it’s been exciting because the set is almost the whole album.
DTF: How has this gone down with your fans, do you think they just want to hear your older material or are they happy with the new?
K: They have took it pretty nice, I think, and because we are headlining we have a 90 minute set to fill with the new album and some older. I believe here at HRH it is only a one hour set so 50 /50 new material to old. We felt very confident about the new material. Always bands say that but actually it is happening this time round, new and old it is all good together!
DTF: The new album is good, it has a lovely flow, one of those you can listen to in its entirety, no track skipping.
K: Thank you, I hope you like the set too and see it all working together.
DTF: Thank you Kie, it has been a pleasure to talk to you!
K: No, it has been an honour. Thank you for your questions and your support.
Find out more about Von Hertzen Brothers at the following links: