Just a few days before their gig in Bulgaria, we are proud to publish an interview with the Finnish legends Mistreat. Interview is originaly conducted by 28 Bulgaria, published here with their kind permission.
1. Congratulations on your 30 year anniversary on stage! Can you please tell us more about the band; how the idea for it was born; who are the original members and what kind of changes in the lineup it went through the years?
Mistreat was formed 1988 by three friends (Muke, Jönne and Kaitsu). We were childhood friends and somewhere in mid 80ˋs, we started to have some interests for playing music and form a band, instead of doing nothing. We played under different names 1985-1988, started as a punk band, but very soon changed our style to oi-punk and year 1988 it was clear that our style had become to so-called RAC. I guess it was mostly because of the lyrics. People were calling us nazi punks all the time anyway, so it was obvious what happened with the band and itˋs style. Our band was called Synthetical Bastards at the time and we thought it was about the time to change that as well. It sounded too much punk for us… It was a birth of Mistreat.
Original Mistreat line up was:
Muke - vocals, guitar
Kaitsu - bass, vocals
Suikkanen - guitar
Jönne - drums
We havenˋt got much lineup changes during the years. Only second guitarist has been replaced couple times. When original second guitarist quitted 1991, he was replaced by Arska and he played with us 1991-1996, he was replaced by Miika, who played with us 1996-2007 (but had some breaks from playing 2002-2004, then he was replaced by Jose, our current guitarist as well). Our original drummer quitted 2004, he was replaced by Atte our current drummer. When our original bass guitarist quitted 1994, we started to play as a trio Me as a bassist, Jönne drums and Arska second guitar. Year1996 we met Pete (our current bassist), that´s when I jumped back to guitar.
Nowadays I’ m the only original member left, but the current line up of Mistreat had been the same pretty long time now.
Me - Muke, guitar and vocals (since 1988)
Pete - bass and backing vocals (played in Mistreat since1996)
Jose - guitar and backing vocals (played in Mistreat more or less since 2002)
Atte - drums (in Mistreat since 2004)
2. Your new album “Heartless Bastards” is one of the top ones for 2018 and all that waiting for it definitely was worth it. Still, what is the reason you did not release an album for nearly 10 years?
Thanx for your kind words, I appreciate that. Why it took 13 years since the last one? There are a couple of reasons...Normally we released our albums by ourselves but decided after the last one "Never Forgive, Never Forget", it´s no use to make CDs anymore. One moneymaker buys one copy and then makes 1000 copies out of it. We don´t wanna be part of that kind of shit. Better not to make albums at all. Actually, last five years, lots of people all around the world wanted to hear some new Mistreat stuff and when this 30th anniversary of Mistreat was coming on, we decided to make it happen. This time we just didnˋt wanna put it out by ourselves, because of the reason I just mentioned. If someone will make thousands of bootlegs out of it, we donˋt need to care about that much.
3. Mistreat is one of the few bands that still stays true to its style since its beginning. Do you think you are traditionalists or you just believe that if one thing is good enough and everybody likes it, there is no need for a change?
Yes, it´s true we havenˋt changed that much during these 30 years, we still play the same kind of music style with the same kind of lyrics, but the scene has changed pretty much. Back in the 80ˋs, every skinhead band played the same kind of oi-music, now there´s all kind metal music, Viking metal, and NSBM involved in that scene..not even members in the bands are necessarily skinheads. I wouldn´t call us as a traditionalist that way… I guess we´re just stuck in 80´s and early 90´s and can´t even do anything else than music from that era. Our music and lyrics are simple as it was back then, guess we must believe that simplicity then?. So far, people have liked it all over the world, so no need for a change. Iˋm very grateful and happy for that.
Finland is one of the few countries in Europe where it´s pretty easy to make this kind of music and organize gigs without the authorities causing problems. It´s pretty rare that cops would even mind to show up on our gigs. Sometimes they do, but just to check that everything´s ok. They´re not arresting people for having swastika t-shirts etc...Also, we haven't faced any problems here cause of our music, at least problems caused by authorities. Of course, local Antifa clowns are trying their best to snitch to our employers, that we are nazis etc..that normal shit they do, but so far no one cares about that either.
5. Finland is probably one of the countries where you can still see monuments with swastikas. We are also aware of the fact that you have the only Messerschmitt left (not counting Germany) from the WWII. At the same time, you are the only country in the EU where people can see a monument of Lenin. How do the society and your politicians look on history, and especially on the period of the WWII? Do you have a lot of antifascists and are they some kind of a threat to these monuments? Or the nationalist movements in the country at all?
Yes, we have lots of monuments here and this Lenin monument and Lenin Museum as well heh, heh...Our politicians respect our history (at least most of them) and those monuments are part of it. Finland got its independence after Revolution in Russia 1917 and Lenin was the first one as a Bolshevik leader who declared Finland's independence. Guess that's why his monument is still somewhere in Finland. Politicians in general here are still mostly patriots as much as normal average citizens. Everyone respects our history and what this small country has had to endure for centuries. So, when it comes to monuments about winter or continuation wars. Every single one here respects those monuments and those monuments are not scrawled, smashed or vandalized in any kind of way, not even by Antifa clowns... Only monuments those clowns are scrawling are the monuments about Finland's civil war and of course monuments of the white side. Antifa is small organisation here (maybe couple hundred) and they've made a fool out themselves so many times that everyone is laughing at them. Even average people are laughing at them. We have several nationalist movements here and every and each one of them is bigger than any left-wing movement.
6. Do the Finnish people appropriately commemorate one of the greatest heroes in your history - the sniper Simo Häyhä. Do kids study about him in schools? Does the media mentions something about him or they try to avoid the topic?
Oh yes, he was one of the great soldiers fighting against red invaders, but he wasn't the only one. In Finland, there are several men like him who fought in Winter War, Continuation War and in Lapland War, who did similar actions than Simo Häyhä. The majority in Finland respects these veterans and kids are certainly learning in schools about these veterans and about these wars we had to go through. Media is also writing about these wars all the time, but mostly when it´s some sort of commemoration day like 70-years when winter war started etc...i can imagine that year 2019 it´s gonna be 80-years when winter war started, so it´s certainly gonna appear in headlines in every newspapers, tv-news, radio shows and so on...I think last time I heard about Simo Häyhä in media, was early this year when they opened a museum in honor of his memory. Even if the media is pretty much owned by Jews and most of the journalists are left wing, in Finland, it's a kind of different to write about these things. Everyone respects our war heroes, even 99% of left wingers. A reason might be that we as a country did not attack anyone, we just defended our land, it´s territories and its people against this red evil empire.
Oh yes. Some people might say that it was invented in Spanish civil war 1936, but it´s not the same thing. It was actually invented in Finland before the Winter War and it was named after Soviet foreign minister Vjatseslav Molotov. The reason why they named this for Molotov cocktail is that Molotov had been saying that Soviet bombers are not bombing Finland by bombs, only with food aid packages..heh... (by the way, In one of our songs we are singing - Njet molotov, njet molotov, you lied more than bobrikov...). so it was like a gift back to him from Finnish people. The reason it was invented is simple. We as a small nation at the time didn't have enough ammunition/anti-tank weapons against Soviet tanks (cause they were so many), so we were forced to come up with something. The recipe was simple. A little bit of petrol, rubbing alcohol and some tar for getting some smoke as well. It worked like hell. Winter war lasted only 105 days and the Soviet Union Lost almost 2000 tanks during that time. About 500 of those were caused by molotov cocktails.
8. Some of your lyrics are directed against Russia. What do you think of the Russian people and in particular, what is your opinion about the Russian nationalists nowadays? We saw a few of them who had come to support you at the gig in Helsinki. Is it possible that the hostility between two nations can be put behind our backs in the name of a united Europe; at times when we need to be stronger than ever?
To be honest, our lyrics against Russians are not lyrics against Russians at all. Those songs we are singing are old propaganda songs from winter/continuation war (like this njet molotov, for example) and those got nothing to do with normal Russian people. We don't have anything against Russians as a people and as a matter of fact, we have Russian friends as well, so if there were some hostilities between these two nations? from my opinion it´s over now. We hate only politics they had in 30´s and 40´s and the fact, that they started the winter war without any provocation by Finns and the fact, that they stole a little part of our country, which we would like to have back. My opinion about Russian nationalists? Have to remember that there's all kind of nationalists in Russia and they´re all fighting for different purposes, but at least those I know from St. Petersburg and Moscow are exactly like we are and also fighting for pretty much the same causes that we are. So I see us as friends and not like enemies anymore.
9. Helsinki is one of the whitest northern capitals. However, several years ago, when the boom of the immigration wave happened, many Finns came out on the streets to protest against the illegals who wanted to enter your country. And as far as we remember, there was also a blockage of the border. During that same time, a new organization emerged - “Sons of Odin”. Can you tell us more about them? Who they are? Are they really nationalists or just puppets of the government? Also, what the politicians and society think of the immigrants from Asia and Africa?
I only know about these "Sons of Odin" that they were/are just concerned citizens, who just got worried about what happened around them. Rape waves, murders, etc...they wanted to protect their women, children and their childhood neighbourhood from these middle east animals. Because the government didn't do a shit (even if it was obvious what was happening), they decided to do something. Some of the members are nationalists, some of them are skinheads and some of them just "normal fathers". In my society average people like more Asians than Africans, cause Asians are normally working 100% and they stick with their own race. You can't say the same thing with Africans and even politicians know that but canˋt admit it. Maybe because they are making pretty good money out of this "immigrant crisis". Those thousands of Somalians who came to Finland already in late 80ˋs, only 4% of them are working. Tells me a lot about their mentality...What makes anyone think that these new coming animals are any better? They´ve had already proved them otherwise by raping and stealing...So, Everyone knows these people are cockroaches, parasites, rats... Politicians won't tell that loud out cause they are making money out of it. Money that comes from normal hard working peoples asses, who needs to pay for their party. So, people are angry and Organizations like "Sons of Odin" will be more, sure about that. Even if our government is working pretty hard to ban all kind of organizations, that smells even a little bit of nationalism.
10. You have a song dedicated to the American Hammerskins and the gig in Helsinki was co-organized by both organizations. As far as we know, the Finnish skinheads are in good relationships with some moto clubs as well. Are you members of any organization or political party?
Yes, in Finland we are and have always been in good relationships with some mc clubs. We visit their parties and they visit our parties as well. Don´t know why it´s like that? but it started already in 80ˋs... Guess we both are some kind of violent groups who like to drink and have fun and we respect each other that way. B&H and Hammers/Crew 38 in Finland are actually sharing the same clubhouse and they are cooperating all the time. We are good friends with both organizations, but personally, we´re not members of any of these organizations or political parties. We support them both with different activities and do the same thing with some political movements, but that's about it.
When we started in 80´s, we only sang in Finnish, but the scene in Finland was pretty small at the time. Have to remember that Finland was a small country and it still is a small country. Only 5.5 million people are living here and if here´s nowadays ca.1000 skinheads here, back in the eighties we were under 100 skinheads in the whole country. We decided to make some "test songs" in English, so maybe other skinheads around the world could understand what we are singing. We understood that pretty soon that maybe it´s better to continue with English, but also won't forget to make some songs in Finnish once in a while. Mostly those Finnish songs are about winter/continuation war or just drinking and fighting songs.
12. Mistreat is a band that more than once has performed on stages across the ocean. Will you tell us more about the places you have been? Is the atmosphere different compared to the European one?
Yes we have played in most of the European countries and in northern America several times (New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minnesota, Atlanta, etc...) and now we just came back from Brazil, so list for the countries we've played is kind of big. Easier to say countries we havenˋt been playing. Those countries in Europe we havenˋt been playing but would like to visit are at least Portugal, Ukraine and Serbia. But yes, the American audience is not that different compared to the European audience and in my eyes, they are just Europeans living in America. Of course, people in west coast are a little bit more relaxed than in east coast, up in north people are exactly like we are and in the south, they are like we plus southern mentality/hospitality and that is something unique. Gigs are exactly like anywhere else in Europe, but they might have some other activities during the day also like strong man contests, etc... Which I think is just fun.
13. Final words for your Bulgarian fans. What should we expect from you in November?
13. Final words for your Bulgarian fans. What should we expect from you in November?
Thanx to you for showing some interests for our band. iˋm flattered and happy to still have this opportunity to keep on playing. feeling privileged to travel around the world, feeling honoured that people still keep coming to our shows. This is our first time in Bulgaria and we're really looking forward to visiting/playing in your country. Promise to give you the best of us and hopefully you won't be disappointed. Thank you already in advance.
14. Thank you for your time. We look forward to seeing you!
You support us, we support you.
See you soon brothers and sisters.
Best regards from the land of the thousands of lakes!