Blonde ambition

Fitness rock, merry metal, Van Halen wannabes? Finnish glam metallers Reckless Love fit many bills and they’re on a mission to emulate their heroes in more ways than one. meets guitarist Pepe Salohalme and bassist Jalle Verne

“No one expected a band like this to come from Finland,” claims Reckless Love guitarist Pepe Salohalme, who is about to play Islington Academy. The foursome last played London in September 2010 and have since been busy touring Europe, popping over to the US and recording the second album. They have big hopes about their UK return. “The first time around it was overwhelming how we got accepted here,” he says. “There were sold-out shows left and right, so this time we do have some expectations.”

Based on previous experience, this could be hysteria. The band have attracted a “Recklessmania” following on the continent, notably in Italy and Finland, so what is it that causes such a reaction? Salohalme reckons it comes down to the songs sounding universal and pop. “We try to make them poppy or appealing – whatever you call it,” he says. “We want to make as catchy music as possible in the rock ‘n’ roll setting.”

Songwriting was central to the band’s latest album, Animal Attraction, the follow-up to their self-titled debut. And far from being the difficult second record, it was the easy one, claims Salohalme. “We've concentrated even more on just the core of the song. Everything was written basically with an acoustic guitar, whereas on the first album we had a riff and we would jam on it like many rock bands do. But this time it’s almost like singer-songwriter stuff: melody first.”

While this is a clear template for chart success, the band’s teenage-girl magnetism could probably be attributed to their singer. With his long, blonde tresses; ripped bare chest and flirtatious charm, frontman Olli Herman is a real poster boy. High-kicking his way through every live performance creates an obvious resemblance to a young Dave Lee Roth [Van Halen], which is something the band take as a fair comment and a huge compliment.

Reckless Love have always bowed to rock icons. Originally called Reckless Life in tribute to the GN’R song, they started out covering GN’R, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen and the like before quickly becoming a band in their own right. Now they're aiming to conquer Europe, spend time in the US and replicate their heroes' record sales. “We want to sell millions!” claims bassist Jalle Verne.

As for modern-day idols, they name parody hair metal ensemble Steel Panther – another band to whom they are compared. But Verne laughs at the suggestion Reckless Love are another “joke band”. There’s mutual respect between the two, and on a recent trip to LA, to film the promo for single Hot, the band were spontaneously invited on stage to play with Steel Panther. Salohalme says: “People are pleased we’re the same kind of band without the joke element. Although we’re all about the feel-good smiles, we’re not ironic.” Verne adds: “And we have our own hair!”

Animal Attraction is out now on Spinefarm Records
More on Reckless Love

Reckless Love are:
Olli Herman, vocals
Hessu Maxx, drums
Pepe Salohalme, guitar
Jalle Verne, bass