I had my very first songwriting session in Sweden in February 2010. I was booked to make music together with two total strangers (Sharon Vaughn and Carl Björsell) somewhere in a small studio in Stockholm. I felt kind of nervous walking in and introducing myself to these folks who had written huge hits to many artists from all over the world. In 2010 Sunrise Avenue was still a one-hit-wonder with “Fairytale Gone Bad” for the bigger audience and co-write sessions with new folks was totally new to me. I’m really happy my publisher Sony/ATV selected these two writers to be the first ones.
We had two days together and we wrote two songs. First day we wrote “Angels on a Rampage.” Sharon said in the morning she wants to write a huge rock ballad and we had nothing against that with Carl. Six hours after entering the room, we had written and recorded the song demo and during these six hours we also had lunch. Sometimes these sessions are super fast. Sometimes things just work out.
When I woke up the second day, I felt a little ill. However, we decided to have the session anyway and see what comes out. We wrote a song about this guy who is sitting in a tour bus somewhere far away from home. About this imaginary city called “Hurtsville.” In the story, the guy is kind of sad and it hurts to be alone far away from home and I think Sharon’s idea for the song name was just genius. After writing the song, we recorded a demo with acoustic guitar, bass and vocals, but I wasn’t too sure about it because of my ill throat.
Soon after Stockholm, I flew to Los Angeles to write with more and more people and the only demo I ever got from Carl was “Angels On A Rampage.” Maybe he thought I didn’t like my voice on the other recording…
After the L.A. trip I came back home to look at the new tracks with both producer Jukkas. We worked with both of them with “Out Of Style” album. They both loved “Angels on a Rampage” right away and it ended up on the album. The album was released, Hollywood Hills became a huge hit and somehow I had forgotten about this “Hurtsville” song completely.
In February 2013 I had another two-day-session with Carl and Sharon again. Another success. We wrote “Unholy Ground” and “Aim For The Kill” in two days. Great Great Great. In the very end of the second studio day I was already ready to call a taxi to the airport as Carl asked us “What should we do with Hurtsville??”
I was like “Hurtsville, what?”
Carl plays the demo as I’m already wearing my jacket and my guitar is packed ready for the flight. Time stops and we burst into tears with Sharon.
I brought the song back to Finland with me and there was no question. It should be on the album. Everyone loved it. Producing the song was super hard. We made four finalized versions (More acoustic version, old school rock’n’roll style, a stupid pop 90’s thing…) but nothing just felt right. I was personally suffering a lot with every version there was and it just didn’t feel right. Full respect to producer Jukka for listening to one more stupid idea how the song has to be. Now it’s perfect!
The coolest thing is that we tried singing the lead vocals a billion times in studio in Helsinki, but it never felt as good as the original demo vocals. Finally Jukka decided to use those “sick-throat” vocals recorded in Stockholm in 2010. The same vocals that made the song disappear for years are now on the album.
Check out the live version on our brand new player on our Facebook page. You all look just amazing!!