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úterý 13. února 2018

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Interview - HOODED MENACE - Music breeds music.

Interview with doom/death metal band from Finland - HOODED MENACE.

Answered Lasse.

Translated and questions prepared by Petra, thank you!

Hello HOODED MENACE! I am listening to your fresh record „Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed“ almost tenth time and it seems to be better and better. It is unbelievable how you can keep such balance between doom and death metal. The atmosphere is amazing! Regarding the date of releasing (26th January), I have noticed a huge amount of reviews. What are the feedbacks to the new album up to now and how are you satisfied with the record? 

Hi! Thanks for the good words! Glad to hear you dig the new album. The feedback has been pretty amazing so far actually. A lot of people have said “Ossuarium…” is our best album to date or the best since “Never Cross the Dead”, and while it´s a bit hard for me to be very objective, I don´t think I´d disagree with such comments as we´re very satisfied with the results.

Lasse, you are the only one original member of HOODED MENACE, but a long time you have played with the drummer Pekka Koskelo. I suppose the composing of all material – guitars, bass guitar, vocals, lyrics were under your direction. Now, HOODED MENACE is presented with full line-up. Has the process of composing changed somehow or still everything regarding the writing of a new material is only your job? And what happened with Pekka Koskelo? You as a team have collaborated together quite for a long time.

I´ve written all our music so far - also on the new album. When comes to lyrics, the job´s been split between Teemu, Harri and myself. Time will tell if the newest members will contribute in the future, be it musically or lyrically. 

As for Pekka, things got a bit too complicated for him to continue in the band after we relocated our headquarters (read: rehearsal place) from Joensuu to Helsinki. The two cities are quite far away from each other. Harri and Teemu are Helsinki-based (as well as Otso and Antti) and I´ve been planning to move to the capital city too, so it felt like a good idea to start rehearsing there already. Luckily Pekka wanted to play the drums on the new album still.

And what about the new line-up, is HOODED MENACE for new members the band number one or have they another bands/projects? How it looks like at rehearsal, is between you that legendary “chemistry”? I suppose they are in the band only short time. Did they participate in the writing process on the latest album?

First of all, Otso (drums) and Antti (bass) did not join the band until AFTER “Ossuarium…” was recorded. This has caused a lot of misunderstandings about who are playing on the album, and while we are at it, I will set the record straight; the line-up on the new album is: Lasse (guitar, bass), Teemu (guitar), Pekka (drums), and Harri (vocals). 

Yeah, everyone of us play in other bands too; Otso in Krypts, Harri in Horse Latitudes etc., Teemu in Harhaisku, and Antti in Devenial Verdict etc. In fact I´m the only one who doesn’t have another band that plays gigs. Surely I´ve done a lot of side-projects, but lately not so much (Lobotomy Dept MCD being the latest) and they are never live-bands. 

So far it´s been great jamming with the new guys. They have brought some fresh energy and enthusiasm to the band. 

A very noticeable change occurred at the post of the vocalist. "Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed" is the first album, where you did not record the vocals. I think Harri has a much clearer vocal than you, it is not so “rotten” if you know what I mean. What do you think about it? What do you expect, how the fans will accept this change?

Yeah, Harri´s tone is different from mine for sure, but I think it fits like a glove especially to the new album material, but there´s also new level of energy to the older material as his voice is more dynamic sounding. He´s got that cool Paradise Lost/Winter type of growl that I like very, very much. 

Overall the feedback has been very positive actually, but of course there are also people who are disappointed about this switch. You cannot please everyone, but we could not be much happier about the new vocals and that´s the most important thing anyway. 

The new album was released by Season of Mist. Since your debut, you've changed the label a couple of times, almost every record has been released by the different label. However, the two previous albums were released by Relapse Records. Why did you come over from Relapse to Season of Mist? 

Our deal with Relapse was fulfilled after two album, so we wanted to check what else there might be for us. Relapse did pretty good job, but we didn´t feel like it was the label we necessarily wanted to be on for the next couple albums as well. At least we wanted to look around, you know. Season of Mist was excited about working with us and offered the best deal, so we went with them. Things have been good with SoM so far. We have a good communication and they are doing good promotion for the new album. So far so good. 

What about your cooperation with Adam Burke? How did you choose this artist? Which his work has convinced you to pick exactly him for painting the album's cover? Last year, a few albums with amazing Burke’s cover art were released (Loss, Sósltafir, Artificial Brain).

It was the latest album cover of Loss that caught my eye, so I asked the band´s guitarist Tim about the artist and soon I was talking to Adam Burke about the guidelines for the new Hooded Menace album cover art. Adam did excellent job. The painting fits perfectly to the atmosphere of the album. 

Who exactly produced the latest album? Did you change the recording studio, some methods, sound compared to the previous album? Try to compare "Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed" with the older records in general.

This time we worked with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Paradise Lost, Cathedral, Ghost) who mixed and mastered the album at his Orgone Studios in the UK. We really loved the drum sound, especially, that he created for Paradise Lost´s “The Plague Within” album, so we wanted to see what he could do with us. Overall we´re very pleased how things turned out. We definitely consider working with him in the future as well. 

I think “Ossuarium…” is a bit more melodic and melancholic than our previous records. Maybe more catchy too. There´s more dynamics and depth to it and it just feels a bit more mature in every way. You can easily hear it´s us, but with a slightly refined sound.

Concerning the writing of lyrics, are you still fascinated and inspired by the old horror movies? Has the concept or background of lyrics changed on the new record?

Yeah, we´re still sucking inspiration from old horror films among other things, but the approach is different. Just like on “Darkness Drips Forth”, the new album´s lyrics, or some of them, are not based but inspired by movies. A big difference right there. Whatever the source of inspiration may be, it can get pretty heavily veiled or totally vanished for the more compelling ideas. There´s a starting point that sparks the process, but it can go anywhere from there as long as it has the right kind of feel to it. It is all about feel and atmosphere and you can interpret the lyrics in many ways. It´s pretty surrealist and dreamy stuff, but rooted in all things gloomy and horrifying as always. 

What inspires and encourages you to make such dark and gloomy music? Do you have to have a bad state of mind when composing music, does the emotional mood play some role in the process?

Music breeds music. That´s where it stems from. As they say, the first bands you really get into stay with you forever. I grew up in the 80´s with all the heavy metal stuff and discovered the more extreme sounds along the way. It gave me pleasure, inspired me and simply made life more exciting. The music from those days is still the stuff I love the most to this day and age. Coming from this background, I find the the bleakest doom uplifting. And inspiring. 

When writing, I can be happy or melancholic, but never too deep in a bad state of mind. That´s not to say there´s no anger and anxiety put into the songs as I´m sure a wide range of emotions leak in during the writing-process. Finnish people are said to be inclined to melancholy due to long, dark and cold winters as well as the isolated location. I can recognize this quality in me, so perhaps something emanates from there. 

What kind of music currently influences you the most? Is there something unusual from the metal fans view? What has caught you the most recently? Recommend us some good band...

I don´t know if the following bands have had much influence on Hooded Menace - perhaps in terms of the intensity and catchiness if anything - but here you have some of the stuff I´ve been jamming lately: Ratt (first two full albums), Ozzy (Jake and Randy -era only), early Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Racer X, Judas Priest, Van Halen (Roth albums), even some jazz fusion rock stuff etc. For the more recent names, and especially in metal, I´d pick Power Trip and Necrot. They´re quite amazing. 

And what about concerts, are you planning a tour to support a new record? So far I have only seen you at the festival, but I think your music is more suitable for the club.

We´ll play “Fulfill the Curse” the 10 year anniversary sets at Roadburn (NL) and Kill-Town Death Fest (DK) and I´m typing this interview on my way to Helsinki for our record release show. Krypts will be opening, so it´ll be double duty for our drummer Otso. We´re also booked to play North of the Wall Festival (UK) in late April and there´s more, but unfortunately I can´t speak of them yet. Also, we hope to tour Europe in the summer but nothing´s set in stone 100% as we speak. 

Do you remember your performance at Obscene Extreme? It was a bit unusual start of that festival, but the genre change was very desirable, I really enjoyed that evening. I think it was your very first concert in the Czech Republic. How do you remember it, the atmosphere, and the people? And what about your performance in Prague, did you enjoy it?

Yeah, Obscene Extreme was our first time in Czech and it was good. I remember my own performance was a bit sloppy, but it was great to be there for sure. Would love to do it again one day. The club gig in Prague was great. It was part of our European tour and I remember that night was especially good. Yeah, nice memories from you beautiful country.

Thank you very much for the interview. I wish you a many successful concerts, happy and satisfied fans and many sold albums. I am looking forward for one of your show; I hope you will also visit Czech Republic.

Thank you! We wish to return to Czech Republic soon!

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