Hi guys, I meant to post it yesterday but I was kinda busy...
Interview with Lasse from Hooded Menace where he talks about Hooded Menace plans for 2011, Acid Witch, and a new project!
Dr.D.: Congratulations on your newest record! What impressed me the most in “Never Cross the Dead” is the fact that the melodic parts are increased and that the lead guitar has a bigger role. Honestly, this came to me as bit surprise as I always thought that you would insist more in the death flavor of the first album. In your opinion what do you think was the biggest achievement in “Never Cross the Dead”? What in was the element that made it a success?
L.: Thanks! The extremities are stretched a bit. We submerged deeper into the dark but then again the album is more melodic or at least there're more of them this time around. Indeed the lead guitar is more on the map than on "Fulfill The Curse". I'm very happy with the songs on the both albums but "Never Cross The Dead" has more depth and layers making it more comprehensive experience.
Dr.D.: As far as I know after “Never Cross the Dead” the band was expanded with additional band members. Now Oula is cited as the vocalist of the band. Does this mean that mean that you are not going to hear any more of those creepy growls in future releases?
L.: Yeah, it's a four piece band now. I might do some backing vocals on the recordings (I already did on "I, Devil Master" that we recorded for Live Evil Fest compilation 2LP) but from now Oula will be responsible for the "creepy growls".
Dr.D.: Have you already recorded something with the new lineup? Can you explain the songwriting/recording process to us?
L.: Yes, we have already recorded the aforementioned "I, Devil Master". You can check it from our pages (myspace, facebook...) or get the "Live Evil Vol 1" 2LP in your hands. The recording session went pretty smoothly and I'm looking forward to the next session which should take place sometime in February 2011. We have planned to record new tracks for two split 7"EP's but I don't wanna reveal the details just yet.
The songwriting process goes as follows: I pick up my guitar, open Garageband from the laptop, record any good riff I come up with, build a song around it, record guitars, bass and program a drum machine track. If I have lyrics that I can use I record a rough vocal track. As a result I have a demo that I will e-mail to the other members and they will learn it. I rarely make any changes to the songs afterwards as everything's very well thought out during the demo phase. Sometimes I have more than one song under work. Sometimes I take weeks off as it's important to keep the flame burning so to speak and of course there's more to life than just music. So a short pause every now and then is pretty healthy. I don't wanna pollute the scene with 7393739 useless projects that now one cares about. There's too much garbage around these days anyway.
When we record something with the band we try to avoid professional studios as much as possible. Usually only the drums are recorded in a pro studio and the rest at the practice spot and at home on our own gear.
Dr.D.: Electric Wizard, Ramesses, Acid Witch and the list goes on! The 70’s underground horror films seem to have a heavy influence in doom scene lately. Horror film lyrics play a major role in Hooded Manage profile too! How did you find yourself inspired by those kinds of films in the first place? Can you imagine Hooded Menace writing about other concepts besides horror films?
L.: There's no Hooded Menace without horror. It wouldn't be the same. Even our name comes from the Blind Dead movies so we are bound to it forever. Horror and metal have always went well hand in hand. In our case it's a match made in heaven (or hell) and it was very obvious right from the beginning that horror will play a big role in Hooded Menace. We all dig horror films from the past and find it a vast source of inspiration.
Dr.D.: Who is responsible for the extremely cool cover art?
L.: "Never Cross The Dead" cover art is Putrid's drawing with Adam Geyer's coloring. We have been working with Putrid since the very beginning. He drew our logo and the cover art for "Fulfill The Curse". This time we wanted to have a colored art and I'm telling you the result topped my highest hopes! I'd like to hook them up for a collaboration for our next album as well.
Dr.D.: What is going on with the other project you are involved: Acid Witch. I’ve heard that you left the band before the release of Stoned. The vocals are almost identical to yours but you are nowhere referred on the album. If this is true can you explain the reasons?
L.: I quit the band after "Witch house" 7"EP because I wanted to focus on my own bands. After all Acid Witch is Dave's brainchild and he writes all the music. I was "just" a singer but eventually I got a bit tired of doing it. They also wanted to play gigs and that would've been impossible with me living on this side of Atlantic. I don't think the vocals on their new album sound identical to mine. Dave sounds great on "Stoned"! They don't need me.
Dr.D.: A lot of people have been comparing Acid Witch and Hooded Menace. What do you think is the main similarity with Acid Witch and what is the main difference between the two bands?
L.: People should listen to music instead of reading about it! If I was never in Acid Witch not many would compare us. This constant comparison is ridiculous because the bands do not sound alike. We have worked with same artists, labels, and lyricists and of course you can put the both under horror death/doom label but that's where the similarities end. Acid Witch is more rocking and trippy... more inspired by Witchfinder General and such when Hooded Menace is darker stuff in the vein of the first Cathedral album, Asphyx, first two Paradise Lost albums etc. The keyboards play a big role in Acid Witch, Hooded Menace don't use keys at all. Yeah, we have a lot in common, it's just mostly other things but music. But oh well, who cares... eventually it'll be good for both bands because wherever one is mentioned the other will be too, haha!
Dr.D.: There were plans for a split with the legendary band Asphyx within 2010! What happened to that release? Will this include the talents of the newer band members?
L.: Actually this is finally coming together for real. All we need now is the cover art basically. Putrid is already working on the sketches. It will be an early 2011 release. Expect nothing but a top notch Doomentia quality and crushing death/doom from both bands! We recorded our song "Abode Of The Grotesque" in the recording sessions of "Never Cross The Dead" in late 2009 so our line up for this split is just me and Pekka. Needless to say I'm utterly stoked about this release! Such an honor to share a wax with a band that you are heavily influenced by.
Dr.D.: You have been a member to a large number of Finish death metal bands. What is the status with these projects right now? Do you consider Hooded Menace as your “main” project?
L.: Hooded Menace is my priority. There's nothing planned for Claws, Phlegethon or Vacant Coffin which is on hold. Well actually there's a Phlegethon DVD now scheduled for 2011 on Doomentia and an exclusive Claws track will appear on Relapse's 7" Death Metal Series. Looks like Cyclone Empire will be putting those 7 inches out tho. Time will tell if Rogga and I will record any new stuff with Swarming in 2011. It's just something we do when we don't have anything else to do and when we feel like it. I have a new project with Dopi from Machetazo. It's so fresh thing that we don't even have a name for the band yet but musically it'll be something like Amebix meets Voivod meets Axegrinder meets Godflesh. Maybe we will have a 7" out in 2011 or something. Let's see how it proceeds. Both of us have been wanting to play something like this for a long time so we are very excited about this collaboration. Dopi is an excellent, tight drummer and a great guy who knows his shoit. I think this will turn out to something very cool.
Dr.D.: Finland has a very heavy death metal heritage. Do you follow the contemporary scene? Are there any bands you spotted worth mentioning? I was also wondering how is the doom metal scene in Finland?
L.: I follow it a bit. Just ordered the new Horse Latitudes album. Judging from a couple of tracks I've heard the band sounds awesome. Somekind of sludge/doom with two basses, vocals and drums. Cannot wait to hear the whole album. There are pretty good doom bands in Finland. More and more bands are emerging. I don't know if it's a phenomenon already but surely there is a good buzz going on. Of course everyone knows Reverend Bizarre (r.i.p.) that have been an inspiration to many of these younger acts. Newer doom bands like The Wandering Midget, Caskets Open and are worth mentioning. I also like quite a lot The Puritan which is a bit more experimental stuff but just damn heavy. What comes to death metal we have Krypts, Stench Of Decay, Vorum, Ascended... Lots of excellent metal coming out from our small country. It's great!
Dr.D.: This year you are going to perform in Roadburn festival! Do you feel more “recognized” now that you perform in major festivals? Are there any plans for a more extensive European tour?
L.: Yeah, being invited to Roadburn as well as Maryland Deathfest is very nice. It feels good to be recognized as I'm very satisfied and proud of the music I've been doing with Hooded Menace. So getting all these invitations feels justified so to speak. We don't have any plans for a more extensive European or US tour as we have busy people in this band. Half of us are studying and everyone has other bands too so it'd be hard to find time for touring. Besides I don't even want to play live too often. A few shows in a year sounds good enough. I'm more into the creative side.
Dr.D.: What are the impressions so far from your lives? I always thought that Hooded Menace was more like a studio band.
L.: It's okay. I'm not crazy for playing live but it's okay. I know we'd sound a lot better with two guitars so our live sound is more or less a compromise. It's quite stripped down performance. Some like it a lot, some not that much. Running a four-piece band is complicated enough so finding a second guitarist is out of the question at least for now. The audiences we have played at have been pretty good so far. Maybe the crowd at Live Evil Fest in London being the most enthusiastic so far.
Dr.D.: You started as a death metal Candlemass cover band! Now, I am really curious on how this sounds! Should we expect a Candlemass cover on an upcoming release? What is the plan for 2011?
L.: Playing Candlemass with death metal vocals is kind of an old habit to me. My old band Phlegethon used to play Candlemass songs in late 80's/early 90's. We even recorded "Tales Of Creation" in the recording sessions of our first demo "Visio Dei Beatifica" in '89 but the track was never mixed because we couldn't finish the vocal track. The song sounded too absurd and hilarous with Teemu and me trying to do a death metal duet on it and the vocal sessions just turned into a big laughter. As much as I love Candlemass it wouldn't be the most interesting choice for Hooded Menace to record. It's fun to play tho.
Like I mentioned we are going to record songs for two split 7" EP´s in 2011. We will do a couple of shows that I cannot reveal yet. Well, you know about MDF and Roadburn already. Gotta write more new songs and hopefully we can start recording the 3rd album sometime late 2011.
Dr.D.: At this point I would like to thank you for taking time for this interview! If you have something to say be my guest!
L.: Thanks for the interview and your support! Everyone take care!