Inutile ou presque de présenter l'un des nouveaux chefs de file de la scène européenne Sans verser dans la nostalgie exacerbée des années 88-92, mais plutôt en s'inspirant des grands de l'époque et de leur propres expériences , Lasse et ses amis d'HOODED MENACE ont en l'espace de deux superbes albums su redonner ses lettres de noblesse au death/doom, et ce n'est qu'un début car comme vous allez le voir, plein de bonnes choses s'annoncent...
Désolé, pas de traduction, ça se consomme 100% pure, enjoy !
* A bit more than 20 years after your first steps in music, do you feel that “never cross the dead” is the most achieved release you’ve ever been involved in ?
L : Yeah, I think so. Both artistically and commercially altho of course we are not talking about big numbers here but more like big artistic satisfaction. I´m really happy with how the album came out. The debut "Fulfill the Curse" was a really good album and I´m just glad that I feel like we topped it with "Never Cross the Dead". Also people seem to like the newer album even more than the debut so unquestionably that feels good too.
* You’ve some great artwork (covers) and very high quality merchandising designs, is it the same guy that works on both ? do you give him general ideas or is he completely free with his imagination ?
L : As for 7"´s, shirts and whatsoever we have been working with several artists like Putrid, Ralaf Kruszyk, Daniel Desecrator etc. but what comes to full length album covers it´s Matt "Putrid" Carr we´ve always turned to. Adam Geyer colored Putrid´s inks for "Never Cross the Dead" and I´d like to have them collaborating in the similar way for the next album as well. Usually I don´t have to instruct the artists because they "get" what Hooded Menace is all about and their heads are often full of ideas. But sometimes I might throw my ideas at them and it works very well that way too. Visuals matter for sure. I grew up with the classic Dio and Iron Maiden albums so it´s no brainer that I pay a lot attention to the designs and what them to be killer.
* Horror is an essential source of inspiration for you, how do you manage to get new ideas for lyrics, concept/image ? Do horror movies inspire you both for their soundtracks and stories ?
L : There will always be a ton of films to draw inspiration from. It´s almost impossible to think of anything else for the lyrical themes or visuals as horror goes so damn well with this type of music and because we simply dig horror. And yes, it´s not only stories that inspire us but soundtracks too. The whole package. It´s very natural. It´s like no horror, no Hooded Menace. Those subjects haven´t worn out to me much at all. You know, we didn´t write about horror films or gore and such in my old band Phlegethon. We enjoyed horror films just like most metal kids did back in the day but we wanted to write more original lyrics. We were very much into surrealism and let that influence our lyrics. So the stuff turned out really weird, mystic and just surreal. Very original. I guess you could say the stuff we wrote was some kind of horror too. Only very, very odd. Hooded Menace is different, more like back to basics which is fun. It´s just downright horror and it´s inspiring and pleasant to do this stuff with this band, with this music. We have a few horror obsessed friends writing lyrics for us. There´s only one Hooded Menace song with the lyrics written by a member of the band. I penned "Catacombs of the Graceless" for Hooded Menace/Ilsa split 12". I might write some for the next album but 90% or more of the lyrics will be written by Tanya and Kevin with whom we´ve been working since "Fulfill the Curse". How they manage to get new ideas for lyrics, that you should ask from them. I´m much more into writing music than writing lyrics so this situation fits me just perfectly.
* You gave your first gigs last year and there’s more planed in 2011, that means you had great sensations and responses, do you think some kind of real tour could be possible in the future ?
L : Tours might happen in the future or not. Dunno. We´ll see about that then. So far we have been forced to turn down all the tour offers because we have superbusy people in the band. It´s not easy to arrange things the way that we all could spend weeks on the road. I don´t stress about that too much as I´m not into this for performing but for creating and recording new music. But basically a good tour could be nice to do at some point.
* You’re soon playing at the world’s best doom and death metal festivals, I mean Roadburn and Maryland Deathfest, are you conscious that just a few bands can pretend to this ? (ok Voivod do it too this year, Cathedral could have, then Autopsy first come to my mind, but not ten more …!)
L : Hehe, I never thought it that way actually... but yeah, we are quite fortunate I guess. I hope it´s not only about luck tho, haha! To be honest getting to play these great festivals was never my goal. I just wanted to release a couple of good albums. What came along with it is pretty confusing and exciting. I´m flattered for all these invitations. I can´t complain really. If I was as hooked on performing as I am on writing music then I would complain because we have to turn down a lot of good opportunities to play live.
* Candlemass has been a big influence on H.M. and so it did for Phlegethon (you tried to cover “tales of creation” with Phlegethon which didn’t really work coz of vocals), how do you feel to see them soon for the special 25th anniversary “epicus…” show at Roadburn ? interested by Winter’s by the way ? too many great bands to see there or… ?
L : Yeah, there are a lot of great bands to see.... Voivod, Godflesh, Pentagram and so forth. The line up is nuts! Candlemass is what I´m looking forward the most at Roadburn. It will be awesome to see them performing my favorite Candlemas album "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" with my favorite Candlemass vocalist Johan Längqvist! It will be quite unreal! Also Winter is something I cannot wait to witness live. To see the bands live that you are influenced by is always very special.
* From what you mentioned last week on your facebook, you already have 5 new songs for the third album, could you tell a bit about them ? can we expect a recording for this autumn ? still on the same label ?
L : Yes, I have written a couple of new tracks. The stuff is gloomy, catchy and very heavy yet pretty melodic. It´s still 100% Hooded Menace. Maybe there´s more old Paradise Lost, Iron Maiden and even Metallica (of course the good ol´ classic, epic Metallica) incluences thrown in this time around. We´ll see how the songwriting turns out for the rest of the album material. So far so good! I´m very excited about this new music. Some of the song titles are: "Legend of the Lycanthrope", "In the Dead We Dwell" and "Curses Scribed in Gore". Hopefully the recording sessions will start sometime in the Fall of 2011 or so. I guess the album won´t be out before 2012. We don´t have a deal for the 3rd album yet.
* You’re playing within a few other bands/projects but I think H.M. is largely the most important actually, are all these just for taking pleasure with good (old) friends or is there something really more serious to achieve with any ?
L : Hooded Menace is my priority and the rest (Claws, Ruinebell with Dopi from Machetazo etc. and Swarming with Rogga Johansson from Paganizer etc.) are something I do whenever I have time and feel like to. But I´d say they are all "serious", meaning I´m not doing them just to have more releases out for the sake of it. That´d be very stupid and short-sighted. It needs to be good stuff. That´s "serious" enough for me. Quantity over quality -mentality is for impatient, attention-hungry, talentless "artists" without a healthy dose of self-criticism. The world is not running out of wax any time soon, haha!
* There’s more and more bands appearing with an horror image/concept, don’t you think it can become a new trend ? who do you feel represent the best horror image in metal (actual and/or past) ?
L : Maybe it´s become a little bit trendy already... it doesn´t bother me much tho as long as there are enough good bands around. Horror + metal has been there for decades and always will. Many bands are unable to deliver in their compositions all the horrors they sing about tho. Impetigo were good and also Mortician is well know for their horror concepts but musically Autopsy is so much better than those bands. So I´d go with Autopsy even tho they didn´t write about movies but were influenced by them and wrote their own sick stories that matched perfectly with their music. Also Electric Wizard comes to mind.
* With Phlegethon, Demigod, Adramelech and a few others, Finland has revealed incredible bands in the late 80’s/early 90’s, how could you explain that almost none has confirmed ? were you all too young to assume more obligations than just recording demos or an album ?
L : Many Finnish death metal bands changed their style or simply called it quits very early on. I can´t speak for other bands but when I look back now we definitely were very young (16-17 when we recorded "Fresco Lungs" Mini-LP) but it was not like we couldn´t assure more obligations. We were just too restless kids, too eager to see what else we could do musically. Already in ´91 we started to feel more and more that death metal limited our expression and went for some crazy experimental fusion of different styles. That´s when our "career" was about to take off (bigger labels showing interest etc.) but we were stubborn and did our own thing that was too weird for metal labels. I don´t regret anything. I had to go through all the different experiments to find death metal again I guess. I learnt a lot about songwriting too. We always did what the heck we wanted to and that´s how it´s still with me today.
* I’ve read that a DVD of Phlegethon is planed for later this year, could you give some details about that ? any chance to have some new studio material recorded sooner or later ?
L : Yeah, the DVD "The Ashes Brought" should be out this year on Doomentia Records. I don´t know the release date. The label only needs to wrap it up and find the right time to put it out. This very home made DVD is about the stuff from ´91 and ´92. Gigs, rehearsals, studio footage... It´s a pity that we don´t have footage from ´88-´90. That would have been awesome! You can check the trailer at this address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcbQyEk4khM If you can get the old dudes with me to the studio then there would certainly be new material! Looks like that will never happen tho. Time will tell if I record any new Phlegethon stuff by myself or perhaps with some new guys. Of course it wouldn´t be the same as it was back in the day.
* Thanx a lot Lasse, add a few words if you wish about merchandising, etc…
L : Thanks for the interview! Check out our Facebook page for the latest updates about merch., gigs and all: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hooded-Menace/127397390655454