Hooded Menace: ”It’s better to do gigs with a live vocalist than not doing any gigs at all”

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No doubt about it – Hooded Menace new record is awesome, a very strong production with a sound that is perfect for the riffing. Lasse Pykkö [vocals, guitar] was tough enough to answer Bara Metal’s questions:

Moving on from Never Cross the Dead to Effigies of Evil – how has your song writing changed?

– More melodies have crept in. There’s also more mid-tempos to bang your head to. This album is our most dynamic and diverse effort to date.

More mid tempo and melodies – why is that?

– It’s been just natural to expand our expression into that direction. We’ve always had a soft spot for melodies but we don’t wanna get too soft, you know. It’s a fine line and we need to stay on the more morbid side.

I think the “bubbly” chorus effect sound on the guitar melody in Evoken Vulgarity is awesome and very contrasting. Tell us how you came up with that? [At 4:45-4:54 and 5:23-5:40]

– That was something I came up with while recording. That’s extremely rare as usually everything is very well-thought-out at this stage.

– I wasn’t totally happy with the original idea and changed it to that bubbly-thing. That’s just what I came up with and when I added the effect it sounded right. It’s kinda haunting and psychedelic. Glad to hear you dig it.

How do you write your songs?

– I start with a riff and then try to build a song around it. One thing leads to another. The songs aren’t compilations of random riffs but rather like carefully built up entireties.

So, what has a much bigger label like Relapse meant so far for Hooded Menace?

– Bigger budget, good distribution and better promotion. I’ve been doing more interviews in the past two months than in the past two years! So far so good.

Playing live with Hooded Menace – pain in the ass or great experience?

– It can be both. It depends on the circumstances. When the sound on the stage is good and you’re in the right state of mind and see that the audience is enjoying it, it’s great. Now that we have two guitarists in the band it sounds so right that I wouldn’t return to the single guitar line up anymore.

You do the singing in the studio, but not live – how do you feel about that?

– It’s confusing for fans. It kinda sucks but then again it’s better to do gigs with a live vocalist than not doing any gigs at all I suppose. I just don’t feel comfortable with live grunting.

– Originally I was going to play guitar and sing live but soon after a few rehearsals I figured it’s not for me. Not now, maybe never. Recently we got Markus in Sadistik Forest to do live vocals as our original live singer Oula didn’t have enough time for the band. I’m more into the creative side – writing music and recording it. Playing live is secondary.

Actually, that is awesome to hear. It’s mostly the other way around. Keeping to the subject though, are you giving your live singer room for own interpretations or is he held in tight reins?

– The live singer can change things here and there when he needs to. No problem. After all some of the stuff is basically impossible to pull off live. But of course he should follow the original vocal patterns as much as possible.

– Oula has his own tone different from mine and so does Markus but it seems to work out live quite well. Well, actually Markus hasn’t been on stage with us yet. Summon the Dead Madridfest in november will be his first performance in Hooded Menace.

About the great cover for Effigies. Did you/Relapse give David D’Andrea artistic freedom? In other words what was his instructions?

– I told him that I wanted The Blind Dead references to be there and sent him the lyrics for Effigies of Evil-track for inspiration. He came up with this wonderful artwork. It’s very much his vision and it matches the music so well.

– His concept is basically that the effigies are larger than life, they are part of the landscape. The Blind Dead Templars are on an eternal path from the castle into the effigies.

You do not write the lyrics, if I get it correct – then, who does and why?

– I’ve written only Catacombs of the Graceless [Hooded Menace/Ilsa split] and penned some of the recent material written after the new album. So it actually looks like I’ll be contributing more in the future.

– For some reason I’ve always been more interested in writing music than lyrics. It’s actually kinda funny as I have always liked writing. As a kid I used to write my own horror novels and writing essays at native language classes in school was something I always looked forward to.

– Our Canadian horror obsessed friends Tanya and Kevin penned all the lyrics for Effigies of Evil. They’ve been helping us out since the beginning. They know what this band is all about and obviously enjoy writing about all things dark and horrifying!

…then who suggests what samples from what movies should fit with the songs?  

– I do that.

Okay. So… what movie is each song/sample based on?

– This time we did the following movies “Baron Blood” (song Evoken Vulgarity), “The Fall of the House of Usher” (song Crumbling Insanity), “Twins of Evil” (song In the Dead We Dwell), “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb” (song Curses Scribed in Gore) and “Legend of the Werewolf” (song Summoned into Euphoric Madness). There are no samples in the two latter tracks though.

– We don’t want to have them all over the place but rather use them sparsely only when they really add up. There are also samples from “The Blind Dead”-movies in the intro of Vortex Macabre and in the instrumental track Retribution in Eternity.

Out of these movies – any particular you recommend?

Twins of Evil has got a lot of atmosphere, nice locations and wicked bloodlust. Very entertaining movie.

The big music service Spotify wrongly calls you band “Hooded Menance”, with an extra n (MenaNce) – when are you gonna tell those bitches to get the name right?!

– Really? Haha, that sucks. I have never used Spotify. I guess I will forward the word to our record label. Thanks!

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