Whenever I see the first two words in this bands name I come to think of old Batman comics. I don’t know the band MAD HATTER’S DEN done that too in choosing the name. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
As you might not be that known to most people a short introduction might be in order.
-MHD is a melodic heavy metal band from Finland. Main musical influences draw from classic heavy metal, but on the band’s second album (Excelsior), listeners can look forward to finding many more: symphonic influences, power metal input, and even some progressive flavors! The style and sound of Mad Hatter’s Den owe to some extend also to the heavier bands of the 1980’s, but with Mad Hatter’s Den, the focus always lies on the melodies. Band started 2006 as a Iron Maiden cover band, but started making also own songs from day one. 2010 those bands were separated and Mad Hatter’s Den was born.
How does your latest recording compare to the previous ones?
-It has much wider spectrum of styles and its more professional in all levels. First one has also lot of good songs, but recording process was surprisingly hard and we run out of time and budget. At Welcome to the Den album we were trying to do songs like our musical heroes and influences, but now this second time our goal was more to find our own style and sound and to explore with new styles. Recording the album was not easy with this new album either, but we were much more prepared and had better scheduling etc. Line-up has also changed a lot: we havr new singer, bass player and drummer. Those changes helped us to get more rehearsals and line-up is not changing from gig to gig anymore.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound you all could agree on?
-With this new album it was bit easier to get good overall sound, but of course there is different kind of opinions inside the band and also mixing guy is very important that he gets what we are trying to do. There is lots of guitar, keyboards, vocals and background vocals etc many layers in our music, so its clear that there will be some compromises.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Lyrics are also important and mostly Mad Hatter’s Den deals with fantasy themes and so on and not so much love themes etc.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-Very! Finding cover graphics has been easy so far. Both covers are done by same guy: George Grie / Neo-surrealism Art. He has done lot’s of great looking images. Great artist! We wanted covers to be very detailed and look little bit mad and strange.
Where outside of your country have you had success?
-At least USA, United kingdom and Germany according to Spotify plays and our album pre sales and also Canada & Japan at Youtube. Would be really great to get some gigs also at some other countries than Finland also.
Is it harder today to get noticed both nationally and internationally than it was 10 or 20 years ago? Is the competition tougher today?
-I believe it has been hard always, but maybe in a different way. Now there is probably more competition and bands, but its easier to distribute your music all over the world. Its hard to get noticed for sure, but so far we have done better every year. Quality of songs, sounds, playing etc. must be as high as possible and you really have to concentrate on what you are trying to accomplish.
What is your local scene like? What status does your band have in the national scene?
-There is so many players and metal bands at Finland when compared to whole population. Its very hard job to get through and to get noticed, but I think we did quite well anyway. Excelsior album was amongst most selling heavy metal albums at Record Shop X during many weeks.
It helped also a lot that we were able to make a music video Hero’s End (At the Silver Gates). It looks just amazing and epic…you should really check it. We got some gigs just because of that video. We played at Jalometalli festival and there had even bands like Anthrax and Sabaton and also at Dark River Festival with Korpiklaani and Omnium Gatherum.
What is the general population’s opinion on playing music? Is being a musician a respectable choice?
-I think being musician is respected, but you have to be really good or famous and first of all you have to be ready to do hard work to get you and your band forward and probably your character and general attitude also counts. We are probably a bit boring because we only try to play well and concentrated on music and give our best at the stage. and we are not destroying hotel rooms and drinking all the time or something like that…that would give lots of free advertisement. We will drink surely when we continue composing new songs and out side of tour.
What does the future hold for you?
-Hopefully more gigs next year. And we will put together our third album, but don’t know yet when that happens. We have already enough songs for next album, but we haven’t started to arrange those with whole band yet. Probably we will compose some more songs still and then choose, but isn’t it quite well that we have this much material and there is only few months since our second album was released.