This is a band that I remember from the 90s when I first heard of them. MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET are back now with a new album. This is a cool Finnish band that has been there since the start of the Finnish metal wonder. Answers by Ville Pelkonen, bassist/low vocalist. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-The name Mustan Kuun Lapset (Children of the Black Moon) was taken up in 1996, before that the band was named Häiriö from 1993 to 1996. Quoting our lead singer and founding member Pete Lehtinen who invented the name, it came from somewhere out of the depths of the mind in the 90s and the exact thoughts behind it have been long forgotten. I think the name stands perfectly behind the Finnish melancholy which our music conveys. That’s what a proper name should do, stand behind the central meaning(s) of the band.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-MKL has been around since the 1990s and I’ve been around for just a couple of years now so I can’t give an exact answer to this, but the founding members of the band were and are still big fans of the old school death and black metal scenes of the time and you can hear a lot of influences from both styles on our records. I think the influence of Emperor can be heard especially on the keyboard stuff on the early records like Suruntuoja and Kauniinhauta.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-No, I haven’t noticed that we would need to think differently. The general tempo on our upcoming album “Saatto” is pretty stable and there are only two blastbeat sections, both in the same song. There are a few songs where we need to tighten our playing just a bit but we’re not talking about any dramatic tempo changes.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
-Judging from the feedback and vibes we’ve got it has worked surprisingly well. I think small dark clubs have their own kind of intensity and atmosphere that fits our style really well, but surprisingly our best live experiences have come from festival stages like Nummirock and Saarihelvetti in Finland. The audience is totally pumped up at such events which in turn feeds our own energy on stage so there’s been this great back-and-forth interaction between the audience and us at festival shows.
Everybody seems to be disappointed with something once they have released a recording. What would you have liked done differently the last time around?
-Yes, I guess thats almost inevitable. In hindsight we tended to have a mentality of getting things done fairly quickly in the recording phase and in my opinion rushed a couple of sessions a bit too much. Otherwise most “flaws” tend to be very subjective stuff that we notice as musicians and producers of our own work that usually don’t bother the listeners, so I don’t think they’re worth mentioning.
Is it hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-Historically that’s been a pretty long term problem for this band. Some previous albums have had very little promotion and availability when they were being released so it’s been hard to get through to people who might be interested. Also 2 of our old albums, Talvenranta and 14 Talvea were mysteriously deleted from Spotify some time last spring so our old stuff is frustratingly hard to get these days. Right now we have Inverse records getting our new album available and noticed out there to the folks and they’re doing a very good job at it.
Another challenge for us has been that we don’t see ourselves representing one certain genre or style so it’s hard to distinguish beforehand a certain group of listeners that might be open to us before they’ve even heard our stuff. Some people still mistake us as a black metal band and get disappointed when they hear our music and how it’s actually very different than what they expected at first. The best thing for us to do is simply to own whatever we are and people will either reject or embrace it.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-A good cover must absolutely amplify the music and/or theme of the album, whatever it might be. We chose the cover for Saatto because the landscape on it portrays the (assumed) beautiful blissfulness of death and longing of the close ones which are important themes on the albums lyrics. Also we wanted the cover to stick out from the general style of metal albums with its summery field. Other than that, I don’t think there are any universal factors to make a proper album cover.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for music in your country?
-No, we don’t. We’ve had pretty limited contact with other bands at recent times so as a band we don’t feel like a part of any scene community. Even genre wise we don’t feel like we fit in anywhere musically or thematically despite many people still labelling us as a black metal band. We’ve pretty much drifted away to our own island in that area.
The musical climate seems to be on the rise in Finland as there’s been quite a few small but passionate gig organisers, festivals, labels and bands popping out recently. At least that’s the case with metal music in Finland.
How do one promote oneself the best possible way?
-I guess it all comes down to the content and quality of your craft. There are many channels online where music can be spread fairly quickly but it won’t take you far if you don’t stick out in the traffic of new music with your own unique and noticeable sound and vision and being genuine about them. It’s tiring and unmemorable to hear the same uninspired recycled shit over and over again
What does the future hold?
-Right now we are just looking forward for Saatto to be finally released on the 27th of january as well as some promotional gigs to be played during the winter and spring. They will be informed later on.