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Mad Hatter

With Mad Hatter’ the band of the same name released a really nice power metal record recently, filled with great songs with cool vocal lines and guitar licks that just scream to be sung along. Reason enough to pin down guitarist Petter Hjerpe for a thorough Q and A about his band and their fresh album.

By: Koen W. | Archive under heavy / power metal

Mad Hatter is a new band that recently released their self-titled debut album. Can you explain us shortly something about the history of your group?
Well we are two guys who started off in a band called Morning Dwell. We released two studio albums through a small label called Doolittle Group(Reinxeed, Golden Ressurection). The drummer, Alfred, and I, Petter, decided to take a more serious direction with our band but the other guys in Morning Dwell didn’t had time for the next level. So we took the decision to start a new band that became Mad Hatter. It sounds a bit different from Morning Dwell as well so a new band was the best alternative. First of all it was only Alfred and I who were the band and recorded the album. But to complete the setup of the band we added two friends to join us so we could play live etc. We took this decision late 2016 early 2017.

The ‘mad hatter’ of course is a well-known figure from the book ‘Alice In Wonderland’. Did you guys name your band after this dude (and if so, why?), or is it something else?
Well, he is a character everyone have heard of and get a picture of how he look and what theme he represents. We like the theme of dark fairy tales like Tim Burton’s movies, Stephen King and stuff like that. So Mad Hatter is a character who represents all this.

Petter Hjerpe and Alfred Fridhagen recorded the album with only the two of them and that is quite impressive. How hard was it to do the recordings?
Ronny Milianowicz was a great producer and made us feel calm and he knew what we wanted. I, Petter, recorded all instruments and vocals except the drums and solo guitars. Rob Marcello(Danger Danger) played the solos. Ronny knew him and thought he would help us raise the bar one more step. Alfred Fridhagen recorded the drums. Since I already have recorded all parts on the songs at home I knew the songs well and had rehearsed a lot so the recording went smooth. Ronny was very effective and fast while we recorded so sometimes I didn’t know what we recorded(he-he). He just told me like “Play this E once again with a wider chord….” And I just listened and trusted him. It all ended up good!

The band was formed in 2017. Did you had already some ideas how the album had to sound?
Yeah, I started to get a feeling of the sound early on while writing songs. I had a flow and a lot of inspiration so the songs fallowed the same pattern and ideas I had in my head. Some songs were written back in 2015/16 but were changed and re-written so they would fit in Mad Hatters “frame”.

band image

Were does the main inspiration for the lyrics came from?
‘The Gunslinger’ is for example inspired by The Dark Tower by Stephen King. The two Mad Hatter-songs were inspired by the character ‘Mad Hatter’ and his twisted mind. So the inspiration for the lyrics are fiction or thoughts that I have. The struggle of your mind etc. Just things that pop ups in my mind.

You follow the old fashioned style of heavy and power metal. Can you name some of the main influences and why those where so important for your musical upbringing?
When I grew up with the era of late 90’s and early 00’s-power metal I listened a lot to classic bands like Edguy, Helloween, HammerFall, FreedomCall, Masterplan, Avantasia, Gamma Ray Stratovarius. The German sound is a big inspiration. Without trying to copy these bands their sound just had a place back in my head and effected my song writing. I tried to make songs that I felt missing in today's era of metal bands. I missed that old feel of EU/German Power Metal.

There are quite some songs and then I name ‘The Gunslinger’, ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Vengeance In His Head’ that sound really fantastic. Were there also songs that didn’t made it to the album?
Yes, I wrote a lot of songs in one year. All is not just metal. But I had unfinished ideas that didn’t make the album. Those songs are something I will continue working with when I feel inspiration and maybe they will be on the second Mad Hatter album….or maybe not.

Did you already had a lot of reviews of the album and how positive (or negative) were they? And do you really care about what’s written about you?
In Europe we have only good to really good reviews. 7-10’s all the way. Really uplifting! The only bad reviews we’ve gotten are from the US. But they have never liked EU-Power Metal either so those reviews are not so valuable to us.

With Eroc Rauti and Magnus Skooh, who joined after the recording, you can play all those songs live. Are they now full part of the band or just hired guns for touring purposes?
They will be full time members! But we will see how we do in the studio since I write all songs and knew them from scratch. To save time it’s easier if I record the base of the song. But we’ll see how we do later on. But they are meant to be full time members.

So what is next? Do you have already some shows or festivals in sight. Or playing as a support for another band perhaps?
No, we don’t have any gigs yet. It’s hard to let go of the ordinary life. We all work full-time and have our own home to handle etc. To get out on the road we need to build up a budget for the band and find time to play. But we are working on it!

Thanks for your time. Do you have some last words for our readers?
Thank you! We want to say “Thanks” to all who support our music and you guys are the ones worth continue write music for. We hope to see you on the road real soon!!!

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