Keith Speaks To Petter Hjerpe of
I had the pleasure to have a chat with the Petter Hjerpe, the power metal act from Sweden “Mad Hatter” the name brings smile to lots of us, a character that we all loved as kids, They put up a new album, quit amazing one this year, and so i thought of having an Interview with these guys to and Petter gave us amazing information through this Interview. Let’s get to the main part now mates.
Good Day guys, Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, I’m Keith Clement, Editor In Chief of the Magazine, how you doing?
Hi, Keith! We’re doing fine even if it is corona-time! But luckily I’m (Petter) living in a small town where you can move around quite freely without bump into too many people.
“Pieces Of Reality” is your second album that is scheduled to be released on 22 May 2020, can you tell me about the writing process?
The writing process this time was a little bit different from the last time since Dennis joined the band. On the first album I wrote everything and Alfred added his touch on the drums. This time I had written and sketched about 15 songs and Dennis 3-4 songs. Dennis had some ideas on my songs and I on his songs. Then we selected 10 songs that we felt would fit best. Dennis is good at mixing and have ear for details so this time we did the whole process our selves. From recording, producing to mixing and mastering.
Some bands write songs randomly and some with a concept behind it, tell me what is the story behind “Pieces of Reality”?
Some songs are loosely connected and some have no connection at all. It is more the theme and the lyrics or the vibe of the songs that connects. For example; two songs are inspired by characters in Alice in wonderland and three or four songs are inspired by video games or books.
You guys work so hard, in matter of 3 years, you have given two albums, massive ones, tell me about the time you guys spend on making and perfecting both the records?
The writing process is the ”easy” part since Dennis and I record a lot of ideas over the years without having any pressure of what to write.
When we made the first album we recorded the album without knowing if we would get any contract at all. I wrote the songs from time to time over a year. Then Alfred learned his drum parts and added his touch. It was only me and Alfred(drums) who recorded the first album with Ronny Milianowicz as producer. But we felt that we have recorded a good album and felt confident about it.
As I wrote earlier I am writing ideas from time to time when I feel inspired. So over time I have some good ideas to continue work with. Dennis joined the band and writes music like me. Alfred is an awesome drummer so the songs gets better when he adds his drumming. Magnus(bass) is also a great singer and added some great backing vocals.
So to sum it up you could say that to write a good album(or two) you need to write when you are inspired and not under pressure and also have good people around you that helps you get your ideas into reality.
Europe is knows for the Power Metal bands, What influenced you guys to stick to this genre?
When I grew up and was about 15 years old Power Metal was really popular. Fantasy and metal combined was the best shit ever for a boy like me. I guess that brotherly feeling with metal-brothers by my side made a deep impact and got stuck inside me. I remembered when I started playing music my goal was that some day release a Power Metal album! I guess that is the reason why I kept writing Power Metal.
Mad Hatter is the character from “Alice In The Wonderland” is this the same thing or you guys have a different character in the name when you named your band?
Mad Hatter for us stands more for a special mood. Crazy, mystic, imagination etc. Some lyrics are of course inspired by the Hatter from ”Alice” but the band name is not fixed with that Mad Hatter. He is also a good character to use as mascot representation of our music.
Tell me how Mad Hatter started and how it all happened for you guys?
The songs I wrote for the first Mad Hatter album was actually meant to be a third Morning Dwell album. But the guys in Morning Dwell did not have that ambition to go in to a serious studio and pay a lot of money. Some have just gotten kids and started a family etc. So Alfred and I decided to continue with the album our selves. We contacted Ronny Milianowicz and recorded the album. Back then we had no other members so I recorded everything except the drums. But Ronny said to us: ”Guys! This album is so strong and we can’t give it any week parts!” That’s why we hired Rob Marcello to play the guitar solos on the album. He was a friend to Ronny and the best guitar player I’ve seen! I just told him how I wanted the solo to sound and he did it better! Insane! After the record was done we decided to use the name Mad Hatter and start a new band.
Later on we got in touch with Art Gates Records and we understood that we needed to get a complete line up to be able to play live. I asked two friends to join the band, Magnus Skoog(bass) and Eric Rauti(Snowy shawn, Dreamland). Eric Rauti quit early on because he did not have same ambitions as we other. Then I asked Dennis Eriksson, an old friend of mine who I kept contact with online by sending some music ideas back and forth, to join the band as a guitarist. I knew he would be perfect. A multi instrumentalist and good songwriter. Also really good at mixing! He also have more experience in touring and stuff like that!
Sweden a land of amazing bands,People from around the world know Sweden through their classic bands and modern days band, What is the kind of support you have received in your homeland?
We have some fans here. But that is not much. I think Sweden is really hard to get noticed in. There are so many bands and a lot of people record or play music at home and there are schools for music and so on. So no one really seems to be impressed. Here people are more like: ”Good album! Good work! Do you have the album on Vinyl else I listen to spotify?” People can say they think we are good but it often stops there. It is also hard to get gigs worth playing. If you play on a local club maybe 20-50 people will show up and those 20-50 people also play in a band with a record deal or something. There are some festivals around that are great but there are only big names playing. It’s a competition and hard work to get noticed! But we get good reviews but that’s it.
Your debut was a big success, what can fan expect out of this new record?
I have thought of that a lot my self. I think it is solid as the first. But this album is maybe more bombastic and feels more ”meatier”! The songs are more different from each other. The songs on the first album sounded more like one and another. Same tempo and same keyboard sounds etc. If the first album was solid and ”safe” this album is more diverse and big.
Tours are being Postponed, and many bands start to do live from Studio or home? Do you have any such plans to reach out to your fans in the current situation?
Yes, we have some ideas to do some videos from studio or at home etc. We have not decided what to do yet. But I could almost promise a video from when we play together somehow.
What would be the next plans for Mad Hatter?
It’s hard to know how to take the next step when gigs are at hold. We need to come out and play to be able to grow as band and spread our music and meet our fans. The only thing we could do now is hoping fans will listen to our music and that we could get some gigs in the future
What would you like to tell your Fans and upcoming fans of Mad Hatter?
Everyone supporting us are important! The fans we have are the best and we hope you will enjoy our new album as much as you enjoyed our first! I hope we can hit the road in a near future and se you out in the fields!
MHF Magazine/Keith Clement