Mehida - Using the elements of lifeA while ago I reviewed Mehida’s new album Blood & Water. I was quite surprised by their unique style of Progressive Melodic Metal and therefore decided to ask Key-man Mikko Harkin some questions. Below you can find the result of that mail-conversation.
Hi, how’s life?
‘Hi. Life’s ok here. Having some little excitement because of the release of the album, but otherwise doing good.’
Please tell us a bit more about your band. Members, influences etc.
‘We have five members in Mehida. Thomas (vocals) is most experienced of us all. He’s been working with many different music projects including musical theatre, Candlemass, some pop/rock productions and now also singing with the Swedish band Therion. Jani (guitars) has a more aggressive background (musically). He has played in some death metal bands before, and is strongly influenced by the bands like Meshuggah, Devin Townsend etc. Markus (drummer) is a multi-instrumentalist genius, whose roots are in the fusion/ethnic world music, but nowadays listens almost only metal, and bands like Meshuggah, Ram-Zet, and others. Jarno (bass) is a big fan of old school thrash and metal like Metallica and Death. Me (Mikko - Keys) my biggest influence has been Yngwie Malmsteen, but nowadays also bands like Freak Kitchen and Ram-Zet besides others.’
What does Mehida mean?
‘It’s an old Hebrew word which means “mysterious” or “connected” (the meaning is a bit uncertain.) The main reason why we chose it to be the band´s name was that it sounded good. The listeners can make their decisions if our music sounds somehow “mysterious” or “connected”. I personally feel that when I hear the final result of the album it sounds quite connected.’
How did you come up with playing progressive melodic metal?
‘It has always been a natural music for me to compose. It has the melodic side which keeps it easy to listen, but also the progressive side that keeps it interesting to play.’
In what way does Mehida create its songs? I mean, do you write a lot on the road or only in the studio? What are you influenced by?
‘Mainly I write the song structures at my little studio. I record some basic ideas on the sequencer, and then we arrange the songs together. The sea and the harbours give me a strong inspiration on writing the songs.’
Only a couple of weeks left till the release of your upcoming album Blood & Water, what are you guys up to at the moment?
‘Well some of us are recording and I think Thomas is somewhere performing or so... It’s an exciting time for us because of the forthcoming release.’
First of all I gotta give you my compliments for creating such a good album; it’s really unique and refreshing yet accessible. But there’s one thing I don’t entirely understand: these noises (babbling) at the beginning of track 1 and track 4, how did they end up there?
‘Thanks a lot. On ‘Unchanging’ (track one), we tried to get this 1950’s American Dixieland feeling, because the main rhythm on the song goes with that pulse. We sort of experimented with it and it turned out to be fun, at least for us. On the song ‘Multitude’ we had a sampler and a microphone and we tried to capture the situation where many different persons are repeating this same phrase and then it gets out of hand. That was also fun.’
Another question about track 4 (‘Multitude’), there’s this heavy, straight-in-the-face hardcore-like beginning in that song, is that something that just ‘grew’ in there or was that a well-considered choice?
‘The idea was in my mind for a long period, but finally it kind of grew in there during the mixing period when the singer of the Finnish metal band Diablo came to visit us, and we asked him to perform this shouting part on the intro. I think it sort of made the song complete.’
Then the title, how’d you come up with it? Any special meaning behind it?
‘Do you mean the album title Blood & Water? The name Blood & Water just came to my mind one morning and I thought that it might be a good name for the album. About the meaning, well, both of these elements are the elements of life. Without blood there wouldn’t be any human life. Through times blood has represented a sacrifice or an offering. People have sacrificed animals or even other people for higher purposes. Many have tried to please different gods or buy themselves free from the bondage of sin (or eternal punishment). On the album blood represents the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. I got the inspiration from the “Passion Of The Christ”- movie. There was a good example of the sacrifice that was given on behalf of us. The water is an essential element for living, (you cannot survive many days without water), the water wakes up the nature after the rain, and so it also refreshes us.’
So, a new album coming up, what’s the nearby future gonna bring for Mehida?
‘Hopefully opportunities to perform these songs live. We’re also already working with new material, so recording a follow up album is also in the schedule.’
What can people expect from you in a live setting?
‘Strong, energetic live show with melodic songs and technical highlights.’
Finland’s Lordi winning the Eurovision Song Contest: good or bad? Why?
‘That’s an old issue. Ok, for me it doesn’t have a very big impact if Lordi wins or loses. It’s one band among the others. Of course they have worked a lot with the masks, but musically Lordi is not so interesting that it would have caught a lot of my attention.’
The internet, helpful or destructive? Why?
‘Helpful, but also destructive. The copyrights have really gone out of control with the internet. Of course at the same time internet promotes your art, but to make a living with your music or other media, it’s really difficult due to illegal distribution.’
There’s this DVD called: “Metal: A Headbangers Journey”. It’s a documentary I think every metalfan should check out at least once. The question the documentary is based on is: “Why is metal music consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned?” Why do you think it is that way?
‘The lack of knowledge is usually the biggest reason for condemnation. I think most of the metal people are really nice, warm hearted people when you get a chance to know them better. That’s my impression.’
Stupid question then: In movies, who do you prefer? Arnold Schwarzenegger of Sylvester Stallone? Motivation?
‘Sylvester Stallone. He’s one of my favourites. He seems to be a really kind person. I just saw the new Rocky movie.’
That was my final question, anything left to say to our readers? Please do so now!
‘Have a nice time checking out the new Mehida album.’
Thank you very much for your time and good luck in the future!