Musicscan: Can you perhaps tell us something about the intention and the spirit of Hanging Garden when the band came together at first. Has this early intention/spirit changed in any way until today?
Hanging Garden: I haven’t been in the band when it was founded, but I think Matti and Ari, who first put Hanging Garden together, had the idea of creating something stylistically midways from their other bands, Shamrain and Dauntless.
Along the way tons of other influences have been incorporated in the sound. Apart from our guitarist Mikko Kolari, the whole line-up has changed as well, bringing inevitable change to the sound and spirit of our music. But I’m sure that there’s still something left from the early days in our current music.
Musicscan: There are a lot of bands now that are heavy without really using metal aesthetics. Do you feel like a part of that? What current bands do you think of as your peers or bands that you feel a commonality with?
Hanging Garden: In some ways, yes. Of course, metal aesthetics, as you say, are present in our music and stage present, but are not prevalent in my view. When it comes to namedropping, I would go as far to mention acts like Cult of Luna, Neurosis and the like.
Musicscan: People who get introduced to Hanging Garden can be impressed by your “different” approach to dark and heavy music I guess. What do you think about this thought, and what is your approach towards your music and being Hanging Garden?
Hanging Garden: I’d take it as a huge compliment if someone saw it like that. I think it is a sign of succeeding in creating music that has at least some unique aspects. That is an accomplishment in the metal music genre, with the overpopulation of bands and all.
Our approach to our music is simply making tunes with all our hearts, and making the whole collectively. In every song you hear the input of each member. I would like to think that our synergy is what makes our music complete.
Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Especially in the context of your band of course. One thing is for sure: you are not that “typical” kind of a heavy band. People have to be concentrated and to take time to get to what Hanging Garden is all about…
Hanging Garden: The thing about Hanging Garden, at least to some degree, is that we draw no lines. At the moment we have four guys writing music, and if necessary we arrange the songs piece by piece to make sure that everything fits perfectly. When all is done, we have to take some distance to see what we’ve actually created. We all have our own strengths in making music I think we can use those that to our advantage quite naturally. It is the courage of trying out strange new stuff fearlessly, without judgment from one’s peers, which gives room to some fresh sound to emerge.
So the progression comes from the freedom to try out whatever you like. When mixed with “safe and familiar” elements it sometimes brings interesting results.
Musicscan: Musically and lyrically Hanging Garden seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a - let's say - reflected vibe. Would you agree? What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
Hanging Garden: It’s hard to put into words what the writing process is about. In some part it’s about reflecting on fears and worries, trying to accept and overcome some dread or despair. Writing it down and then performing it takes off the edge and makes such things tolerable. As a side product there is an insane wave of emotion, which is a profound experience.
Musicscan: Your music and sound(s) are rooted in dark atmospheres and content. Tell us how important maintaining these overtones are to the band's mindset, please.
Hanging Garden: Very important. The lighter shades are to bring even more depth to the darkness through contrast. At the same time, the hopeful tones seem even more meaningful when applied in moderation.
Musicscan: Does most of the influence come from personal experiences and moods, or from listening to similar bands?
Hanging Garden: Some of the influence comes indeed from personal moods, but a great deal is drawn from music, as well as art and literature, that are quite far from our genre. Anything that makes one experience large emotions, anything that leaves a mark or has a palpable impact is a great source of inspiration; be it a novel, movie or a video game.
Musicscan: What type of mood/feeling are you trying to convey sonically with Hanging Garden in general?
Hanging Garden: We have a kind of concept of dark, atmospheric and emotional music. The sounds and arrangements are trying to add to this effect. I’m not sure if there is anything really complicated involved. I’d say this part comes to us quite naturally and relatively without effort.
Musicscan: With the direction of Hanging Garden heading a certain way and listeners growing with you over years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?
Hanging Garden: One can only hope so. Having read many of the reviews, I would say we have done all right in this aspect…
Musicscan: Last words?
Hanging Garden: Buy stuff! Listen to good music. Enjoy life while it lasts.