quinta-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2016

[English] Shylmagoghnar: atmosphere, intensity and journey

Location: Zuid-Limburg, Netherlands

Nimblkorg (guitars, bass, drums, keyboards)

Skirge (vocals, lyrics, keyboards)

Genre: progressive / melodic death metal 

 Shylmagoghnar is a band that I met while listening to a lot of melodic death metal bands at Melodeath by Countries on YouTube. It is a band that has only one album, but they are already beyond amazing. Check out this interview with these two multi-instrumentalists of Shylmagoghnar!

 1.    Hello, Shylmagoghnar! It’s a pleasure for us at Oroborus blog to interview you guys, we are so thankful! To start our conversation, I’ve read on the band’s website that Shylmagoghnar name came from a combination of vowels. So, how did this happen? And, a personal question, how it is pronounced?

Hey there! The pleasure is ours, thank you for having us. It's a good way to start a new year!

About the name: it's an amalgamation of “runic” sounds which are powerful to us personally. These sounds are  also meant describe the atmosphere and the lyrical content of our music in an abstract way. We originally considered other band names, but we ended up with this one because it is both very personal to us as individuals, as well as unique.

Naturally we get the question about pronunciation a lot, so here is an example with phonetic script to hopefully clear that up:


2.    Shylmagoghnar is a band formed by two members, right? You called yourselves “blood brothers”. When and how did you guys decide to create it?

That is correct. We met in our early teen years (roughly 16 years ago) and we immediately felt a deep connection. One of the themes that connected us most was music. It was probably inevitable that at some point at a later time we became interested in making music ourselves. Skirge started off with writing lyrics and Nimblkorg with guitar. Somewhere down the line we both started to practice several other instruments.

With this, the foundations for a joined project were created. The birth of Shylmagoghnar was a natural thing, but our skills were still far from sufficient to make a full album. We've spent roughly a decade to get to a level where we were satisfied with the result. In that time there were many overhauls of what eventually became the “Emergence” album.

From left to right: Nimblkorg and Skirge

3.    Can you please tell us about what it was like to design a logo that fits into Shylmagoghnar's sound proposal?

Nimblkorg: The logo was designed by our good friend Minghao Xu (Void Visuals) – the same person who designed the cover artwork. He made sketches while we talked about the principles that Shylmagoghnar embodies to us. After some back and forth, this was the result.
The following things were important for the design:
-It had to look organic/earthy, but with some symmetry
-The iconic tree from the vision which is also on the cover of this album had to play a central role
-It had to remain at least somewhat legible. The name is complex enough as it is – making it very hard to read would probably not be a great idea!

About the second point I can also add that the choice to make the G prominent was inspired by other bands who turn a single letter of their name into a recognizable logo. Think of Opeth for example. Show anyone who listens to metal that O and I bet most of them know immediately where it comes from. I think that's great design.
The reason we went for the G in the middle instead of the first letter was simply because I think G is a more aesthetically pleasing letter than S, and it creates a central focus point in the logo.

4.    Encyclopaedia Metallum informs us that Shylmagoghnar’s genre is progressive/ melodic death metal. You guys say that it’s more progressive/atmospheric melodic death and also blackened death. About the lyrics, it also tells us that Shylmagoghnar’s themes are mankind, sorrow and nature. How do you guys evolve Shylmagoghnar’s identity to the sound and the lyrics?

Because this project has been with us through such a formative period, the development of the musical styles and lyrical themes were an unconscious process. They are intertwined with our personal lives, and thus the identity of the project develops with our own.

Despite this autobiographic nature, we never really feel in control of the project. We've described it as a living breathing entity on several occasions and that's no exaggeration – we consider ourselves to be just the messengers.

As you have noticed, genre descriptions of our music vary quite a lot depending on whom you ask. We wouldn't really know what to call it ourselves either as it's never on our minds when we are working on the project.
We've taken on the genres that are mentioned most often in feedback by our listeners in the hopes that it will help with reaching our intended crowd – which so far seems to be working pretty well. We'll leave it up to that crowd to decide whether they agree with that description or not. We just hope they get something worth their time out of it.

5.    This unreleased song called ‘Journey Through the Fog’, available on YouTube, is something really amazing! This has a black metal soul within it. For example, the intro riff was similar to some of Bathory’s songs. Pretty awesome! Was it the first song Shylmagoghnar ever produced?

Far from it! It was one of the last rough demos that was composed before we started to put together what would become the official debut. The song was originally intended to be part of that debut. Pretty much the only reason why it was withheld was because we find it extremely important that the songs of an album feel like chapters of a book, so their themes have to mesh.

We felt that the theme of “Journey Through the Fog” (which was based on lyrics that just hadn't been recorded in that demo) would fit better to what we had in mind for a future album. That album is the one we are finishing up the writing for currently, so we are very glad that this demo was uploaded on Youtube and that the reactions to it so far have been positive! You can expect the final version to retain the essence of that demo, but with a bit more variation... and vocals of course!

6.    Unlike many other Metal bands, Shylmagoghnar started out with a full-length, instead of some demos. ‘Emergence’ is such a masterpiece in my opinion. The perfectly made instrumental songs ‘The Cosmic Tide’, ‘The Sun No Longer’ and the beyond awesome ‘I Am the Abyss’ caught my attention so much from the first time I’ve listened to them. Such killer intros and well-done bass lines, aside from those melodic death style riffs. Also, it would be impossible not to highlight those heavy vocals and stunning lyrics on ‘This World Shall Fall’. What was it like to compose, record and release ‘Emergence’ in 2014?

Thank you very much!
The development and release of that album have been a long road to say the least. Our personal lives haven't been without struggle and at many times this could easily have meant the premature death of the project. However, because of our strong bond and our shared passion for music, we are glad to say we persevered.

The hardest thing was that the project has always been fully independent, which in essence is great, but in practice means that it's very easy to lose focus. When we started out, we may have underestimated what it takes to make a full album with the quality we had in mind. To bite through the frustration and to keep up hopes and discipline where a true challenge.

However, we have also had very positive experiences with the project of course. It has helped us to dig deeper into ourselves and has shaped our identity.
When things were finally finished and we held our own album in our hands for the first time, it was a surreal experience.

Since the album has been released, the reactions have been so overwhelmingly positive that it has boosted our motivation greatly. All the time we have spent was more than worth it and we hope to go on for many years. We cannot thank our supporters enough for giving us that.

'Emergence' really is a magnificent full-length even by its cover art made by Minghao Xu

7.    On Shylmagoghnar’s website we’ve discovered that you guys made the tabs for ‘I Am the Abyss’ available for download. This song is my favorite one from the ‘Emergence’ album. If I could play instruments, having this would certainly make me so happy. Why did you guys decide to do this?

Nimblkorg: We're glad you appreciated that! The answer to the question shines through in your own words already: next to making music ourselves, we try to be as supportive as we can be to our fellow musicians. I think that one of the best ways to do this is to give them a motivation to pick up their instrument and try something new. To experienced musicians it might just be the thing they need to get out of a rut and for new players it could help them in developing their own style.
I'm now starting to see videos of people playing their own versions of “I Am the Abyss” and I cannot describe how awesome I think that is. 

8.    What would be the three words to describe Shylmagoghnar’s sound to someone who didn’t listen to your songs before?

Tough question! We will both just go with our intuition and say the three first words that come to mind:

Nimblkorg: Atmosphere, intensity, journey

Skirge: Atmosphere, hardship, growth

9.    Right now you don’t play live shows, right? Do you think about doing Shylmagoghnar gigs someday?

Nimblkorg: I'll answer this because it has a lot to do with me personally. While it's not something I enjoy speaking about in public, we get this question a lot so I think it's best to just be open about it.

Next to the obvious challenges of playing live with a two-man band, the main reason why we aren't playing live is that I am chronically ill and part of that makes it so that I am extremely prone to sensory overload. In other words, being in public spaces for more than even a few minutes is almost unbearable to me. I'll leave it to your own imagination how I feel about the idea of standing on a stage in a spotlight in front of a horde of people.

I know that many people love live music and I'm sorry to let them down in that aspect. On the other hand, I might never have spent so much time practicing music if it weren't for those circumstances. It gives me solace and a reason to live. I hope people can respect that.

    Shylmagoghnar has been reviewed by some zines, right? Also, people interact so much with you guys on the band’s Facebook page. How is this feedback perceived by you two?

We think it's amazing, and far beyond what we expected! It is a very humbling (in a positive way) experience. We of course have our own musicians which have greatly inspired us and had positive impact on our lives. Hearing from people that we have a similar effect on them is a dream come true. We hope to inspire others to pursue their goals, regardless of the odds.

11.     In September, on Shylmagoghnar’s Facebook page, you informed us that a new work of the band is coming. You describe it among other things as “a natural continuation of a journey we’ve embarked upon with ‘Emergence’ ”. Can you tell us something about this next work?

We're currently very busy with wrapping up the writing for that upcoming album. It is very close to being finished – except for one song, the demo album can be listened from start to finish -, but we are extremely critical of our own work, so these last few steps take a lot of time and energy to get things exactly where we want them to be. We want every song to pull its own weight, while also meshing well with the others. It's a highly iterative process.

Themes that will be central on the album are the passing of time, coming to terms with your own limits and mortality, life & death. For some reason those just kept coming up when we were conceptualizing, so we embraced them. The album will be named “Transience”, which means “ an impermanence that suggests the inevitability of ending or dying”. It's not all dark though – we think that the inevitability of death also gives life value.

As with “Emergence”, one of our main goals is to set a mood and tell a story by means of contrasting yet coherent styles.
Instrumentals will once again take up a considerable part of the album. For example, it currently looks like the final track will be a 14 minute musical portrait of a life from its conception till its end.
The lyrics and vocals will get ample opportunity to shine too though, as tracks in general on this album will be longer and “more of a journey” than some of the tracks on “Emergence”. It's all a bit hard to explain in words, but we think this concept will become clear on the opening track already.

We don't want to share any of the demos yet because we think that first impressions are too important to squander like that. The “Journey Through the Fog” demo on Youtube is a decent indication of some of the style elements featured on the album though.

We wish there was more we could say that would be of use, but in the end music is a thing that must speak for itself. We are very much looking forward to the day we can share our newest work with you and we hope to make it worth the wait!   

12.     What are the plans for the near future to Shylmagoghnar, aside from the new work?

There have been some thoughts we've been playing with that may or may not end up coming to fruition. One of the things that comes up in our conversations often is the thought of alternative projects (either together or solo/with others) which have been gathering dust for the past years while we have been focusing solely on Shylmagoghnar.

As mentioned before, when we write an album it is extremely important to us that all the songs make sense in their context. In practice this means that for every song which makes it to the album, multiple others are scrapped. This is often a hard decision to make because we may enjoy those songs by themselves very much – it's a shame to see them going to waste. So that's something we might take a look at once the upcoming album is finished.

Nimblkorg is considering doing a “how to make and release an album by yourself from scratch” series, either in video or in text format, as that seems to be becoming increasingly relevant in this day and age.

Otherwise we would like to answer to some wishes our listeners have been voicing, like adding posters to our merch, maybe doing a vinyl release of our albums (depends on if we can afford that), showing some making-of and other tidbits for the upcoming album, etc. 


13.     And to end our conversation, in the name of Oroborus blog I would like to thank you guys again for this interview and wish all the best to both of you and to Shylmagoghnar, of course. This final space is for you to say anything you want to!

Nimblkorg: Thank you very much Caterine for your enthusiasm and interesting questions! We've had a good time answering them and we hope the result will be to your liking.
And of course thank you to the readers for your time and interest! We hope to bring you some more news about the upcoming production not too far from now. A great 2016 to you all and hails!

Skirge: Thank you for this opportunity and interest! We hope that our future endeavors will be as powerful to you as our debut, but rest assured we will not settle for anything less. I wish you all a great and productive new year, whether it is in music or anything else you strive for!

Posted by Caterine Souza

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário