lunes, 4 de agosto de 2014


1. What was early Shylmagoghnar like? Why did you decide to form the band?
Nimblkorg: Skirge and I met in high school, and after having known each other for about 30 minutes, we couldn't stop talking about music and lyrics. Skirge was highly enthusiastic about these themes and it was hard not to get excited when hearing him talk. We would hang out, listen to music and have good conversations. Soon a deep connection was formed.

It was around that same time that I decided I wanted to become a guitarist. I didn't hear any heavy guitar music as a kid, and I was completely ignorant of its existence. For years I actually thought I just didn't like music, because the stuff on the radio didn't make me feel anything... but when I heard distorted guitars for the first time, everything changed. The raw power behind the music made me feel like there was a electric current rushing through my skin. It felt larger than life, and I became obsessed with it.

With those two factors combined, the forming of a band was inevitable. We didn't have a clear plan or anything, but we knew we wanted to make music together. Skirge preferred vocals (he was always writing lyrics in class and showing them to me), I loved playing guitar, and from there on we grew into what would turn out to be Shylmagoghnar.

2. Was it clear from the beginning that this would be a two-man project or have you considered the possibility of adding new members? And what does the band name refer to?
Nimblkorg: While Skirge and I were the only stable factor from the start, we did have other band members from time to time. We have had second guitarists, a bassist (who currently plays in Cirith Gorgor), and a few drummers. In those days we had no clear-cut plans though; band rehearsals were pretty much just a big jam session and remained mostly unfruitful. We made some demos but it was all very rough.

By the time we got serious about making a CD, years had passed and Skirge and I were on our own again (though we were still in good standing with the ex members). So we had to get creative. 
I had been writing most of the music over the years, and picked up some basic instrument and audio skills other than the guitar on the way, and Skirge had also been refining his vocal skills and started to write his own music. So we decided to just go for it with the two of us and tackle whichever problem arose along the road. Now or never. 

Skirge: And that is the story so far. I have been working on some of my own projects during those years, where I play most of the instruments – and since Nimblkorg and I never had much trouble finding common ground in our different styles – our plan is for us to share some of the instruments on future albums. Also, we are planning to add another member to our brotherhood; an old friend and an accomplished musician in his own right. We think that this setup has great potential. If not however, this will remain a band of two. 
As for the band name – Shylmagoghnar is a symbolic word of power – a collection of runic sounds that describes what the band stands for on a personal level.

3. "Emergence" is your first album. What was the process of writing and recording it like? Has it always been clear that the first release of the band would be a full album, or did you contemplate other possibilities, like creating a demo or EP? 
Nimblkorg: The writing of this album was an iterative process that ran parallel to learning instrumental, vocal, lyrical and production skills. Some of the songs appearing on the final release are very old in essence, but their presentation has changed quite significantly over the years. Other songs (like 'A New Dawn') were rewritten from the ground up, and sound completely different from the original. And of course there were some new songs as well - “I Am the Abyss” being the newest one.

We knew from the start that we wanted to do a full album. The big question was: how? Do we record a demo and send it somewhere, or is there a different way?
As we had been practicing with recording and mixing of the demos from early on, the answer once again became: let's do it ourselves.

We then worked on the music and lyrics until we thought they would make a coherent album, and then I built a small studio in my home, where we recorded everything (sorry neighbours!). Skirge did the vocals and the symphonic final track “The Sun No Longer”, and I did the instruments for the other tracks and the vocals on “Emergence”. After that I mixed and mastered our work and our journey finally came to an end. 

Skirge: As for the lyrics, it was an intuitive process – most lyrics almost wrote themselves. And since Nimblkorg and I had a great symbiosis in the development of the album, we agreed almost immediately, because it just felt so right. 

4. Your music encompasses many styles of black – melodic, atmospheric and some progressive. What are your main musical influences and bands that inspired your sound?
Skirge: A tough question. There are often times when I hardly listen to any music, or play any instruments - and it's during these times I get surges of inspiration, so it is hard to deduct exactly which bands inspire me on the musical front. As for my personal taste – I listen to a vast amount of different genres, but at the same time, I am very picky. So my taste could be described as extremely broad yet very selective. But I will always have a special place in my heart for black metal and its subgenres, heavy classical music, and good soundtracks. It would be insanity to try to name all of the bands, artists and composers that I like, so just a few examples: Dissection, Atheist, Death, the older work of Morbid Angel and Satyricon, Bölzer, Basil Poledouris, Tom Waits, Edvard Grieg, Claude Debussy, The old work of Dimmu Borgir (Stormblast, For All Tid and the Devil's Path ep) Enrico Morricone, Xasthur, Summoning, most black and ambient projects from LLN, and Estatic Fear, among many.

Nimblkorg: I too find this hard to answer, for similar reasons. While there are bands that I love very much, I wouldn't call most of them a direct influence per se. My favourite album of all time is “Individual Thought Patterns” by Death. That album got me excited about playing multiple instruments, because I think all the musicians on it perform in unique and inspiring ways that I hadn't heard in any other band before. I also love that the production is crystal clear; you can just pick an instrument and listen to it from start to end of the album. That's something I have been striving for in my own work ever since. 
So Death was clearly a giant source of inspiration to me. But I think the musical influence on the Shylma-sound in particular has been mostly indirect.
But if I had to name 3 bands that probably had a direct influence on the sound, I would say: Immortal, the first few albums by Dimmu Borgir, and Summoning.

5. Skirge deals with the lyrics of songs. Where do you find interesting topics to write about and what do you consider important about them? 
Skirge: I started writing about 14 years ago – and to be honest, I have never felt myself wanting for inspiration. I write about anything that affects me on a personal level; anything I experience and observe in the world around me and inter-human relationships in any shape or form; to the whole spectrum of human emotions, as well as my inner struggles and the machinations of my mind.

Something that may be interesting: both 'I am he abyss' and 'follow me to where to sun no longer warms the earth' (on the album as 'the sun no longer') were originally intended to have lyrics. In fact, they were already written - but in the end, we decided these songs would work better as instrumentals.

6. Going back a little to your melodic black side: I think you've got an interesting balance between the more melodic parts and the most aggressive parts, constituting a success because today there are many bands who abuse keyboards and end up sounding overproduced or too commercial. How do you get this balance in your music? What sensations do you intend to transmit to the listeners of “Emergence”?
Nimblkorg: The emotions we wish to express in Shylmagoghnar -no matter if they are positive or negative- are intense and dynamic, so this has to be reflected clearly in the music. For that you need contrast. A mountain looks highest when observed from a valley. This principle was very important for this album; Not just within individual songs, but also for the order of the tracks. The mixed use of melody, aggressive vocals and riffs or peaceful passages throughout the course of the CD are a direct result of applying that principle. After all, emotions aren't in a steady state. They go from high to low all the time. This emotional journey is what we hope our listeners experience while listening through the album.

I think that the sound and style of this album and the roles instruments generally played were a natural evolution, more so than a conscious choice. The vocals and guitars are dominant most of the time, and this is no coincidence.
When I started playing guitar, I noticed that the instrument has enough versatility to express things with much greater depth than I ever could with words, so I became intrigued with finding ways to “speak through the guitar”. 
Skirge has been writing lyrics for years, and it has become his go-to method of expression. With that he covers what happens to be my biggest weakness: translating emotions into words.
The result of this overlap has become the core of the Shylmagoghnar sound. 

I still think that other instruments, like synthesizers, have strong qualities that can't be exchanged by guitars or vocals, and that's exactly what they were used for on this album: filling out passages that would otherwise fall short in their intended emotional delivery. But if something wasn't necessary, it was left out.

Skirge: I have little to add to this. While most of the times we agreed instantly, sometimes Nimblkorg and I had a bit of 'push and pull', and in the end – both compromise (wherever possible) and synergy made the album what it is – and we are very content with the outcome – both add to a very versatile, contrasting sound. When the last parts were finished, we knew this is the debut album we wanted to make.

7. Is there any chance that one day we can enjoy a concert by the band or will Shylmagoghnar stay in the studio? 
Skirge: Due to personal issues, Shylmagoghnar will, for now, remain a studio band. 

8. Are you satisfied with the response to the specialized "Emergence"? Means What about the black scene in Holland, what bands excel? If you had to choose a group to do a split, what would it be? 
Nimblkorg: More than satisfied! Since we are a small, completely self-sufficient band, we didn't expect much response at all. To us, this album was mainly about the breaking of personal barriers, killing old demons, and hopefully helping others with theirs. 
When friends asked me if I wouldn't be disappointed if there would be little response after the release, I replied that if even a single person felt better because of our work, it was worth it. Judging from the great messages we receive, that goal has been reached many times over, and that's a dream come true.

I must also add that the quality of the reactions surprised us. Some people write extensive mails or private messages with detailed accounts of what they felt while listening to the music. Others actively help with the spreading of our work, or inform us about reviews or rankings of the album on the darkest corners of the internet. And of course there are the reviewers and promoters, who are as passionate about their work as we are about ours. We think that's absolutely incredible and we are very grateful for that. 

Skirge: The positive response has been more than overwhelming – both from people in our country and from people of all corners of the world. As for the scene here - there are many great black metal bands in Holland – Fluisterwoud, Cirith Gorgor, Kjeld and Fluisteraars are some of my personal favourites.. However, as of yet I don't know of any black metal bands in Holland with a sound that would complement ours, or vice versa.

9. How were your beginnings in music and why have you decided to become musicians and create black metal? 
Nimblkorg: This was probably answered in previous questions already. The choice for black metal or metal genres in general was because the “tools” used in those genres are very potent for the expression of dark, primal or abstract emotion. 

Skirge: My musical history is a very long and complex story. One I feel that, right now, is neither very interesting to this interview, nor affects my role in Shylmagoghnar when it comes to our debut. Maybe something for the future. As for black metal: the first time I heard the cold, majestic, raw sound of black metal... it was love at first sight. It has been one of my favourite genres ever since, and the music I wanted to create myself more than any other genre

10. Who designed the cover of "Emergence" and how does it relate to the content of the album? 
Nimblkorg: The cover was designed by our close friend Minghao Xu of Void Visuals / Mind Moving Pictures. He is an artist whose skills cover a wide spectrum – mainly visual, but also musical.

The title and cover of the album refer to a traumatic apocalyptic vision I had as a kid. The title song “Emergence” is about that vision (that's why it is the only song on the album where I had to do the vocals). The vision was about a dying world. The tree on the hill was the only living thing around for as far as I could see. I walked up to it, and as I got close, there was a flash in my mind, and in an instant I could see all the tragedies the tree had observed from that hilltop during its lifetime. Now it stands there as the last living being, crying blood as it watches the sun set for the last time. 

This image was painfully etched into my mind from that point on, so I needed to get it out somehow. The song was a start, but it wasn't enough, so Skirge and I came to the conclusion that it would be a fitting image for our debut cover. 

11. "Emergence” is available on your Bandcamp page. No label? Have you been interested in that, or do you prefer to have more control when you distribute the music? 
Nimblkorg: That's correct, we are fully independent and took care of every step from the inception and production of the album to the release and distribution in physical and digital form. Neither of us had any experience with these things prior to working on this album, so it was a long road. We don't regret taking it though, as we have learned so much from all of this. These acquired skills will surely aid us in future works, some of which will be Shylmagoghnar related.

We don't necessarily shun having a label, but we think it probably wouldn't fit to our situation. There is also something to be said for the absolute freedom of being independent. You don't have to answer to anyone and your artistic freedom is absolute. 
You probably won't become a millionaire... but you get to pack and send out every copy of your hard work to your individual fans. It's about passion.

12. Are you working on new songs for Shylmagoghnar? 
Skirge: Extensively! I have been brainstorming and writing a ton of lyrics as well as compositions for new albums. I think we will end up with much more material than we could use, and might even have troubles making a pick.

Nimblkorg: Exactly my thought. I too am working on new songs, and we still had some material left over from the first album; some of which was already close to finished. 
And it currently looks like another guitarist will be joining us for the second album, so we should have a lot of material on our hands.

13. Thank you very much for your time, talking to Black Metal Spirit. If you want to add something to the followers of Shylmagoghnar, now is the time. I hope the questions were to your liking.
Skirge: Thank you for your interest! To our listeners, I would like to say 'Thanks a lot for the support so far!' And I hope our future work will excite you as much as our debut. I enjoyed answering most of these questions – though as a perfectionist, it is always surprisingly hard to try to form a brief and coherent answer instead of a pages long rant. So I hope we answered your questions thoroughly yet adequately. 

Nimblkorg: Thank you for having us, it was an honour and I enjoyed the questions. And like Skirge said: thank you all for your beautiful reactions and support! We are looking forward to the next round.

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