Shadowflag interview is up !!
1. From listening to the new album Shadowflag . I hear a mix of Melodic Black metal , Thrash and Swedish death metal. How did this sound come to be?
Like any band, our sound is born from a variety of influences. Each of us have very distinct tastes and indeed our musical journeys have taken us in a lot of different directions over the years. How Shadowflag sounds now is the culmination of those journeys. One of the unifying factors is the search for creativity and ultimately, expression. I think that rather than merely being influenced directly by bands within the scene we absorb from a far wider spectrum. Art, film, stories, a chance encounter; all of these can shape the way a song sounds.
2. the album cover of " the delusion machine" is unsettling to say the least . How does it play into the theme of record?
Unsettling is a good word. The concepts we address on 'The Delusion Machine' are deeply unsettling, the idea that the centre of humanity is essentially a void should be terrifying. The artwork speaks of the 'plastic' and ultimately empty existence we find ourselves in. Of a reality that is copied and repeated endlessly until the copies have all worn out and we are left with faded facsimiles that lack depth or consequence. It should make us stop and think, and look deeper than we ever have before in order to redefine the way we measureourselves both individually and within society.
3. You released "The Delusion Machine" independently . Was this by choice or would you like to find label support in 2017.
We have discussed various options regarding support over the past few years, however, it became apparent that in order to actually progress it's vital to find a label that understands what we're doing. One that can look beyond the next generic black metal tour and find opportunities for us that allow us to develop creatively. We have worked incredibly hard to build the reputation that we have, and we need a label that can build upon that and take us further.
4. The UK has a long and passionate history with extreme metal . Where do you see your path in this ?
The greatest thing about the UK metal scene is it's sheer diversity. From the earliest days of metal, and even further back, the UK has driven innovation and expression through all art forms, and more importantly, bands and artists have found an audience here that is both open minded and willing to engage. Over the years we've been touring we have met some of the most passionate and committed individuals, people who think nothing of travelling from one end of the country to the other to support a band they love. Better than that, these guys will always watch all the other bands on the bill with open ears, and open minds and most likely buy a CD or a shirt. We have played on bills with post hardcore bands, tech metal bands, thrash bands, Vikings, prog bands and everything in between. The unifying theme being a dedication to the redemptive, even cathartic power of extreme music. Shadowflag ask little of our listeners, merely that they listen with open minds. We like to think that we offer our audience a different path through a familiar forest; both musically and lyrically.
5. How does the live show differ from studio album?
We see our live and recorded performances as two different yet symbiotic mediums. On record we can allow our listeners to take a more introspective journey through the subtleties of the songs and take their time to absorb. Live however, we present a far more dramatic but equally absorbing proposition. The intensity of live music cannot be underestimated and we pride ourselves on being able to grab the audience from the outset and carry them with us as we voyage through our dystopian tales. We find that the audiences we've played to are more than willing to embrace both the sweat drenched rock n roll swagger and cerebral sides of the show.
6. How does Social media , Digital promotions and image play a role in a bands fan base and exposure today?
Social media has quite simply revolutionised band/fan interaction. The extreme metal scene has such a strong 'grass roots' presence that word of mouth has always been the driving force behind how much exposure a band gets. Nowadays that exposure can take place across a much wider area - fans can connect not just with the band, but with fellow fans across the globe. After we came back from playing Carpathian Alliance in Ukraine a few weeks ago we were stunned by how many new followers and messages of support and thanks we received from people who, a few years ago, would have found it extremely difficult to get in touch with us. We love how we can watch our fans and followers communicating through our social media channels - organising lift shares, places to sleep in far away towns, recommending new bands and just generally building the community.
We live in a time of digital immediacy where everything is available instantaneously. There is a joy in being able to listen to a brand new album every day but there is also the danger that many acts slip between the cracks, forced under by the sheer volume of what is coming through. So yeah, as with all things, there are pros and cons to such unprecedented access to music but it's what we have and it ain't going away so best embrace it!
Image, although not as vital as content, is hugely important. For us, it would be difficult to walk on stage in jeans and t shirts and play to the standard we demand. By donning the hoods, facepaint and crow skulls we step outside of the day to day, we set aside the world of doubt and worry and immerse ourselves in the worlds of the voyagers, the lost and the deluded. Once the hoods are up we are unified; Four men with one story to tell, four individuals united to stand in the dark and scream defiance in the face of the primal night.
7. If you could make a proper video for any track on new album what would be and why?
We released a video for The Beasts That Perish ( https://youtu.be/kNSTmcT9xYg
) just prior to the album release. Working closely with director Phil Stubbs we have created a video that perfectly sums up the essence of that song. Beasts is about all of us, trapped in this most human of conditions, life. Are you just another numbered station feeding static to truth, put away and saved for no great purpose? It's a question you have to ask yourself before you can begin to break free; to remember to live again. As both album opening track and debut video we feel this song sets out the essence of the album's meaning.
And yes, those outdoor shots really were as cold as they looked!
8. I do hear elements of bands like Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Celtic Frost and Old man's child in your music . What bands have made you want to create this extreme dark art?
All great bands, and all in their own way an influence. As we mentioned earlier, all of us have taken very different musical journeys and I think this diversity is the key to the sound of Shadowflag. Music is vast, music is timeless and endless. Out there, someone is doing something unlike anything you've heard before. Be it punk, the scummiest grindcore or the most ethereal electronica someone is telling their story in their own way. We draw from the storytellers of the world, people with something to say and ideas to share.
9. Do the members of Shadowflag have other projects if so tell our readers so they can support these causes.
JJ and Carps work together on a side project called Insequent. It would be best described as dark ambient spoken word soundscapes but beyond that it's an opportunity for them to create freely and without boundaries in a very organic way. If any readers are interested they can be found on both facebook and bandcamp. (www.facebook.com/
insequentofficial, www. insequent.bandcamp.com)
Carps also works as Satan's Bee Keeper (experimental sound artist) and has a debut EP due for release via Sonic Entrails Records on the . It will be part of this year's Cassette Store day. It's certainly worth checking out. You can find him on www.facebook.com/
JJ is also currently writing his second novel.
10. What bands are members of Shadowflag listening to any thing out of ordinary?
Inspiration is everywhere. Music doesn't have to be metal to inspire 'heaviness'. For example while we were writing and recording 'The Delusion Machine' our playlist included:- Architects, Future of the Left, Code Orange, Devin Townsend, Die Antwoord and Mother Love Bone, Mark Lanegan, Blut Aus Nord alongside everything you'd expect from Satyricon, Behemoth, Ihsahn and Watain.
There is so much music to listen to and so little time to do it all in. It's good to have a fresh flow of new music rushing past as well as keeping the old favourites close at heart. There have been some interesting albums from Fluisteraars and Wiegedood and the post-black scene is really beginning to throw up some challenging releases. But then we could just as easily be found checking out some Steven Wilson or Powersolo!
There's one simple rule really, don't be bland and don't follow familiar paths. Ok, so that's two simple rules!
11. If the members weren't making music what other creative outlets can give you a similar rush?
All creativity comes from the same place inside the artist. True the 'rush' of completing a novel or painting is different to the immediacy of music but one thing that is the same is the 'flow state' the mind gets into during that process of creation. It's known as one of the most addictive states of mind to exist within and once you've experienced it, you want more. So yeah, if music disappeared we would be finding our fix in all manner of other mediums!
12. Where do you see the future sound of Shadowflag heading?
Almost impossible to say. We have barely begun working on the next album but the tracks that have surfaced have ranged from almost ambient to complex furious riff monsters. One of the greatest things about Shadowflag is the limitless scope for evolution and creativity. By starting out with an album that was effectively a 5000 word poem interspersed with blackened thrash we allowed ourselves complete creative freedom. To us metal, and specifically black and extreme metal has always meant creative freedom, freedom to push the boundaries of the genre and of music itself.
13. If you could have any band cover a Shadowflag song . Who would you want to express their ideas into that track?
In an ideal world, we would like to hear Downward Spiral era Nine Inch Nails taking on 'Singularity 45'. We think it would be interesting to hear what they could do to bring out the nightmarish, mechanical relentlessness of the track.
14. If Shadowflag was offered a large deal with a label like Nuclear Blast or Century media would you want to even negotiate the idea?
We would be open to a large deal provided that all the elements we need are in place. The music industry now works in a way that makes the traditional record label deal redundant. We can work, record, tour and sell our merch very effectively on our own so in order for us to entertain a deal we would need to know that the label understands our motivations and is able to provide the things that we can't on our own. We would want a label that invested in us emotionally, that brought into the Shadowflag ethos and was willing to work for us to get us onto stages across the world so we can do what we do.