Australia has always had a rich history in rock and metal music, from the days of AC/DC to the modern reverberation of the Metalcore and Deathcore contingent alongside the hellish Black Metal underground. But aside from that, one genre that seems to be simmering underneath is Industrial Metal and it falls on to bands like Darkcell to keep that burning flame alive. Having released their self-titled album this year, vocalist Jesse Dracman was happy to chat to GMA about the band's history, the local scene and future plans among other things.
"Our annual Psycho Circus this November will close one of our most exciting years to date."
For those who have not heard of Darkcell, could you give us the back story to how the band formed and the meaning behind Darkcell?
"Darkcell formed around 8 years ago initially as a studio project born from the ashes of a previous band Matt (guitars, electronics, production) and I had. We wanted to create a more Industrial heavy style that we love and grew up with. The debut album was half written when we got a call to open for Combichrist and the rest is history.
What is Darkcell? It’s open to interpretation and while we don’t claim to reinvent the wheel, we’ve certainly put our own definition out there. We’re the best band you’ve never heard!"
As an Industrial Metal band, do you feel the genre is not as prominent as it once was or is it amidst a revival?
"It never went away. People just got distracted and missed a lot of good music."
How would you describe your sound without the use of genres?
"Like a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza with all the intensity and finesse of a James Brown concert if he was possessed...was he?"
You released your self-titled album this year, what was the reception like?; have you had any fans get in touch from outside of Australia?
"It was the best reaction we’ve received yet. The streams and reviews have been our finest yet. It’s been an exciting cycle for us."
Will you look to play outside of Australia in the foreseeable future or have you done already?
"Always on our minds and we’ve toured Europe this year as well as the USA in 2015."
For metalheads visiting Brisbane, what sights / attractions would you recommend in seeing? What are the best bars and venues?
With 2019 closing up, what plans have you got between now and going into 2020?
"New music, bigger noise. Ain’t that always the aim? Here’s to a rad one. Our annual Psycho Circus this November will close one of our most exciting years to date."
Do you have any greetings, thank you's, etc that you wish to send out to friends, fans, etc?
"We are forever grateful to the fans that continue to support us and to those just finding us, welcome. Hail!"
Like most of the countries in Eastern Europe, the metal scenes are thriving and delivering some remarkable talent, yet they get largely ignored by the West. Take for example Belarus, the Extreme Metal scene there is extraordinary and yet can you name one band from there without googling? No? Then the point just made is well and truly proven. Hoping to shake the foundations of metal is Pagan Black Metallers Massenhinrichtung, sure the band has been around for 15 years but they've steadily been gathering a following in the underground and have landed a deal with Darker Than Black Records 4 years ago.
Rest assured they are NOT a NSBM band (said record label has some bands associated with the genre on their roster), they may show Belarusian patriotism but let's be honest, aren't we all patriotic at times? Massenhinrichtung's drummer Ksaltone spoke to GMA about their national scene, their new music video and the sights of their capital city Minsk and other places in Belarus.
"I could say that Belarusian Metal becomes stronger with every year."
Firstly could you tell us how Massenhinrichtung came about, who came up with the band name and what it means? Also why a German name and not a Belarusian name?
"Hello! I created Massenhinrichtung in 2004 when I was extremely influenced by horror and wild Pagan culture. I decided to name that project as “Massenhinrichtung” (mass execution) because I saw it as the most extreme form of protest against the modern abutments. In my opinion, nothing is more cruel than mass killing. Why German? German sounds tough, while Belarusian sounds soft and melodic."
How would you describe your sound without the use of genres and what influences do you look towards for your music?
"I would describe the sound of Massenhinrichtung as a reflection of deep emotional crisis and a hurricane of sad and aggressive energies. We just erupt tons of feelings via such kind of aggressive but eclectic songs. And yes, we are not into any genre, I think. It’s some kind of authentic metal from Belarus with blackened basis and surface. What about influences, so I take my inspiration from perfect nature and idiotic society."
You filmed your 'Distances' music video at some Orthodox locations in Belarus, how challenging was it to secure the permission to film at such sensitive sites?
"We didn’t get any permission from anyone. We came and filmed our background for a video boldly, without asking any kind of authorities. But we don’t have to do it, actually! It’s ours, hehehe. Those places are symbolic to me so I decided this lyric video must reflect the atmosphere of ascetic Belarusian vast land as I imagine it."
Can you tell us more about the wider Belarusian Metal scene? What the challenges are, are there any festivals, venues or bars you could recommend?
"To be honest, nowadays I have a little contact with metalheads, just with my teammates and old friends. We have been introverts for a long time. But anyway I could say that Belarusian Metal becomes stronger with every year. We have a small amount of annual festivals here, only 1 open-air fest, but almost every month we have there a gig of famous metal bands from EU and USA. Metal music has no cultural support here so every f*****g thing here is made by enthusiasts. Ideological enthusiasts. I could recommend you to listen to the bands Extermination Dismemberment and Serdce."
Outside of the band what hobbies or interests do you have?
"My main and only hobby is music. Making / listening to / composing – everything. And maybe travelling, but fortunately we united that with my music hobby, when we had started playing gigs outside our country. And every one of us have, of course, has constant work to earn for a living."
For metalheads visiting Minsk, what sights or attractions could you recommend in seeing? Is it relatively easy to navigate Minsk?
"I would recommend them to visit some calm Belarusian picturesque historical places instead of Minsk's stone jungle. Minsk is a big and wonderful city with plenty of attractions for the young blood, but personally, I like quiet places like ruins of castles (for example Novogrudok and Ruzhany) and lakesides like Braslav. I think metalheads will rate them better that our capital city. Minsk was destroyed during WWII, so all of the buildings are new and not prayed yet."
What plans does the band have for the rest of the year and leading into 2020?
"Now we are in the progress of making a new record, we’ll do our best to release it in summer 2020. We will show some changes and refreshments in Massenhinrichtung and will film one or two music videos. Follow us on any social network, soon we’ll put out the fresh news."
Do you have any greetings, thank you's, etc., that you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
"First of all a big thank you to Global Metal Apocalypse for an idea of making this interview! I’m sure European metalheads could be interested in discovering something new and extraordinary. In Belarus we have plenty of good music, so I recommend you to get to know the Belarusian Metal dialect. And of course cheers to all people in the EU who know us and support us! We appreciate it very much!"
Those who know their geography will know that Moldova is a small country to the East of Romania and yet whilst their flags are similar, they both speak Romanian and share the same name for their currency, do not by any means confuse the two. Whilst their neighbours Romania have had the pleasure of bringing out Negura Bunget as flag-bearers, it's now up to Infected Rain of Moldova to shoulder the responsibility of being flag-bearers to the Moldovan Metal scene.
Here is a band who has been around for the past 11 years and yet only now has a record label picked them up, it should have happened a lot sooner. None the less, having signed with Napalm Records and gearing up to release their fourth album 'Endorphin', it's fair to say that this quintet are not resting on their laurels as Lena goes on to explain when speaking to GMA...
"There are no good opportunities to play and share our music... It is really challenging to be a musician in Moldova in general."
Things are looking good for Infected Rain, with a record deal with Napalm Records and subsequently a new album coming out, all of you must be chuffed to be where you are at now?
"Yes we are really happy and excited for what is there to come."
Some of your new fans will not know you have been around for 11 years, will you look to re-release your three previous albums '86', 'Embrace Eternity' and 'Asylum'?
"It is possible but, it is not in our closest future plans yet. We just want to create new stuff."
You're heading out in November and December on tour with Eluveitie and Lacuna Coil, how does it feel to be in the presence of metal greatness?
"We are super excited about it. Both bands were always good to us and I think it’s going to be fun to share the stage and the whole tour experience with these great people."
Not many metalheads will know about metal in Moldova, do you feel you have become the flag-bearers of the scene? What can you tell us about the scene (festivals, support for metal, etc)?
"Unfortunately Moldova is not really famous for metal. We do have a lot of talented musicians and bands but, unfortunately there are no good opportunities to play and share our music. We don't have any support for the young musicians, no clubs or festivals to perform at. It is really challenging to be a musician in Moldova in general."
How does it feel to be working with such a highly-regarded vocal coach in Melissa Cross?
"I feel super honoured! We are old friends now. Melissa is not just a vocal teacher, she is my mentor. I love her with all my heart and I consider myself lucky to know her."
Would you say that your style of music is best called 'Modern Metal' or do you have a preferred way of describing your music instead of genre-tagging?
"Honestly I really don't like to put our selves in a box. We like to be free to compose and write without following any tools of specific music ganders."
With the end of 2019 in the not too far distant future, what can fans expect from Infected Rain up until the end of the year and into 2020?
"We are going to surprise everybody with our fresh new album that is going to see the light on October 18th. Right after that we are going on a big European tour supporting Eluveitie and Lacuna Coil. During this tour we are planning to visit 43 different cities in 20 different countries. Super excited about that!"
Are there any greetings, thank you's, etc, that you wish to send out to fans, friends, etc?
"We are absolutely grateful to all the people who support us, for their love and constant encouragement, is a proof that what we do is worth doing. We regard our music not as a marketable product, but as a way of doing what we love and sharing it with all the people who are willing to become part of our world. We would never have been able to be where we are now, to be who we are without our faithful fans and we are proud to say that we have always been and will always be true to ourselves and to them."
In a series of posts, GMA will be speaking to bands worldwide about film soundtracks they feel that could have been written using metal music. Up first is Gothic Metallers Winter Storm who hail from the West Midlands, England.
1. Silence of the Lambs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6Mm8Sbe__o
"I don't think this soundtrack gets the credit it deserves. It's some of Howard Shore's best work by far; it's not all about Lord Of The Rings. I would love to have his insight when putting together a piece of music to set the tone for a scene / movie."
2. A Clockwork Orange - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN-1Mup0UI0
"I adore this soundtrack and the approach Walter (now Wendy) Carlos brought to it. I'm a huge fan of neo-classical music, so to have a soundtrack that so heavily relies on reworked Purcell and Beethoven pieces is fine by me! To bookend a film of that nature with Queen Mary's funeral march and then Singing in the Rain is a touch of genius."
3. The Lion King - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY7xBISLBIA
"I'll be 34 in February, but listening to this soundtrack takes me back to being a fascinated 8-year old kid watching the film at a local cinema for the first time. It is, in my opinion, quite possibly the best soundtrack ever written."
4. The Never-ending Story - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeFni9dOv7c
"Who doesn't love a classic cheesy, 80s film? This is another film that fascinated me when I was a kid and that was largely down to the soundtrack. It's the first time I remembered paying specific attention to character themes/leitmotifs, and how certain instruments used in certain ways can evoke particular emotions: the joy of riding Valkor, the sadness of losing Artax, the fear being stalked by Gmork..."
5. Saturday Night Fever - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyJDYTG5leQ
"The Bee Gees are literally some of the best songwriters of all time. Sadly, they're mostly lost on my generation, but some of the material they wrote - especially before their disco phase - is incredible. It's not surprising to me that they went on to write, what was then, the most successful soundtrack of all time."
Winter Storm have also released the first single 'Astral World' today, here is a link to the video.
One of the UK's finest melodic metal bands, Winter Storm, are back after a short break with their third full length album. Their latest offering, 'Relapse in Time', follows on from the story that began with their second album, a concept album, 'Within The Frozen Design'. The story begins with the protagonist believing he is designing his own universe, but, as events unfold, it turns out it was all a coincidence and he spirals into madness. The story continues in "Relapse in Time', where the protagonist awakens with no idea of where he is, in a strange land of deserted plains, and a Mars-like terrain.
After forming in 2008 Winter Storm have moulded and changed their sound to make their own unique form of Melodic Metal, which is displayed in the new album. They wished to fuse metal (including 7 string guitars) with melodic keyboards and vocals. Winter Storm have been seen supporting the likes of Delain and Leaves' Eyes as well as performing at Bloodstock Open Air, Hammerfest, HRH Metal and Wizzfest Belgium.
Quote from Hannah, the vocalist of Winter Storm:
“I am very pleased to announce Winter Storm will be bringing out our long anticipated third album Relapse In Time on the 11th October. First of all I would like to thank all of our friends and fans for waiting so long to hear this album. With this record we are planning to bring a new sound forward; fusing our melodic metal sound with a symphonic and more technical edge.”
‘Relapse In Time’ will be released at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on Friday 11th October and will be available on all digital platforms.
Winter Storm on the run up to the release of ‘Relapse In Time’ will be releasing a teaser trailer every Friday until the release date, you can check out the first teaser here: https://youtu.be/XbM4f3iGhSM
Whenever you think of Canada, the usual stereotypes come into being. Maple syrup, South Park (Blame Canada), the vast forests and of course ice hockey. But among all of that is a metal scene that has been chugging along nicely, just like their railways, their metal scene is vast, widespread and as solid as the rails their trains travel on. One band who over the years has grown and improved themselves to become one of Canada's most exciting exports in the past decade is Unleash The Archers. This Heavy Power / Melodic Death Metal leviathan is roaring and ready to unleash their latest EP 'Explorers'. Vocalist Brittney Slayes filled in the details of the new EP, their journey to where the band is now, their home city of Vancouver and what films she would have loved to written metal soundtracks for.
"Don’t you feel like in these new [Star Wars] films there should have been heavier riffs? Imagine if Kylo’s theme had been metal!"
Ten years have passed since your first album 'Behold The Devastation' saw daylight, the band has come a long way since then, what is it would you say has driven the band to where they are now?
"To be honest, there was never some grand scheme for greatness, never a plan or even a purposeful direction, we just keep writing new music and getting out on the road to tour it. We have always taken it day by day, album by album, just seizing the opportunities when they come and working as hard as we can to create something new and exciting each time we hit the studio. Music is our passion, we will continue to play as long as we can and if a little success comes along with it then that’s great, but it’s not why we do it. We just want to play our songs live in front of an audience that enjoys them as much as we do."
Canada seems to keep producing exciting and fresh bands, is it safe to assume the Canadian Metal scene is buzzing right now?
"Absolutely! The advent of digital music has allowed a lot more bands to get their music out there in front of a lot more people, whereas in the past it would have been up to the labels to pick and choose which bands get recognition and which don’t. I think Canada has always been full of killer musicians, it’s just hard to be noticed when you have huge markets like the USA and Europe constantly getting all the attention. You do have to go the extra mile in order to get your name out there, you have to tour those major markets as much as you can and look for coverage wherever you can get it, and I think a lot more bands are doing that nowadays. You have to be willing to put the time and energy in, no one is going to do it for you, and there are a lot of young bands up here that are finally understanding that."
If you had the choice of writing metal soundtracks for 5 films, what 5 films would you choose?
"When I was watching 'Aquaman' I felt like the soundtrack was so wrong, it should have been way heavier, it should have been metal, so I suppose that would be my first choice. I think Annihilation and the new Predator movie should have had metal soundtracks too. Of course, Star Wars has some of the best song writing of all time, but don’t you feel like in these new films there should have been heavier riffs? Imagine if Kylo’s theme had been metal! So perfect. Lastly, I would love to do the soundtrack for the Alien franchise, I think the last two films were so fantastically dark and would pair well with some progressive or even djent-y riffage. Could you imagine that in theatres? Just awesome."
What have you done differently for 'Explorers' in comparison with 'Apex'?
"The biggest difference is that ‘Explorers’ is just a two-song covers EP, not a full length, so we didn’t do any original writing, just some rearranging. ‘Apex’ is full of imagination, but ‘Explorers’ is full of heart. We are heading into the studio pretty soon here to do another full length, a sequel to ‘Apex’, so we will be returning to the same writing and recording style for that one. This EP was just a little something to keep the fans engaged while we write the next album."
You've covered Stan Rogers's 'Northwest Passage' for the EP and said it (quote) 'brings us right back home', do you feel it's important for bands to turn to musicians who epitomize a cultural identity in context with Stan travelling nationwide through the Rockies, forests, etc?
"We are all really big fans of Stan, and not just because he toured the same highways that we do, but because he has such a strong sense of Canadian identity inherently surrounding him. All of his songs invoke a reverence for our Canadian heritage that make you almost want to explode with pride for the beauty of it. He reminds you of where you’ve come from, and inspires you to use that as fuel for the fire. We knew that there were going to be tons of people that had never heard of Stan before, but we didn’t care, we wanted the metal community to hear the song and love it just as much as we do, all the naysayers be damned ;)"
Speaking of which, for metalheads visiting the city of Vancouver, what sights / attractions could you recommend? Any festivals, bars, also?
"Number one on the list should definitely be to stroll the seawall through Stanley Park, from Coal Harbour all the way to English Bay and beyond if you can make it, maybe rent a bike because it pretty much surrounds the whole of down-town Vancouver and keeps on going! Granville Island is cool too, but save that for a weekday because weekends it’s PACKED. The Vancouver Art Gallery is worth it if there is an interesting exhibit going on, and there is tons of shopping around there as well so it’s easy to make a day of it. The Musuem of Anthroplogy out at UBC is worth checking out, as is the grounds of the university in general. Oh and you definitely want to check out the Capilano Suspension bridge! Super rad, unless you’re afraid of heights and a wobbly bridge packed with people ;).
As for festivals, we have Hyperspace each spring which is all power and melodic bands, and then we have the Modified Ghost festival in the summer that is all super heavy death and technical bands. As for bars, you definitely want to hit up the Moose! Cheap, tasty food and heavy metal music all day long!"
Aside from the EP, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
"We have begun the writing process for the next album and will be hitting the studio at the end of the year. We are hoping for a late spring 2020 release, and after that it will be tour, tour, tour! Plus, as many festivals as we can get our hands on."
Do you have any greetings, thank you's, etc you wish to send out?
"Just wanted to say thanks to our fans for their amazing response to the ‘Explorers’ EP so far! We can’t wait to share the second track with everyone on October 11th! Keep an eye on YouTube ‘cause we’ll be releasing another cool video for that track as well J If you haven’t checked it out yet, the video for ‘Northwest Passage’ is up on YouTube right now, and make sure to bring your thinking cap because it’s a wild ride ;)
Thanks for your time everyone!"
For Black Stone Cherry things cannot be any sweeter, for a band who has stuck together like a band of brothers for the past 18 years and yet not had one single line-up change, it's evident they are closer than you think. The great thing is they've stuck to their roots, hailing from Kentucky famed for it's chicken (obviously), this Alt / Southern Metal / Hard Rock band have been churning out albums left, right and centre. A total of six albums have been released and their latest effort 'Family Tree' is an absolute blast, has to be said. Now the Edmonton-natives make their second pilgrimage to the world of blues as they gear up to unleash their second blues-tribute EP 'Black To Blues Volume 2', rhythm / lead guitarist and backing vocalist Ben Wells was more than happy to talk about their year, including an unforgettable headliner at Ramblin' Man Festival in Maidstone, Kent, in addition to their love for the Appalachians and of course their affinition for blues music.
"We love Appalachian music... it's a big part of Kentucky’s culture and heritage."
Guys you played at the Ramblin' Man Fair festival in Kent this year, what was the reception like and what did you like most about the festival?
"We love Ramblin' Man Festival! It’s one of our favourite festivals! The atmosphere is electric, but still very relaxed. The mix up of bands from old to new and different genres is also really cool. We love that!"
Whenever you perform, what are your emotions like when the crowd reacts in the way they do to your songs and performance? (Question sent in from Black Stone Cherry fan Emily Williams)
"It’s overwhelming, really. When you write songs you never “expect” a ton of people to sing along or wave their hands in the air, or cry, etc. so when those emotions start happening... it’s the most rewarding thing for us."
Now you're set on bringing out your second tribute EP, ‘Black To Blues Volume 2,’ it's evident blues plays a huge part in your sound, but on a wider scope how important is blues to heavy rock / metal music?
"I would love to hear some Bluesy Heavy Metal! Haha. Honestly though, without the blues we wouldn’t have Rock 'n' Roll. And without Rock 'n' Roll we probably wouldn’t have Heavy Metal or Hard Rock. So I still think it’s very important."
Outside of the band, what hobbies or interests do you have? How did you get into playing music?
"I like playing golf when I get the chance! I love to run and have recently picked up swimming as well! But music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been drawn towards [playing the] guitar and entertaining people."
How tricky or easy was it to pick what songs you wanted to cover for your second tribute EP?
"It can be difficult at times because we are fans of so many different blues artists. We knew we wanted to do “Big Legged Woman” and “Death Letter Blues”. The others we kinda decided on the spot whilst in the studio. It’s never easy!"
Do you feel connected to the Appalachian section of Kentucky and does the cultural heritage play a part in your music? For those visiting Edmonton, what sights / attractions could you recommend in visiting?
"We love Appalachian music! It’s so great and yes, it's a big part of Kentucky’s culture and heritage. As far as Edmonton goes, there’s some cool little shops and stores and a great little place called Genes Freeze!"
What plans do you have for the rest of the year and leading into 2020?
"Touring the rest of 2019! For 2020 we plan to record and have a new album out, then back on the road!"
Do you have any greetings, or thank you's that you wish to send out to friends, fans, etc?
"We always want to thank anyone who has supported us, listened to our music, been to a show, bought a shirt, etc. "We literally can’t make this happen without them! So, thank you!!"
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, they all have a lot in common. Historical connotations, geographical locations, seasonal conditions, cricket, religious festivals among others... but nothing as striking as the sheer size of their metal music scenes. Sure not many people in the West know that these scenes exist with India being the exception, after all Kryptos and Demonic Resurrection have been gracing the UK and European shores many times. As for the rest of the subcontinental contingent, there is Orobas from Bangladesh causing a buzz, Pakistan's Black Warrant perhaps being one of the oldest bands from there and Sri Lanka's Dhishti leading the Sri Lankan Black Metal wave... overarching all of that is a passion for extreme music, a passion for metalheads expressing themselves and a passion for thriving in an 'Extreme Nation', this is what Indian director Roy Dipankar's latest documentary is called and is about. He gladly spoke to GMA about the documentary, the troubles funding and filming such a feat and what it means to be a metalhead in this part of the world.
"The subcontinent now has her own flag-bearers in extreme metal being recognised worldwide thanks to the internet, supportive distributions and record labels."
Roy, what gave you the idea of doing a documentary about the Indian subcontinent's extreme underground metal scene?
"My affinity for independent and alternative music has traversed a long way, a decade plus later, manifesting itself as a film via videos and documentaries capturing the panorama of non-mainstream music and emerging voices from the Indian subcontinent. The professional experience in the commercial and institutional sector of record labels eventually left me not so satisfied in terms of creativity, progress and space to showcase emerging sub-cultures and alternative voices of the youth. I began to feel (and see) the societal fissures and cultural bias (injustice) which ran from pillar to post, within mainstream culture, be it the case in India or Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The more I searched, the more I discovered concurrent narratives of musicians, fans and propagators from far corners of the underground subcontinent.
The fledgling emergence of an unique subculture against the backdrop of religious radicalism, rising nationalism, traditional hegemony makes this documentary loaded in contrast, conversations and controversy. This led me to develop a first-of-its-kind attempt to document and showcase voices, the prevailing conditions and questions raised by metal musicians from the fringe communities based in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Almost five years in the making, 'Extreme Nation' is now debuting at various film-festivals, media outlets and panoramas in India and outside."
What challenges did you have to overcome to deliver the documentary? How long did it take to create?
"Several! Especially when one embarks upon an independent task towards creative art which is all about subversiveness and anti-creation. Be it the interpersonal relationship of the countries, or the highly elusive or inert nature of bands and characters involved in the underground. Finding the right people and convincing them to be a part of a bigger spectrum was a massive deal.
Financial hurdles were / are the most difficult ones. Especially when the international documentary world is looking at India to produce more apparent hard-pressed issues related to environment, gender identity and equality, caste-based politics and such, a feature film on subculture takes a second or rather a second-last silver lining on the path to fruition.
Security was another concern regarding the cast and 'politically sensitive' content due to long term internal disputes and border-territory issues across the subcontinent. Diplomatic problems like visas have always been a chimera for extreme musicians to travel across our borders for performances. Struggling against the pre-fixated mindsets towards music that is metal, noise, power electronics, hardcore, is tough. But I took this as an anti-morose challenge which is both exciting and satisfying as the awareness spreads... a film about dark music! A film about the seething yet fragile voices within nations of the Indian subcontinent."
Do you feel that Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan (along with Nepal, Bhutan and The Maldives) are being noticed worldwide as forces within the extreme metal scene?
"Very much. The subcontinent now has her own flag-bearers in extreme metal that is being recognised worldwide thanks to the internet as well as supportive distribution and syndication by record labels."
What have you noticed about the scenes there, that at first came as a surprise to you?
"More than as a surprise, the feeling was that of a kind of discovery. The bands, their message, performances and imagery came across as crisp and sharp. It was both unique and seminal that would lay the path of an organised scene is what became clear to me."
Do you feel it will come to a point where a lot more Western labels take note of bands in this region; with Demonic Resurrection and Kryptos leading the way?
"Further to the aforementioned bands there are substantial releases of Indian subcontinental bands like Genocide Shrines, Konflict, Tetragrammacide to the now recent Kapala that has gained severe international recognition by release through 'Western labels' in the extreme underground."
What was life like growing up as a metalhead in India? What does your family think of your choice of music and your film-making?
"Growing up in the early 90's, the only two unique distinctions in sound for me was AR Rahman's music and Heavy Metal. Don't get me wrong, I mean, I grew up in the Bombay heartland (thus being) exposed to Bollywood, devotional cacophony of loudspeakers blaring during festivals, cassettes and LPs of international artists like ABBA, Boney M, Kraftwerk, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Rabindra Sangeet published by Polydor, Columbia, HMV (my grandfather's lifetime as an Exports Manager at HMV, Calcutta). But the teenage angst in me would be satiated by metal music alone and a bit of Bruce Lee films maybe. What attracts me in metal or extreme music (as currently what I listen to might not easily be identified as metal: 8MM, mz412, Bell, Black Cilice, Qrixkuor), it probably is that naked, unabashed and true openness of expressionist art that needn't adhere to a form, method or general formulae. My family is fine with me whether be it choice of profession or passion."
Will people in Europe get to see this documentary? Will you look to release it on DVD in the future?
"The film is completed and is making its way through film and music festivals. 'Extreme Nation' had her world premiere at the prolific Jecheon International Music Film Festival in South Korea this August. It was also screened at Wacken Open Air 2019, Germany and FICIME, Bogota, Colombia. The film is scheduled to screen at more avenues like Infierno Fest, Peru and a possible screening at Brutal Assault, Czech Republic next year. More announcements to follow. Currently I am in talks with a record label in Europe for a DVD release of the film later this year!"
Any final thoughts? Greetings you wish to send out?
Sigh on to you my friend,
Might be, is this the end,
The pain hurts the fear inside,
Kill be, the weak to ride."
If you were to ask Hatari if everything was going according to plan, they would give a solid response... yes. Following their journey at Eurovision and burying the past in the depths of history, it's clear that their message and music has crumbled over Europe having sold out their London show in rapid time.
London was part of a four-date tour across Western Europe, with the Icelanders having performed in Berlin the night before (they flew to all shows it would seem) and then had Oslo and Stockholm in their sights. The big 'Europe Will Crumble' tour begins next year and on the strength of tonight's show, they are already set to blow Camden wide open with their infectious brand of 'Industrial Techno Punk'.
With the queue steadily building outside of The Dome in Tufnell Park, it was evident that the UK loves Hatari and in turn it would seem Hatari loved the UK; or to this part London. Goths, industrialists, Eurovision-fans abound, this was surely to be the litmus test for how well Hatari can perform on the smaller stage having arguably been one of the most memorable acts of Eurovision from the past decade.
GMA is doing a first here by combining the gig report with the interview, let's do this.
After the support acts had delivered their sets, sets that could be described as gothic burlesque, or dark theatrics; either way they were entertaining and arguable proponents to the Hatari message, it was time for the Icelandic trio to bring the consensual BDSM, techno-punk and lights to the fore as they ploughed through songs from their debut EP 'Neysluvara', their Eurovision entry 'Hatrið Mun Sigra', 'Spillingardens' and of course 'Klefi / Samed' (ft. Bashar Murad) as well as new material...
Given that the show was sold out, it was interesting to find out Klemens's and Matthías's reaction to this news.
"We've been in shock this whole time, seeing our fans on social media, seeing our tickets being sold so successfully. We weren't sure whether Europe will accept our message, but our sponsors and board of directors remain confident throughout; especially after Eurovision, so we owe them many thanks."
"Yeah there was a certain unknown factor in entering the competition and we felt that we were well embraced and our message came across, to at least a certain number of people, so we're very humbled and pleased with the progress."
With the crowd as engaged as they were with each song Hatari threw at them, it was clear enough to see that the crowd understood the message being put out. Before the songs were played, there was a introductory speech explaining what Hatari is defined as, it has ten meanings and with some of these meanings, the universe became a focal point. This was no political rally but more so a celebration of free-thinking and understanding, sure the dystopian red and black was all abound and the two screens adjacent to Einar played graphics relating to the songs being performed, but with the performance overall there were positive vibes on and off the stage. It is clear these positive vibes will increase during their maiden tour next year... will these vibes push the band onto greater things?
"Well someone once said, 'he who controls Europe, controls the world', that person was probably wrong, but Europe will certainly crumble along with the rest of the world, so we find it fitting to start in Europe and we'll see how the global apocalypse then ensues. Our shareholders have presented to us their investment strategy in the coming years and it's an investment strategy that relies heavily on the end of the world being nigh, so we apparently fit into this scheme, which is excellent for us as musicians."
"I agree, obviously we're only employees of Relentless Scam Incorporated our holdings company, so we only follow the schedule that is given to us each week. There's a bit of a longer distance between each scheduled announcement, it's not as progressive or as intense as it was during the Eurovision period."
Arguably their performance was crafted and shaped by Relentless Scam Incorporated in such a way that it resulted in engaging the crowd, the sweating however was a by-product of consuming such energising music and no pyrotechnics were needed to raise the atmosphere at all. The laser lights however made for a sensational display, metaphorically speaking beaming the music and message across to Europe and the world, that Hatari are here and are if you like the vox populi of the modern times. But what of the Eastern side of Europe? Russia surely would revel in the dystopia envisaged here, perhaps George Orwell '1984' was prophetical for it's time....
"Yeah we're scheduled to play in Russia in November this year, which we look forward to seeing our fans there and the big fan-base we've seemed to built up there over the past few months. We hope to bring our message of the world ending to Russia, in Moscow and St. Petersburg where we will be playing"
"Make no mistake, even though this tour is entitled 'Europe Will Crumble' and relies heavily on Western Europe, it goes without saying that all corners of Europe will indeed crumble."
Some would say that the dystopia Hatari puts forward is happening right now, Europe could well be crumbling and those who heed their message will understand what they mean. The use of the introduction music for the BBC News did not go amiss nor did the mesmerising dialogue regarding humanity and the world, and certainly the joke about the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not ignored. Naturally no one can ignore the rise of populism and nationalism within the European Union, this is probably where the song 'Hatrið Mun Sigra' (Hate Will Prevail) comes into use....
"We've always had our act as a dystopia, it goes for our Eurovision track as well as the whole set we're playing tonight, it's a portrayal of a world we see as a very real and frightening possibility in the near future"
This set list would comprise of 'X' along with the songs from their debut EP 'Neysluvara', their Eurovision song ''Hatrið Mun Sigra' (which reached #85 on the UK Singles download chart), their collaborating song 'Klefi / Samed' with Palestinian artist Bashar Murad and 'Spillingardans' among other tracks unbeknownst to the Hatari faithful. Months ago GMA spoke to Hatari about their Eurovision adventure and plans thereafter; the mini-tour included, however the hint of an album was mentioned and so has Relentless Scam Inc. given the order for this to be manifested?
"We are working on it and we aim to publish it before the 'Europe Will Crumble' tour, the exact dates are not in our hands unfortunately."
With their set it was clear there was an understanding between the crowd and the band performing, be it through body movement or simply grasping the message being put out; even if you cannot understand a word of Icelandic (everyone should know the word 'skál'!), but for those who might feel they disagree with their message and what they are doing, could the act of persuasion come into play or is it as simple as opening your mind to the world of realism...
"We feel that we bring a certain kind of world to the stage, a certain feeling of emotion and frustration that we cast onto our audience, so yes there's a certain understanding even if you don't necessarily grasp the meaning of the lyrics straight away"
"I don't think the lyrics are quote 'too political' in the sense that they take sides on specific issues, it's more of a general feeling of frustration, angst and dissonance about our current states of affairs that doesn't pick side a or b, it's more of a general contradiction we find ourselves in and therein lies Hatari."
What Hatari brought to the stage that night was what you would call in a Star Wars context, 'balance to the force', that is through Klemens's angelic and symphonic vocals crashing against the demonic and gritty vocals of Matthías. Metaphorically speaking both bringing the light and the dark together to create a middle ground, an understanding of what kind of world we live in and that in order to bring stability and peace to the world, we first must learn to love before hatred seeps in; a paradox if you like in this modern world. Hatari have indefinitely succeeded in bringing their message to the peoples tonight and are certain to carry this message onwards through their unique music and vocals...
"Well there's a lot of pre-work that goes into them (the vocals), the preparation of singing in the certain specific styles that we must work with. It's been a long process, a lot of placement sessions - working on our vocals, Matthías's 'hoh''s, so yes it's been a long process, a lot of different vocal techniques and teachings that we've learnt along the way. We still haven't perfected the vocal styles yet and they're ever and ever transforming, so we looking forward to seeing where it will bring us and what we can do with our vocals.
You could say that there is a lot of love, respect, connection, acceptance going on between the members of Relentless Scam Incorporated, even though we don't know the board of directors. We still feel the kind of compassion that they bring to the atmosphere that we strive to perform in."
"Yes, I'm very repressed in my personal life whereas Klemens is very expressive and always has been since I've known him, so I think it's a game of opposites and I think without Klemens, Hatari would be a unpublished book of poetry, but I feel safe knowing that he is on stage with me and we're really dared to do this together.
One must give a lot of credit to the drum gimp, for example yesterday (in Berlin) it must have been in the middle of a heatwave because we've never seen him so sweaty, but he's alive and well today thankfully."
Of course all bands and subsequent members have their own music tastes and artists / bands they grew up listening to, some of which have a role in the music they create as a result of, it is clear enough that Hatari have a melting pot of different music elements going through each song played tonight, meaning not one song is the same as the other or indeed similar. With the strobe lighting and lasers (purple, green and blue) making it feel like we were witnessing the new wave of Icelandic rave, in fact the crowd were bearing witness to a rising act in the making. Question is what spurred the members on in the first place in terms of their listening habits....
"Obviously there are lot of artists that brings influence to us - Matthías interjects - one example is an Icelandic children's album by - Klemens resumes - Skoppa and Skrítla, they're an Icelandic duo much like us. - Matthías continues - 'Abbabbabb' was another Icelandic children's album that I remember and of course the 'Moonmintrolls', - Klemens continues - the 'Moomintrolls' have been a steady influence in our goal to bring down capitalism - Matthías continues - and they have an apocalypse story in the 'Moomintrolls', it's very touching and I remember being frightened as a child. My parents both listened to Punk when they were younger and I dabbled in the likes of Laibach before starting this adventure, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child... Britney Spears is the master of curbing, which I tried to do for a long time... curbing is a vocal technique but I found overdrive is more my thing.
"We could go on with these influences, obviously Greta Thunberg, not a musician obviously but is one of our more recent influences - Klemens adds - yeah a primary influence at the moment, everyone should know who she is. I could go over to politics... (both laugh), yeah Donald Trump is obviously a certain influence at some point. - Matthías adds - I'd do Boris Johnson mostly as a poet, poet first and politician second and I think it's an example of irony going too far, maybe like many artists that we know and love. - Klemens adds - he obviously shares the opinion that the world is going to end and is striving to help that come about, - Matthías continues - accelerating the process obviously and which is what we're all about as well, accelerating the doomsday prophecy - Klemens interjects - we don't support his methods - Matthías agrees - ah no, he's a terrible man... (both laugh after Matthías mentions an Icelandic word which evidently carries an humorous element with it).
What was the Italian guy's name in Eurovision? Do you remember? We've had his song stuck to our brains for a long time. An Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, he's a patron of our arts... he left me his summer house this summer, which was really lovely and we had a really intriguing discussions about arts with him and others including Elísabet Kristín Jökulsdóttir, poet, performer, and former candidate for President of Iceland. Obviously Bashar Murad is a huge collaborator and an important collaborator, Cyber as well from the Icelandic rap scene; they're a project that branched out of a rap collective, they're a political, all-female Icelandic rap collective and they did the track 'Hlauptu' with us, they're a huge influence as well obviously. Trashy clothing have been, we're collaborating with them and have done a photo-shoot with them, we're aiming to work with them more in the future; they're a Palestinian fashion brand that really fits our aesthetics in a very post-plastic, kitsch, dystopian-kind-of-way."
Many will recall how Hatari waved the Palestinian flag at Eurovision, some agreed with and some did not. None the less, it boosted their profile and their song 'Klefi / Samed' with Palestinian artist Bashar Murad, boosted theirs and his popularity further as the video now has been viewed 1.2 million times. They played the song tonight but had to use the audio clip of Bashar in lieu of him being there. Could this be a great example of how music brings the world together? They go on to explain how they managed to get in touch with Bashar Murad and explain their thoughts regarding the beauty of the song, being in both Icelandic and Arabic....
"After winning the national selections, we wanted to make contact with Palestinian and Israeli artists and activists, we were put in touch with Bashar Murad and had a Skype meeting with him where we made a really strong connection straight away, from there on we felt it was right to do a song together.
I didn't feel it was too surprising though because we worked with a lot of contrast and, this being a huge contrast coming from two completely different worlds, they were somehow brought together into one beautiful song"
"The crucial link there was probably the Palestine music expo, which is where Bashar has played before and is sort of like the Palestinian (version of) Icelandic airwaves. Pleasantly surprised yes."
Of course there is one member of the group who does not partake in interviews and has his own affectionate place alongside Klemens and Matthías, referred to as the 'drum gimp', Einar is the third member of Hatari. It was said that his energy and devoition caused him to sweat a lot in Berlin and thus did he sweat a lot in London, 'sweat and determination' is an understatement and as both Matthías and Klemens went on to explain, they're a band of brothers or as some might say, the three musketeers....
"I would say both him and Klemens as music producers, Klemens as a composer, but Einar is a professional in whatever he undertakes. Obviously he is a great drummer, he's a very efficient gimp and has a lot to do with the mix of our tracks, our sound in general.
Honestly in the best cases, you start remembering who had the original idea, the important thing in the creative collaboration isn't counting your own beans so-to-speak, it's more about just serving the concept and keeping it flowing. It's all our stuffs that keeps this structure alive, we're all backbones in a way; regarding the concept at least."
"Yeah it's a very flowing thing, so far I compose all of the tracks and Einar helps and does the final touches, then the production and the mixing of the tracks. Matthías obviously brings in his lyrics that we often work on together, I sometimes compose or I usually compose my lyrics and then Matthías brings his touch into them, so it's a very free-flowing creative experience that happens between the three of us."
Of course all bands and artists have their ups and downs, yet arguably for Hatari there are certainly more high than low points. For Hatari, forming, winning the Icelandic national selection for Eurovision, reaching the Eurovision finals and then selling out 4 European shows ahead of next years 'Europe Will Crumble' tour, is surely the Crème de la crème, or is it not?...
"Well Einar was very sweaty at the Berlin show and may have reached a low point, we let him take off his leather and contraptions out of medical needs, more than anything else, but I think he is better now, all primed up as you say"
"Honestly in a certain way it's become very mainstream what we do, so we look forward to establishing our side-project 'lounge-core', the art of performance, co-hosting an experience that will be sometimes performing... - Matthías interjects - yeah in a hotel lounge near you. Another high point is obviously the fact that we did our first European headline show in Berlin and our second show (today) in London, all sold-out shows. - Klemens adds - this was pleasing for the promoters, the board of directors and the investors in Relentless Scam Incorporated. - Matthías continues - good for us as well at the gig, it's much harder to do a gig if there is no one there, it's better to have a crowd and invest in new followers if you will."
It's clear that the group has some down time when the board of directors permits, there is only so much that can be done in a set period of time and despite the adrenalin received from your very own 'Sodadream', Hatari are certified to give you the full treatment of dystopian, high-intense visions that you will succumb to as they spread the messages handed down to them by Relentless Scam Incorporated. So how does Hatari unwind after receiving their instructions from the powers that be?
"Well I'm unemployed at the moment, so being here is [Klemens mentions Matthías likes babysitting] a huge relief from the intense babysitting I do for Klemens and his family. I'm also a playwright."
"Other hobbies, obviously a lot of my time goes to being with my two lovely daughters at the moment, and my fiance Ronja; we're getting married next year. Otherwise we both go out swimming a lot, enjoy going out for long walks - Matthías adds - we clean the leather a lot, that's sometimes fun. - Klemens continues - I wouldn't say I maintain a lot of my hobbies at the moment since my focus is required elsewhere, but I hope to take up all my other hobbies sometimes - Matthías adds - Klemens is an excellent carpenter, cabinet maker and furniture designer; his home is graced by these original designs, I like to admire these in my free time from which I have a lot."
Creativity runs rich through the veins of this Icelandic trio, much more than the ice-cool blood you would expect after donning PVC / leather garments in the snow and ice-laden terrains of Iceland, not to say they aren't cool as ice because they evidently are, winning the hearts of the peoples of Europe; BDSM, fetish, techno, Eurovision-fans, the list never ends of scenes they've tapped into. It's truer than true to accept that they are more than just a band, they are a living, breathing (and sweating) multimedia project that are set to do great things in the years ahead into the future. Just like the constant rotating of the saw behind the globe in their logo, Hatari cut through the clouded visions in this world and open up people's minds, the question is what do they see their logo as portraying?
"Well it's the logo of Svikamylla ehf. / Relentless Scam Incorporated that you're referring to, to us it's the late capitalist, loving embrace of our generous investors. Their passionate commitment to making all of this turn out profitable, mostly to them and just a cheerful way in which corporations are spiralling towards their own doom in the early half of the 21st century."
"It can also be interpreted as that we're all caged in within a certain mentality, mechanics that runs our conciousness and also awaits the spiritual awakening of humanity."
After tonight's show it was fair to say that they've started this spiritual awakening as the masses attending understood, digested and came to terms with what they are highlighting about the world. This is just the very start for Hatari, with their set and their dedication to the art passed down to them by Relentless Scam Incorporated, it's very fair to say that they will move on to greater things, forget Eurovision for what it is; that was just the appetiser, now this 'award-winning, anti-capitalist, BDSM, techno-dystopian, performance art collective' are serving up the mains and have added sides to go with this feast for the ages, what sides dare you ask? And what messages have Hatari got for their faithful custodians?
"We're not allowed to comment on this at this moment unfortunately. To my room-mates in Iceland, next week is your turn to clean the bathroom. Stay strong, not just my room-mates but everyone. Don't just read the headline if you're going to quote an article, you have to know what the source was, you can't go telling people all of this sensationalist topics and exclamations if you don't even know what the source was. Read the whole article if you're going to go about quoting things. - Klemens adds - we're guilty of doing that sometimes, - Matthías continues - it's something we're working on within the band, it was an article about plastic in the Pacific Ocean, growing by itself and I didn't understand it, but I started exclaiming it to everyone yesterday... 'did you know they're forming islands, and it's becoming a part of the natural terrain?, turns out it was b******t. But still, plastic in the Pacific is still a big problem so yeah everyone should recycle and not just quote an article if they've only read the headline, that's my lesson from today and yesterday."
"Stay strong. Don't forget to recycle."
Hatari are here to stay and open peoples eyes to the plethora of issues the world faces, through the rise of capitalism to the politicisations of multicultural events (those who know, know), overarching all of this is a trio of Icelandic musicians, who, are arguably a band of brothers undertaking duties and operations handed down to them by the board of directors at Svikamylla ehf. (Relentless Scam Inc) with pinpoint precision. The performance was faultless, everything is going according to plan.
The world of crossover music has always been there and for those eager enough to explore it, there are some rather spectacular and imaginative musicians out there. One such musician is Chinese-American cellist and erhuist Tina Guo, who has been a part of a countless number of musical scores most notably as a solo cellist, these include (but not limited to): 'Iron Man 2', 'Olympus Has Fallen', 'Vikings' (TV series), 'X-Men: First Class', 'Family Guy' and more. Moreover she has collaborated with world-famous musicians and composers such as John Legend, Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams respectively.
To top that she has appeared in the 'Mazda 6' and 'United Airlines' adverts respectively... in fact alongside this she has helped score for numerous video games including 'Diablo III' and 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' as well as releasing as of 2017, 8 albums of her own material with guests along the way; some of the albums are covers of game tunes e.g. her latest album 'Game On!' which has a metal feel to it and as Tina goes on to explain in the interview she had with GMA, there is something special about the relationship between metal and classical music.
Furthermore she has recently appeared on 'The Lion King' soundtrack to which she expressed absolute delight at.
"There is something about both Classical Music and Metal Music that has a lot of deep emotion and power."
At what point during your life did you want to become a musician? Did you have a strong music-orientated upbringing? Are other family members musicians?
"To be honest, I was forced into the family trade as a musician! Both of my parents are classical musicians and music teachers and I started on the piano at the of age 3, violin at 6, and cello at 7. Playing music and performing was a mandatory activity but it wasn't until I was 18 and moved to Los Angeles for University (studying Classical Cello Performance) at the University of South Carolina (USC) when I started really pursuing ways to make my own music, and just work as a cellist in order to pay the bills. I did a lot of work as a session musician and hired gun, and it helped me learn and familiarize myself with all genres of music, but my main love and obsession has always been Industrial Metal. I'm lucky that my "day job" of being a session musician has a lot of crossover with my own music!"
What was it like for you as a child moving from China to the USA? What were (if any) the challenges you had to face?
"I had to take my first grade twice because I had trouble learning English – haha! - but after that I was able to integrate pretty quickly. I always was a very shy person and hid in the library during most lunch periods throughout school because I felt too awkward to be outside and didn't feel like I belonged to any particular group of friends. However, I don't think that has to do with coming from China - that's just childhood in general! I was always drawn to people, art, and music that was gothic and dark however, and my world was completely changed when a goth kid in my middle school lent me his copy of "Antichrist Superstar" (Marilyn Manson) and I heard industrial music for the first time!"
Arguably your career has been rocketing skywards ever since you started making music, surely doing your own rendition of 'The Circle Of Life' is a dream come true?
"Being able to record cello solos on the soundtrack for the new 'Lion King' was amazing! I love Hans so much and am so appreciative and grateful for his friendship and mentorship. Since he saw my "Queen Bee" music video on YouTube 9 years ago, I have worked on many of his soundtracks and also tour with him in his live band. When he asked me to be a part of 'The Lion King', of course I was elated! Recording my own version of "The Circle Of Life" I felt was an appropriate way to celebrate the occasion!"
Out of all the characters from 'The Lion King', who is your favourite and why? What are your thoughts on Disney bringing their animated films to life these days?
"Pumbaa! He is hilarious and adorable. I really liked the live action 'Beauty And The Beast' - I think that it's a great way to integrate new technology with graphics and retell classic Disney stories in a new way."
You've done numerous albums, some involving metal music and so, could you tell us how you became interested in metal music? Do you feel classical music and metal music have strong correlations with each other?
"Yes! Industrial Metal is my main love and after hearing Marilyn Manson when I was 13 secretly, since I was not allowed to listen to anything but classical music in my household, the next big revelation came when I turned 18 and moved to Los Angeles to attend the University at the University of Southern California where I studied Classical Cello Performance. I felt my world open up when I was able to go online, watch YouTube videos, and discover so many amazing bands and artists - including my favourite band, Rammstein. I feel all music is just music, there is good and bad music in any genre - but to me personally, there is something about both Classical Music and Metal Music that has a lot of deep emotion and power.
From your experience, do you feel that classical music of any kind should receive more respect and recognition than it does currently?
"To be honest, I don't really play traditional classical music any more, but I think that there are so many amazing musicians online who are using technology and social media to connect with a new and young audience. I feel like if you want more people to recognize something, it also has to be made accessible and energetically open, not closed off because for members of the general public who have never had experience with Classical Music, it may seem intimidating. I think that Soundtracks are an amazing way for people to hear orchestral music, and it has really reinvigorated people in being curious about instrumental music based on the tradition of European Art Music."
For those looking to get into playing the cello or erhu, what tips and tricks could you offer? What make and model of cello are you currently using?
"Lots of practise! I practised 8 hours a day from when I started the cello at age 7 - in the past 10 years as I've gotten busier, I haven't been able to do as many hours but that foundation of technical ability is very important to establish when starting an instrument if it's something you'd like to pursue professionally. I would recommend find a good private teacher, and taking regular lessons - but most important is the follow through and practice.
My Acoustic Cello is an 1880 Gand & Bernardel that I purchased 7 years ago, I love him very much and his name is Cello Guo! I have a few bows but my favourite is by Lothar Seifert, with a Wholly Mammoth Ivory tip.
Do you have any greetings or thanks that you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
"I love and appreciate everyone who has supported my music and art, because without people to watch and listen, what is the point of music? Music and art is to communicate our own emotions and interpretations of the human experience, and I love being able to share that energetically with others.
Mentioning the Eurovision Song Contest usually brings to the fore the flamboyant outfits, lovey-dovey pop songs and the evident 'block-voting' syndrome. However occasionally the event delivers some rather outstanding and unique entries, from Heavy Metallers Lordi (delivered Finland's first ever win in 2006) to Hungary's Post-Hardcore group AWS (post-Eurovision performed at Wacken Open Air)... then came Iceland's turn to abandon the safe-zone, free itself from the shackles of formulaic Eurovision pop music and embrace a darker, more aesthetically-pleasing and original tone in the form of Hatari, who are a 'Award-winning, anti-capitalist, BDSM, techno-dystopian, performance art collective'.
Of course they are not a metal band, however arguably through their performance which befits that of a Rammstein show; through pyrotechnics, elaborate outfits and singing in a language that demands your utmost attention, they might as well be. The unfurling of the Palestinian flags will be seen as a political statement and perhaps the most controversial thing to happen at Eurovision (although the counter-argument is Ukraine's winning song '1944' by Jamela; centres around the deportation of the Crimean Tatars), could the Eurovision be political in that it allows Australia and Israel to participate, but not Kosovo nor Gibraltar or the Faroe Islands due to the latter two not being independent nations. With that in mind it does beg the question whether the ESC is contradictory in it's own rulings or whether there needs a massive shake-up... let's face it will Punk Rock ever get a look in? Maybe the UK should send the Sex Pistols... let's see how far that goes, but for now GMA caught up with Matthías Haraldsson, harsh vocalist of Hatari and discussed about post-Eurovision events, their first EP 'Neysluvara' and of course if everything is going according to plan.
For your listening pleasure we have included the single / music video for 'Klefi / Samed', curated by Hatari and Palestinian musician Bashar Murad. Next to this is 'Hatrið Mun Sigra', Hatari's Eurovision song, whilst the jurors did not really appreciate the song, the public vote was very high - they finished 10th... we like to think Europe understand the message Hatari are conveying.
Having performed at Eurovision, this surely was the biggest moment of the band's career thus far?
"Yes. Our participation went according to plan and part of that plan was reaching the masses of Europe."
Regarding the music video for 'Hatrið Mun Sigra', where was it filmed and how long did it take to shoot?
"The video was filmed in Reykjavik, Iceland. It took a few days to shoot under the careful direction of Hatari vocalist Klemens Hannigan and film-maker Baldvin Vernharðsson, who has proven to be an indispensable part of the Svikamylla Ehf crew."
Arguably 'Hatrið Mun Sigra' can be contextualised in many ways with the way the world is right now, would you say the song is more relatable now more than ever? (reflecting on the rise of populism in the recent European elections).
"We feel (that) 'Hatrið Mun Sigra' is a dystopia relevant to our current political climate, consumer culture, the context in which the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest took place, and the rise of populism in the recent European elections. This is the case with many of our songs."
You released the EP 'Neysluvara' back in 2017, would you say your sound has changed a lot since then? Would you agree that Hatari has it's own unique sound?
"All aspects of our performances undergo constant development, including our sound, although we work with many of the same elements and themes, including the impending doom of mankind."
With the release of 'Hatrið Mun Sigra' and 'Klefi / Samed (صامد)' ft. Bashar Murad, will Hatari deliver an album for the fans in the foreseeable future?
"Yes. Relentless Scam Incorporated, or Svikamylla Ehf, will announce the album's release when the time comes."
What was the reception like for Hatari when arriving back in Reykjavik? Are you concerned that RUV could be banned from Eurovision next year?*
"The reception was encouraging and our tour around the country with Bashar Murad went according to plan.
We are no longer concerned with the dealings of the Eurovision Song Contest. It would, however, be hypocritical to enforce a rule that every contestant broke on day one, as participation was in itself a political action."
What is the fetish scene like in Iceland?
"The fetish scene in Iceland is vibrant and has much to teach us about many kinds of safe, sane, and consensual activities."
What plans does Hatari have for the year ahead? Will we see you performing in the UK in the foreseeable future?
"We will play shows in many places where there is currently no illegal military occupation taking place. One of these places is London, where we aim to perform late this August."