EMQ’s with SHUULAK
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Brabant, The Netherlands based Modern Heavy Metal band, Shuulak. Huge thanks to vocalist, Bastiën, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Greetings all you bangers! I’m Bastiën, lead singer for Shuulak, a modern Heavy Metal band telling tales of alchemical enlightenment gone wrong. The band came about quite naturally. Angelo, Eve and I had known each other for years and wanted to give form to our shared interest in the occult. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our friendship.
How did you come up with your band name?
While reading a book on ancient Sumeria, we came across a demon named Shuulak, who came for people when they least expected it. We immediately knew we had found the perfect name for our band!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re all from Brabant, a region to the south of The Netherlands which is a pretty good place to be a metalhead in. While growing up, we had our choice of metal bars and a lot of places to go check out bands. And, of course, there was the Dynamo festival, which was three days of non-stop metal action! After the sun went down everybody just huddled around makeshift sound systems blasting out some kind of Goregrind or making their own primal music by drumming on stuff with sticks and metal rods. Chilling out in the darkness, laughter and tribal rhythms reverberating all around, is one of my favourite memories.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest EP release is called “Rubedo”, a name given to the final stage of the alchemist’s quest for immortality and knowledge of all things.
‘Ancient Sins’ (Audio)
Who have been your greatest influences?
As a band we’re inspired by a great many artists, such as King Diamond and Black Sabbath (of course). We’re all big horror fans and this definitely shines through in our music. Stuff like the books of Clive Barker or Dario Argento’s movies definitely inspire us as well as books on the real-life history of the occult and ritual magic.
What first got you into music?
There was always a lot of music around when I grew up. My father played a mean hunting horn and there was always lots of classical music (or German Schlager music) booming around the house at an impressive volume. I got into rock music pretty early on. I guess I must have been ten when I insisted on wearing my adult sized The Mission shirt everywhere, looking completely ridiculous of course. At twelve is when my obsession for metal started, helped largely by MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball and the local library. They had a large collection of music CD’s you could rent with a surprising amount of metal amongst it. This was a treasure trove for a young kid with little money to spend. Sepultura’s ‘Arise’ and Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear of The Dark’ thrilled me to the bone and I kept renting them again and again.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I’d have to say Tony Iommi. One who shaped metal so profoundly would be interesting to work with to say the least. The man’s worst songs are better than some artists’ best!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I would have to say Wacken Open Air. We’ve gone there a number of times and the music, atmosphere and people are always great. Burning Man might be another…
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
We miss you and can’t wait to party with you again!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Just one? For me it would be either Lux Interior (The Cramps) or Martin Kearns (Bolt Thrower). The world is a bleaker place without these glorious human beings in it.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Traveling with my friends, the chaos of playing shows: I enjoy these things immensely. I can’t really say I hate any part of it. Sure, stuff can get frustrating when you just can’t get that chorus right or travel for hours only to be met by coked-out assholes, but this is just part of the process. It’s all a voyage of discovery we’re both undertaking and being swept up in at the same time and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
An enduring commitment to quality releases over sheer quantity. This ‘throw everything at the wall to see what sticks’ approach among majors has gotten pathetic.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“For Victory” by Bolt Thrower. I’ve heard it more times than I care to admit and it still gets my blood pumping every time I hear it.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
There’s a certain magic in holding an artist’s creation, digesting the album art and lyrics. Besides experiencing the music live, it really doesn’t get better than that. I would say vinyl rules supreme in this aspect. Not only does it allow an artist to present art and lyrics up close and personal, putting on a record is somewhat of a ritual in and of itself. On the other hand, I tend to listen to a lot of digital stuff because it’s just so much more convenient.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
The best I’ll leave to others to decide, but our gigs in Germany come to mind as some of the most enjoyable. Being met by people who’ve driven for hours to come check out your band is a humbling experience.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Well, reading is one of my favourite things, so I’d probably try to be a writer.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Five? The other members of my band and a great chef.
What’s next for the band?
Hopefully, some shows soon! We’ve got shows lined-up for next year including several festivals abroad, so we’re hoping to play those. Also, there’s been an increasing demand for a full-length so that’s where we’re looking next.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Ah yes, the most controversial topic is saved for last: one that many a living room battle has been fought over! We know these as ‘Pim’s’ and they’re simply biscuits pretending to be cakes. To hell with anyone who disagrees with me!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for the enjoyable interview. Never let anyone get away with spouting nonsense about Jaffa Cakes!
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