Monday, December 15, 2014

Interview with Erang!!


Interview conducted via email, December 2014.

Listen and support Erang's music: http://erang.bandcamp.com
Keep updated about Erang: https://www.facebook.com/kingdomoferang
Erang's channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/songsoferang

WULF:  The new album, "We Are the Past", is incredible.   Some songs would work well for a love song, others are quite sad, and almost all of them are quite beautiful and vaguely majestic or fantastical.   It's obvious that Erang's sound has evolved dramatically over the past couple of years, especially if you compare this new album to your first few releases.   How did this change in style come about?   It seems to draw on many influences and world music, giving quite an exotic feel but without being able to pinpoint specifically which culture or region of the world it comes from.  Do you know what I mean?   It sounds very eclectic, but cohesive at the same time.  How has the reaction been from your fans?  Also, is that you on the cover art, is it "Erang", or another character?

ERANG: Well, that's many different questions ;).

It's true that my sound has evolved but it's not a conscious process. I make music as it comes to me and as I feel right when I'm composing : so my next album could be pure old school Dungeon Synth or, on the opposite, something completely different. Right now, I don't have any idea about it. However, on the last album "We Are The Past" I definitely wanted to use some medieval and traditional instruments even if I'm not doing realistic folk music : it is all music from the Erang's Kingdom folklore.

I got a lot of good and positive feedback and emails from my listeners and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that. Some people who are really into pure Dungeon Synth music found it a bit too much diverse and far from "true" Dungeon Synth and I totally understand that. About the cover art : it is not me, it is not Erang… I will say it it the spirit of the past, some ancient figure.

WULF:   I was pretty shocked to find out that you don't come from a black metal background, just because I feel like dungeon synth is essentially an offshoot of black metal.   That's how I got into it anyway, and I assumed it would be the same for anyone else who would want to make the same kind of ambient music in the vein of early Mortiis, Vond, Burzum, Lord Wind, Ildjarn, Wongraven, etc.   According to interviews, it seems like you come from more of an role-playing game background.   Anyway, my question is, why don't you play role-playing games anymore?   What happened?   Why is the creation of Erang's music your only chance at entering back into that world?

ERANG: I don't play role-playing games anymore because there is unfortunately only 24 hours in a day.

I work, I have a family, I make music, etc… Role-playing is a very beautiful but time consuming passion. In an ideal world I would love to spend a whole weekend playing it but I cant. So I focus on music.


WULF: A common theme or atmosphere that appears on all of Erang's songs is that of nostalgia.   Why do you feel like nostalgia is important?   What would you say to those who would tell you that it is pointless to dwell on the past, and instead move on with life?

ERANG: To me, being nostalgic is not being stuck in the past. I use my nostalgia as a strength to express my creativity and it helps me to deal with everyday life, in the present. So I'm not whining everyday about the good old days : I remember them with a warm heart and it makes me happy.

WULF: I really identify with your concept of "naive art" that you have mentioned before in other interviews, especially because I want to create my own dungeon synth as well.   Not to give away your own set up or reveal too much about your own recording or production, but what advice can you give to people like me who want to start out making their own dungeon synth?

ERANG: The first thing, I think , is to listen to Dungeon Synth and fantasy music to get inspired : not to copy, but to "get the vibes" of it.
And these are some tips I gave on a previous interview and that I personally try to follow :

-          Do not add a lot of things and layers if the foundation (the main melody) is not strong.

-          Do not spend too much time with technical questions or finding the "last new top" plugins or sample pack or whatever: compose music instead of thinking about it.

-          Most important: always stay true to your own feelings and passion. Do not ignore the outside world but do not get obsessed with it.


WULF:  I know "Wine and Beer" on the new album is more of a folk rock song (and arguably the furthest away from the typical Erang style we've heard so far), but would you ever consider expanding Erang's sound further, like black metal or minimalist dark ambient (such as Lustmord's "The Dark Places of the Earth")?    Also, do you have any other bands/musical projects, or anything else that is similar to Erang in style?

ERANG: As I said in a previous answer, there is not really a "plan" when I start working on a new album. It goes in several directions until I find the "general mood" of the album and work around it. So the new album might be in any style (related, of course, to Fantasy aesthetic and the spirit of the Kingdom of Erang). About the last part of your question : I don't have other projects similar to Erang.

WULF:  Have you ever considered expressing Erang's essence via a different artistic medium, such as writing or film?   I know I speak for a lot of fans when I say that it would be awesome to read stories about the world of Erang, or an RPG module, a map, anything!!   Also, will we ever see an Erang music video?

ERANG: Definitely : I've already released a free e-book with drawings inspired by my music ( "A New Chapter In A Very Old Book") and I’m really thinking about some writings (poems or short stories). Right now, I've absolutely not started to work on anything like this but it is really something that sounds interesting to me. About a music video, that’s also something that could be great : a video with animated drawings would be a good idea but, at the moment, this is too much work for me. But I keep that in mind.

WULF:   I always read interviews where musicians are asked about their musical influences, but rarely is literature discussed.   Are there any books that were particularly influential in the creation of your music, or anything that you can recommend to your fans that would help us understand the music of Erang from a more philosophical or metaphysical  point of view?

ERANG: About literature that inspired me I'll be very classic and not original : Tolkien. Everything from him.
Since I’m child, the characters he created are my companions.
That being said, my inspiration comes more from small things from my personal story and cultural reference from my childhood. Also movies such as Dark Crystal, Conan, Legend, Willow, etc.
My philosophy is simple : we all have some kind of personal kingdom within us… and I hope that when you're listening to my music, it helps you to find again the way to your own private Kingdom.

WULF: What are your thoughts on the future of dungeon synth at this point in time?   What do you hope to accomplish with Erang?   I know you just released an album, but do you have anything planned for Erang in the near future?

ERANG: There are a lot of great artists in this genre and I’m very confident with it!
Concerning Erang, right now, I need to take some breathing because I've released a lot of albums and I need to refresh my inspiration. So maybe I will work on some writings, I don't know right now, everything is possible… In 2015, I will also try to figure a way to release my previous albums in physical CD. If so, I really want to make a beautiful "product" with a nice packaging so it could take time and money : I have to think carefully about it in order to make something great and not too expensive for the people who appreciate my music and the Erangers who follow me.

WULF: Those are all of my questions.   Any final thoughts or comments are yours.

ERANG: An old proverb from the Kingdom of Erang :  "Imagination Never Fails"


Dungeon Synth Explorations - Part 1 - ERANG

Erang

To start things off for my series delving into the mysterious depths of the world of dungeon synth, I'd like to talk about Erang.   While it would make sense to start off with the godfathers of the genre (such as Mortiis, Burzum (ambient albums, obv), Lord Wind, etc.), I'm gonna mix it up a bit and kick off with some Erang!
Anyway, I consider him arguably the best of the new school of dungeon synth artists, because he remains true to the spirit of the original pioneers of the genre while at the same time bringing in his own style and influences as well.  Plus, it's actually really good!!  I'm not a huge fan of his earlier stuff (I found "Tome I" - "Tome IV" a bit too "amateurish" for my tastes), it's pretty obvious that Erang is channeling something very special indeed.   I picked several of my favorite albums to discuss:


Another World, Another Time (2013)


It's with this album that Erang takes his shit to the next level.  It's so good!!  Perfect for what I was looking for in quality dungeon synth / RPG music.   The song "The Kingdom of Erang" is a great example of how he combines the old-school sound of early Mortiis with his own, more modern and polished style.   The simplicity of the music is still there, but he's also not just purely emulating or copying Mortiis...pretty genius stuff!!  I wish I could make music like this!!   Great album, but not quite as good as "Within the Land of My Imagination, I am the Only God".



Within the Land of My Imagination, I am the Only God" (2014)

Yeah!!  This is another excellent Erang release!!  Lots of beautiful, atmospheric, and imaginative dungeon synth, great for role-playing and/or stimulating your imagination!!  From gorgeous, contemplative stuff ("Autumnal Lullaby", "The Age of Wonder") to heroic, video game-inspired pieces ("Feast of the Night", "The Underwater Kingdom's Coral Palace"), and more traditional-sounding dungeon synth ("The Execution of the Drunken Tyrant", "Funeral for Erang", and "My Heart Belongs to the North"), this release has it all.   I can't recommend it enough, as it is easily one of the best albums of the new wave of dungeon synth. Also, killer album title...it definitely has had a big impact on me.





We Are the Past (2014)

Destined to be another classic release, this is the most recent of Erang's albums and is somewhat of a departure from what he's put out in the past.   This time around, he has incorporated more guitars and stringed instruments (one song even bordering on full-on folk metal!) and the sound, while still clearly Erang, has shifted a bit more into neofolk and ambient celtic/medieval type stuff.   Still great for role-playing games and medieval ambience, but a little less "dungeon synth"-esque.  While I really enjoyed this album, my favorites are still "Another World, Another Time" and "Within the Land of My Imagination, I am the Only God" just because they're essentially a modern take on the kind of music I've been searching for for years, thinking that it had probably gone extinct with the original "first wave" of dungeon synth and was a dead genre.

In closing, Erang is a great place to start for anyone looking to check out new-school dungeon synth! In my opinion, his music is the best of the new stuff right now.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Listen and support Erang's music: http://erang.bandcamp.com
Keep updated about Erang: https://www.facebook.com/kingdomoferang
Erang's channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/songsoferang
Katabaz Records: http://katabazrecords.bandcamp.com/

Read our interview with Erang here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wulf's Guide to Metal: Volume 1 - Happy Stuff

Because I'm such a popular guy, I get asked all the time for recommendations on getting into metal.   This is going to be the beginning of a series on my own personal guide to the genre...obviously, opinions vary greatly on the subject, so if you have any input or recommendations of your own, feel free to talk about them in the comments section!!  In the meantime, this is also due in part to my buddy Greg asking me to help him get into metal, so when I asked him what he wanted me to start him off with he said he was in the mood for something "happy", so why not kick things off with some heavy/power metal stuff.   I should probably also mention here that Greg is from the UK, so I think it's pretty obvious that he's relatively familiar with classic stuff by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, etc.   So we're going to go slightly deeper than the more popular, typical stuff that would usually be recommended.
Oh, and remember, this isn't meant to be a "history of metal" or "essentials for the genre", it's just a few of my favorite songs that are meant to tempt you into exploring the genre further on your own.   Also, I'm basically going to offer up a loose collection of the very songs that got me into certain genres many years ago, so I hope they can work for Greg (and whoever else) too!!

1.   Finntroll


Let's start the party off right with some obnoxious folk metal courtesy of Finntroll!!  Great for drinking, getting you pumped up, and catchy enough so that the people who usually complain about not liking "all the screaming" understand that the song wouldn't work with clean singing.   They're supposed to be trolls, duh!!
Also, this song reminds me of the time my roommate and I were throwing a party at my house when I was in college and this one dude named Metal Ben was wasted and was smoking out of this bong, and when this song came on he was like, "YEAHHHHH!!!!"  And started headbanging and getting really into it, and for whatever reason in his frenzy he decided it would be a good idea to straight up DRINK the fucking bong water after he had finished smoking.  Needless to say, he spent the rest of the night puking on the front lawn of my house, but he'll always have my respect for allowing the spirit of Finntroll to possess him in that way.   

2.   Running Wild


The original Pirate Metal band!!  Alestorm are pretty played out now, but Running Wild never get old (except everything post-"The Rivalry" fucking sucks).  Anyway, I'm usually not a huge fan of syncing up movies to songs and shit like that because usually it's not very good, but it works really well for this video!!  A gritty sea battle, catchy music, it really captures what they were going for!!  
Like I said, anything after "The Rivalry" is terrible, but you really can't go wrong with any of their stuff before that, especially the pirate-themed stuff (which is most of their discography)!!

3.  Rhapsody / Rhapsody of Fire


I recommend starting this video at around 1:15, because that's when it actually gets good.   Anyway, when talking about happy metal, how could anyone possibly forget Rhapsody (or Rhapsody of Fire, they changed their name in 2006)??  Easily one of the most ridiculous metal bands in one of the most ridiculous power metal videos of all time (rivaled only by Pathfinder's "Lord of Wolves" gem), Rhapsody are the stuff of legend.   
I used to get pumped up for soccer games by listening to Rhapsody and Cannibal Corpse...strange combo, but it definitely made me push myself harder in the game and play much more aggressively.  If you've ever been a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Magic: the Gathering, etc. then you should be all over this shit.   Actually, what blows my mind is that I always meet full-blown nerds who haven't even heard of this stuff,..usually they're just into radio rock like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smash Mouth, AC/DC, etc.  That's fine, but COME ON!!  Obviously, power metal is right up their alley!!  Still one of life's great mysteries.

4.   Manowar


Arguably the most ridiculous metal band of all time (and maybe my favorite), all you need to do to get into Manowar is get a group of your friends together either before or after going out, some cold cans, and some Manowar on the stereo and prepare yourself for an awesome time!!  Also great for pumping iron, having sex, pretty much anything!!  Absurd lyrics, powerful sound, what's not to love??  Above is my favorite Manowar song, but they've got a ton of classics.  Don't forget "Gloves of Metal" (the Anal Cunt version featuring Phil Anselmo is awesome too!!)

5.   Bal-Sagoth



Bal-Sagoth are easily one of the more goofy metal bands out there (the keyboards, narrarations, even a fucking world map, lexicon, and concept art that goes along with their lyrics)...I even know one dude who has the Bal-Sagoth logo tattooed on the back of his head!!

I knew you wouldn't believe me, so I just decided to post it. 

Anyway, I highly recommend reading the lyrics along to their stuff, especially to the Youtube video I posted above.  It's kind of a Highlander rip-off, but it still makes the history nerd within me very excited!!  I could talk about Bal-Sagoth for awhile, but honestly when it comes to their music I'd say "Battle Magic" is easily their best album and the only album worth checking out.  All their other stuff just didn't do it for me, although the lyrics of course are still fantastic.

6.   Babymetal


I don't want to spend too much time on Babymetal just because I don't want to go down that rabbit hole, but I think they're definitely worth mentioning here in terms of "fun metal"!  Really hot band right now, regardless of how you feel about them!!  Personally, I think they're great, but whatevz.

There are so many other bands to mention here, but I don't want to take up too much time so I'll just quickly list off of some other bands/songs to check out if you're digging the upbeat, happier stuff:




- Dragonforce (duh)






Enjoy!!






Monday, October 6, 2014

ZOOM!!


What's up sluts and slut-shamers!!  DJ Wulf is back in the house, here to just make a quick post and get everyone caught up on what's going on here at Malicious Intent Enterprises-

1.   Everyone welcome Tanelorn!!  He was the last DJ for Malicious Intent's radio show at the University of Kansas' own 90.7 FM KJHK Lawrence, so of course he deserves your unwavering, unquestioning respect and loyalty.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason the show was axed after him, but that's most likely because it just became too brutal for the radio station to handle and Tanelorn didn't play enough Deafheaven or whatever is hot with the kids nowadays.  Anyway, prepare yourself for what he has in store for us in the coming days!!

I did a quick Google image search of Tanelorn and this is the first thing that came up.  I guess it's from Michael Moorcock's (my fave pornstar btw) Elric saga which I've never read, but I suppose it looks like a metal-enough place... except it definitely needs more skulls and churches being set on fire. 
  
Judge Dredd (left) and Wulf (right) during happier times
2.   The main clowns of this operation (Judge Dredd and I) have been so busy that we haven't been posting that much, as I'm sure you've noticed.   That's because we've been so busy on various quests and errands...Judge Dredd is currently scouring Southeast Asia (and perhaps Australia in the near future) for unholy relics and artifacts to plunder before returning to the US to continue his studies, while I myself have recently returned to Korea from my own blasphemic travels (a survey of the glorious nation of Taiwan) to resume operations.


Seriously, has anyone ever figured out how to actually play this fucking game?!
3.   DUNGEON SYNTH!!  It's no secret that I'm a huge tabletop RPG fan, but for years and years have been looking for the perfect playlist for medieval fantasy RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, etc.   One of the biggest problems with this is that if you look up "RPG music playlist" or "epic music" or whatever it's most likely going to be either overblown symphonic movie OST type stuff or music that is already from video games.   While it's cool that people have taken the time to compile these playlists, I don't feel like they match up at all with what is usually going on in the game.   Epic symphonic movie music only works when everyone is fighting some crazy battle with the boss or something like that...otherwise, it's just too distracting for when people are just standing around talking and shit.   As for music that's already from video games, you're probably just going to think of the game that it's from instead of using your own imagination.  For example, I used to play Rifts with some people and the GM would put on Chrono Trigger battle music whenever we would fight a battle.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love Chrono Trigger...it's probably still my favorite video game of all time in terms of storyline and characters.   However, all I could think about were just scenes from Chrono Trigger.   The music should inspire the imagination, not distract.



Now THIS is what I'm talking about!!
The only music that's ever clicked with me 100% for fantasy tabletop RPGs has been dungeon synth.   Until recently, I'm not even sure if I knew that it was a legitimate music genre...I just thought it was how people described Mortiis' "era I" goofiness (pretty much all of Mortiis' shit is goofy, but that's beside the point).   Seriously though, I had a really tough time trying to find good music for my D&D games... besides Mortiis, I really only knew about Lord Wind's later shit, Sunn O)))'s "øø Void" (not dungeon synth, but worked well for dungeons, especially The Temple of Elemental Evil!!), and of course Ildjarn-Nidhogg's beautiful "Hardangervidda" (except for the second track, which has some cheesy percussion).   Obviously, this isn't enough music to last for a long gaming sesh, and it does tend to get kind of old if you play the same stuff over and over again.



I hadn't discovered Pathfinder yet, give me a break!!
Anyway, while there's some older dungeon synth that came out awhile ago like Burzum's "Hliðskjálf", I'm primarily interested in are newer artists who are essentially emulating old school Mortiis.   This seems like it may be kind of an insult, but I mean it with the utmost respect!!  It's awesome!!  Perfect for roleplaying background music, relaxing, being weird in your room, etc.  I'm going to start writing posts on my favorite dungeon synth musicians soon, and who knows?  Maybe I'll even have an interview or two as well to give the posts some more depth :)


The old Castles and Crusades/Pathfinder crew (RIP!!): Nathan, Terry, Anson, Me (Wulf), Josh (Judge Dredd), Jake, and (Grym) Kym...illustration by Grym Kym!!

4.   I've been meaning to have more interviews coming up with Korean metal bands (or pretty much anyone else who is interested!), but due to a busy schedule and other stuff it's just taking too long.  Hopefully that will change soon, as there's still tons of bands here that I think are worth talking to so we can get a greater understanding of the state of extreme music here in South Korea!

Somewhere in South Korea, this dude is running around and making pagan black metal...obviously it's up to us to get the inside scoop!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On Metal.

Hey bastard sons and daughters, I'm Tanelorn. I think I was the last host for MI, before it died its sorrowful death. I unveil myself today to talk about a topic that has been on my mind.

"What the hell are we going to do after Maiden and Priest hang up leather?"or, more broadly, "where is metal going?"

Now, before the pitchforks come out, let me explain. The bands that formed our illustrious genre, for the most part, are still playing. Ozzy and the boys in Sabbath just released a surprisingly solid record, Priest has been around for ages, Motorhead is still going, these bands that created a sonic wall for our ears are still amongst the recording world. But, as sad it may seem, these bands will not last forever. The last time I forced myself to realize this was when Dio went to the great gig in the sky, but these thoughts aren't really far from my mind. In 2010, Iron Maiden released the record, "The Final Frontier." Now that's ominous as hell, isn't it? Just this year, Judas Priest put out their potential swan song, "Redeemer of Souls." Now, that album titles isn't as foreboding as Maiden's, but let's take a peak at the tracklist. On the single disc, we have "Beginning of the End" tying the album up, but on the double-disc version, we have "Never Forget," which honestly sounds like a band that has come to terms with their mortality.

I hate to bum you out, because much like you, these bands helped form my fandom. Not every metal fan holds these same bands as near to their hearts as I do, for some people that may be Immortal and Mayhem, or Metallica and Kreator, but regardless, the facts are the same. These bands have to stop producing music at some point.

But, not all hope is lost. We have no shortage of bands to listen to, but I ask you, fellow bastards, who will pick up the mantle of these metal gods? Who will we have our kids listen to in 10-20 years and say, "Man, little dude(tte), you missed some killer shows."?

I put forth that we, as fans, have to demand a higher standard from our record labels. To Metal Blade's credit, they tend to have a very strong stable of artists, but Road Runner has been a bit of a joke for a while. SPV and Nuclear Blast are a couple other big ones. But the point is the same. Slipknot has a new album coming out, and for some reason there is excited buzz from the metal scene. Not since "Iowa" is this really acceptable. Now I understand that Slipknot is a bit of low-hanging fruit, but that doesn't change anything. We need to try and scour our scene's label sites and look for new bands. Like reddit, the label sees the world in "upvotes." Except their upvotes decide the careers of young bands. This next point sounds a bit old mannish, but we need to support the scene. That means money changing hands. Now, I'm not advocating going out to Best Buy and buying the newest Five Finger Death Punch album simply because their metalish, but I am getting more at the point that younger bands like Portrait, recent Metal Blade signees Visigoth (shameless name drop), Gypsyhawk, Enforcer,  High Spirits, or any nearly unlimited number of bands need to see support. And when looking through the eyes of a label exec, that means record sales. What does Nuclear Blast think if Sabaton's new record flops? They think they have a band that doesn't really click with "kids these days" and they look to the end of their contract as a light at the end of a tunnel. There is a scene worldwide that every single reader here is a part of. We all listen to the music, we all love to see the shows, and we love to wear our band swag with pride. I personally have enough Maiden shirts to wear a new one every day for nearly two weeks.

This isn't something that's easy to accomplish. Buying records is shitty because we don't all have money, but why should we demand that these younger bands keep making music while they don't see any reward? For me, the answer is Spotify. The bands make money off of plays, sometimes I contemplate playing an entire album just for the sake of them getting plays. Looking at bands like High Spirits or Enforcer and seeing their top played tracks have so few plays is a crime. These bands are killer, and we can buy happiness for like ten bucks a month.

We're at an intriguing crossroads in metal and we need to figure out what to do. We need to sort out which bands are worth supporting, we need to support those bands that are already established, like Amon Amarth or King Diamond, and we need to try and go out of our way to support them. Myself and some friends drove to Chicago from KC to see Iron Maiden. Myself, my girlfriend, and my best friend road tripped to Utah for the same reason. This fall/winter, I will be driving all over the midwest for the amazing shows coming up. King Diamond is finally healthy enough to tour, Sonata Arctica is coming around, Sabaton will be on the road with Amon Amarth. To quote Jasper from the Simpsons, "What a time to be alive." But instead of Moon Pies, we have metal! Seriously, I can't even imagine what to do with so many bands to listen to. But back to Jasper, if you don't listen to new music, that's a paddling. Seriously, we need to carve out legacies for bands just hitting their strides. A popular comic has a butterfly urging us to bring back 80s speed metal. What better way than to listen to KC's own Vanlade or Enforcer? And if you don't dig on the bands in the scene, start a band! If you live in Podunk, WY or Taint Fart, ID, get on the internet and join the discussion boards on Metal Archives, comment on Blabbermouth and tell to stop talking about Slipknot. We have an opportunity that we haven't seen since the Real British Invasion, the NWOBHM, to help decide the future of metal. We need to seize the day and spread the word about rocking new bands. If there's a band in your scene that doesn't have a label deal or a website, get them to throw their tunes up on band camp our YouTube and just share the crap out of their songs. YouTube is basically the tape trading scene from the 80s, but it's on an unimaginable scale. The amount of people that can be reached by posting a demo up on the 'Tube is mind-boggling. If it weren't for some metal brothers, I'd have never discovered how balls to the wall awesome Hibria is. I'd have never found out about the silly-voiced majesty of Manilla Road. If it weren't for the Wikipedia Game, I'd never have listened to Crimson Glory.

So I leave with a few demandments. Share your favorite artists. Support their music monetarily. Be loud and proud about new bands that rock. Just support the worldwide metal scene. What we take for granted in the states or Europe is a HUGE deal to new metalheads in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Like Sam Dunn showed, metal is global, and we live in a time period that is unlike any other.

To quote Vanlade, "Stay heavy or die."

Tanelorn
PS: I hope you guy at least enjoyed my rambling. My next post won't be such a bummer or suck so hard.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Interview with Kwan Yong-man of Christfuck!!

Interview conducted between May-July 2014 via email.
Special thanks to Kim Ye-ji for working so hard on the translations!!


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christfuck/219784248039001

WULF: Your band name could be really shocking to a lot of people, especially Christians.  Is it because you guys are anti-Christian, or do you just want to be shocking with your name?  What's the reaction when people hear about your band or your music?  Also, there's not much information about your band, at least in English.  Please tell me about the history of your band.

Yong-man:  Hi, I'm the drummer of this band, Kwan Yong-man.  Our band was formed by bassist Shim Ji-hoon, guitarist Lee Jae-yeong, and vocalist Jeong Jin-yong, in 2011.  We had no drummer at first, so we just practiced with session drummers, and later on I joined.  There use to be four members in this band, but Ji-hoon quit in order to concentrate on playing black metal.  So we only have three members now.
Also, We are not an anti-Christian band.  However, although we still dislike Christians, the reason why we named our band "Christfuck" was because it was just the most stupid and aggressive name we could think of, so we chose it.
WULF:  What do you hope to ultimately accomplish with this band?  Maybe something like touring Asia or Europe?  
Yong-man:  Grindcore isn't a big deal in Korea.  For now, all of the members of Christfuck are busy with other things so we don't make much of an effort with this band. However, we do still want to make a new album and make connections with other grindcore bands eventually.  We also want to have fun when we perform live, but that's about it.
WULF:  What do you think about the punk/metal scene in Korea?  Is it getting popular along with other Korean popular music due to the Korean Wave (hallyu)?  Where does your band fit within the Korean underground music scene? 
Yong-man:  It's a totally different world with Korean punk/metal bands and KPop/hip-hop groups.  It's not our business at all if K-Pop is popular or not.  There are only a few people (bands, fans) in the Korean punk/metal scene and it's pretty small, but it's run well though.  Of course, it's still not that fun. Anyway, Hallyu (Korean Wave) has nothing to do with us and we don't really have any opinion on it. We're a part of the non-existent Korean grindcore scene.  There are just five or six other bands that know each other.   Grindcore bands usually play when punk or metal bands play.  Punk and metal just isn't popular here and barely any new people ever join in.  But there are a few bands that still continue to play.  I guess it would be similar to punk/metal scenes in other countries as well.   There are a few fans of Christfuck here, but we don't play that often.
WULF:  How can people listen to your music?  Do you have CDs or vinyl, or is it only available on the internet?
Yong-man:  We used to sell our CDs at shows but now they're all sold out.   It could be good if we put our songs or music on the internet but we are too lazy to do that.  We are a really lazy band.   You would know that by our answers to your interview, because it was so delayed.   We're not only lazy, but we also don't play very hard in our band.  
WULF:  Usually, most grindcore bands have political or societal critiques or messages in their music.  What does your band sing about?   Does your band have any specific philosophy or belief that you adhere to?
Yong-man:  Each member has different thoughts and philosophies about music, but we rarely talk about that.   Shim Jihoon usually wrote critical or radical lyrics when he used to be our bassist, but nobody wants to write lyrics now.  Jeong Jinyeong, our vocalist, is too lazy to write.   I'm the drummer, so I just choose some of the titles for the songs.   I don't want to show my personal beliefs or philosophy in this band at all, so I just made the song titles really dumb or stupid without much thought involved.  We actually don't know the lyrics to the songs which we wrote after Shim Jihoon left.   Even Jeong Jinyeong just shouts when he sings.   We just sing about stupid or dumb stuff in this band.
WULF:  Are you inspired by anything outside of music, such as film or literature?
Yong-man:  We are mostly influenced by stupid action or zombie movies.   It seems that they have a religious message or are critical of society, but it actually just doesn't matter, like in Troma movies.


WULF:  What can people expect to see at your shows?  
Yong-man:  You can enjoy our stupid, fun, loud, and smelly band at our shows, although it's not very innovative or smart.   We don't use our brains when we play, just our muscles.   
WULF:  Thanks for the interview!!  Any final comments are yours...
Yong-man:  We are preparing a split album with Cave Have Rod, a Chinese band.   We are just a stupid and dumb band and we have no excuse (for why we are the way we are).   It's not because we are actually stupid in real life, it's just because we don't put much thought in the band.   Enjoy our dumb band in a dumb way.

ORIGINAL INTERVIEW (Hangeul):
WULF:  밴드 이름이 많은 사람들에게 충격적일 수 도 있는데, 특히 기독교인들에게요.  멤버들이 반기독교적이기 때문인가요, 아니면 단지 밴드이름을 통해 사람들에게 강한 인상을 주고 싶었던 건가요?
 밴드이름을 듣는 사람들 또는 밴드의 존재에 대한 사람들의 반응은 어떠한가요? 밴드에 대한 정보가 그리 많지 않은 데요(특히 영어로 된), 밴드에 대해 묻고 싶습니다. 밴드의 역사에 대한 간단한 소개 부탁 드려요.
KWAN YONGMAN: 안녕하세요. 밴드 Christfuck의 드러머 Yongman Kwon입니다.  밴드의 역사. 밴드의 정보 Christfuck은 2011년 베이시스트 심지훈을 주축으로 기타 이재영, 보컬 정진용과 함께 결성되었습니다. 처음에는 드러머가 없어서 세션 드러머들을 데려다가 연습하던 중, 그라인드코어 밴드 밤섬해적단의 드러머 권용만을 섭외하여 멤버로 영입하였습니다.  4인조로 활동하던 도중, 베이시스트 심지훈이 블랙메탈을 하고 싶다면서 탈퇴하였고 현재는3인조로 활동중입니다. 밴드 이름에 대해.  저희는 반기독교를 내세우는 밴드는 아닙니다. 물론 멤버들은 기독교를 싫어합니다. 그렇지만 밴드 이름을 Christfuck으로 정한 이유는 그냥 가장 멍청하고 공격적인 이름을 찾다가 아무거나 정한 겁니다.
WULF:  밴드가 궁극적으로 하고 싶은 것은 무엇인가요. 이를테면 아시아투어, 유럽 등으로의 공연 등이요.

KWAN YONGMAN:  밴드가 궁극적으로 하고 싶은 것. 한국에서는 grindcore밴드를 한다는 것이 거의 아무런 의미가 없습니다. 현재는 Christfuck 멤버들 모두 각자 다른 일로 바쁘기 때문에 밴드에 많은 노력을 쏟지 못하고 있습니다만, 천천히 새로운 앨범도 만들면서 해외의 grindcore 밴드들과 교류하고 싶습니다. 그게 전부입니다. 다른 그라인드코어 밴드들과 교류하고, 재밌게 공연하는 것.
WULF:   밴드가 생각하는 한국의 펑크락 이나 메탈 문화에 대해 말씀해 주세요.
펑크나 메탈락 또한 K팝이나 힙합 등의 한류 열풍처럼 인기를 얻고 있나요?  당신의 밴드는 한국의 언더그라운드뮤직 문화에서 어떠한 위치에 있다고 생각하나요? 예를 들어, 언더락 부분에서 많은 팬이 있다 또는 다른 밴드들에 생각하기에 당신의 밴드가 특이하다고 생각 한다 등등이요.
KWAN YONGMAN: 한국의 펑크/메탈 문화. K팝. 한국의 펑크/메탈과 K팝/힙합은 완전히 다른 세계입니다. K팝이 인기를 끌든 말든 우리와는 아무런 상관이 없습니다. 한국의 펑크/메탈 씬은 작고 사람도 별로 없지만 적당히 잘 돌아가고 있습니다. 물론 별로 재미는 없습니다만.
여튼 한류열풍이니 뭐니 하는 것은 우리와 전혀 상관없는 이야기이며, 이것에 대해 싫다거나 좋다거나 하는 생각조차 없습니다. 당신의 밴드는 한국의 언더그라운드뮤직 문화에서 어떠한 위치에 있다고 생각하나요? Christfuck이 있는 위치는 한국의 그라인드코어씬이라고 부를 수 있을 겁니다. 그렇다면 이 그라인드코어씬은 무엇일까요? 씬이 없습니다. 그저 5~6개의 그라인드코어 밴드들끼리 서로 알고 지내는 것이 다입니다. 그라인드코어 밴드들은 펑크나 메탈 공연에 끼어서 같이 공연하곤 합니다. 그렇다면 펑크나 메탈은 한국의 언더그라운드 뮤직 문화에서 어떠한 위치일까요? 펑크/메탈은 딱히 별로 인기도 없고 새로운 사람이 들어오지 않는 곳입니다. 하지만 소수의 사람들로 꾸준히 명맥을 유지하고 있는 곳이지요. 아마 어느 나라나 마찬가지일 것입니다. Christfuck은 그다지 팬이 많지도 않으며 활동을 활발하게 하지도 않기 때문에 별로 인기가 없습니다.
WULF: 사람들이 어디에서 여러분의 음악을 들을 수 있나요? CD나 기타 구매 가능한 다른 레코드판(vinyl)등이 있나요? 아니면 모든 음악을 인터넷을 통해서만 들을 수 있나요?
KWAN YONGMAN: 공연장에서 CD를 판매했었지만 지금은 절판되었습니다. 저희의 음원을 인터넷에 올리면 좋겠지만 멤버들이 게을러서 아무도 하고 있지 않습니다. 저희는 매우 게으른 사람들입니다.인터뷰에 대한 답변도 이렇게 늦게까지 끌다가 하는 것을 보십시오. 저희는 너무나 게으르고 밴드를 열심히 하지도 않습니다.
WULF:  그라인드코어 (Grindcore Bands) 밴드들은 거의 항상 정치, 종교 또는 현대 사회에 대해 비판적인 노래들을 가지고 있는데요, 여러분  밴드는 무엇에 관한 노래를 하나요? 특별히 옹호하거나 믿고 있는 철학이 있나요?
KWAN YONGMAN: 멤버들마다 서로 생각과 철학이 다릅니다. 하지만 각자 어떤 생각을 하고 있는지에 대해 대화하지 않습니다. 베이시스트 심지훈이 있던 시절에는 급진적이거나 비판적인 가사들을 주로 썼지만 이제는 아무도 딱히 가사를 쓰려고 하지도 않습니다. 보컬리스트 정진용이 가사를 쓰는 것을 귀찮아하고 있습니다. 몇몇 곡 제목은 드럼을 치는 제가 정합니다. 저는 이 밴드에서 저의 철학을 드러내고 싶은 생각이 전혀 없습니다. 그래서 최대한 바보같고 아무런 생각없는 제목을 짓습니다. 베이시스트 심지훈이 탈퇴한 후 만든 곡들에 대해서는, 멤버들 그 누구도 곡의 가사를 모릅니다. 심지어 보컬리스트 정진용 역시 그냥 소리만 지릅니다. 무엇에 대해 노래하는가? 라는 질문에 딱히 대답하라면,우리는 멍청함에 대해 노래합니다. 왜냐하면 적어도 멤버들 모두는 이 밴드 안에서는 굉장히 멍청하기 때문입니다.
WULF:  인터뷰하는 사람들은 항상 밴드에게 그들의 음악적 영향에 대해 묻곤 합니다. 그러나 저는 항상 밴드에게 음악 이외의 영향을 준 것들에 대해 흥미가 있어왔습니다. 당신들에게 영향을 준 어떤 책이나 영화가 있었나요? 당신이 추천하는 어떤 문학작품이 있나요?
KWAN YONGMAN:  영향을 준 책이나 영화. 멍청한 액션영화나 멍청한 좀비영화에서 영향을 받았습니다. 종교적이고 사회적인 메시지가 있는 것 같아 보이지만 사실은 그런 것이 별로 중요하지 않는 Troma의 영화 같은 것들 말입니다.
WULF:  당신의 Live공연을 한번도 본적이 없는 누군가에게 사람들은 Christfuck show에서 무엇을 예상할 수 있을 까요?
KWAN YONGMAN:  Christfuck show에서 기대할 수 있는 것? 참신하지도 똑똑하지도 않지만,바보같고 즐거우며 일단 귀는 시끄럽고 땀냄새 나는 멍청한 공연을 보실 수 있습니다. 저희는 연주할때도 뇌는 사용하지 않습니다. 근육만 사용합니다.
WULF:  여기까지가 마지막 질문이었습니다. 마직막으로 코멘트 부탁드려요 ^^
KWAN YONGMAN:  마지막 코멘트 첫째, 중국의 Cave have rod와 스플릿 앨범을 준비하고 있습니다. 둘째, 우리는 멍청한 밴드입니다. 변명의 여지가 없습니다. 멤버들이 멍청해서 멍청한 밴드가 된 것이 아닙니다. 밴드를 하면서 아무 생각이 없어서 멍청한 밴드가 되었습니다. 멍청한 음악을 멍청하게 즐겨주세요.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Evil Has No Boundaries...Or Maybe It Does?



Does Metal have boundaries?  This is an interesting question implicitly brought up by none other than Dave Lombardo. 

In a recent interview, Lombardo was quoted as saying the following:
"I get the chance to play drums without limits. Believe it or not, metal has a lot of boundaries. When I play with these artists, the intensity and dynamics are so great because we're tapping into so many genres. Quite honestly, most music, in comparison, feels less exciting for me."
He continues:
"I've always been a fan of music that is left of center. It wasn't until I started to work with Patton that I realized I had the instinctual ability to play avant-garde style of music. When Patton introduced me to the first Fantomas demos, I felt very comfortable and connected with the music. When I performed 'Xu Feng' for the first time with John Zorn and his ensemble, I was comfortable and uninhibited. This is the most pure form of musical self expression."
(Note: in the former quote, he is referring to John Zorn and Mike Patton when he says "these artists")

Now, I think it's worth pointing out that he isn't talking about strictly about "improvised music vs. structured music".  Fantomas is highly structured in most of their music.  John Zorn has performed/composed his fair share of completely improvised material in the past, but 'Xu Feng' uses Zorn's game pieces style improvisation...so there is still an element of structure, although that structure is more or less random.

If that ("improvised vs. structured") were his complete argument, then I would say, "Yes, I absolutely agree that improvised music is more freeing and unlimited in possibilities than structured music."  However, he's not saying that.  He is saying that avant-garde, genre-hopping music is the most boundless. 

I will say that probably a good 99% of Metal is structured (Sunn O))) might be a noteworthy example of the 1%, though even they have SOME structure).  But the argument that Metal lacks an avant-garde nature?  C'mooooon, Dave!

OK, I will agree that most Metal bands don't experiment and are chained to the pre-conceived notions of their particular sub-genre (which is not necessarily a bad thing).  Slayer, for example, will never be that experimental.  Neither will Cannibal Corpse.  Or Judas Priest.  That is not what they do, and that would not be appealing to their fanbase.

However, on the flipside of the coin, you have bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan, Sigh, Kayo Dot/Maudlin of the Well, Dodheimsgard, Arcturus, Candiria, Locrian, Earth, Ulver, and Fleuerty, among many others, who have all flirted with the experimental/avant-garde.  Each of these bands has either employed a genre-hopping style (Sigh, Candiria), a stretching or pushing of an established genre's style (Dodheimsgard, Fleuerty, Locrian), or a complete abandonment of most if not all "Metal" elements (Ulver, Kayo Dot, Earth). 

I will agree with Lombardo in saying that, even with the more experimental Metal bands, there are often limits to what kind of sounds they will incorporate into their music (perhaps not for a very select few).  In a way, each band dictates the boundaries of their own music.  Some choose to dictate those boundaries by what is acceptable to their particular sub-genre, while others choose to dictate those boundaries completely on their own terms.  A select few probably don't have any boundaries in how their willing to experiment or the type of sounds they're willing to incorporate.

IMHO, I also don't think that most Metal bands are experimental just for the sake of being experimental. I sometimes think of John Zorn's and Mike Patton's projects are experimental just for the sake of being experimental, but that is certainly up for debate.

In any case, I think Lombardo was merely speaking from his own perspective from playing in Metal bands; specifically Slayer.  Slayer is obviously not going to throw in 30 seconds of polka jamming or ballet into one of their songs.  But that is certainly not the case for ALL Metal bands.