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Slechtvalk

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Black metal has always been known for its one man bands. One of the most notorious is the Norwegian Burzum who's initiator is now doing time in prison. A Dutch band that started as a one man band is Slechtvalk. However, last years tremendous efforts have been made to form a real line up. This year singer and guitarist Shamgar presents a six members strong formation plus two CD's including a split with Kekal. There are even touring plans.

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Discography: Falconry (2000), Chaos & Warfare (split with Kekal; 2002), The War That Plagues The Land (2002). Available through: Fear Dark. Official website: Slechtvalk. Interview by: mpo. Date: Friday September 13th 2002.

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Slechtvalk. FLTR: Premnath, Deborah (no member), Grimbold (sitting), Shamgar, Sorgier, Othar & Fionnghuala

First of all I want to look with you to the last two years. What happened since the release of Falconry?

Yeah, I started studying. And the most important thing is that there's finally a band, since September last year. And this year we recorded a new CD. That's it I guess.

And how do you experience this new situation, with a band?

Well, it's quite different. I had to get used to it. Of course you have to make all decisions with the others while I was my own god before. And now I'm that no longer.

I understood that all members live all over the country. You are from Rotterdam and area. Some others come from Zutphen and that direction. Your rehearsal room is in Utrecht. It doesn't seem to be a comfortable situation.

It's the most central place. Right now I can't think of a better place.

And that's it?

You could go more to the west or more to the east but then the other half has to travel longer, etc.

But aren't there any good musician in your area?

Well, I've been looking for years. It's more by hit than by wit that the band got together last year.

What do you think of the quality of the members of the band?

In general it's good. Some are real good. Others are like I am. They are good but with more practice they can become better, just like I.

I had a chat with Othar once, your other guitarist. He told me he has a bad infection in his wrist. Isn't that making the band situation more difficult?

Yeah, absolutely. He hasn't been practicing with us since the recordings in April. He does come to the rehearsals yet he doesn't play guitar. When he'll start playing again, he has to make up for everything.

Is he capable of doing so?

Yeah, I think so. Let's see, he heard the songs a lot of times and then you pick them up more easily. And he also played on the CD so he knows what to play. But he has to practice a bit more to get them tight.

Does he have any experience with playing in bands?

Not more than we have. In other words, not much.

Slechtvalk plays black metal. Many bands in this field have developed in other directions in the last few years. Sanctifica, for example, and I'm sure you know many more bands. In how far is the music from Slechtvalk developing?

I prefer calling it dark/black metal. It's more versatile. I think we'll still play a combination of dark and black metal in the future. I'm not really planning to radically change styles. Then I'd rather say: Let's stop with Slechtvalk and start a new band, if we ever get these kind of ideas.

I once heard a comment from you saying you would disband Slechtvalk after three albums.

(hesitating) There's no plan. It's more like a feeling.... this CD is coming up and then a third CD is likely too but then it will be difficult. Because you don't want to start repeating yourself. To me it's seems rather difficult to make a new CD that will surpass the previous one. Then I'll be more like: you did what you could and that's it and better stop at your climax. But we'll have to see. Maybe there will be six CD's. It depends on the inspiration.

What are the influences from the other members on the music?

It varies. From Borknagar to Sarah Brightman. And from This Beautiful Mess to Thyrfing.

Okay, these are influences. But, I mean, the influences from the other members. I guess they also want to have something to say about how it's going to sound like.

Until now I've written the basis. Mostly the musicians got the parts that I wrote for them. And then they would decide at home what they could do with them. To many songs they added their own influences and I think you can hear that.

I saw on the split CD that also other band members wrote material. Premnath did some piece, I believe. Is that going to happen more or won't you be thrown from your throne?

Yes, it's going to happen a lot more. Because I'm known for my blackouts. I have long periods in which I have no inspiration. Nath appears to be a seemingly endless source of inspiration. He comes with new ideas real often. And Sorgier also has lots of great ideas. Yeah, I think that on the third CD, if it comes, half of the material will be written by others.

This sommer you released the first effort from the band Slechtvalk on a split CD with Kekal. What do you think of Kekal?

First I didn't like it. But last year I started listening a lot to their first CD and now I think it's cool. I had to get used to the latest material. But I think they have good parts, in the riffs. But it's not my taste. I'm more a black metal kinda person and they are not really.

On the split CD there's also a cover of Kongsblod from the Norwegian formation Antestor. Was that your choice?

Yeah, we had to...

Had to...?

Yeah, the plan was to cover a song. And we didn't know which band. We were looking for old thrash bands but we didn't find anything suitable. And someone came up with the idea to do Antestor. We all liked the idea. We had to vote to decide which song we would do. We all thought Kongsblod was the best song so we did that one.

In about a month the new disc will be released. The title is The War That Plagues The Land. Can you tell something about it?

Yeah, sure! It's quite a long CD. About 65 minutes and eleven songs. The lyrics are part of one story split into two parts. The first part deals with a warrior, a chief of an army of a king. The second part is about a traveler who finds the dead body of the first emperor. And all those lyrics are overlapping. I'm not sure if you can get the whole picture from the lyrics but the story's there and the lyrics are based on it.

So, it's a concept album. Is there some kind of deeper meaning behind it or is it only a interesting story?

Well, each song has its own setting. You have quite some songs in which the first song comes up with a question that will be answered a few songs later. So, in that respect you should read all lyrics as one piece to understand it better.

But is there some kind of story behind the story or is it only about a chief of an army...

Well, let's see, they are mainly experiences and that's the story basically. Certain thoughts and so.

Certain experiences of your own, you mean?

Yeah, each song is a bit autobiographical. And how you can give a good interpretation of them and what the true thoughts are and so.

Musical direction. How will it be compared to the split CD. Different?

Yeah, the split is, on the whole, faster than the average speed on the full length. There are a couple of real slow songs. But, in general, if you draw the line further and think of a few slower songs, you get a good idea of the full length.

Finally I have a question about possible live shows. I've heard that you want to do a tour in December.

Yes, that plan exists...

And what about it? Can't you tell anything about it?

The tour is shorter than initially planned for a few reasons. And he's planned for January now. I'm not sure what countries but it will be two weeks. I'll see what happens. I don't know that much myself. But I think that in the next few months more of it will be made public and then I can tell more about it.

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