mpomusic: Can each member present introduce
Fionnghuala: Well, I am Fionnghuala, the female
soprano of Slechtvalk. What should I tell? I am 28 years old (almost 29) and I am married.
No kids. I joined Slechtvalk in the beginning of February and wasn't aware of all the
things happening, such as recording an album the same year and going on a tour through
Europe. So that was all a bit overwhelming. But that is okay with me.
Shamgar: I'm Shamgar, 22 years and 120 days
old/young. I play classical guitar for at least 14 years, electric for about 7 or 8 years.
I am the one who started Slechtvalk and my role in Slechtvalk is lead vocals (screams),
second guitar and so far I have done most of the writing (musical and lyric wise), but
that may change over time. I'm single and I don't feel bad about it. I still go to the
university and try to study something.
Metal Marc: Shamgar & Fionnghuala, say
something about each other person in the band besides yourselves.
Fionnghuala: I will do two of them, Shamgar can do
Grimbold and Nath. Ohtar is the leadguitar player of the band. I have no idea what sort of
guitar he plays. He is 21 years old, isn't dating or married. He is a huge Viking with
long blond hair (that's how most people describe him). He does grunts and clean vocals on
The War That Plagues The Land. Is still doing a study. He enjoys life to the full. Sorgier
is 19 years old (or 20 already) and plays the keys in Slechtvalk. He is not dating or
married, I have no idea if he's studying or what , all I know is he works on Saturdays. He
can be a bit quiet now and then, but has a good sense of humor.
Shamgar: Grimbold is 27 or something (I forget age
quickly) and married with Debora (the unidentified lady on the print of the new CD). He
used to do vocals in Salutary (because they already had a drummer when he joined) and
after the departure of the drummer he took up drums in Salutary, but soon after Salutary
split up permanently. He is a stressful job at some times, but he manages it very well.
Nath is 23. He originally comes from the Netherlands Antilles, studied on the Pabo for a
year but now does a nursing school. He is very talented in practically every instrument
I've seen him play and I even think he surpasses everyone else in Slechtvalk in playing
skills. He is also very talented at creating songs and I think he may become the second
songwriter in Slechtvalk. He is a bit silent in nature like myself, but he is a cool
fellow and a girls-magnet.
Metal Marc: So, Shamgar and Fionnghuala...What is
each of your musical backgrounds? Do either of you have any formal musical training?
Fionnghuala: Yes I have. About 6 or 7 years ago I
sang in a band for two years. A pop/rock band. I was the leadsinger for the band, but
didn't really have singing lessons. We had concerts on an average like once a month. I had
some singing lessons, but that was just a course of 10 lessons. So, that wasn't really
much. I sang in church for about a year later on. And last year, November 2001, I started
to have private singing lessons (once a week) in opera. That's when my vocals really got
better, luckily. I still do those lessons and I'm grateful for that.
Shamgar: I play classical guitar for about 14 or
15 years now (still have lessons and my teacher tries to interest me for conservatorium,
but so far without much effect) and my main talent is in there (I prefer to play
Tremolo-pieces like 'Requerdos de la Alhambra' from Tarrega, 'Una Limosna por el Amor de
Dios' from Mangoré and also pieces like 'Asturias' from Albeniz). I have played electric
for 7 years or so but my left hand technique isn't that good, and I haven't taken any
lessons to improve it. I have played in some cover bands (mostly grunge and 80's rock, but
also a metalcover band for a brief period).
Metal Marc: Shamgar, how did you find the other
five people for Slechtvalk? How long did it take?
Shamgar: Years before I started Slechtvalk I
already tried to find musicians to form a band, but I didn't. In the months before the
recording of Falconry my quests were still unsuccessful, so did the year after the
recording of Falconry. Raffi of Fear Dark introduced me to Grimbold, but until we found a
guitarist and bassguitarist there was no point in rehearsing. We found Ohtar by fortune so
it seems. During a gig (of Mortification?) he talked with Grimbold about a project he
wanted to start and then he heard that Slechtvalk was looking for musicians. He thought he
had to respond quickly if he wanted to make a chance to get in Slechtvalk, but actually he
was the first person who reacted to our ads and such. In August of 2001 his joining of
Slechtvalk was a fact and in the meantime I was introduced to Nath by Ezra of Natan. Since
September the four of us (me, Nath, Grimbold and Ohtar) started practicing and it took us
until February of this year before we found a willing keyboard player (Sorgier) and were
given the opportunity to complete our ranks with a soprano singer (Fionnghuala) which we
Flex187: Who is writing the songs? I understood
that Slechtvalk started as a one-man-project. Is still one man writing the songs or is
everybody doing his thing? And if so, what's everybody's part?
Fionnghuala: Mainly Shamgar writes all lyrics and
music. That's how he started Slechtvalk and to keep this style as much Slechtvalk as it
can be, it's best if he writes the music and lyrics. The music for The War Of The Ancients
on the full length was written by Nath, our bassguitar player. There will be some more
songs written by other bandmembers in the future, but I think Shamgar will write most of
it, or else the basic style for the music maybe will change too much and the sound of
Slechtvalk will be lost.
Shamgar: I am terrible at writing melodies for
clean vocals (although the main melody in the choir of A Call In The Night turned out to
be okay ). Grimbold, Ohtar and Fionnghuala figure out their own melodies (of course if I
already have some ideas I may offer them, but perhaps they come up with something better
themselves). Nath makes his own bass lines, Ohtar made some of the melodies (although most
were already made by me), Grimbold makes practically all of his drumschemes. Perhaps only
Sorgier is a bit limited, since most keyboard melodies of the songs I have written are
already set and he then can only change them a little bit. But he is totally free in
writing them for his own songs and he has come up with some very good ideas.
Flex187: How do the others, like you Fionnghuala,
get along with that? I mean, I can imagine that it gets boring to just play or sing
somebody else's lyrics and music.
Fionnghuala: Speaking for myself: No, I'm not
really bored. Really not actually. Shamgar is a great song/music writer and his ideas vary
so much that it gives new challenges all the time. Of course you have to practice most
songs over and over during rehearsal, but that is what happens in every band. And besides
that, I may sing the lyrics Shamgar wrote, but I create my own melody I sing which fits in
the song. If that wasn't so, it might become boring, yes. But that's not the case,
Shamgar: Like Fionn said and many others would say
is that boldly said Slechtvalk is just me, as far as creating the Slechtvalk
feeling/style. But this does not mean others do not have anything. I can Slechtvalkinise
riffs other Slechtvalk members come up with (like I did with 'War of the Ancients' (double
guitar melodies do miracles ) and have done with some newer riffs Sorgier and Nath wrote).
So everyone in the band is free to share their ideas. Actually I would be happy if they
do, because my own inspiration is limited and will run dry in time. And if you ask who has
the final word, then I would say that the majority wins. On several occasions I have given
in to the majority to change a certain riff or structure, but I have no regrets at all. In
the end the overall consensus proved to have a better result than my own thoughts.
mpomusic: As I understand it, the band rehearses
on Saturdays in Utrecht city. Can you describe what happens on a rehearsal day? Who comes
first, is it true that Grimbold is always late, and what really happens? Are you making
fun all the time, or are you working hard on songs...? Give us some gossip stories that
will make our mouths water for more!!!
Shamgar: Most of the time Grimbold and I are the
first to arrive. Sorgier is always late (because he has to work in the morning and he
tends to lose his way in traffic)
Everyone else is present at least 15 minutes before we begin. Of course we have our fun
once in a while, but we also practice hard in between. After practicing several of us are
tone-deaf, because of the sheer violence of the volume, some have lost their voice,
because they tried something but didn't work out the way they planned. Others go home with
all sorts of injuries caused by an excess of strain on their limbs. Some can hardly stand
upon their feet because of fatigue and some just grab a beer and recover their strength
for a long night.
mpomusic: And on rehearsals, how many songs are
you practicing? I reckon you don't do them all...
Fionnghuala: No, we don't do them all, lately.
Only the songs which we will perform during the tour are rehearsed at the moment.
mpomusic: So, what if the public demands an
encore, and they all start shouting for that one song you haven't been playing in ages,
what then? Let's say it's the fourth song from Falconry... What will you do? They all
scream for it!!! If you don't play it, you'll probably be torn to pieces... So, it's up to
Shamgar: Then we'll play it if we can and if not
we will just continue our setlist or play a brand new track or something.
mpomusic: Are you also discussing your
live-appearance, what you're going to do on stage? Do you plan stage props?
Shamgar: Ohtar, me and Grimbold have thought of
something totally awesome, but we probably can't do that yet, because it means we have to
make some massive investments in clothing and props. And currently everyone has spent or
will spent all his money on instruments/accessories etc. Until we have all that money for
clothing and props (hopefully we have those on Bobfest), we will do something else and
there are some things we already plan to do on stage and wear. But you'll probably see
that in time.
xRTx: On the CD there is a girl in a purple dress
dancing. Who is she? And what is her function in the band? Will she join live-shows?
Fionnghuala: Ah! Finally someone who noticed her! Her
name is Debora, she is the wife of Grimbold. She is not a bandmember, but a form of
decoration (don't get me wrong, I don't know how else to describe her). She will dance
during live performances, but only when there is enough space on stage of course. And she
will only dance on a few songs, not all.
Heidendoder: Why are you using keys and female
Fionnghuala: Well, I guess we are not a true black
metal band, right! It is really a sin for true blackmetalheads when you use keys and
female vocals. But I guess Shamgar and other bandmembers, we don't really bother that.
We just think keys and female vocals are beautiful and make the music more melodic
and dramatic instead of only raw and fast and so on...
Shamgar: I always used keys. I think they can be
very useful in creating more atmosphere and a fuller sound. Also the raw blackmetal bands
I like musically (like Dark Funeral, Dawn and old Unlord) all use keyboards regularly and
I like the addition. Also I kinda dig the faster symfonic blackmetal (Dimmu Borgir, newer
Vaakevandring) and the slow doomy black/darkmetal (Summoning and Antestor).
and even Horde used keys, so I am at a loss why we shouldn't use them. About Fionn's
vocals: I think it adds something significant to the songs she sang in. Of course without
her, the music would sound more raw, but rawness is just an aspect. Overall it's the
atmosphere that counts, and I think that on songs like A Plea For The King, Burial Of The
Dead and In Paradisum her vocals were a very needed addition to complete the songs. In
future we hope to expand her talent to our faster/rawer songs. I think a ravening fast
song with a scream/soprano combo (in the lines of what Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar and Emperor
do with clean male vocals) may make a song more intense and interesting. Slechtvalk's
music is all about atmosphere. Sometimes we use raw blackmetal to create it, and sometimes
nearly commercial darkmetal. Although I like raw blackmetal most of all, I don't think it
would fit Slechtvalk if we decided to play only raw blackmetal.
Moerdude: I would like to know what the Latin
lyrics on In Paradisum are about, because I can't figure that out.
In Paradisum deducant te Angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te
Martyres, et perducant te
in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere,
aeternam habeas requiem.
May the Angels lead you into Paradise;
may the Martyrs welcome you
on your arrival, and guide you
into the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of Angels welcome you,
and as with Lazarus, who was once poor,
may you have eternal rest.
WildyWild: Any "tricks" used to record
your guitar tracks?
Shamgar: Of course we made mistakes when playing
our lines (people always make mistakes, and we only were 6 months together, and several
songs were only two months old when we recorded them), and then we re-recorded the
particular riff and then Martijn Groeneveld (the producer, mpo) miraculously repaired the
original recording . But of course we tried not to make many mistakes, because repairing
costs time and time is never your ally when you are recording. But repairing costs less
valuable time than replaying your entire line (especially if the song is 11 minutes long).
WildyWild: Did you use triggers for the drums? If
yes, how do you feel about using triggers for drums, do you like it more than original
sounds (through microphones), or not?
Shamgar: Like most drummers, when Grimbold was
playing slow bassdrum parts, the beats were louder than when he was being speedy on his
basspedals. After increasing the volume of the double-bass parts, the recorded sound of
the bassdrum sounded weak. Then we decided to replace every kick with a sample (so we
didn't program every kick, just replaced the sound with a sample). Unfortunately after
mixing the bassdrum sound was too low and too far on the background, so a week after
mixing, we put more 'high' into the bassdrum sound and increased the volume a bit, but
then they were too loud. We only noticed that after we we're all done with everything.
we decided not to go back for several reasons (to name some: Martijn had real RSI strain
and couldn't work, and at a certain point you must leave the CD for what it is, because
there are always things you want to change even after you changed it 1000 times). I don't
find the drumsound annoying, but I am not a drummer so I don't really pay THAT much
attention to the drumsounds. As long as it isn't sloppy, too fuzzy etc or too poorly
mixed. I am satisfied.
mpomusic: What is your favorite Slechtvalk release
Fionnghuala: Definitely The War That Plagues The
Lands. Why? It's simple! I sing on it! And I was there when it was recorded, so I know how
much work it took to put this album together.
Shamgar: I chose The War. Because I consider
Falconry to be an album of a band which still is in it's earliest stages. The War is much
more mature than Falconry.
The split, well it's a split and although I like Storms' ALOT, I don't think it's our best
song and if I have to choose between Storms and the many equally good songs on The War,
then I will definitely choose the latter. But hopefully the third album will be even more
intense than the War.
Antiblob: I read you're gonna play on Bob Fest,
but are there plans for gigs in Holland? maybe Belgium?
Fionnghuala: Well, I cannot say much about gigs in
Holland or Belgium, because there are no official announcements about that. So I cannot
promise anything. But we will of course do gigs in Holland for sure, in the first months
of 2003 there will be one or more coming! At least that's what I heard...
xRTx: The European tour will bring Ador Dorath
from Czech as support act with you guys. Maybe next time you can be support act for a
bigger band. What band do you like to do this tour with if you can choose?
Fionnghuala: Gosh, I never really thought about
that...The fact that we're going on a tour anyway is already something to be thankful for.
I don't have any wishes for what band to tour with, I guess. At least not for now.
Shamgar: I wouldn't know. There are many bands
with whom I'd like to be on a festival like Wacken. But a tour is something totally
different. And many bands I think are great are not so fond of Christians. But a tour with
a band like Borknagar would be cool.
Metal Marc: Shamgar, what are your short-term and
long-term goals for Slechtvalk?
Shamgar: Short-term: to survive the winter and
make a good tour (it will be very physically and psychologically exhausting I think).
Long-term: To make at least one more CD and actually make a difference for some.
xRTx: And when will you guys finally move on to a
bigger label? Than you can reach a bigger crowd. Or do you already sell thousands of
albums? So, what will the future look like?
Shamgar: A bigger label must be interested first
in us and so far I personally haven't received any word from bigger labels who are
interested. Perhaps they contacted Fear Dark and Fear Dark decided not to tell us ;). I
doubt there are better labels in the Christian scene than Fear Dark (which has made quite
a reputation in a few years), and I don't know of any secular labels whom I'd like to sign
Slechtvalk. I am pretty suspicious by nature and frankly I do not know whom to trust if
there is a bigger label (like Century Media or Nuclear Blast) that show interest. All in
all I don't think changing to a bigger label is something that is in our powers.