INTERVIEW WITH SHYLMAGOGHNAR intervista di Daniele Pietrini

MELODY LANE had a great interview with the dutch 'atmospheric/melodic blackened death' band Shylmagoghnar.
Nimblkorg and Skirge, the two musicians behind the name Shylmagoghnar, in this very interesting and detailed interview, told us about the roots of their project, the creative process of their music and their wishes for the future. 
Transience, second album of the dutch duo, has been released on June 29th, 2018 via Napalm Records. 
Band highly recommended to fans of Dark Tranquillity, Catamenia, Enslaved, Moonsorrow, Windir and Cor Scorpii.
Interview not to be missed!

MELODY LANE: First of all, also if it can sound a bit expected…Can you tell us where does the name SHYLMAGOGHNAR come from?
Nimblkorg: When we were starting out and looking for a fitting band name, we had gone through a whole bunch of combinations of existing words, but none of them really felt like they captured the mood behind the project. So instead we decided to come up with something of our own. Something that was bizarre yet curiosity-invoking. Many of the central themes of this project are fueled by life questions that intrigue us, which we have not yet found an answer to (and likely never will). We hope that the abstract name will inspire listeners to wander in their minds and think about the meaning of things as well.

MELODY LANE: The line-up of the band is confirmed, is it the same from the beginning of the band…or have you had changes in the last years? Can you tell us something about the roots of SHYLMAGOGHNAR? And where the band was born?
Nimblkorg: The two of us have always been the heart of the band yes. Over the years there have been moments where we temporarily had another band member join us, but due to us not really knowing back then what we wanted to do with the project this usually didn't last very long.For the most recent album Transience, there is a passage during the song “The Chosen Path” where a trombone lead is played by a guest musician. This musician was my brother Ramon, and the choice was made as a reminiscence to when I was just starting out playing the guitar, and he played trombone/guitar together with me. I've been wanting to capture him in a song ever since.
So we do not by definition avoid working with other musicians - it has to have a good reason though.About the roots: the two of us met during our early teens in high school (which was in Heerlen in the Netherlands) and due to our strong shared interests for music, aesthetic, general life views, etc, we hit it off almost instantly. We would spend long nights talking about all of these things and the idea to form a project around it was in our eyes unavoidable. It was easier said than done though - neither of us had any music skills back then and it took us a decade to get to the point where we thought the music sounded and felt like what he had imagined at the beginning. Before that there was a lot of rewriting, re-recording, remixing... it was maddening. There have been many occasions in that decade where things just grinded to a halt and we both weren't sure the project would ever see the light of day.
Then I got very ill around 2010 and I felt like my life came crashing down around me. I needed something to hold on to in that dark time and Shylmagoghnar came to mind again. I told Skirge that I was determined to see this thing through to the end now, come hell and high water, and asked him if he was on board still. He absolutely was, and thus “Emergence” was born.

MELODY LANE: Can you list us 5 songs, from SHYLMAGOGHNAR discography (including new material), that can define the sound of the band … 5 songs that can help our readers to know SHYLMAGOGHNAR at the best.
Nimblkorg: Since we consider contrast between songs one of the most important things about the project, I will try to mention tracks which reach into different musical directions.
One song everyone seems to agree upon is “I Am the Abyss”, which is the instrumental intro to our debut. The almost polar opposite is “Edin in Ashes” on that same album.  Then there is “A New Dawn”, which we consider to be the most synergistic track on there.
Moving on to the second album, the title song “Transience” is very dear to us. To finish it off, “No Child of Man Could Follow” goes in a more melodic direction we hadn't taken before.
And since six is the new five, I'm also mentioning “The Chosen Path”. We enjoy having at least 1 track on every album which is quite different from the rest, to shake things up a bit. This one certainly did that for us.

MELODY LANE: Tell us something about the creative process of your music. Is there a main composer or we can talk about a team work? The songs come from ideas of a single member and then the band works on these ideas in the studio jamming together, or your songs are written in the studio and all the members compose together?
Nimblkorg: Roughly said, we do usually have 1 composer and 1 lyricist (Skirge on the lyrics/vocals and me on the music/instruments), but there is some overlap. Since the songs are driven by subjects we both care deeply for, there is usually a rough music demo from which we start working, but the outcome can change quite drastically as it bounces back and forth between us.  For example: with the song “No Child of Man Could Follow” Skirge's lyrics were the central theme, as the idea for the song was based on a meaningful experience he had when he was younger. As such, the arrangement of the song, the amount of repetitions of a riff, and the presence/absence of certain parts had to be tailored to that story, or else it would not make sense or it would feel incomplete.
So while there was strictly speaking 1 composer and 1 lyricist for the song, the result was definitely team work. Furthermore, both of us enjoy writing music and doing vocals, so sometimes Skirge writes a song (“The Sun No Longer”) and sometimes I do lyrics/vocals (“Emergence”). We just go with what feels right for this.

MELODY LANE: Who writes lyrics and words in SHYLMAGOGHNAR? Can you tell us something about contents and messages of the lyrics of your songs?
Skirge: While the lyrics cover a wide spectrum of material – ranging from individual experiences to the boundaries of our perception and what may lie beyond that – there are some central themes at the heart of it all. One of the most important is the dichotomy of the human mind and its struggle in all its beauty and horror – and the constant search for some sort of meaning. 
Transience also delves into some more abstract, larger-than-life themes - some of which were based on dreams and thought experiments.

MELODY LANE:  After time, are you totally satisfied with your choices about sound and the writing of your old albums? If you could… would you change anything?
Skirge:  We consider our songs/albums to be like time capsules. As we are working on them, we give it everything we have to make the result resemble the image in our heads as closely as possible. This usually comes with a lot of frustration and initial dissatisfaction, because perfection simply does not exist.
However, once something is finished and an album is out, we feel that it is like an echo of who we were at that point in time and as such we wouldn't want to change it anymore.

MELODY LANE:  So will you tour in the near future? Have you already a touring schedule? Any chance for us to see SHYLMAGOGHNAR playing live here in Italy in the next months/year?
Nimblkorg: We cannot, as the scope of the project is limited by my personal health. I became chronically ill a couple of years ago and as a result I'm a recluse. I love making music and sharing it with people, but appearing in public is hell to me. 

MELODY LANE: We know that ‘to define is to limit’… but how do you define SHYLMAGOGHNAR sound? Are you a Death band…a Melodic Death band…a Prog Death Metal band? Or…
Nimblkorg: We started out with a strong interest for atmospheric black and melodic/progressive death metal, so for practical reasons we usually call it something in between that. You are right though: we consider it nothing more than a tag and it's not at all on our minds while working on the project. If at some point during the next album we find that a funk bass line is exactly what a song needs, then that is what the song will get!

MELODY LANE: Which musicians are/have been your main musical inspirations? And which are your favorite bands nowadays?
Nimblkorg: For me the ideology behind a project has usually been more inspiring than the musical patterns themselves, so despite not really sounding like them, I would say that Death was one of my biggest inspirations. There was obviously a lot of emotion behind it, the songs were varied and dared to make intuitive movements – not for technical reasons but because they served the vibe of the song. Towards later albums the production was also crystal clear, but in my opinion absolutely not sterile. You can easily lock in to one of the musicians and hear what wonderful things they're doing throughout the entire album. All of those qualities were exactly what I wanted to achieve in my own music, so hearing it done so well by others gave me hope.
Skirge: To be honest, during the creation of the album I wasn't listening to that much music altogether. In general, my preference tends to be very eclectic, and I'm always open for something new – although there are always some classics I keep returning to. This is reflected pretty well in the albums I was listening to in the past week or so, which were First Spell (Gehenna), Dark Medieval Times (Satyricon), From Darkness (Avishaj Cohen) and Koyaanisqatsi (Philip Glass)

MELODY LANE: As a musician, what has been your biggest achievement to date and what do you want to achieve in the near future?
Nimblkorg: Overcoming the initial hurdle of being terrible at everything and not giving up despite it taking so long to take shape was very important to me. My entire life would be different now if it weren't for that. Other than that, I have a tendency to just leave the past for what it is and keep looking at what's next. One of the great things about music to me is that you've never truly mastered it. I feel like a kid in a sandbox with aspirations to build the pyramids. Maybe I never will, but that's okay.
I  think that also answers what I would like to achieve in the future: I just want to keep going and see where the road takes us!
Skirge: Among the hours of material I have written, Shylmagoghnar is the only project that actually saw the light of day as finished albums, so it has to be Emergence and Transience. I will be happy just to feel that I actually finished some of my other work before I take it all to the grave.

MELODY LANE: In the end…A message from you to all MELODY LANE readers.
Thank you all very much for reading and for the support we have been fortunate enough to receive over the years! We hope you enjoyed our answers and for those of you who are working towards their own goals, we wish you all the strength and inspiration you need to see it through to the end. All the best brothers & sisters!