The fundamentals of hardcore/noisecore music are always changing. Expression. Attitude. Intensity. Over the years, many bands have managed to push the boundaries of hardcore/noisecore music - one good example is Poughkeepsie, New York's Shai Hulud.
The band, without a care of where the scene was headed or what rules were set out for others to follow, invaded their own domain of ideas and pushed spectacular displays of manic intensity and rhythmic ecstasy to new heights. Now they're the leaders and many try to follow, but as we know, once you try to mimic a sound/style, you get lost in the shuffle.
This record is very groundbreaking, there's a lot going on. No doubt people will look back a few years from now and say, "Woah! That was an intense record. Shai Hulud really made an impact."
That's quite a compliment. I'm glad people are excited about this album. Our goal was to finally record something that sounded like the vision we had in our heads. Did we succeed? No. But to the listeners, we did, and that's fantastic. We wanted to get the stuff out of our heads and hearts and onto a recording, and to capture the feeling we had when we came up with the idea. We [singer Geert Van Der Velde, drummer Tony Tintari, guitarist Steve, and bassist Matt Fletcher] spent a lot of time on the music, the lyrics, and really tried to harness the energy of the band with this recording. We really believe that it has a lot of musical, lyrical, and intellectual value. Our goal was to put out an album that made an impact. We wanted to do a bit more with the album, but didn't have the time, money, or energy to do much more. Next time...
Not really, but we wanted it to be up to our level and what we saw as where we wanted to take this recording. Nonetheless, it's still a great recording and compliments like yours make any flaws that we hear a lot easier to bear.
Would the record have turned out much differently had you been able to spend more time in the studio?
The material wouldn't have been any different, the main difference would be the mix and tracking. We mixed ten songs in eight or nine days, and we didn't have much time to really adjust certain elements to bring out more from each track. We could've brought out more emotion, but we had to take what we had. We're getting a healthy dose of Queen lately, and if any band is gonna help you progress, Queen is the band to do it.
It's funny, when you mention the name Shai Hulud, the first thing that comes to people's minds is "hardcore"...
That's very true. Recently, someone told us that we'll always be a hardcore band and never be anything else. That was harsh. I know the guy who said it, and I know he didn't mean it that way... I think we're for sure a hardcore band, but I think we definitely go beyond that. Based on what hardcore is and what it has been, I think we put a little more than the standard hardcore band would into their music. We wouldn't be content being just a hardcore band. We love that scene and that's where we came from, but we definitely don't limit ourselves to that.
After all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this recording, what are you most proud of?
That the record got done. That in itself is quite the accomplishment. Everything seemed to be working against us, as it always seems to (i.e. lineup changes, delays).
With this record getting so much universal praise for what you've brought to the scene, will that affect how you guys approach your next recording?
I don't think so. There was a lot of pressure already that we'd put on ourselves. That's just the way it is. Any musician who lives and breathes their music will always place some sort of burden on themselves to do the best and create something magical with a recording. The bottom line for us with any recording is that the music is emotive, effective, and intelligent. As long as it represents what we want out of all of this, then we're going to be happy and a hell of a lot more comfortable with it. That Within Blood Ill-Tempered was a heavy experience for us, and I don't think we'll ever face something like that again.
With all the bands flooding the scene these days, will it be difficult for Shai Hulud to stay in the spotlight, or do you not care?
I think it'll be a challenge. We've always gone against the grain and done what we wanted and never followed trends. Bands come and go, but we're still determined to be the same individuals who play hardcore and are eager to take it to the next level.
It's a challenge for most people to get into Shai Hulud at first. I mean, you guys aren't exactly a cookie-cutter band with a hit single...
True, very true. We have no cheese to latch onto, there are no hot solos to wait for, and we're not wearing '70s rock t-shirts. I think when a band goes out there and truly gives of themselves, they risk being made fun of or ridiculed, as opposed to a band that has an image that people can latch onto right away.
The challenge will always be present.
Yeah. Even with the album out and people excited about it and talking about it, we're still facing challenges. And we're ready for them.
(PO Box 5232 Huntington Beach, CA 92615)