Interview done by Daemon Black
1. I would like to start the interview by having you introduce the members of Humut Tabal, their roles within the band and how you guys came together?
N: My name is Njord and I play drums. Aed is our bass guitar player, and Grimzaar handles guitars and vocals. He is also the bands main composer and lyricist. Essentially the formation of the Black Order came about in 2009 out of a mutual musical and philosophical appreciation between Grimzaar and Hravan, who supplied rhythm guitar and back up vocals from the years 2009-2013. Out of their desire to freely express the music they had been listening to together and playing together for a short while, I was recruited for the position of drummer, as Hravan and myself had a bit of past experience being in garage bands and the like together. That original formation lasted quite a while with several other musicians coming in and out over the years. In early 2013 Aed, who at the time lived in Houston, joined the band and the rest is history as they say.
2. You guys play an "Aleatoric" style of BM, also known as "chance music" can you explain a little about this form of music for people who might not be familiar with the term, and how has it been interwoven into the sounds of Humut Tabal ?
G: Aleatoric music deliberately employs indeterminacy. Aleatoric pieces differ from other styles of composition because essential elements of the sounds (such as pitch, articulation, etc.) are either left either to chance or to the discretion of the performers. Aleatoric compositions, when written down, typically abandon traditional methods of notation in favor of scores that employ directions written in natural language, graphics that demonstrate the contour of the piece, or both. Currently, Humut Tabal only performs these aleatoric compositions live. "SHIFT IV" is the aleatoric piece we perform most often, but to my knowledge it has only been recorded on the live CD from the Os Moe is True fest. "SHIFT IV" embodies our philosophy of musical chaos very well, and thus serves as a template for understanding our other aleatoric pieces. "SHIFT IV" has a row 4 shifting harmonic groups, but the "roots" of these harmonic collections are left to the discretion of the performer, meaning that the band's overall harmony is different for every iteration of the row. Because of the intervallic content of each chord, each member of the row is still easily identifiable. We play aleatoric music to inspire feelings of terror and chaos within ourselves. We also use it during some interludes between our riff-based pieces.
3. Lets talk a bit about Humut Tabal's lyrical themes and content, Who is the sole person responsible for the writing and also give us an overview of what message (if any) is HT is trying convey?
G: I write all of the lyrics. The themes vary, but overall the lyrics convey an extreme disgust toward religion and the state of humanity. I wish to draw attention to the futility of moral absolutism. I do this because innumerable paradoxes exist in reality, illustrating that reality transcends the very concept of order. Moral absolutism depends on a self-defeating order that lacks solutions for paradoxical moral situations. These thoughts fuel the emotions and situations presented in the lyrics. Good and evil are beside the point. Hatred is the point. Hatred for its own sake.
4. Can you give us some insight on the members musical backgrounds, when each member was first introduced to metal and also what styles and genres of music did each member grow up listening to and did it contribute to creating this form of music?
G: When I was 8 I began playing piano. Studying piano has had a profound impact on the way I perceive music. Loud, fast, minor-key piano music fascinated me most throughout my early years playing piano. I also have always like harsh guitar tones. In my childhood, hearing the distorted guitar was a revelation to me. From then on, I sought music that combined the storm and stress of art music with the timbres of rock and roll. Black Sabbath was the first band that moved me into outright evil sounds. Later, during my teenage years, I was captivated by black metal. Immortal's "At the Heart of Winter" and Satyricon's "Dark Medieval Times" were the first black metal albums to inspire me. Emperor, Leviathan, Behexen, and Deathspell Omega were also influences at this point. I continued my formal musical training in college and completed a BM in composition. My interest in Western art music naturally grew. Bach's polyphonic writing serves as my chief inspiration for instrumental counterpoint. Many 20th-century composers serve as inspiration for the ideas Humut Tabal is currently exploring. Bartok, Berg, and Webern influence the kinds of harmony we employ. Charles Ives is another important influence.
N: We all grew up listening to a wide variety of music, as we still do, and I'm sure as we always will. That certainly influenced the direction of my musical development, and thus the direction of my playing in Humut Tabal. I first discovered metal around 12 or 13 and from there took off into it all. Obviously Black Metal in particular left a significant impression on me. The weight, the conviction and the essence of the execution combined with the forceful rolling rhythms was an eye opener. Some players who continue to greatly influence my rhythmic contribution to this band include Jan Blomberg, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dobber Beverly, the late Elvin Jones, Max Roach & Tony Williams, and Austin Lunn.
5. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
G: We are constantly improving as musicians. I anticipate better composition and more satisfying production with future releases. In addition, future releases will likely include more instances of improvisation and chance music. Regardless of the compositional devices we decide to employ, we will continue to spread hatred relentlessly.
6. The bands discography dates back to 2009 consisting of a two full lengths and three splits with some good bands, looking back in hindsight Were you happy with these releases, and how has you're latest release measured up to your previous works?
N: Gods ov Darkness, Hate and Flame was actually not a full length- it's considered an EP as it was our first pressed release (The Dread Lair), but not more than 200 copies were made. In any case, yes we're quite pleased with everything we've released. The split with Weoran features some new directions and concepts, and Oaths (Plutonian Shore split) has strong material on it- as did Gods. However, Dark Emperor (our full length) is a cohesive piece in itself that stands entirely on its own. It's our most inspired effort yet and a wonderful example of Grimzaar's style of composition. Each individual track serves as both an experience in itself and a contributing chapter to an overall story and theme. So, in that sense, it surpasses any of our previous works.
7. You guys released the two splits on "The Dreads Lair" label and one with "Exalted Woe Records", how was the experience working with these labels and how does it differ from now being a self released band?
N: Both of those labels, Dread Lair in particular, did us an amazing justice in creating a way for the recordings to be distributed, purchased and promoted. Dark Emperor is our first independent release that we created and wrought to life entirely by ourselves. While it's an incredibly rewarding experience, it took more time effort and energy than I think we ever imagined, which just goes to show how hard the underground labels work to continue to bring quality music to the public. With that being said, there is still nothing quite like having complete control over all aspects of our business and I'm predicting this will be the path we take for some time.
8. Humut Tabal recently played a couple of live dates in Texas before you guys embark on a west-coast tour, Can you give us a high light of these shows and what expectations to you have from these upcoming dates and the whole tour in general.
N: Well we did the warm up gigs back home to compensate for their being no home date on the tour. They went quite well and afforded us a chance to warm up before almost three straight weeks of playing every night. So far the tour has been an incredible adventure. We've taken this band to Germany and Belgium, had countless mini tours across Texas, but never had we done a full blown domestic jaunt. We've broken into some new markets and really pushed things to the edge on stage which is probably the most fulfilling part. Having the opportunity to stumble upon and try new ideas, particularly in the improvisational pieces, night after night has very much benefited both my personal playing and our synergy on stage.
9. How has the overall feedback been about the music of Humut Tabal here is the U.S and Worldwide. Do you think you have created a successful product that interests the European and worldwide Black Metal fan-base as well?
N: For our first record just having been released, the feedbacks quite strong. And yes, absolutely. Our largest fan base is definitely here at home but the Europeans are showing interest as well, as are the Japanese in particular. I ship probably at least a package a week or so over there. With any due luck we're hoping to break some ground in the Latin American and Indonesian-Polynesian scenes in the coming years, as those parts of the world have quite an impressive audience for metal.
10. I'm interested in hearing the bands opinions on the state of Black Metal these days, where its going and how its evolved, also where does Humut Tabal fall in to all the BM sub genres?
N: I can only speak for myself personally but I think the only sure thing to say about the current "state" of Black Metal is that it's really more popular than it's ever been. Thusly there are a lot more active bands, more music being written which in turns leads to stylistic experimentation which springs the many sub genres you mentioned. I think the American scene is experiencing this quite intensely right now. Some folks like the idea of that and some don't. As for HT, I imagine we'll continue to just do what we do. In this band, which is what it is- a band, we put our music before and above any other stylistic associations. So whether that's pushing boundaries or staying traditional, we will do it regardless.
11. Before we conclude the interview are there any final words for the our readers about Humut Tabal that you would like to add?
Thanks very much for reading, if you'd like to learn more about us or our music visit humuttabal.com. Cheers.
Thanks again for your time
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