Thursday 18 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Doom from the Underground with Shadowmaster

By: Aaron Pickford

At the end of 2017, today’s featured band, Shadowmaster and their self titled debut full length was voted the 11th best underground release by THE SLUDGELORD.  Since July 2017, we selected 13 albums a month that were either released via smaller labels and/or via bandcamp and took it upon ourselves to focus the microscope on those bands and at the end of the year we selected our favourites and Shadowmaster was one of them. 

Following in the footsteps of legendary doom royalty Candlemass and hailing from Sundsvall, Sweden, Shadowmaster are one of latest and heaviest of doom exports, and we talked to the band at the end of 2017, to get the lowdown on the roots of the band and the creation of their devastating new album, which was released via Seeing Eye Records

Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Shadowmater?

Micke (guitar): I guess it all started when we went to high school. We all found out that we shared the same interest in music, so we developed a friendship and started hanging out, both in and outside of school. As time went by we all started playing in various groups based in our hometown Sundsvall, and as our music taste developed with time, Cedermark and I felt that we wanted to play slow and heavy doom, so we started this band called Desert Crone. In the beginning it was a duo, with Cedermark on the drums and me on guitar. We soon realized that the music lacked a certain feel, so we started looking for a drummer. Eventually we called Jimmy and told him that we wanted him, and he gladly accepted. After that we had some gigs, did a short European tour, made an album, changed name to Shadowmaster and here we are!

For those people unfamiliar with your band, are there any bands on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point bands to describe your band, and who or what continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Micke: Well, I’d be a fucking hypocrite if I wouldn’t mention Electric Wizard to start with, as they are the biggest influence (surprise, surprise). But for people who are unfamiliar with us I would mention Monolord, Belzebong, Burzum and Sleep, to name a few. But honestly speaking, I look for inspiration everywhere. We’re talking movies, nature, emotions etc. Obviously heavy music is the greatest influence, but sometimes when I write, I listen to OST-music. It sounds weird, perhaps stupid, but it’s true. There are no limits to our imagination.

What can you tell us about your debut record and where do you feel it sits within the context of current doom scene

Micke: Dark. Heavy. Disgusting. That’s at least our goal with the album. Nowadays there are tons of bands out there, but you are only drawn to a few. We believe that the reason for this is that most people think that you can just pick up an instrument and write slow music, with no feel to it at all. So we think (and hope) that this album is going to be one of those record that people will react positive towards, and not get bored the first two minutes in. We can only wait and see.

Does anything spring to mind when you think about the completion of your new record “Shadowmaster” and how is the mood in the camp at present?

Micke: Well first of all we are just relieved that it’s done, as we worked really hard on the album both in the studio and in the rehearsal room. But in the end we are very pleased with the results so we are feeling great about the completion of the album. We are excited at the moment. The signing with Seeing Red Records feels great, the music is finally going to be released physically and merch is in the making. Now we will focus on playing live so all is good!

What stands out as your overarching memory from the recording sessions?

Micke: The recording of “The Lizard King” went horribly, as I got nervous playing by myself and fucked up more than once. Because off this I wanted to scratch the song, but Cedermark didn’t agree. In the end we got it, but I was pissed at myself. The recording of “Under His Black Skies” was also a moment of aggression. We first failed at the end of the song, so we had to do a second take. As the song is almost 20 minutes and we play everything live in the studio, it was a pain in the ass. But it wasn’t all bad. The vocals went smooth as fuck, and they sound amazing. Plus we had some help by Björn, a close friend of ours. He helped us with everything during the recording session and mixing.

With you new record in the bag, how is your schedule shaping up over the next 12 months?

Micke: Play as much gigs as possible, spreading the word of Shadowmaster and write more music! We already have a lot of ideas for new songs. Releasing the album on vinyl is also something we will try to do as soon as possible. But mostly perform live, since we truly enjoy it. Releasing some merch is also something we will do. T-shirts will be available in a couple of weeks with a design made by none other than Wizard Of Meth (Mephistofeles).

Finally, do you last words?

You can only die once. After that, nothing, and nobody, can harm you.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook