Date: 7 February 2013
MM: Great to meet you!
MF: And like wise! Thanks for thinking of us.
MM: Could you briefly tell me how the band came together?
MF: Around 1994 I was in college, not playing seriously in any bands, but I would still write Hardcore songs from time to time and show them to my friends. Ironically, I had three friends, none of which knew each other, who all said to me "We should start a Hardcore band." One of the friends played bass, one played guitar, and one sang. It was just too perfect, and I already had a couple songs to boot. I brought all of us together to start playing; the singer found us a drummer, and that was the very first lineup of Shai Hulud. The band officially started in 1995, or so I think.
MM: Your new album 'Reach Beyond The Sun' is out soon, how much of a progression is it from your previous work?
MF: All our music from album to album progresses in some manner. One way "Reach Beyond The Sun" progressed was through the learning experience of "Misanthropy Pure," where we spent a lot of time making things "perfect" and over-thinking, overwriting, and over-complicating all of the components to our songs. At the outset of "Reach" it was decided to take a more organic approach, and not focus on reworking every part of every song. Though the progression here is "less is more," it is the direct result of a learning experience, and a true progression.
In addition to the overall approach, "Reach" also breaks new musical territory for us in some of the guitar riffs, some of which are more defining and unique to our band than ever before. Listen the songs "Reach Beyond The Sun," "A Human Failing," "To Suffer Fools," and "Medicine To The Dead" to hear what I mean.
MM: What influences your music?
MF: Everything from moods to movies to other music influences our music. I think anything that gives us the inspiration to create is often expressed musically. Though sometimes the music just creates itself with little help. I can simply be relaxing, strumming on a guitar and something cool pops up; without giving it any extra thought, it expands into other parts and the basis of a song has formed with practically no thought or attention. I do love when that happens, albeit a very seldom occurrence.
MM: What bands are you currently listening to?
MF: As I have been typing interviews, it's been fairly mellow today. Right now it's "Take care, Take Care, Take Care" by Explosions In The Sky. Earlier today it was "Amarantine" by Enya, and "Celtic Clasics" by Shanon. Not what you expected, eh?
Just the other day I listened to multiple albums by both The Ramones and Entombed. I also recently thrashed to "Fuck Peaceville" by Doom, "Nightfall" by Candlemass, "Blood Of The Nations" and "Stalingrad" by Accept, and for three days straight I listened to nothing but "Power And Pain" by Whiplash. I know how to rock and relax.
MM: You are on tour in the UK soon, what can we expect from a Shai Hulud performance?
MF: Five guys giving one hell of a passionate performance. Screaming in your face and shit.
MM: What are your favourite tracks to play live and why?
MF: We have yet to play any of the songs of "Reach Beyond The Sun" live yet, but I'm expecting both the song "Reach Beyond The Sun" and "A Human Failing" to be an absolute blast. Looking forward to those.
As far as older songs I love to play:
"A Profound Hatred Of Man" - This is a band favorite to play. Starts off with an incredible energy, and from there it's a myriad of fun and emotional riffs to play, many of them resulting in mass sing-alongs.
"Given Flight By Demons' Wings" - This is a unique song, so it's blast to play purely because of how different it is for us. The lyrics in "Given Flight" truly 'give flight' to the song. It's a combination of the music and the lyrics that make this one fun to play. And when the crowd knows this song and reacts responsively, you can feel deep emotion flowing. This one can bring me to tears.
"Misanthropy Pure" - One of my favorite Shai Hulud songs to date; a nice combination of heaviness and melody. Coupled with the lyrics it creates a dark yet hopeful atmosphere. A powerfully motivating song, I feel a strong cathartic release playing this one.
MM: You have had a fair few line up changes, do you feel the band is settled now?
MF: It's as settled as it can be. There will most likely always be revolving members to a certain degree, unless we get to the point where the band can be finically viable for each of its members. That's a main reason we have parted ways with members in the past. Being in Shai Hulud is a lot of work, and the financial reward is next to nothing. That can work for some up to a point, but sooner or later it invariably stops working.
Whether the band has a solidified lineup or not, for better or worse, we will keep pushing forward. The music transcends its players. As we've stated before, it's the heart that pumps the blood, not the face.
MM: Do you feel the Hardcore / Metal scene is healthy worldwide?
MF: If by 'healthy' you mean thriving, yes, I believe the music scenes are growing and gaining momentum, certainly. I'm definitely glad to see that. Though the scenes are booming, I'm not so certain they are always emotionally healthy. But that's a much larger issue that each band needs to start being responsible for. If bands like Napalm Death, Propagandhi, Tragedy, Comeback Kid, Earth Crisis, and certain others start leading the way and new bands follow in their footsteps we'll be heading down a very good path.
MM: Ultimate bands to share a stage with?
MF: To be quite honest, that dream is being taken care of this year, providing 'sharing a tour with' counts...
This April we finally get to share a stage and tour with Propagandhi. This is a pretty huge deal for us as anyone who knows our band will attest. We constantly rave about Propagandhi and this tour with them is very much a dream realized. I'm prepared to lose my mind every night, and I might… just MIGHT… consider a stage dive. Ouch.
In just a couple weeks we head off to Australia for the Soundwave Festival - no big deal, really… Only the bands that started us off in this kind of music, and forever changed our lives are headlining.
Yeah, so, sharing a tour with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax… that's pretty ultimate for me. Ultimately ultimate. Can't think of anything more ultimate. Probably because there is no such thing.
MM: What would you say is the bands biggest achievement and what does the future hold for yourself and the band?
MF: That's a difficult one to call as there are so many things we are happy to have accomplished that mean a great deal to us. I've been quoted as saying a major highlight for us is simply seeing impassioned crowd reactions all across the world. Everyone piling on top of each other, singing every word like their lives depended on it - that's something special I don't think many things can truly top.
MM: Three words to describe Shai Huluds sound?
MF: Impassioned. Melodic. Sincere.
MM: Any messages to give to your fans and our readers?
MF: Just a quick and heartfelt thank you for any amount of time, consideration, or support you've given us. We thrive on the communication of likeminded people. Please get in touch, and share with us your thoughts about our band, Punk, Metal, and Hardcore in general, or how awesome it would be to see a new Howard The Duck movie.
Hope to hear from you soon. Excelsior