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  SCOTT ADAMS: TERROR AUSTRALIS

INTERVIEW WITH SHAI HULUD


scott adams

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I meet ShaiHulud guitarist Matt Fox at the Melbourne instalment of 2013's Soundwave festival. After we swap mutually admiring comments on one another's top-half attire (me resplendent in an Angel Witch shirt, he rocking a particularly splendid MDC number) it's time to get down to business.

And, as the affable six stringer settles down at our sundrenched interview bench I remark that I myself can't find anything but good things to say about new album Reach Beyond the Sun, and nor, it would seem, does anyone else – what about you, Matt – you pleased with it?

"Yes, mostly. I mean, it takes me a while to be happy with anything but I'm probably more happy with this one than a lot of the records we've done in a long time. So yes. But it depends how I'm listening to it. If I'm listening to it casually – if someone else has it on – I can appreciate it. But if I decide to listen to it myself…I'll pick out all the flaws and what might be inconsequential to someone else to me sounds like a glaring mistake. So I try not to give too much attention to it, otherwise I focus on what I think are the problems."

Article continues below...

 
 


The record to me sounds like the quintessential (if that's not too grandiose a word to use here) Shai Hulud album. If somebody came to me and hadn't heard you before I could play them this record and it seems like there's something of everything about you in it. Would you agree with that?

"Yes, I think that's a good way to see it. And that was the goal. We wanted this album to be very varied from the outset. So that's always cool when you have a plan or a mission and you accomplish it. That doesn't happen to us very often! We managed to incorporate a lot of different sounds that we've touched on in the past and get them all on record. So yes, if I had to give somebody the quote-unquote 'quintessential' – not to use that word again- record, it would be this one. To introduce us to somebody else, it would be this one."

How does that come about then, how does Reach Beyond the Sun become that record? What are the circumstances that allow you to reach this point? Is it Chad (Gilbert, the band's long departed vocalist, now of New Found Glory, who returned to sing on this record) coming back?

"You mean the varied nature of the record? That had nothing to do with Chad. It was the goal for a while and I think it had a lot to do with the albums in the past, which I don't think ever fully nailed what we wanted to do. You know, on the first album (1997s 'Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion') we were kids, and a lot of the stuff was worked out the night before... you know we didn't know what the hell we were doing!

"On the second album ('That Within Blood Ill-Tempered' from 2003) we'd learned a lot about music; and we put everything on it, we slaved over every note. Similarly on the third album (the 2008 effort 'Misanthropy Pure') we had a goal to be extremely harsh and pissed; Not only on the songs but in the spaces between the songs!... everything had to be (and at this point Fox starts punching his right fist into his left palm) extremely harsh and pissed sounding.

"So on all the albums we had all these goals... and the goal for each album was coming on the tail of the record before it, it was pre-determined by the record before it. All of that said, when we came to do this album we took a step back and said 'what is it we are trying to do? Our bass player, who wasn't in the studio with us when we did 'Misanthropy Pure'... the guy that produced it (Greg Thomas) and myself, when left to our own devices we'd get out our protractors and start saying 'this isn't harsh enough, it's not tricky enough' so we'd take what would normally be a normal Shai Hulud song and we turned it into what became 'Misanthropy Pure', which was a lot more technical, quite a few shades away from what we really are.

"And so this time – and I hope I'm answering your question with all of this – our bass player Matthew Fletcher said let's just be ourselves. Let's write things and not think they aren't tricky enough, don't worry that it's not smart enough, which is a problem I have with this stuff.

"Because when I write something, you know, I know what a moron I am so when I write a guitar part I think it can't be ready to go, know what I mean? So if I'm writing something I need to spend time on it because I know that there are a lot of people who care about ShaiHulud's music and I want to give them the best. So that's my take on it. When I write I don't just fart something out and say here you go everybody. I tend to want to work on it.

"And I guess if there was any one circumstance it was all of us deciding not to overwork and overwrite everything. Let's pull from all the styles of riffs we write. There were a couple of songs that were going to go on the record that ended up being left off because they were too similar. They'll end up on another record. And that's roughly – if you can understand anything I just said – how we came to decide upon the content and the approach to 'Reach Beyond The Sun'."

Do you find that a painful process?

"I find everything painful. Actually, joking aside, that's not the painful part, that's actually quite fun, sifting through the material, deciding which songs go on the record... almost every other part of recording the album was painful but that part was pretty cool."

Well, the record is out now, however painful it's gestation period was – are you happy with the response to it so far?

"I can't even believe it. I'm not expecting we'll be the biggest band ever, or that things are going to suddenly change for us but I don't think I've seen such anoverwhelmingly positive response for anything we've ever done. I don't know if I should really admit this... but I don't even know how genuine it is. I know how people are, certain bands can fart or shit something out and it gets hailed as genius..."

There's a lot of that going on at this very festival!

"There's a lot of that going on everywhere, all the time! So I'm thinking did that happen to us? Did the right few periodicals hear it ahead of time, really liked it and everyone else kind of fell in line? So, I hope it's all genuine, I hope everyone really did listen to the album and came away thinking this is great! It's always nice to have someone be nice to you and like I said I don't think anything we've ever done has received this many kind comments, flattering comments, but if they are sincere or not I'm extremely grateful!"

When you have those concerns it all boils down to how the people who pay to see you live are enjoying it doesn't it? Presumably the punters are enjoying what they are hearing?

"Oh yes. Live we're terrible though. I'm just kidding. I'm kind of kidding – you see that's the trouble with the music industry, you're not allowed to tell the truth. Everybody yells at me and says 'don't tell the truth!'

You're laughing whilst you say this of course, but it actually touches on a few things that you yourself said in a questionnaire I read that you amswered, 'My 2012'.

"I'm not sure if I remember exactly what I wrote."

Well amongst other things you commented on the insidious nature of 'our industry' and you were effusive in your praise of (Accept guitarist) Wolf Hoffmann and (Testament axe God) Alex Skolnick.

"Oh, now I remember!"

So how does this dissatisfaction with the status quo not just turn you into a jaded old hack, given your concerns? I know you don't want to go overboard about how pleased you are with the reaction to the album, but how do you react to people who've said you were rubbish in the past turning round and saying 'this is great!?

"That's a good question! You do get pretty annoyed. Jaded is a word I try and stay away from simply because it's so prevalent. I think after about the age of twenty eight, whether you're like it or not, whether you are or not, you're considered jaded. So I try not to go with that word, but for years I feel we've been overlooked, I feel like we've been set aside. And it doesn't make me jaded, but it annoys me, and It pisses me off because I know how much the band cares, how much truth, mind, heart and energy we put into every record, so why this one?

"Going back to what we said is this one better than the others? Maybe it is. I hope so because it's my favourite thus far. And there's also the aspect of Chad Gilbert coming back. Next time, will we write our best album yet and the reaction is 'aaahh... I preferred 'Reach Beyond The Sun'?

"I'm not the kind of guy who gets jaded. We've been pretty much overlooked ever since the band began and that will never quell the excitement of a new good riff. A new good riff is always a new good riff, and you still get excited the first time you play it, the first time it's committed to tape. When the purity of the music is there, you can't be jaded. Unless of course you are in music for the wrong reasons which ShaiHulud is not. I hope that answers your question."

It has. Thank you. But I've got one more, and even though I'm reasonably sure I know what part of the answer is I'm going to answer it. It's the ubiquitous festival lineup question – given the chance to programme the top five bands at next year's Soundwave, who would you pick? I'm guessing Accept might be one of them...

"Well, I don't know that I would have thought of it on the fly... I love old Accept, but I hate to say it – sorry Udo fans - but man, new Accept is just FUCKING KILLING! I can't even listen to 'Restless And Wild' anymore because 'Stalingrad' and 'Blood Of The Nations' are incredible."

Even when Mark Tornillo was in TT Quick he had a great voice.

"I'm not familiar with TT Quick."

Ah, well, they were a New York based hard rock band in the eighties. There's a track on their 'Metal Of Honor' album, 'Child Of Sin', where he sounds exactly like Udo. I don't know whether someone slipped that album to Wolf and said 'he's your man'.

"Well I don't know about that but to answer your question, since you brought it up yes! Let's say Accept, let's say Testament, let's say Propagandhi – one of my favourites – let's say MDC – are they still around?"

It doesn't matter. They'll reform for you.

"Will Freddie Mercury come back from the dead?"

Yes.

"Ok, Queen, the Dead Milkmen, Megadeth would be up there – oh, wait, you know who would be great? Candlemass!

A great way to end, I'm sure you'll agree. I did want to talk a little about Fox's beloved New Jersey pizzas, but time as ever was not the friend of this humble interviewer, and it'll have to wait for next time – but it will be talked about, I promise!


15.4.13


More Scott Adams right here.





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This year's Download Festival line-up is shaping up nicely with another 24 new acts added to the bill...

steak number eight STEAK NUMBER EIGHT TO EMBARK ON EUROPEAN TOUR WITH PRONG AND HARK
Belgium's post/sludge Metal act Steak Number Eight have announced the dates of their 2015 European tour...

beth hart BETH HART TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'BETTER THAN HOME' ON 13th APRIL 2015
Some artists choose to sing the blues and some artists find that they have to live them as well...

asomvel ASOMVEL ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR MARCH 2015
With the new line-up powering the band to bigger heights, Asomvel are heading out on tour...

dr living dead DR. LIVING DEAD! LAUNCH BRAND NEW VIDEO
'TEAMxDEADx' is an example of the quality Thrash Metal displayed on the upcoming third album...

mabel greers toyshop MABEL GREER'S TOYSHOP RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOOTAGE FOR 'ELECTRIC FUNERAL'
The band which grew into Yes have reunited and will release a new album in March...

paradise lost PARADISE LOST ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM TITLE AND RELEASE DATE
"We have written a very dark, yet melodic album, but this time many songs definitely have a death Metal edge, which is something we haven't done for a long long time ..."

ensiferum ENSIFERUM ADD MORE EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
We're really looking forward to the new Ensiferum album, 'One Man Army', here at MetalTalk...

airbourne AIRBOURNE SIGN WITH SPINEFARM RECORDS
"We're pumped up to have signed on the dotted line to the world's toughest and truest hard rock label..."

vader VADER BRING BLITZ! OVER EUROPE TOUR TO THE UK AND IRELAND IN MARCH
"We come together with our dudes from Hate. We can't wait to bring Hellfire to you soon..."

thy art is murder THY ART IS MURDER ANNOUNCE UK SHOWS SUPPORTING EMMURE
Tickets are on sale now for what promises to be the heaviest tour of the year...

horror holocaust CROSSOVER DEATH SUPERGROUP DENIAL FIEND RE-ISSUE 'HORROR HOLOCAUST' ON VINYL AND IN EUROPE FOR THE FIRST TIME
Ten tales of blood curdling horror that are anvil heavy thrashing death...

wacken EUROPE AND DREAM THEATER ANNOUNCED FOR WACKEN
The sold out legendary German festival announces more details of the mouth-watering bill...

camden rocks CAMDEN ROCKS 2015 ANNOUNCE THE FIRST ACTS
The bands include Trail of Dead, Funeral For a Friend, Heavens Basement, The Dictators, Black Spiders and more...

all that remains ALL THAT REMAINS LAUNCH #thisprobablywontendwell PICTURE COMPETITION
This unique competition marks the release of new studio album 'The Order Of Things' out on Feb 23rd...

titanfest TITANFEST ANNOUNCED FOR MAY IN LONDON - FIRST BANDS REVEALED
Titanfest now sees some of the most respected and time-hardened Metal musicians working side by side with the next generation of the emerging UK Metal scene...

joe lynn turner JOE LYNN TURNER ANNOUNCES UK AND NORTHERN IRELAND DATES THIS SPRING
Legendary rock and roll singer Joe Lynn Turner of Rainbow and Deep Purple fame is pleased to confirm details of his intimate acoustic 'An Evening With...' tour...

wildfire festival EXCLUSIVE: WILDFIRE FESTIVAL 2015 ANNOUNCES FIFTY BAND LINE-UP
Wildfire is known for bringing the best in Scottish talent to Wiston Lodge, and there is one name everyone at Wildfire HQ agreed should be on the bill...

kiss KISS GET ANIMATED IN COLLABORATION WITH J-POP IDOLS MOMOIRO CLOVER Z!
Just when you thought the Metal world had gone insane enough with Babymetal...

ronnie james dio RONNIE JAMES DIO FIFTH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL EVENTS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will include a public memorial service, a celebrity bowling tournament and the inaugural Ride For Ronnie motorcycle ride and BBQ...

walkway WALKWAY RELEASE SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR 'STREETWISE'
The single is the first release from their second studio album. Walkway will support Status Quo in June 2015...

motley crue MOTLEY CRUE REVEAL DATE OF FINAL SHOW AND FINAL TOUR LAST LEG DETAILS: NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO OUT NOW
Motley Crue are also in the process of putting together the ultimate collector's album package...

art of anarchy PRESENTING ART OF ANARCHY FEATURING SCOTT WEILAND, BUMBLEFOOT, JOHN MOYER OF DISTURBED AND JON AND VINCE VOTTA
Poised to become one of the biggest new bands of 2015, Art Of Anarchy is redefining the rock supergroup...

jettblack JETTBLACK RETURN WITH A BRAND NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO
Jettblack get serious in 2015, kicking things off with a headline tour and new single in February...

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS FANS PERFORM PUBLIC SEX ACT LIVE ON STAGE
"This was something definitely different to see at a punk concert..."

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW'S MISSING TRACK FINALLY RELEASED! A MESSAGE FROM DR HELL!
Evil Scarecrow have just released a new, old version of 'Robototron', which they feel is the definitive version of their most popular track...

eddie and the hot rods BREAKING NEWS: ORIGINAL EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS LINE-UP REFORM FOR 40th ANNIVERSARY
This will be the first time all original members have played a full show together for over thirty years...

carthagods CARTHAGODS TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM WITH SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDING TIM "RIPPER" OWENS, RON THAL AND MARK JANSEN
"It's been a long time that we look for this occasion to finally satisfy our fans..."

paddy goes to holyhead EXCLUSIVE: PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ANNOUNCE FINAL CONCERT FOR ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
Sadly it's the end of an era as Paddy Goes To Holyhead have announced that they are to play their final gig...

grateful dead BREAKING NEWS: GRATEFUL DEAD TO RE-UNITE FOR 50th ANNIVERSARY FAREWELL CONCERTS
The reunion, billed "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead", will feature the band's surviving members...

nazareth BREAKING NEWS: VOCALIST LINTON OSBOURNE LEAVES NAZARETH
"I am no longer a member of Nazareth. It didn't work out, for me, or for the band..."

lordi LORDI ANNOUNCE UK DATES FOR TOUR FORCE ONE
Lordi bring 'Scare Force One' to the UK for ten dates in the Spring...

nightwish NIGHTWISH REVEAL TRACKLIST & FORMATS OF 'ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL'
The new studio album, released on 30th March, is available in several tasty formats...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN LEADER STEVE HARRIS' MANSION BACK ON THE MARKET AT KNOCKDOWN PRICE
The mansion boasts its own pub called the Horse and Cart as well as an indoor swimming pool...

pete way EXCLUSIVE: ALL PARTIES IN BATTLE BETWEEN FIN MUIR AND PETE WAY OF WAYSTED GIVE A RESPONSE
"I can confirm that this appalling defamation is completely without foundation..."

death angel DEATH ANGEL ANNOUNCE UK HEADLINE SHOW AND DATES WITH QUEENSRYCHE AND ARMORED SAINT
Los Angeles Heavy Metal legends Armored Saint will join both acts for a special London show at the Electric Ballroom...

udo dirkschneider U.D.O. TO PLAY ENGLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DONKEY'S YEARS
Germany's favourite rock god Udo Dirkschneider has announced three exclusive shows for the UK...

california breed CALIFORNIA BREED HAS GONE THE WAY OF BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION
After a great first album, the departure of a superstar drummer, and very little touring, California Breed is extinct...

kamelot KAMELOT SIGNS TO NAPALM RECORDS; NEW ALBUM AND TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
In support of this highly anticipated release, Kamelot will hit the road for select UK shows, followed by a massive North America Tour...

the gentle storm ARJEN LUCASSEN AND ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN'S NEW BAND THE GENTLE STORM REVEAL TOUR DATES AND ALBUM DETAILS
"We'll perform some Ayreon classics together and premiere a couple of songs that will be on our upcoming album..."

jimmy page JIMMY PAGE IN FIGHT WITH ROBBIE WILLIAMS OVER HOUSE RENOVATION
The pair are neighbours and have fallen out over Williams' plans to revamp his multi-million pound mansion...

hard rock hell SAXON ANNOUNCED FOR HARD ROCK HELL 9 WITH ROCK GODDESS, PIG IRON AND MORE
Hard Rock Hell, aptly titled 'House of Horrors', are pleased to welcome Heavy Metal Titans Saxon back into their realm...

dark funeral DARK FUNERAL TO RELEASE 7INCH & DIGITAL SINGLE 'NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS' IN FEBRUARY
The single is available as a hand-numbered 7inch limited edition of which 500 copies are on black vinyl and 500 on blue vinyl...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ TO RELEASE BRAND NEW SELF-TITLED ALBUM ON MARCH 9th VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
Santa Cruz will also play five UK dates as main support to Amaranthe...

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG TO HEADLINE GARAGE DAYZ RE-VISITED ALL DAYER IN LONDON
A mouth watering bill not only from bands that were a huge influence to bands like Metallica and Megadeth....

truffle TRUFFLE TO PLAY SPECIAL SOUTH COAST GIG WITH SIEGE, TOLEDO STEEL AND KODIAK JACK
Tickets are priced at only $7.50 for a night that promises to be full of faces from the area past and present....

ensiferum ENSIFERUM UNLEASH TWO NEW VIDEOS ON EVE OF LAUNCH ON NEW ALBUM
Today Ensiferum unveils the official new video for 'One Man Army''s title track as well as an in-depth "making of" clip...

autograph AUTOGRAPH RELEASE FIRST NEW SONG IN OVER 25 YEARS
Simply put, a reunion was both inevitable and essential...

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT ANNOUNCES NEW SOLO STUDIO ALBUM 'WOLFLIGHT' OUT ON 30th MARCH
The ten tracks take the listener through a journey in space and time looking at the different faces of the endless fight for freedom...

adrian smith IRON MAIDEN'S ADRIAN SMITH ROCKS UP IN CHISWICK WITH DOOGIE WHITE, ANDY BARNETT AND DAVE 'BUCKET' COLWELL
MetalTalk's first Gig Of The Week for 2015 turned up two major surprises as a great night was had by all...

sabaton SABATON ANNOUNCE "SABATON OPEN AIR" WITH POWERWOLF AND CIVIL WAR
Tickets are on sale now for this special event in Germany in July...

pig iron PIG IRON ANNOUNCE RELEASE DATE FOR FIFTH STUDIO ALBUM
'Sermons From The Church Of Blues Restitution' will be released worldwide via OYR on 2nd March and will be preceded by a high value four track EP...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE LONDON SHOW FOR 'ECLIPTICA OVER EUROPE TOUR 2015'
"On these shows we'll perform 'Ecliptica' in its entirety as well as assorted hits from our catalog..."

skalmold SKALMOLD UNVEIL NEW SPRING TOUR DATES WITH ELUVEITIE AND WIND ROSE
For those who didn't catch the Viking/Pagan Metallers live on tour, here's another chance...

tony iommi BLACK SABBATH LEGEND TONY IOMMI TELLS ALL ABOUT HIS CANCER BATTLE
"In the good old days there was cocaine everywhere. This time we had tea and coffee and health drinks..."

def con one DEF CON ONE ANNOUNCE CRUSHING HEADS TOUR
British Metallers Def Con One can be seen across the UK in 2015...

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