5years since the return from their hiatus, Singaporean black metal band Ilemauzar managed to put themselves on the international metal scene, performing in such places as China in support of their debut album, The Ascension. We catch up with Mike to learn more, and what to expect this 5 May.
Greetings Mikael, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. The band’s debut full length album The Ascension was released back in 2016. How was the response upon the release back then?
Hi HMT! Nice to talk to you guys again. We launched “The Ascension” in September 2016 and did a launch party at Hood Bar and Café with a pretty decent turn out and sold quite a good amount of merchandise during the show. We also had very good presale orders before the launch and pretty much depleted all the merchandise we had from our side. People are still asking for the CDs and T-shirts till date. We also have our stuff distro out by our previous label, Sepsis Records in many parts of Indonesia. Our current label, Transcending Obscurity also sent the album out for reviews and we have pretty much 90% positive reviews from a few webzines.
The band is currently signed to Transcending Obscurity, which is also the label for local bands Rudra and Assault. How did the deal come about, and how was the experience working with them?
Rudra went into the label first and followed by Assault. I got introduced to the boss of TO by Clarence. And that’s how we started talking about the deal for Ilemauzar. Kunal Choksi is a very hardworking person and a really great label owner. He went all out and send Ilemauzar’s debut for review even though it’s not released by Transcending Obscurity. Totally blown away by his dedication and the way he is helping all his bands!
The band was formed back in the 1996, with a 3-track demo entitled Pit of Despair released in 1997. Are there any plans to re-record the tracks from the demo in the near future?
Hmmm… maybe, but will need to make some improvements instead of recording directly like how they were originally recorded. Probably on an EP. However, we are looking at Ravage Records doing a reissue of the 3 track demo somewhere in 2018.
The band split up and went on into a hiatus in 2000 and only came back in 2013. Looking back, would things be different for the band if there was no hiatus back then?
Hahaha! This is one question I did ask myself back in 2013 when the band first came back. But my conclusion, the band will not exist today if I had continued. If you look at it, many active bands in that 1999 – 200X era are gone. Reason being it’s hard to be 100% active when you are just out from National Service with no stable finances to sustain the band. You get really tired after a while and just leave the band aside. No difference from a hiatus.
Let’s talk about your latest album, The Ascension. Could you tell us about the background of the writing process for this album? Based on the album credits, it seems like there were a couple of musicians involve in the song-writing process who are currently not in the band.
The Ascension was written between 2013 – 2015. We have many line-up changes between that period thus you see the many different musicians who actually contributed their idea to the tracks. But I am still the main song writer for “The Ascension”.
It’s been 2 years since the release of your debut album. Is the band currently working on the follow-up to The Ascension?
Yes. We have completed the song writing portion and going into lyrical phase for the next full length. Hopefully we can enter the studio by June or July and get it released by end of 2018 under Transcending Obscurity’s flag! Title to be announced.
The band has been around since the early 90s. In terms of the local scene, how has it changed?
I am not going to lie about this one but if you look at the 90s, local metalheads are very enthusiastic about attending local gigs. We have seen local gigs with attendees of more than 500pax before. Today, it’s very difficult to even getting 100pax to come to a local metal gig. Sometimes, you can’t even have 100pax for a touring band from Europe or US. The metal scene in Singapore has changed over the years from people supporting almost every show to cherry picking shows to support. But we can’t blame anyone for this because our living standards in Singapore is so freaking high that people can’t possibly support every single show anymore.
Let’s talk about the band line-up. I understand that bassist, Azazel joined the band last year. How did that come about?
We had been playing without a bassist since end of 2015. We did the Ascension Asia Tour without a bass player. But we have been in contact with Azazel aka Zeon for a long period time and in actual fact, he was supposed to join us in 2016 but due to his work commitment and him newly relocated to Singapore from Penang, he has to put it on hold. But he has proved to be a great addition to the band.
Ilemauzar will be performing at the upcoming Metal United World Wide on 5 May alongside other notable local metal bands. What can fans expect from the band?
We are still playing the same old shit like previous gigs. Hahahahaha! But of course there will be some minor changes to the set-list. And no, we are not going to preview any new songs from the upcoming full length. But, we will still put up the best performance. 101% effort!
Any last words for your fans?
Buy your tickets to Metal United World Wide, Singapore!
LET THE SACRIFICIAL BLOOD BE SERVED!
Catch Ilemauzar, and many other quality Singaporean bands this May 5 at the inaugural, Singapore edition of the Metal United World Wide. More details at this location.