Singapore atmospheric black metal band Eibon has been around for 21 years. Having gone through a journey so tough that most bands probably would not survive, they are finally going to release their first full length album in 15 years, entitled “Crudified” this year. I had the privilege to conduct this email interview with Shalwend, mastermind behind the band, to share his experiences.
A band that is lead by frontman, Shalwend Insoraths on vocals, Pro-D-Gul on the axe and Xennoz on ambience and synths. The rest of the member are just considered sessionist as they are not involved in any recordings on any releases. Eibon lyrics, although labeled as a BM band, does not deal with satanic worshipping, or even any kinds of worshipping. We are more mystical and dark about our songs. All inspirations and ideas on the composition of the song arrangements and lyrics are solely penned by Shalwend. Some songwritings by Pro-D-Gul & Xennoz (as of the recordings on Eastern Damnation, a 4-way split album released by Eternia Records/Production). Eibon is about way of life, the spiritual awakening, humankind and many more.
What are your day jobs, and how do you find the time to indulge in performing black metal?
Music scene here is not what you can depend on for a rice bowl. All of us are definitely holding day jobs which we think are better to be kept confidential, but if you really got to know, well, we have to take your life… (Just kidding!!!) We usually find time to practice in the evening. Agreeing to the time where everyone can be present to rehearse together.
You last full length was in 1995 (The Garden of Theophrastus), which was 15 years ago. Besides the new lineup, what can fans of Eibon look forward to?
Yeah we got a new full length titled, “Crudified”, actually planned for last year (2009) release, but looking forward to release it this year (2010). That’s how Eibon usually do its work… No rush, no date lines, and if we cannot release it the year before, we just release it in the next year or so. Sometimes it’s the label, sometime it’s the band. But when the time comes, it will get release. Fans get crazy sometimes… but they understand. Some even think the band was disbanded, but we are always there actually. Just cruising at our own time, our own target.
Eibon has performed overseas in Malaysia and Indonesia. Compared to the Singapore metal scene, what are the most significant differences?
The crowd is definitely wild in Indonesia. Malaysia also got pretty nice attendance, and we just love the way they give us their warm support. Singapore? Well… even though we have a small crowd… But it is definitely a strong one. They are motivated and uplifted just to see and be with the band. Other differences? Maybe the atmosphere during the show and after the show. It makes much difference.
Singapore is a generally harmonious society, with the government promoting understanding among the people of different races and religions. What is your take on performing black metal, a genre known for its anti-religious contents?
You want to know what we personally believe? We believe religious is just a cause to differentiate and separate humanity. Gaining and suppressing the weak minds to believe in making leaders out from religious propaganda. Put it this way, as human we care and even looking at a slightest of destruction, we could not bear. I believe God did not permit the separation of humankind with brands like religion. And that every prophets or messengers sent is to relay about the way of life, about the important of lives. But there is definitely a culprit, that wants to see through that all humanity be brought down. For he had sworn, that he will bring as many humankind to join him to be burn in the darkest and blackest fire of Gehenom. He does not have the power, and see that by using human to destroy another human is just an opportunity. So he had made plans for more than 10,000 years and as you can see now, it’s fruitful. So, we believe that humanity is relatively at stake. We cannot counter these through physically challenging this culprit and his now ever growing armies of mind and heart whispering demons. Only spiritually can we counter them. So is the world ready enough or maybe paying bills and family matters are most important right now? And just let them destroy and corrupt every last one, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve and let judgment day decides what best? Call us crazy, call us infidels, but we definitely know our opus. All religions, all human races have something, some truth but most are being painstakingly twisted and corrupted. And believe us; we are not against any human, races or religion, or whatsoever. We are merely creating art, our majestic art! Art is not a crime, is it?
|The Eastern Damnation split CD|
We are particularly curious about your performances in Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries are known to censor metal bands and the whole metal genre is generally frowned upon. What were your best and worst experiences while performing in those countries, especially as a black metal band? Were there any interesting brushes with the authorities?
Well, we are definitely not allowed to perform as we pleased in Malaysia. For what I hear now, not even with spikes, nor any face paint. It’s not the image we want to portray anyway. What’s important is that our presence shall at least dominate and terminate these ‘heart whisperers’. We don’t blame those (authorities) for putting us in jail, or stopping our performance previously, because we believe it’s not the image they are afraid of… it’s what is in the music. The inspired will enjoy our tunes, only these intellectuals will question and analyze what hurts them in a very disturbing manner. In whatever images we come, in their vile eyes, they only see Hell’s coming. Well, authorities or not, the Council of Hell, the 19 have already surfaced, so what’s it gonna be? Evil doers and religious preachers who led souls after souls astray will have to answer. Their powers are slowly dying… As we are appointed by Hell, we shall continue our dark opuses whether they like it or not… Time is running short… How long can they rule? The interesting part is that, they let us go with no verdict. Just like that. But it’s no surprise, we know who engineers our release.
Eibon has been constantly plagued with line up problems. Have you ever felt like giving up? What was it that kept you going through the tedious process of finding new members and keep on doing what you have been doing?
Not a problem for me, as I am the soul of Eibon. Doesn’t matter who wants to leave. It won’t stop me. Even if alone, I’m willing to fight a good fight. That is my way, my path. I’ve seen more trouble days, but nothing is stopping the music. Definitely nothing is stopping me spreading the message.
Eibon can be considered a veteran band in the Singapore metal scene, considering its 21-year long history and all the ups and downs that the band has gone through. What can gig-goers for the Metal Assault gig expect?
Well, it’s not like we are gonna fly, bring down fire from the sky or pull out rabbits from a hat. But definitely we are going to be entertaining them. Motivate and uplift them and ensure everybody’s happy for at least one moment of their day.
Most of the local black metal bands play straightforward black metal, with few playing its deviant sub genres such as atmospheric black metal. How did you come to the decision to play atmospheric black metal, or was it your interest from the start?
It sort of comes in naturally… I didn’t expect “The Garden…” to come out that way. During that time, 1995, what bands plays that sort of music; we had that music since 1990, only manage to put it out to album cassette in 1995, all thanks to Mr. Ghani (the Dark Old One) & the Dark Artz Production. Some friends mentioned that if we had released them earlier, it would be a definite trend setter… But that is not the case, inspiration comes and we create… The intellects will come in knowing its worth and claim it’s theirs to sell. So you see, the inspired always gets blocked by the intellects. It’s just how this world works.
Shalwend, you are a multi-instrumentalist. What is your musical background and any preferred setup of each instrument that you play?
Well, both my parents are musicians. My dad is a multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, etc) and sings cover songs for weddings with his friends, and my mom, she sings in my dad’s band also during wedding occasions. During my toddler days, I always follow them to their band rehearsals in the old kampong at Siglap and sometimes I will personally plays the tambourine or shakers just to put some essence into the music. I always sit around when they are doing band discussions and stuff. It’s not an easy task, so it’s actually nothing new to me about band line up. As for setup, a person like me never thinks. I do with what I have and make do with it. There’s no planning, no thinking, up on the stage it’s all natural.
Any means for fans from overseas to get your releases?
I’ll be having a site up soon for the world to get our stuffs. Currently follow us through www.myspace.com/eibonsgp or Eibon (Singapore) on facebook. Both sites are handled by our master of symphony, Xennoz. Any questions you can just sent through… He will definitely answer.
Any tips for aspiring bands?
Don’t give a flying fuck about what others say! It’s your world, it’s your art, even if they intentionally destroy your art and not let you move on; just remember that you and/or your band possess that special something. If creating and being inspired is in your nature, in your blood… Then don’t stop at nothing. If your intention to become famous and popular through playing Black Metal, DON’T bet on it! Don’t look down on other bands, learn and share the experience and gain experience. Expose yourself through gigs, you’ll definitely learn lots. Don’t brag and don’t boast… trust me… there’s nothing you’ll gain through it. Finally, BE YOURSELF!
Thank you once again for the interview. Eibon will be having their first performance of the year of 2010 at the upcoming Metal Assault gig (pre-sale tickets available at La Vanita).
Read the pdf version on scribd.com here!
Eastern Damnation Split Album
T-shirt and stickers coming soon!
©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui