Shylmagoghnar is a project of two friends, Nimblkorg (all instruments, some vocals and lyrics) and Skirge (vocals, lyrics and sometimes keyboards) from The Netherlands. In 2014 they released the highly acclaimed Emergence, that gained quite an excellent exposure (on Youtube the album got more than 2.1 million views). Four years later they released the excellent Transience, considered by me and Sounds from Apocalypse the best 2018 album, reviewed here ! The music is an uncompromised Melodic Death with some black roots and other influences.
It's an honour to include on our pages an interview with this amazing band. Nimblkorg and Skirge had some time to answer these questions.

Hi Brothers, thanks a lot for answering our questions.
How did Shylmagoghnar arise?

Nimblkorg: Hey there, thank you very much for having us!
The band took form when the two of us met years ago in high school. We were both extremely into music (mainly metal, but not exclusively) and would have long conversations about it while listening to and discovering new bands.
The thought of making our own music together was there right from the start. Skirge was already in his early stages of writing lyrics at that point, but I didn't play any instruments yet. I knew I wanted to though, so we agreed this had to be done.
As with so many things in life though, this dream of making our own album turned out to be a much more monumental task than we had ever imagined, and despite our best intentions and effort the project got stuck in limbo for nearly a decade.
Later on some unexpected life events forced us to take a close look at where we wanted to go with our futures, and after talking about it, we agreed that Shylmagoghnar was still an aching point in both of our minds. That was the final push in the back we needed, so we decided to really pull ourselves together and finally deliver a debut out of the material we already had and some final additions, no matter what it would take. Roughly 2 years later in 2014, the album “Emergence” was released and the rest is history.

Almost all people that I introduced to your music was amazed by it, as well as having huge difficulties in saying the band's name ☺ What does it mean and why was this name chosen?
Nimblkorg: That is wonderful to hear, thank you! Yes, we get a lot of reactions about the name as well (whenever someone asks us what our band is called, the first response is always something along the lines of “wait, what?!”). When we chose the name we of course realized that it was bizarre. We were very young when we came up with it (14 years old or so) and I think that the growing disillusionment we felt towards the world around us at that time was part of the reason why we chose a name which sounded like it wasn't from that world. This feeling of pessimism towards mankind, combined with our hopes for it to become something greater still shines through in some of the lyrical content of the debut album.
As for its exact meaning, we have decided to keep it a secret (even from each other), as we feel that the word is open for interpretation. Shylmagoghnar is intended to be a personal journey for the listener, and the interpretation of the band name is part of that concept. We hope that it rouses the imagination of people interested in the music.

Do you have regular jobs? How are your normal days?
Nimblkorg: I used to be active in health care, but became chronically ill some years ago, and as a result leaving my house became a huge problem. I was in a downward spiral, so I decided to adapt my life goals towards activities that I could do by myself.
My fascination for both audio and music started to grow further than ever before and I ended up becoming a freelance audio engineer / composer for projects of all kinds – Shylmagoghnar being the main project by far. So nowadays I'm usually either practicing instruments, or writing/recording music.
Skirge: After a long tumultuous period I quite recently moved from the Netherlands to Warsaw, Poland less than a year ago. I am currently in the process of (re)building a life here. Between my current job (which is not all that interesting I am afraid), family life and personal struggles there is very little time and energy for much else at this moment. Unfortunately, right now that includes creating music, but I hope to get back in the saddle fully soon enough.

Do you go often to concerts? Or do you prefer to listen music at home?
Skirge: Very rarely, if at all. For me, music is something deeply personal that I like to really delve into, and concerts offer too many distractions.
Nimblkorg: I'm definitely an at-home-listener as well. In the past I went to concerts with friends somewhat often, but to me it was always more of a social event than a musical one. Live music certainly has a unique power, but I prefer to hear the tiny details and exact vision of the musicians/engineers on an album while I'm by myself.

Congratulations for the awesome Transience, to me the best 2018 album! Are you happy with the reactions and results?
Nimblkorg: Thank you for the honor! Yes, very much so. This second release was a nerve-wrecking one for us, as people have been so unexpectedly positive about our debut that it made us wonder: is it simply our approach to music which the listeners connect with, or did the stars happen to align for that one single album, and everything we do from now on will be considered a lesser version of Emergence? It's a very confrontational thought and it pushed us hard to give it our absolute all.
The project still feels just as personal to us as the day it was born and we feel that we have put just as much heart and soul into Transience as we did with Emergence. But there was no guarantee for a good reception of course.
Needless to say, seeing the once again wonderful reactions to this follow-up fills us with joy, relief and fire to create more music.

Conceptually, what is the album theme? The human transition to other life / state?
Skirge: There are many different themes explored on this album, but in the end the lyrics were constructed in such a way where the meaning was very specific for the writer while also leaving room for personal interpretation by the listener. I am always afraid that in explaining in detail the meaning of the lyrics might take away from that. However, one of the more obvious central themes, that has always fascinated me , is the dichotomy of what it means to be human – the enormous potential and (will)power, and at the same time, fragility of our mind and perception – leading to, among other things, that relentless search for meaning in a cold and careless universe where there may be none.
Nimblkorg: For me the overarching theme was the inescapability of time. No matter whether it's a miniscule form of life or a whole galaxy, it will all be gone in a relative blink of an eye. The thought of this is both frightening and beautiful to me, as things may be very limited, but also very precious. It was something which we had wanted to write about for years. This is also why we chose the title of the album “Transience”. It means to be short-lived .

How is the process of composing? Compared to Emergence, most Transience songs are quite longer. Did you let the musical ideas flow and then adjust the lyrics?
Nimblkorg: The songs indeed had a tendency to become longer this time around. This wasn't really intentional – the themes behind this album simply felt like they took place on a larger scale than before, and as a result most songs required more chapters before they felt like they were telling the complete story. This was true for the lyrics just as much as the music, so most songs were shaped by the back-and-forth creative process we use.
I think the artistic process this time was more elaborate than on “Emergence”. Since that was our first album, a lot of the time and energy spent there was on getting the basics right with the production itself and the performances of the instruments and vocals. This time we were more confident about those things, so more time was spent on sculpting the details of the songs, making the final result feel a bit more unified to me.
This was a double-edged blade though, as it also caused us to focus on the tiny details to such a degree that it made us insecure at times. Considering how personal this project feels to us, it's like staring into a mirror for hours, trying to define everything that is wrong with you. It's very unconstructive, and in times like those it was invaluable to have each other and friends/family from the outside world to pull us back from that state of destructive thinking.
Skirge: The process of writing the lyrics differed so heavily from song to song, passage to passage, that I don't even know where to begin. Suffice to say that it was a grueling but ultimately rewarding process - I still consider it a small miracle how all those bursts of insights and inspiration led to such a structured and coherent end result.

I consider Napalm Records one of the best record companies, if not the best, and they are signing several excellent bands. How did you receive their interest and how is working this association so far?
We feel the same way – it was one of the very few labels we would have considered working with. Especially because of our somewhat peculiar way of handling this project (a 2-man self-produced project without live performances), our ideal label is one which has experience with this and has proven to know how to make this work without damaging the essence of the band in the process. Napalm Records definitely fits that bill for us.
We were contacted by them some time after Emergence was released and after talking things over for a bit we joined their ranks around the end of 2016. Collaboration with them has been very pleasant. They are supportive of our principles and have allowed us to keep doing things our own way throughout the production of Transience and the related music video. They have also really helped us to get noticed more with this second release, and to get both of our albums pressed on vinyl, so we have nothing but praise. We consider it an honor to be part of their line-up.

Were you aware of the successful Wintersun crowdfunding campaign, that raised more than €460,000 euros? I was one of the first day funders. As I hear the perfection of your album, I think that there is no need for a huge expensive high tech studio, the main reason for Jari launching that campaign. And still news about Time II, lol. Any comments? Are you satisfied with your own studio?
Nimblkorg: This one's a can of worms! I haven't been directly following their situation and how they handle things, since I tend to just live in my own bubble really. But of course it's nigh impossible at the moment to listen to metal and not know about Wintersun.
I think there are multiple valid perspectives on this and it all depends on the situation of a band. Yes, in our case everything we do is pretty low budget and I can't say this gets in the way often. I'm used to working with the audio tools and instruments I've gathered over the years and I feel that they can get us very close to the goals we envision. So yes, I'm satisfied!
However, my minimalist studio has developed from sheer necessity, so to be fair it's not really out of noble/purist reasons that my approach is simple. I'd say that deciding which way is the best is in the eye of the beholder.
In the case of Wintersun, I know too little about their personal situation to comment on it really. All I know is that they are highly experienced musicians and, knowing how I feel about our own music, I can only assume that they feel a constant burning desire to keep pushing their limits. I feel that it's not my place to pass judgment on how they decide to do that.

Do you produce/mix other bands?
Nimblkorg: Yes, though most of them aren't metal. Most young metal musicians I've met seem to have a tendency to try and mix their own music (something which I of course fully endorse!), so instead of producing/mixing their work, I just do my best to give feedback when asked. What I do record or mix more often are indie bands of all sorts, atmospheric music for documentaries, voice-overs, commercials for small companies, etc.

I read that Nimblkorg health condition doesn't allow for playing live, unfortunately. So more time available and all Metal bits are put on composing and delivering masterpieces, no? Comments?
Nimblkorg: That is correct. We generally do our best to take requests from our listeners seriously and deliver them if possible, but playing live is sadly something I just cannot handle. I find it hard to explain, but what it comes down to is that it's almost unbearable for me to deal with outside impulses which I have no control over. Something goes wrong in my brain when that happens. I used to ignore it and tried to push my boundaries, but by doing that things got worse and worse over the years. So I've decided to just take things for what they are and focus on writing/producing music.

Projects for 2019? Do you have special wishes?
Skirge: Working on more music of course! Not too mention some personal musical projects I am dying to resume work on.
Nimblkorg: What Skirge said! We like to take our time with the creation of albums, so while we don't have anything to announce yet, we are not standing still either. I hope to make this year a productive one!

About our country Portugal, what are your opinions? Of course you know Moonspell. Any other Metal bands?
Nimblkorg: Moonspell is great! Their “Irreligious” album has been in my playlist for a good decade now. Other than that I must admit my knowledge of Portugal is very minimal. All I can say is that everyone I've met from your country has been very pleasant, so that puts it on my list of countries I'd like to visit. You know... once I actually leave my house in a blue moon.
Skirge: I must agree with Nimblkorg about Moonspell and the Portuguese people I have met so far! If I am totally honest, when it comes to bands, I often wish to know as little as possible about the people behind the music (for me this empowers the music itself, but that is a different story). So I wouldn't be surprised in the least if there are some bands I listen to on a regular basis that come from Portugal without me even knowing it.

And the last question, a message to the Sounds from Apocalypse readers? And the Portuguese fans?
We want to thank you all very much for the support we've received over the past few years! It means more to us than words can tell and we hope to be able to bring you more music over the coming years. And for those of you who haven't heard of us before this interview, we hope you will find something that speaks to you personally in our music. Kindest greetings to all of you!

Thanks a lot Brothers for your time!
Thank you very much again for having us, it was a pleasure!

   Shylmagoghnar Official website
   Shylmagoghnar Facebook
   Shylmagoghnar Bandcamp
   Shylmagoghnar - Transience (Full Album) (OFFICIAL)
   Shylmagoghnar - Emergence (Full Album) (OFFICIAL)

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