Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Interview With Mystical Death Metal Project, Haiduk

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HAIDUK

Country of origin: Canada
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Status: Active
Formed in: 2009

Genre: Atmospheric/Melodic Death Metal
Lyrical themes: Fantasy, Supernatural, Folklore, Nature
Current label: Unsigned/independent
Years active: 2009-present

MEMBERS:

Luka Milojica: All Instruments, Vocals

THE INTERVIEW

1. First, let's talk about the album "Spellbook." Why did you decide to make an album based on various spells and does this have any occult reference? Obviously, I find things that are far out of occult realms like the first song about summoning undead and the final track about summoning a black hole. If these things were feasible in society, I probably would've already been sucked into a black hole of my own creation.

Yeah, it would be a fucked up world if magic was real. The album is inspired by the fantasy genre, not the occult. I sought to create a tangible “spellbook” which bridges the realms of music and fantasy magic using the medium of heavy metal. The lyrical themes stem from stories and ideas relating to a fictional world I’ve been developing for some time, and this album deals with elements of magic within that world: fire, lightning, necromancy, curses, etc. I felt I could relate to the solitary and ambitious nature of “sorcerors” who seek knowledge in order further their dark arts, and this inspired me to further my own desire for creating dark music.

2. What went into the album as far as it's creation? You're a one man band more or less and I would assume, did most of the album's composition. How long did all of this take to carefully calculate and compose? I'm also curious as to your drum program. It's quite killer.

It took about a year and half to make the album. I wrote all the music during 2011, then spent a couple of months finalizing drum tracks and fine-tuning volume, panning and velocity levels for each hit, basically trying to make the Drumkit From Hell sound as realistic as possible. Then another few months to put everything together; lyrics, texts, concept, artwork, equipment, studio....

3. The album's artwork is fantastic (cover, inside book, inlay, back cover). Can you talk about it? Who is this Gragoth character and how did he come to bring about this concept? How long did something like this take?

The album art, booklet concept, and spell symbols were designed by me. The artwork was done by Gragoth from Luciferium War Graphics. The ideas for the theme and album art were conceived around the same time that the songs were being written. The cover is meant to look like an evil book which, once you look at the cover, it sucks you into its vortex making it impossible to look away.

4. Now I would like to talk about the lyrics for the disc. Am I right to assume that the white colored words in the spell descriptions are the actual lyrics to the songs? Why did you do it like this?

I wanted the CD booklet to resemble a real grimoire filled with long texts detailing each spell held within, but this conflicted with my desire to keep the song lyrics short, so I decided to carefully embed the lyrics into the spell descriptions in a way that both can be read from the same text. This way you can read the full description, but if you only want the lyrics, then simply follow the words highlighted white.

5. I'm also curious as to the "spells" in the book. Where did you get the ideas for these definitions?

I always had plans for writing a fantasy book and have written many short stories. The concept of this album allowed me to combine story-writing with my passion for playing metal. Some of the “spells” were selected based on what a certain song or riff sounded like to me while writing it, for example a riff that would make me think of fire, or lightning.... I wanted to go into full detail and really try to conceive how some of these spells would actually work and what would be required to cast them, in a fantasy setting, of course.

6. Let's talk tech. What did you use to record this album, and how long have you been playing. Also, what are some of your influences?

I’ve played guitar on and off for some ten years. To record “spellbook” I went into a local studio where we used several programs to put it all together. I focus more on writing and playing music than recording so I left most of the tech stuff to the studio engineer. I’m influenced by rhythm guitarists who can shred and write good songs; originally guys like Mustaine, Jon Schaffer, Jon N√∂dtveidt, and later on Galder, Satyr, Jari Kuusisto, etc...

7. Out of the vast metal spectrum, what are some bands that you're currently into?

So much good metal, so little time to unearth it all! Couple of albums I’ve been getting into lately are Dew-Scented – “Issue VI”, and Vomit the Soul – “Apostles of Inexpression”.

8. What do you do when you're not making music?

Usually immerse myself in fantasy games/books/movies and take a break from reality, so to speak. I also do my fair share of partying, drinking, smoking, listening to music and going to metal shows with friends.

9. Are there any books, films, or video/computer games that you'd recommend?

The Dragonlance series are some of my favorite fantasy books, particularly the Legends trilogy which focuses more on the character of Raistlin Majere. I enjoy playing old strategy games like Age of Empires, Civilization 2, and Heroes of Might and Magic 3.

10. I'm also curious as to your promotional photo. How did the uniform come about and the effect with the fire coming from your palms? That's quite fucking amazing, to say the very least. It certainly conveyed the message.

The robes were obtained from a local medieval shop and the hood was a special order custom-stitch according to my design. I’m wielding fire using devices I constructed which allow me to hold a gasoline-fueled burning wick in each hand.

11. What will you be working on next? Are there already plans for new material?

I haven’t decided if I’ll make another album yet. With “Spellbook”, I had an idea, a story to tell, a concept to create, and now it’s complete. If I’m struck by inspiration to create something new then there will be another album.

12. Are you going to take this project to the stage?

I play regular live shows as a one-man unit. The bass, drums, and some guitar backing tracks are played through the PA while I do vocals and play the main guitar parts. It’s a cool feeling when you’re playing and suddenly the ground starts shaking as people start moshing and smashing into each other. Pure music-induced destruction!

13. What are your general thoughts on life? On society?

Be your own god. Live for yourself, think for yourself, question everything. Seek knowledge and be wary of the false knowledge that religions preach. Study the realms of truth and fields of science. Avoid triviality. Be different.
As for society, we all as a human race must encourage education, scientific progress, and academic study in order to resist sliding into violent and ignorant ways of thinking caused by extremist religions.


14. Since we're coming to the end of another great year of metal, I'm curious as to what some of your favorite albums were this year. You can provide links to the band's pages, if you like.

No idea. It’s been a busy year for Haiduk and I’ve hardly had time to listen much new metal. I’m usually a few years behind catching up with what’s good anyway, that way the hype has died and all the shit has sunk to the bottom by then. Although I admit was kind of hoping for something new from Galder and Old Man’s Child this year.
 
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Haiduk - Spellbook (Band Request 2012) - This is a melodic death metal album like no other. It's intricately crafted and is more about creating an atmosphere than bashing you over the head. The one man powerhouse known as Haiduk (Luka Milojica) sent me this disc in the mail, and I immediately opened it up and checked out the booklet, which wasn't actually a booklet of lyrics. Sure, the songs were named and there were certainly words below each song heading; but I believe that the musician might be taking the name of this album, "Spellbook" quite literally. Of course, myself being an avid studier of the occult; I was certainly interested, but wanted to make sure that it wasn't some sort of hokum. Upon flickering through each incantation, the book outlined how one would create an undead, call upon a storm, a wind of plague, a self-protected force-field, (although I believe I have a certain friend who claims that he can make one that acts like a sort of metaphysical black hole, of course) the process of wielding fire and several other things that I'm not so sure as to their application in society.

The occult is a wonderful thing, but to paraphrase one of the members of Enslaved, "It can open up the mysteries of the universe, or it can be the first step towards hell." Of course, he wasn't talking about a sort of hell in the fact of devils and demons, but rather a hell in which one never leaves their surroundings, to get lost in dusty old tomes; just as some men have done ages ago. But regardless of the nature of the album, it is an experimental beast of a record, brimming with potential and some absolutely amazing riff structures. The drums on the album are programmed, but they seem to work well enough with the disc and Luka's vocals are scattered throughout the album in various growls that work to the advantage of the disc.

Now, I must tell you once again that "Spellbook" is not your ordinary death metal release. It relies heavily on guitar atmospheres and does a hell of a job with each and every one of them. Each song carries a different tone, but stays well within the lines of melodic death metal. Being a vocalist, I could certainly see where lyrics could be added in places, but he definitely wanted to showcase the instrumentations that sometimes get covered up with thick vocal lines. The majority of the disc is instrumental, but I don't find myself upset with that factor. It also helps to read the album's booklet while you're listening to each track, to get a feel of the incantation behind each instrumentation. For instance, while listening to "Hex", it may help to read the book's definition of Hex, and give you a sort of background for the music that you're hearing. A unique concept, but not everyone will buy it, of course.

There will certainly be those people who think that this album seems a little unfinished. Some of the songs only feature a line or two of vocals, and there are those of you who will still require that "extra element." However, if the music wasn't even as half as good as it is on this album, I would've also jumped in that boat. But there's just something about the catchy, hypnotic sense of the riff intricacies on this album that appeal to my ears and they certainly should appeal to yours. This guy is by no means a shredder of sorts, and I'm glad that a guitar-shred album is not what makes up this Spellbook. This album is all about making good leads and melodies, and showcasing your skill to others.

It also provides a worthy atmosphere to gaming. Perhaps this guy should look into composing game soundtracks, as these instrumental pieces are much better than some of the simplistic metal tracks that I've heard on a great deal of first-person shooters.

Whatever the case, I certainly would recommend that you give your full attention to this magickal work; and let yourself be swept up in the melodies of this powerful effort.

(10 Tracks, 47:00)

8/10

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