Few months ago, and thanks to my friend Kunal, from Trascending Oscurity, I had the chance to listen to Manzer for first time. I enjoyed (and enjoy) so much to listen that kind of BlackMetal of the first wave, with influences from genres like Thrash, Speed and dark Heavy Metal. From the first time I listen to this band, the idea of doing an interview with Shaxul (drummer, singer and leader of the Group) was around in my mind. Raul, from the label Memento Mori, and, again, Kunal, helped me with the contact (the e-mail address of Shaxul), and Shaxul not only responded to my email in Spanish, but he proved to be a great, charismatic and intelligent guy. This interview is the best proof of this.
Puro Ruido: Hello, Shaxul. Greetings from Cordoba, Argentina. How's everything over there?
Shaxul: Infernal Hails from Pictavian Hell! Busy with MANZER as always, which is great.
PR: You have been very active, Shaxul! So far this year you released a compilation, a split with Nightwolf and a live album. Tell me, what's next from now on? The second full lenght of Manzer?
S: You're absolutely right. The mastering for our second full length album is now ready and I hope to release the CD in late January 2016 if everything goes well. It will be available on LP (on my label as well) and tape (on INFERNÖ Records) later. Before this, I will release a split 10"MLP with our brothers from HEXECUTOR. A limited live tape will be out in early 2016 on OLD AXE CULT Records, it should be a very special release for die-hard MANZER maniaks only. You see, we always have projects under our belt!
PR: Let's go to the beginning of this story. What motivates you to create a band like Manzer? It was something you had in mind for some time?
S: MANZER was born in 2008. Indeed I wanted to create a band like this a long time ago but it's always difficult to find suitable members. I really enjoyed playing the drums for BARBATOS in 2001 and since then, I had this idea in mind. I got more involved in the local Pictavian scene later on and that's how I could meet maniaks who joined forces.
PR: Not only that you are very active with Manzer, but also have your own labels: Armée de la Mort Records and Legion of Death. Why two labels? There are different goals or proposals to work with each label?
S: LEGION OF DEATH Records has been created in 2001. The idea is to support bands from underrated or unknown regions on this planet, I mean not from the so-called western world. On vinyl format only! Then in 2009, the label became my daily job. I wanted to release CD's as well, and support bands from the French regions, but I didn't want to change the LEGION OF DEATH concept which is so important to me. Thus ARMEE DE LA MORT Records was born. But well, basically it's all the same.
PR: I know you like to know new cultures, take your music to different countries and share with maniacs from around the world. What is most outstanding of these experiences in different parts of the world, with people from different cultures?
S: Yes, this is something we really enjoy. It's not that easy to explain. But well, when you're used to a certain daily life and you discover the one that others have, it's always interesting to compare and you always learn something out of it. Life is short so that's great to keep on learning constantly. It's especially exciting when you meet friends you're in touch with for years, and you finally happen to share great moments in real life, you know. And then it's also about food, architecture, landscapes, etc... It's just fascinating to us. As for the gigs, it's always a tremendous experience to perform for other maniaks, most of times they are much more crazy than in Europe hehe.
PR: Speaking of this topic comes to mind next topic: the growth of xenophobia and racism in practically the whole world, unfortunately. And the world of Metal music is not out of the question. What do you think when you read or hear of your colleagues insulting people from other cultures for the simple fact of being different? Do not think that musicians should be (we should, because I am musician too) away from these conservative ideas?
S: I don't know if it's growing or not, I have the feeling it has always been there and always will be. Well, racism just shows how little scientific, historical and social knowledge people have. Those idiots can fukk off but you know, they hate what I do so I have no relationship whatsoever with such people. So let's say I "naturally" stay away from these morons as my label is completely opposed to their stinking ideas. But yeah, music is so universal that it can't be compatible with retarded theories like racism, no matter how hard some people try.
PR: Shaxul, has played in French bands like Deathspell Omega, Arphaxat (indeed, still playing in this band because you are one of the founding members), Annthennath, etc. I.e., you are a person who knows the French extreme Metal scene. What is the current situation of the extreme scene in France today?
S: Sorry to say but ARPHAXAT is dead. ANNTHENNATH may release a second full length album then stop, time will tell. As for the situation in France, it is similar to many European countries. There are a lot of trendy bands that want to belong to the mainstream world, but this is not my world so I don't give a shit. Fortunately there are some good underground bands in some regions (except Paris which is full of shit on all levels). But to be honest, I tend to grow away from that "extreme" Metal scene you're talking about as we have more and more great Heavy and Thrash bands in France, they have a much more sincere attitude and music in my opinion. France has always been full of arrogant trendy assholes when it comes to Black Metal especially. So now to the bands worthy to mention hehe : KILLERS (gods), MERCYLESS, PERFECTÖ, GOATVERMIN, NUCLEAR ABOMINATION, TENTATION, INFAMY, TORTURE THRONE, ELECTRIC SHOCK, SKELETHAL, THE LAST TOMB, SILVER MACHINE, DESILLUSION, HSN... Obviously I can mention some on my label : IRON SLAUGHT, HEXECUTOR, PERVERSIFIER, ACARUS SARCOPT, VALUATIR, BREIZH OCCULT, ANGMAR, HYPOKRAS, KLOOTZAK...
PR: Let's go back to what interests us: Manzer. They have been touring recently? Kunal, of Trascending Obscurity, told me about the bestial shows that you gave in Malaysia and Singapore.
S: Our last tour was in India and Nepal, December 2014. Incredible tour and trip. We first met Kunal at the Mumbai gig by the way. We toured Israel in March 2014. Before this, it was Malaysia / Singapore in May 2013. And our first tour in Asia was in November 2010 : Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. We had some bestial shows indeed hehe but it's mostly thanks to the crowds, we've witnessed some fukked up ones!!! When we come back from such tours, we release a live CD to keep these memories alive and MANZER maniaks can travel with us thanks to them, at least that's our aim with those live releases. We hope to play in Turkey in 2016 and tour Japan in 2017, we're working on that already!
PR: For anyone who does not know in depth the work of Manzer, I'd like you to tell us about something recurring in the lyrics and titles of works of Manzer and that can be summarized in one word: Pictavia. What an inspiration you get from that region, its culture, etc?
S: Our region Pictavia is a huge influence indeed. We have songs in Parlanjhe, a local language that is unfortunately dying. But there are also tons of stories and legends so it will be an inspiration for years to come! It is a part of our identity, and I think that we succeeded in putting Pictavia on the map so to speak. People know we are "Pictavian Bastards"!
PR: Well, Shaxul, go with the last question. What things do you mobilize when composing, playing your instrument, writing lyrics? You need to be in a certain mood to make music? Or any time and any mood may inspire you to create a song?
S: Damn, that's a really interesting question. But so hard to answer! I can't explain why I want to keep on writing and playing music. It is what I like most in life, but I guess there's much more to that. Because you know, writing a song is a difficult process but sometimes it's a real pleasure, and sometimes it's a real pain. Though this is one of those things keeping me alive actually. So I don't need any special mood but the mood I'm in can have an influence on the song for sure. Sometimes I feel good and / or drunk, and I'll write on booze and sex. When I'm in a period of depression, I tend to write about life and death, with references to Satan here and there as it's such a great Rock'n'Roll symbol, a neverending source of inspiration, and well, we're a Black Metal band after all. Same goes with the music, that's also why you can hear different influences in our songs coming from Heavy Metal, Rock'n'Roll, Punk... But I believe it's pretty homogeneous at the end of the day. I enjoy playing our songs very much and that keeps me going!
PR: Ok, this is it. Hopefully one day we can see you in South America and receive your discharge of Extreme, filthy and evil Metal. If you want to add something, do it freely.
S: We really dream to tour South America so let's be patient and it may happen one day! OK, all the beAst with your blog. To all readers : support the underground or go fukk yourselves!!! Anybody can feel free to write. A çhés fàetes!
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
LEGION OF DEATH / ARMEE DE LA MORT Records : www.legionofdeathrecords.com
Snail Mail : LOD Records / BP 21 / 86210 Bonneuil-Matours / France.
MANZER Pictavian Black Metal : www.manzer.fr