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Interview: Stälker Talk About Their New Album 'Black Majik Terror'

Interview: Stälker Talk About Their New Album 'Black Majik Terror'

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: T. Mastsunaga / Friday 30th October, 2020 9:43AM

Aotearoa thrashers Stälker strike hard and strike fast with their second studio album Black Majik Terror, unleashed today via Austrian imprint Napalm Records. Launched alongside hair-raising visuals for new single 'Holocene's End', the Pōneke trio soundtrack your Halloween with a furiously intense nine track follow up to their 2017 debut album Shadow Of The Sword — the breakout success of which led to the team of Chris, Daif and Nick touring their triple-pronged metal attack in such far-flung locales as Europe and Japan. Now was the time to unearth the origins of their sinister latest long player. Chris Cudby tracked down bandmates Chris and Daif in their dungeon-like studio lair and fired a bunch of hard-hitting questions their way. Don't miss Stälker celebrating the launch of Black Majik Terror with End Boss plus mysterious special guests in the hallowed halls of their hometown's Valhalla on Friday 6th November...

Stälker Album Release Show
Friday 6th November - Valhalla, Wellington w/ End Boss + special guests

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Chris Cudby: Stälker have already had an insane year. You guys flew back from True Thrash Fest in Japan just before lockdown and there was a Melbourne festival as well. Will your album launch show at Valhalla be the first show that Stälker's played since lockdown?

Chris: Since lockdown, yes. Japan — the gates of doom closed around us as we were furiously flying out of the epicentre of the Covid ground zero. We played a week later at Newtown Sports Bar... that was end of February. We've just picked up our instruments the other day to practise for the show on November 6th, which will be our first show since lockdown and probably the last show of the year.

So this is a rare treat for Stälker fans coming up?

Chris: That is correct. Or whoever they are out there [laughs].

Your new album Black Majik Terror sounds even more raw and maniacal than Shadow Of The Sword, yet somehow more focussed and refined in its ruthless attack. Do you feel like the apocalyptic themes you're tackling on the new record are a perfect fit for 2020?

Daif: Yes. Lyrically Stälker draws a lot of inspiration from this essay by Michael Topper called The Positive / Negative Realms of Higher Densities, in which he talks about the act of higher beings feeding off of the negative energies of humans. He refers to that as "stalking". What we've been experiencing this year has definitely been man-made suffering... or has it?

'Holocene's End' shows a slower yet no less twisted side to Stälker. Letting Daif's vocals shine over sinister riffage, before exploding into victory. What's that one about?

Daif: Holocene is a geological era. There's a theory out there that what started the last Ice Age, were cosmic impacts from asteroids or comets... (it's been ) tabled that that's cyclical, that it comes in every 2600 years, this one comet stream from the Taurid meteor system, comes in and fucks everything up. Like cyclic catastrophe. As luck would have it, we're about due for another one. The last major one was the Tunguska impact in Russia. That's the pretext, the song explores the idea that some certain people have knowledge of this and are in some sort of control, over how humanity operates within that context.

Do you mean people on Earth or maybe... people not on Earth?

Daif: Yes, people on Earth, but they are in contact through ritualistic behaviour with extra-dimensional beings. It's the end of the current epoch that we're in now. We're in the Holocene right now, so it's referencing the end of this and the start of a new one.

Pretty cool how there's a song called 'Stälker' on the new album. Do you see that track as being like a statement of intent for you guys? I really like when bands do that, not with their first record, but with a later record.

Chris: I hear you and I like that. Yeah I definitely do.

Daif: Lyrically it sums up all the main themes that Stälker is about. Which are, as I referred to above, definitely drawing on demon possession, power and control by entities above and beyond human comprehension... It's really important conceptually for the band and that song does a really good job at summing up all the core concepts. It's a flagpole in the ground... we deliberately made it as catchy as possible.

What the fuck is going on in the video for 'Intruder'? Is it filmed in a dump? Looks like a fun outing.

Daif: It was filmed in the wastelands just outside of Wellington...

Chris: Through friends of the Stälker fan club, we've befriended the owners of C & D landfill. Now all we need to do is drop a box of 24 Tuis off to the owner, in exchange for keys to the tip, where we can do whatever we want, for how long as we want [cackles].

How do you come up with the ideas for your songs? Do you use like a mood board or are you just walking down the street and 'Intruder' pops into your head? What's the story?

Daif: A friend of mine gets all his best ideas while doing the dishes. I'm really into the idea of getting out of your conscious mind, like getting totally relaxed and letting the song come. I'm convinced that if you can get out of your own way, that's when your best work happens. If you can quiet your "monkey mind" — that's a thing in meditation. A good example is when you're about to fall asleep and you're not totally asleep yet, you're not totally awake. I can write songs from start to finish in that state, but as soon as I wake up enough to write it down, or to hum it or vocalise it, it disappears... I'm convinced the magic happens when you get out of your own way.

Chris: I agree. I'm a walker... I like to think of ideas on your own, away from your instrument. However you do have the risk of losing it, or recording it in a voice memo and it doesn't sound like how you had it. A lot of times when I hear it for the first time something will just come to me... Lying on your bed, before a nap. Definitely closing my eyes and thinking is the strongest energies.

Your live shows are relentless. How often do you need to practise to keep your skills at pro-sportsman level? Do you practise your singing at home Daif?

Daif: No, my approach to singing is like throwing my voice down a flight of stairs and hoping that you'll make it. Like doing an ollie when you haven't skated for a while.

Chris you were talking about how you practise guitar for like a couple of hours per day.

Chris: In lockdown I did. These days, quite busy at the moment. Normally I like to sit down and play quitar for... probably an hour a night while watching TV. Just keep the speed up really. I've got no problems with speed, I've just got problems with hitting the right notes.

What about Nick? That guy's a machine.

Chris: We don't really know what he does.

Daif: He's a bit of a dark horse, that guy. He doesn't have a drum kit at home and the running joke is that he doesn't practise at all. But he must practise, but nobody knows if or when or where.

How did Stälker hook up with one of the biggest metal imprints on the planet, Napalm Records?

Chris: We had our demo [2016's Satanic Panic] out for, maybe a few months, before we had a chance to do anything really.

Daif: Before we even played a show I think.

Chris: Daif messaged me, saying we've got a message in our inbox from an A & R guy, saying he was from Napalm Records, because who knows what to believe [laughs]. So I wrote back to him and I said hey what's up, and he said (he's) from Napalm Records, do you want to chat? He really liked our stuff. He was like — this is the shit that I love and I got started on and I'm really happy with this stuff, I really want to sign you guys... Seriously they have been super, super cool. No matter who I get put onto with that label, to do whatever with, they are awesome. I would 100% trade again, big time.

The main things that we wanted really was any help that we can't do ourselves, from being from New Zealand. All the touring stuff, was done DIY and I must say it's all the underground local scenes in each country and city that made that happen. That's 100% bottom line, the underground promotors and scenes, that's what makes those tours work.

The artwork is amazing. How did Bob Eggleton come to be involved? Did you guys give him any specific directions for the album cover?

Chris: After thinking about artwork for a bit, we thought fuck it, let's just go to the guys that made the shit back in the day. So I started looking up people and I was like, shit are these guys still even alive? They were like 60, 70 years old y'know. I reached out to a coupe of them. Bob got back to me and man, I was just lost in his artwork for weeks, looking at his shit. He was cool, I said "hey man are you still painting? He said "yeah man I'm still painting." I said "hey do you want to do something for an album?" And he was like "fuck yeah, I want to do something for an album."

I basically went through a lot of his old artwork and just took a few things that I liked and was like "hey man, this is some of your old shit, this is kind of what we want to do. What do you think?" He was like "yup, I'm on the page." He sent through some sketches, I went back and forth, and there we have it. It was originally going to be a square 12" x 12" and then it turned into a gatefold, full length painting. He's a really cool guy, he lives in Rhode Island. He's quite big in the Godzilla scene. He doesn't want to be pigeonholed in that scene but he went down that Famous Monsters, Godzilla...

Daif: Swamp Thing...

Chris: Cthulhu, that kind of stuff. And he's still going hard now man. His output is insane and he's really enjoying it as an artist. The art world is not my world, but I really enjoyed being in it for six months with him. I'm happy how it turned out, it's great.

What can punters look forward to at next week's show?

Daif: Metal up your arse, on the 6th.

Chris: They will experience a brand new toilet at Valhalla, for you to sit your butt cheeks on.

Daif: A brand new steel toilet.

Chris: With non-removable toilet seat. Come sit your bare ass on the steel throne.

'Black Majik Terror' is out today digitally, on vinyl LP and cassette via Napalm Records.


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