Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album and thank you for the opportunity to ask you some questions!
Hey, thank you for submitting your questions; we’re at your service.
MUMAKIL was founded in 2004. Why did you guys start the band and how where your first years as a band?
Almost ten years and two Relapse releases after, we can’t think of any particular reason. We were just a bunch of drunken idiots, who came up with the idea to make fucking brutal music, but there was no point in it and back then we sure didn’t think we’d still be playing now.
Why did you choose the band name MUMAKIL which is a big elephant-like animal from The Lord of the Rings?
First of all there’s no need to say that we are fans of Tolkien’s work. And we also love everything Peter Jackson has done, from Bad Taste to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Actually we came up with that name because we thought of it as an allegory. We think it’s a good reminder of what our music represents: something unstoppable, brutal, crushing and grinding everything on its path. No quarter!
In the first years you were quite busy. Nine releases in five years, but then there was this big four year gap between "Behold The Failure" and "Flies Will Starve". What happened in these years?
We got stuck with several major issues. First we had to say goodbye to our original bass player Taverne. He left Mumakil because of personal motivations. That’s when we welcomed Benj to the band. Then the real troubles started, when our drummer Seb got a serious wrist injury. This was a serious concern as we had to make several breaks during these 4 years in order to allow him to recover. In the end it wasn’t possible for him to blastbeat anymore, and 3 months after we finished recording Flies Will Starve he announced us that he had enough, he couldn’t take anymore, and he left the band. Now we’ve got Kevin Foley drumming for us.
What are the reactions so far for "Flies Will Starve"? Are you happy with them?
The reactions are pretty good so far. We figured that after 4 years of silence people would be waiting to catch us around the bend, but obviously they’re not disappointed, we did a good job with this record. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter to us what the reactions are; the most important thing is that we are happy with our music. And we are.
What is the meaning of the album title and who did the cover artwork and why did you choose him to do it?
We didn’t think of any particular meaning. Basically this title comes from the lyrics of one of the songs (track 5, Built Of Lies), Seb came up with it while we were recording. We just thought it was a good title. Then during the post-production process, while we started to talk about a possible cover, Relapse submitted to us a couple of ideas from their own designers, but we were not satisfied with their propositions, as we didn’t think they really illustrated the title we chose. Meanwhile we had a collaboration with Remy Cuveillier from Headsplit Design in France, he designed fucking great t-shirts for us, so we just thought of a concept for the cover artwork and asked him to do it. The concept was something like “we’re in deep shit and in the end even the flies will starve”. We hope it does the trick.
I read that you call your music "blastcore". Please describe us the meaning of it and why you choose as the genre for MUMAKIL.
Actually it’s not totally exact. We don’t really call our music blastcore, as a genre we’d say we just do some grindcore with little bits of death metal influences here and there. Blastcore was just some kind of joke, a word we put on an old series of t-shirts. There was no particular intention from us with that.
How do you guys write and record a new album? Do you everybody has their own parts to do or is it more of an jamming-like process in your rehearsal room?
Basically either Jeje or Benj bring ideas for guitar riffs, then we just discuss them and put all that shit together when we rehearse. So it’s more a jamming-like process, the final product is a real group work. For recording we usually choose the DIY mode, we record everything in our rehearsal room, with Jeje as a sound engineer for mixing. The only thing we can’t do by ourselves is the mastering as we don’t have the required hardware to do that.
And what are the main influences for your music and especially for your lyrics?
Our lyrics are usually addressed to mofos we don’t like. And there’s a lot of them. We write about every single thing that pisses us off, from politics to warfare. But the most recurrent topics in our lyrics are social apathy and its opposite, which is the tendency of many people to behave like they’re cops. Since last week everybody’s complaining about USA spying on everyone but let’s be realistic, everybody’s got neighbors acting like they’re working for the Stasi, so much people nowadays are eager to denounce their fellow men for whatever reason. Nobody’s perfect, nobody’s a model, just stop thinking you have a right to tell the others how they should live their lives. That’s the main message.
What are your musical influences, when and how did you start to listen to Metal/Grindcore music?
Basically we listen to tons of grindcore and death metal. We all started to listen to these genres about 20 years ago, when we were teenagers and started to learn how to play guitar/drums. We guess it’s something quite natural for someone who plays these instruments to cross the path of metal music some day; some follow it for a few years before ending up playing music for pussies, the others, like us, never leave it and try to keep on paving the road.
Are there any bands you would really like to play with? And what are your favourite bands you played with so far?
Tough question. Since 2004 when we founded Mumakil we have been billed with so many bands that it’s rather difficult to think especially about one we didn’t play with yet. Sure there are still lots of cult bands we didn’t have the opportunity to play with, but it’s not an actual goal to play with them, we prefer small audiences. About a possible favourite band, we’d say Blockheads, definitely; they’re friends, brothers, we love their music and their attitude, it’s the band we have played with the most and we’ll surely get to play with them lots of times again.
Please tell us something about the Grind and Death Metal scene in Switzerland. Which swiss underground bands need more attention?
OK, time to make some advertisement for our friends? Not all of this shit is exactly grind/death, but you should check Blueherps, Kess’Khtak, Cremation, Tojinbo, Amagortis, Colossus Fall, Incrüst (Tom’s crust/hardcore side project) and probably tons more that we just can’t think of right now (sorry dudes, we tried our best).
Grindcore has always been a big live genre. How important is it for you to play live on stage?
That’s the most important thing, above all the others. We don’t think of our live performances as a mean to promote our albums, it’s the other way around, we think of our albums as a mean to promote our shows. Playing live is just the true meaning of metal music and we only live for that.
What live activities do you have planned in the future?
For now no tour planned, but during this Summer we’ll be playing in some festivals. On June 28th we’ll throw the release party for Flies Will Starve at Le Moloko in Geneva, the next week (July 5th) we’ll be in Trutnov (Czech Republic) for the Obscene Extreme Festival 15. Then we’ll do the Sylak Open Air in France on August 11th, and then Le Festival des Arts Bourrins on August 30th in France again. Some more gigs will be added to the list very soon, most likely.
Hopefully your next album will be out before four years pass by. Thank you again for your time! The last words are yours!
Yeah we intend to start working on the next record as early as possible; we already started composing and we think you won’t have to wait 4 years again to see it released. Thanks for your questions, cheers to you and all our fans in Germany! Überblast!