Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
We have all been friends for far longer than the existence of Shadowflag. That is one thing that makes this a great band and such a fulfilling experience. The dynamics that exist in a band where this is the case allow for greater understanding and unconstrained creativity. It can also cause frictions but these can be overcome where other bands may find them detrimental to their existence. Pre-Shadowflag, we met through a shared love of music, art and words.
Shadowflag was born in a conversation that JJ Flames (vocalist/bass) and Carps Carpenter (guitars) had in a pub in the UK in 2013. From that moment, it is a journey that has never ceased. It was lying in wait for us and, at what can now be viewed as a highly appropriate moment, we discovered its beginnings. Jake Doherty (guitars) joined us in early 2014 and then Gray Preston (vocals/noise) came into the fold a year later.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
We describe ourselves as being a poetic black metal band. Our first album was a 5000 word poem set against a backdrop of black metal. This is one aspect of Shadowflag that can never change and it makes us unique. Our second album ‘The White Grave’, released in 2015, focused more closely on the music but still contained spoken word sections. This is the beauty of black metal in its truest form – it is a liberating, non-conformist and evolving medium that allows such diverse creativity and interpretations.
Our influences are varied - both individually and as a band. Standing on the same ground as us we would cite bands such as Woods of Ypres, Septicflesh, Satyricon, Blut Aus Nord, Darkthrone and Goatwhore. But our inspirations can be found far wider – from the words of Poe, the art of Goya or the novels of Vonnegut. We tend to interpret the insane and inexplicable predicament that every human being finds themselves in – and would consider that everything around us to be our greatest influence.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
Because your average ‘metalhead’ is battle-weary, life-experienced, intelligent, confused and intrigued. And that’s why the sound of Shadowflag will make absolute sense to them.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Our first album was an epic poem that told the story of the Voyager and his quest for salvation. This was very well received and the live shows were dynamic and absorbing. It was an unusual step to include so much spoken word in the album but we were overwhelmed by the response that we received. Then in 2015, we released 'The White Grave'. This allowed us to invest ourselves in the stories of the world’s most feral street children who have been forced to develop in their own world without the help and guidance that so many take for granted. This has led them to create their own myths involving people and places, fears and mysteries. As a band, we found some of the stories that we shared utterly fascinating. This album was predominantly music based but still included some chilling spoken word. It was positively reviewed across the board and was described in Powerplay magazine as the album that was 'destined to burn the black metal rulebook'.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
We have played many live shows and certainly take the view that this is one of the most important ways to convey your music to your audience. Our live shows are absorbing and mesmeric as they drift from black metal soundscapes through theatrical spoken word sections and into more directly heavy passages. Our audience take this journey with us and are an integral part of what Shadowflag shows are all about. We want it to be a challenging yet absolutely addictive experience. One of our constant aims would be to perform the whole of the first album in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern art gallery in London.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
Very simple really. We are different. We have a message. We passionately believe in what we are saying and constantly strive to back it up and reinforce it. We can challenge and absorb the listener in equal measures. And we are going to be around for a long time so it is probably best to get involved with Shadowflag now.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
We are about to go into the studio once again to record our third full length album. This should be mixed and mastered by the end of the year. We have some label interest already for this release. Then next year, it will be all about getting the album to as many people as possible and promoting it to the full. We all know that next year is going to be a massive year for Shadowflag.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Shadowflag music is available through all usual streaming sites (Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon).
'The White Grave' can be heard in full on our Bandcamp page: https://shadowflag.bandcamp.com/
Physical copies and other merchandise can be purchased here: http://shadowflag.bigcartel.com/
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