Don’t be lazy on a Saturday, tune in some good melodic death metal (I recommend Shantak) and get your ass up.
Founded by Matteo Spada and Nicola Belotti back in July, 2013 Shantak started as a black metal cover band covering bands like Nargaroth, Mayhem Immortal and others. After some time of covering other bands, they became better musicians and decided to go their own path. They started writing their own music and organically transformed into a melodic death metal band. They say starting a melodic death metal band in Brescia isn’t the wisest idea, but we all know that braking the “rules” and thinking outside the box is important and very enjoyable.
To all you people of Brescia, there is not only black metal out there, support Shantak and melodic death metal.
Lets get to the interview now.
1. Can you guys introduce yourself and tell us what kind of metal do you play?
Hi! We’re Shantak from Brescia (Italy) and we play melodic death metal with a unique sound made by heavy, thrash, death and doom metal influences. We are Nicola Belotti (vocals, lyrics), Matteo Spada (drums), Federico Albini (bass, backing vocals), Luigi Colucci (guitars) and Simone Mazzardi (guitars).
2. Where do you come from and when was Shantak formed?
We come from Brescia, a city situated in Lombardy (northern Italy) amidst Garda lake, Iseo lake and the verdant mountains of northern Italy. We started this project in July 2013.
3. Shantak is one of Lovecraft’s creatures, right? Why did you decide to pick this creature for the name of your band?
Nicola: Yes. First of all we decided to pick this creature’s name because we started as Lovecraft-themed black metal band (probably because in that period I was practically living on Lovecraft’s tales books) and we were searching a respectable, gloomy and unique name. Anyway, digging deeper in “Shantak” you can find a more refined meaning. The Shantaks are legendary creatures that fly high above fathomless depths and immeasurable peaks. They are mighty and legendary and we hope that one day we will be able, like them, to fly high above the peaks… of the international music scene. It’s like, I mean, a lucky name for a band.
4. You said you started as a black metal cover band. What bands were you covering and what made you start writing your own music?
Yes, we started covering Nargaroth, Mayhem, Immortal and Silencer but when days passed by, we realized that covering other bands wouldn’t have brought us so far away from the underground scene. Covering is a good way to become a better musician and improve the ability with the instrument but is not, in our opinion, a good way to express ourself.
5. First black metal band now a melodic death metal band. What is the main reason for transformation from black to death?
Actually we don’t know the very reason for our transformation. We only know that, after the first songs we noticed that we couldn’t define them as black metal songs. So we decided to follow our personal sound made by different features from different metal sub-genres and see where this would have led us to.
“We admire Iron Maiden, Death and Dissection.”– Shantak
6. How old were you when you find out about metal and what got you into this genre of music?
Nicola: I’ve been listening to metal since I was 15. I started with System Of A Down, Metallica and Ensiferum. I think that the main reason that got me into this genre of music is the refinement of the themes combined with the emotions that the music expresses. Metal is the only music genre that was able to make me experience bad and good emotions.
Matteo: I started listening to metal when I was 13. I don’t remember what made me start loving this genre of music. I simply realized that on my mp3 player there were more Iron Maiden songs than anything else.
Federico: When I was 10 my father introduced me to Iron Maiden and immediately their bass player Steve Harris bewitched me. There was something in that music and in that musicians that made me feel better, they were able to give me energy and wellness.
Luigi: I’ve been listening to metal since I was 11. I felt in love with this genre because of its rhythms and especially guitar parts. The solos and the melodies were able to touch me deep into my heart and make me feel various emotions.
Simone: Actually I don’t remember the period I started listening to metal, it was, I mean, a progressive transformation into metalhead. Anyway, I think that it started when I was 10. It may seem strange to say, but the main reason that got me into this genre was that it was the only way to be different from the others.
7. Which three bands are you, as a band, looking up to?
We admire Iron Maiden, Death and Dissection. They wrote true masterpieces and the history of metal.
8. How supportive are people from Brescia to the metal community? Are there plenty metal bands around your local area?
People from Brescia are supportive enough but unfortunately mainly focused on black metal. In fact, in our local area there are some black metal bands and lots of cover bands.
Nicola: Our local area is not very prolific for our metal genre, Brescia is not, I mean, the best place to start a melodic death metal project.
9. If you could start Shantak all over again, would you go straight into writing your own music, or would you change nothing and take the same path as you did?
We wouldn’t change anything except of the lineup. We would start with the current members in order to avoid all the time we lost. The period we played as cover band improved our groove and synergy and it wasn’t a loss of time after all.
10. If you could be any musician, living or dear, for one day, who would you be?
Nicola: David Gold
Matteo: Randy Rhoads
Federico: Chuck Shuldiner
Luigi: John Petrucci
Simone: Jim Morrison
11. Whish is your favorite Italian food?
Nicola: “Pasta all’Amatriciana”
Federico: “Pasta alla Carbonara”
Luigi: “Orecchiette Al Sugo”
12. Have you set yourselves any long therm plans or do you go with the flow and what happens, happens?
Actually we go with the flow as fast as possible. The only long term plan we set ourselves is finding a good label for the next releases and recording an awesome full length album.
13. When not being busy with metal, what else do you enjoy doing in your life?
Nicola: I love reading, writing, taking pictures and I’m also speleologist.
Matteo: I play airsoft and enjoy video games as a true nerd.
Federico: I cultivate my love for philosophy and reading in general.
Luigi: I love studying art and literature and, of course, hanging out with my girlfriend.
Simone: I enjoy watching films and taste various beers.
14. What are you currently listening to the most?
Nicola: Death, Insomnium, Septicflesh, Dark Tranquillity, Ghost Brigade, Novembers Doom, Woods Of Ypres, HIM, Swallow The Sun, Rapture, Funeral and Candlemass.
Matteo: Parasite inc., dark Tranquillity, Woods Of Ypres, Korpiklaani, Black Label Society, Haggard, Seether, Iron Maiden and Lamb Of Good.
Federico: Opeth, Death, Carcass, Hypocrisy, Tool, Amorphis, Korpiklaani and Messhuggah.
Luigi: Godsmack, Disturbed, Tool, Alice In Chains, Children Of Bodom, Pink Floyd, Lamb Of Good, Carcass, Opeth and Poets Of The Fall.
Simone: Death, Caladan Brood, Overkill, Dissection and Pink Floyd.
15. When can we expect your debut album to drop?
Actually we’re searching for the label for the release of the first album. Anyway, we hope that we will be able to release it at the end of summer 2015 with or without a label. So keep on following us!
16. If you would like to add anything to this interview, feel free and do it, otherwise, thanks for your time.
Nicola: Music is art, art is the only way to express yourself, to leave a trace on this sick world cradled in blood, hypocrisy and sorrow. Don’t stop producing art, it’s what makes us all alive and can saves us from the senselessness.
Matteo: We’re searching for a label, a good label! Please contact us if you are interested!
Federico: I hope that the philosophy and the poetry contained in our lyrics will help us in making it big and that our music, one day, will become as important for the others as it is for us.
Luigi: Thanks a lot for this interview. I hope that one day we will be able to fly high above the international scene. Don’t forget our name!
Simone: Keep on listening and following Shantak. Shantak makes the world a better place!
Go follow the guys over on Instagram and like their Facebook page. Don’t forget to subscribe to their YouTube channel, cause you never know when they will release a new song/video and you’ll be the first seeing it.