Mumakil | Interview with Sebastien Schacher


In the acclaimed J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional tales of the Middle Earth, the mûmakil were described as pachyderms akin to mammoths, beasts of gigantic proportions with blood-red eyes and monstrous tusks highly feral and nearly indestructible in battle. In the realms of Grindcore, Mumakil are a four-headed collective from Genève - Switzerland, nowhere close to resembling the creatures imagined by Tolkien, though perfectly capable of storming a similar havoc and mayhem with their ultra tight and ferocious grindcore onslaught.
While I’m obliged to concur that it’s a pretty fitting name that somewhat summarizes the band’s sonority, it’s nevertheless a bit strange to see a Grindcore act picking a name from one of the tales of a fantasy author like Tolkien. Does drummer Sebastien Schacher better known as Seb agrees with such observation?

“Eheh thanks for this description! Well yes the name ‘Mumakil’ is a good image to represent our music, that's why we chose it. Grindcore bands usually take gore, brutal or anti-politically-oriented names, you're right. But we simply have nothing to prove with such a name… It's just like, take this huge Mumak on your face and goodbye eheh.
We also chose that name because actually the Swiss Government secretly possesses several Mumakil as weapon of mass destruction...”

Up to this point you should have guessed that Mumakil is not an ordinary Grindcore act. While many grindcore bands of today deal with tales of zombies and gore, the band prefer to express their disgust and rage at today’s sickening and decadent world. A more thoughtful and down-to-earth approach to their lyrical content, definitely closer to bands like Napalm Death and Nasum than acts like Carcass or Regurgitate.
What can you tell us about the lyrical subjects Mumakil is dealing with on the new record “Behold the Failure”?

“As you said, we prefer dealing with political or social problems through our lyrics. We don't have any interest in gore lyrics. For that you just have to see the latest "SAW" movie and you can get your daily gore dose. It's ok for us. "Behold the Failure" is an insult to a lot of things or persons we dislike: war (Parasites), cops (Pisskeeper), apathy of the masses (Brothers in Slavery, Whip Reward) and more…”

“Behold the Failure” is the band’s debut for independent label Relapse Records, following their relatively unknown work “Customized Warfare” on a defunct label called Overcome Records. What were your first reactions when Relapse approached the band with a record deal?

“We were very excited of course. Relapse is the biggest name in extreme music and released such sick bands as Nasum, Brutal Truth, Dillinger Escape Plan, Dying Fetus etc. We're really proud to be signed to this label but there's still a lot of work for us to do like promoting the new album with tour dates, etc. We like that. It's an extremely motivating challenge.”

What’s been like since you signed up with Relapse, have you noticed a surge in interest in the band since that?

“Yes we did, mostly on internet supports like Myspace, Facebook, which is actually normal because Relapse works a lot on distribution and promotion. We also have a really positive feedback from fans about "Behold the Failure".”

Do you think it was a bigger challenge for the band this time around to write and a record this new record, knowing that it would have the Relapse stamp on it and consequently a bigger exposure?

“Of course yes. We worked very hardly at the studio to produce our best album so far. But the writing process evolved naturally. We didn't change anything in our music just because we're a Relapse Band. They were waiting for something that sounds like Mumakil. We remain free in our writing process, that's a really important point.”

“Behold the Failure” was recorded at the band’s rehearsal room located at guitarist’s Jerome house and it seems to favour a more Crust and Punk approach to Grindcore in detriment of the more Death-Metal tendencies that characterized the band’s previous work “Customized Warfare”, do you agree? What have you guys done differently with this new album in comparison to its predecessor?

“Yeah, but ‘Customized Warfare’ was also recorded at the same place. We just evolved in our musical approach of grindcore. I mean, we pay a lot of attention to all the details through our tracks and we devote the necessary time to get the result that we expect. Our music came more grind than death-metal because we like even more the punk approach of grindcore, it's more energetic and goes straight to the goal. We're also big fans of death-metal bands like Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Nile... Maybe in the future we'll add more brutal death-metal elements, I don't know. "Behold the Failure" is just the result of our current inspiration.”

Do you guys still have a very independent DIY attitude towards their music and the things surrounding it or you’re letting Relapse stepping up to help the with some issues like promotion, booking and so on?

“Relapse takes care about everything around the new album regarding promotion, distribution and also gives us a hand for the booking. But we're still doing the booking by ourselves, for now it's easier for us to deal with it in that way.”

So what kind of roles each of the band members have besides playing their instruments to keep the engine functioning and running?

“Tom (vocals) and I are taking care about the booking. Guitar and bass players bring beers to the practice room. And oh sorry... They’re also responsible for the riffage in Mumakil.”