-Interview- Silenced Minstrel (1/16/21)

Silenced Minstrel talks about self producing, upcoming plans and much more.


From: Malaysia
Sounds like: Black Metal

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Silenced Minstrel" and is there any meaning behind it?

I think it began when I got a hold of my parents’ ABBA album collection back in the early 80’s, and from then on I knew that I wanted music to be part of my life. For the metal part, I think it started in the early 90’s after I purchased Metallica’s Kill Em All and Megadeth’s Countdown to Extinction cassettes, originally because I like the album cover’s artwork but evidently their music also appealed to me so that’s when I decided to pick up a guitar and started playing music for real. I came up with the name Silenced Minstrel partly because my voice sucked, heheh! And partly because I’m tired of being let down by all these metalheads in my local scene; either they’re posers or they only hang out with their cliques and cronies and I hated that. I did form a band before this name HALUN back in 1996 but it broke up once too many times to leave any lasting legacy apart from some badly recorded demos and one debut album, so when it blew apart for the last time back in 2012 I decided that’s it, it’s time to strike out on my own.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

From the moment I started my foray into the metal scene I noticed that there were a lot of gate-keeping, e.g “If you play black metal and you’re not Nordic, you suck!” and other appalling things so what I wanted to prove is that hey, don’t look down on us Asian metal bands! We can make a huge impact on the global metal scene if you would all stop being so prejudiced and bigoted! I wanted them to appreciate my brand of metal music, wanted them to realize that, despite not coming from the Scandinavian or American or European metal scene, I can do as good as these bands are.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Silenced Minstrel plays black metal with some death metal, goth metal elements mixed with Southeast Asian musical sensibilities.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Any Black Metal bands that are not racist (especially towards Asians), fascist and bigoted is fine with Silenced Minstrel, albeit since Silenced Minstrel is a one man band, touring at the moment would be next to impossible! Hence I’m looking for interested labels that would hire musicians for me to form an actual band with (paid musicians stays longer than hobbyists or posers and I really don’t want to deal with the drama and bullshit of band forming anymore, prefers leaving that to my band manager while I concentrate things I do best, songwriting).

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

Nothing much. I did most of my creative process in my bedroom studio (check out “Sky Panacea Enterprise” on Facebook) and all of my music are uploaded directly onto the internet. And besides, I did social distancing long before anybody else is doing it, heheh!

6. What’s your take on the current state of Black Metal?

There seems to be an influx of a lot of good bands and their materials since the pandemic started, evidently because Black Metal is a music of calamity and hopelessness so yeah! As much as I don’t want to pray that this pandemic lasts one more day, I’m glad to be part of this ever-growing underground scene. Whether or not they get paid for their music however, (considering that present day society prefers downloading everything for free) is entirely up for debate.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in Malaysia?

Dead, dead, dead. Young metal bands barely made a bleep in the radar and old-timer bands (before the pandemic) were just comfortable playing on nostalgia, resting on their laurels even onstage, never intending to go global or the like (unlike yours truly that is).

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

No comments. I’ve already produced six metal albums and seven non-metal albums and I can’t buy lunch with what I get, let alone paying my bills.

9. What’s next for Silenced Minstrel?

After this interview Silenced Minstrel will return to the studio to write materials for the seventh album. In between that, I’ll continue promoting the band’s music to the best that I can (multitasking is a myth and nobody can prove to me otherwise).

10. Any shoutouts?

Silenced Minstrel and the Italian Black Metal band Mountain Hermit has produced a 2-way split album in CD format entitled “Dark Musings Of The Ages”, due to hit the market on January 22nd via the New Zealand metal label Satanica Productions. The band is also looking for any interested Metal Ladies to join for a long-distance (online) project. She must be into old-school black and death metal, adept as singing in both guttural/screeching vocals and clean vocals, can record her own vocals (have own recording equipment) and is also good with writing English lyrics. I intend to let her have free reign over the vocals department as I will handle the rest of the production. Here's hoping.