THE WAR INSIDE MY HEAD: MATTHIAS SOLLAK OF HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY
For a few years now Harakiri for the Sky have been one of the leaders in a new school of bands that have been straddling the line between atmospheric black metal, and post black metal. However, what sets Harakiri form the Sky from many in that pack, that includes artists such as Saor, Fen, and genre forefathers Alcest, is their focus on the kind of atmosphere one would most often find not in black metal, per se, but post rock and perhaps even post metal. Combining ethereal strumming chords, a shimmering backdrop, and harsh vocals, they bring in a lot of what could be called the American school of post-black metal and post rock (Wolves in the Throne Room, Explosions in the Sky) with a European style of production, epitomized, ironically, by that masterpiece of American atmospheric black metal, Agalloch's 2006 Ashes Against the Grain.
Following the release of their 2018 LP Arson, and ahead of their upcoming show in Tel Aviv, I had HFTS multi-instumentalist Matthias Sollak answer our, shall we call it, music appreciation questionnaire. Before we get to the most recent of the War Inside My Head series (you can find previous installments here), and as always, if you like what you see around here, the feel free to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and even Patreon. Stay tuned for super cool stuff, like more from our Albums of the Decade interviews series as well as our first compilation album of local music Milim Kashot. Enjoy.
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
I think the first was a compilation that was around at the time when i was nine called Crossing All Over with songs by Faith no more, Bad Religion, Clawfinger, Paradise Lost and so on. It was a pretty colorful mix. At that time I used to go to record/media stores and listen to the available albums at the CD players they had installed there…That's how i used to find out about bands and new music back in the days, and thats also where I bought my albums.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Definitely all the In Flames albums until Clayman, got the Whoracle album from one of my older cousins when I was a kid and was instantly hooked on their sound. Fair to say that this was the band that got me into metal. Through them I was also led to the classics like Iron Maiden as well as bands like Dissection that got me more into black metal.
What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
That's hard to answer cause different albums need different sounds. The key is to find a production that fits the music and the atmosphere. I can't say what taught me most but I can tell you what i consider well done. I love the sound on Ad Astra by Spiritual Beggars, I totally dig the sound on Torn Beyond Reaon by Woods of Desolation, even though it's completely different. Also Alcest manage to capture the atmosphere of their music perfectly on their studio recordings. Oh, and Mutemath's self-titled album – absolutely fantastic. I could go on for hours.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
In a negative way? The last In Flames records. How can a band that once wrote such amazing melodies sink into something so shallow and unmotivated. In a positive way? The new Misthyrming album. Finally an album that's absolutely grand as a whole.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
To relax I like to listen to If These Trees Could Talk, Sun Kil Moon, Anathema, or similar stuff.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
Tusky, Rated Gnar, A Pale Horse Named Death, When the World Becomes Undone and Spirit crusher by Dödsrit.
What album is grossly underrated?
I don't know what albums are celebrated or underrated, and in fact i don't really care. There are a few bands though that deserve way more attention.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
I will widen "local" to the surrounding countries. Shores of Null from Italy are a band you should check out. Both albums are great. And the EP by Fvneral Fvkk from Germany.