We are quite a new band from Oslo, Norway. Cuno and I are originally from Turkey, but we met here in Oslo. We joined forces a little over a year ago to make Nightmare Years.
Cuno is responsible for almost everything you hear on the record except for the lyrics and the vocals. Its important for me to point out that Cuno also wrote the drums; which were then recorded by a mighty session drummer in Poland.
We are musically always exploring how we can take Metal to new places. This time we really threw in a good mix of black and prog into our Melodic Death Metal style and we believe that we really achieved our vision, compositionally and also production wise.
2.Recently you have released your first album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Thats a fun question… Especially because it is a hard one. We have been categorized as Blackened Progressive Musical Death Metal… Its a ridiculously long name for a genre, but we have no better suggestion; so please do come with suggestions :)
That said; even though our music at times is extremely fast, angry and hard hitting, the sound we wanted and achieved has a soft easy on the ears kinda roundness to it…
Cuno and I turned to each other and cringed with quizzical eyebrow lifting when we heard the first mastered track from our chosen mastering studio. It was just too sharp and edgy, very Black Metal. Lots of details were lost and it was far from where we wanted it to be… After some rounds we managed to get our Mastering master understand what we were going for and to soften the sound and deliver all the details we worked so hard to compose, play and mix… It was a process :)
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
I'm very interested in political & world affairs, human nature, conspiracies, history, psychology, sci-fi… And have been writing lyrics and poetry about these topics for a long time. But now, for first time decided to take what I knew was going to be a ridiculously hard task upon me. A concept album.
The story is, in a few words (something VERY difficult for me :) about a possible version of human history and future. Where we are revealed that even the powers that we believe control the world were puppets; and that through controlled manipulations we were guided through our various stages of evolution.
All this is in a science fiction setting where a few characters voice their minds or have discussions or arguments…
All the lyrics plus a quiet long story explanation can be read on our website maahlas.net
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Maahlas'?
Mahlas with one “a” means a musical poet, or a “bard” if you will in the Ottaman Turkish.
Cunos wife Elif, who is also amazingly supporting, came up with it and thought using the extra “a” would make it more mystical and we love it… Its actually an original and non cliche band name which is SO hard to come by… All hail Elif! :)
5.Currently there are only 2 members in the band are you planning on expanding the line up in the future, or do you choose to remain a duo?
Since the release of Nightmare Years we have been trying out musicians for the band… I can proudly say that we have now completed the line up and are very soon ready to play live. Which is something we REALLY enjoy and are looking forward to.
Vocals: Levent Ultanur
Guitar: Cuneyt Caglayan
Guitar: Robin Berg Pettersen
Bass: Audun Melbye
Drums: Christian Svendsen
6.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Of course we would like to get a record deal… Hopefully a good one.
We have been getting real good and encouraging reviews so far. We also have gotten positive response to our music from a couple of the bigger labels but with no record deal as yet. A smaller label did want to sign us but we cordially declined.
A few live shows early 2015 will hopefully put us on the Norwegian music map and pave the way for more people to hear our music. Which will give us the experience as a band and leverage for the labels to see us as a professional and performing band. There are so many one man home projects out there that I totally understand the labels wanting a band to prove their worth as great and consistent live act, as most the money is made from live performances and merchandising now.
7.According to the fb page one of the band members is originally from Turkey but now resides in Norway how would you compare the metal scenes of both countries?
Well, unfortunately they are almost uncomparable…
Norway can proudly boast a whole genre of metal music and bands like Dark Throne, Mayhem, Emperor (and Ihsahn himself), Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, Shining to name a few. Norway has been and is a very influencial metal scene in the world and hosts the famous Inferno Metal Festival.
Although there are some truly great musicians in Turkey, the culture, economical possibilities, even language and history limit how much they can achieve back at home and reach out to the world… Honestly (and sadly) I know of no other Turkish metal band thats worth mentioning here other than Ominous Grief, which surprisingly enough had our very own Cuno as the master composer and guitar player :)
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of death and black metal?
Although we released the album in the digital media in july we have only recently begun promoting it. And Its been very good indeed. In fact we are very positively surprised at how much great feedback and reviews we are getting.
A few people graced us with 10/10s and mentioned that Nightmare Years was one of the best new releases they encountered in 2014, giving us the encouragement, energy and confidence to push ourselves to the edges of our limits as persons and artists to work on to deliver a great live performance.
9.Are any of the band members involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
Actually only our drummer Christian Svendsen is currently involved with another bands… Check out Tsjuder :) He is also å Pyro tech… so, one of my stage dreams might come true with the second album ;)
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We will still be Maahlas with the same attention to detail in production. We have already started composing for the second album. But its still impossible to say for sure what the music will be like at the end. One thing is for certain; you will definitely not be bored and think man its the same stuff they did before :)
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Thats question which really deserves a very long answer… I think I'll update our website with an influences and thanks to our inspirators section at some point… But for now let it suffice to say; Death, Ihsahn, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Opeth…
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
As a group therapy we do synchronised swimming and origami… Do not quote me on that please :)
Well… we all have full time jobs right now and girlfriends or families. So truly, its music that takes a big chunk out of that pie chart of “free” time. And we have no complaints about that… Its what we LOVE doing… Doesnt mean that we dont have other interests; we do, but time is a very precious commodity :)
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Listen to us, follow us contact us, “share” us… And if we happen to be playing anywhere near you, do come to see us… you WILL NOT be disappointed…