I formed Shabti with Greg (formerly of Gift of Tongues and Shabti, currently in Feral, ZUD (US), and Stones Tools) in Portland, ME in 2008. Prior to playing in Shabti, I played in guitar and performed vocals in Kurixis from 2002-2006. The original goal of Shabti was to create aggressive, visceral, uncompromising music. Over the years we have released two eps (Self Titled and "Labors of the Dead") and we just released our first full length, "Paracusia". We have also played live throughout New England and fairly consistently in the Southern Maine region. Since the band's inception several drummers and bass players have lent their talents to the project. Though other band members have occasionally submitted riffs I am the primary songwriter. "Paracusia" features Denis (also in Eastern Spell) on bass and Ray (also in Falls of Rauros) on drums.
2.How would you describe your musical sound?
Most metal fans who have given me positive feedback typically describe Shabti as a natural sounding blend of death metal and black metal. I think that this is a natural culmination of my influences as a guitar player and the types of music that I enjoy listening to. When I originally started Shabti I wanted to go for more of a grind/black metal sound: fairly minimalistic and to the point. As you can hear in our songs, however, our music is fairly technical, though this is not intentional. I write riffs that I personally find interesting and rewarding to play and they just naturally evolve in that direction. I have heard people go so far as to compare us to Necrophagist though I do not quite agree.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Religion, death, disappointment in humanity and the struggle to find something worthwhile in a universe with no apparent meaning are reoccurring topics. Some lyrics are quite personal whereas others are just observations about society, the human race, and the world in which we live. I am heavily influenced by "The Golden Bough" by James Frazer, HP Lovecraft, and books about ancient/classical/medieval civilizations.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Shabti?
Shabti (or Ushabti) are funerary figurines that the ancient Egyptians placed in tombs to serve the dead in the afterlife. I am inspired by the mythology of many different cultures, though we are not explicitly an "Egyptian" themed band.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We have not played many high profile shows but there are several that I have especially enjoyed. Worcester, MA has a dedicated metal scene and I have always enjoyed playing down there. Some of our best performances have been in small bars or obscure basements. I would describe our stage performance as intense and straightforward without any gimmicks or catering to the audience. My focus is on executing our songs to the best of my ability with precision and authenticity. This is what I appreciate as an audience member. Playing metal live for me is all about a sense of power and catharsis.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We currently do not have a live drummer. Once we find someone suitable, I plan on playing in New England on a regular basis again. I would like to plan a short US tour at some point. In any event, I will continue to record and release music as Shabti.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I have never bothered to actively seek out record labels in the past with Shabti but with the release of "Paracusia" my interest in these kinds of collaborations has been reignited. At this stage we do not have any plans to work with a label but I am open to any offers that we might receive. I think that a band in this day and age really has to work independently, promote themselves, finance their own work, and generate their own following. It seems to me that when a label is interested in signing us they are more likely to approach us after we have sufficiently proven ourselves.
8.What is going on with the other musical projects these days that the other band members are involved with?
Ray also plays drums (and occasionally other instruments) in Falls of Rauros, which is an atmospheric/folk/black metal band from the Portland area. Last I knew they were putting the finishing touches on a new cd and they also have some older material that they are putting out in the near future. They do not play live very frequently but they have been pretty prolific songwriters over the years.
Denis plays bass in a doom metal band by the name of Eastern Spell. They play out fairly often in the area and they are going to be releasing a split with Sylvia (another local band with former members of Ocean).
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Shabti is always going to be my outlet for extreme metal, though the exact sound is subject to where ever my interests reside at the moment. I think that there are plenty of things to discover in the world of distorted guitars, drums and bass, simply by driving myself to write interesting riffs and dynamic songs. Though I have interests in other genres, I have no desire to incorporate them into Shabti in a direct way. If I ever decide that I want to write something more straightforward with clean vocals, or electronic music, for instance, I will just start another project. I have various riffs and ideas floating around. One of the songs that I wrote more recently is very dissonant and jagged, with busy death metal riffs and sinister doomy parts. Shabti is basically my homage to what I consider the best of extreme metal in its various forms.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Bands that have had a significant direct influence on me over the years are Emperor, Dissection, Morbid Angel Carcass, Kreator, Mayhem, Anaal Nathrakh, Napalm Death, Enslaved, Gorguts, Bethlehem, Neurosis, Angelcorpse and Death. Bands that I enjoy that do not fit into the metal genre include The Cure, Unto Ashes, Skinny Puppy, Dead Can Dance, Nick Drake, The Dead Boys, Christian Death (just the Rozz Williams era), etc.
11.outside of music what are some of your interests?
I enjoy reading. Some books that I have recently read which are a pretty good representation of my interests are "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins, "Thermopylae" by Ernle Bradford, and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". Over the past couple of years I have rediscovered old school pen and paper rpgs and "ameritrash" board games (such as Arkham Horror, etc).
Thank you for the interview.