Interview: Shai Hulud

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For nearly two decades, the furious metallic hardcore outfit known as Shai Hulud has been creating some of the most thought-provoking music to ever emerge from the genre. While the layperson often looks upon the heavy music realm as a breeding ground for belligerence and aimless animosity, Shai Hulud have consistently proven that these notions belie the true motivations behind their abrasive sonic creations. While the band’s signature themes do include a great deal of dissatisfaction with the current state of humanity, they also contain the empowering message that the present need not dictate the future. The band’s lyricism has always rivaled their musicianship in terms of nuance and sophistication, delivering big ideas on vital topics artfully and tastefully. Thankfully, the band’s creative journey appears to be far from over. On February 19th, Shai Hulud will officially unveil their long-awaited fourth studio album, entitled Reach Beyond The Sun. ThisConnect.ca had the pleasure of conducting an in-depth interview with guitarist/lyricist/mastermind Matt Fox in order to discuss an array of topics of interest to Shai Hulud listeners new and old alike.

 

I’d just like to begin by congratulating you guys on your new record, which is finally on the cusp of its official release. Is it safe to say that this LP is a culmination of everything the band has ever been about? Do you think in a few years, Reach Beyond The Sun will be viewed as the definitive Shai Hulud album?

Yeah, I definitely think so. I think that every band’s newest album is a culmination of where they’re at and everything that they’ve been. I think that if the band is doing it right, or doing it sincerely, then it definitely is. This album definitely showcases all that we are. It showcases the love, the hatred, the compassion and introspection, the musical progression, and the inherent emotion and groove that’s in or music. So it definitely is very indicative of what we are as a band. As for as your next question – do I think that this will be the defining Shai Hulud album? I sure hope not. I want every new album to be the defining Shai Hulud album. As of right now, when people hear this I do hope they feel that this defines the band, and it is far and above anything that we had ever released. And I’d like people to feel that way until we release the next album, which I, speaking for myself, will put my heart and soul into. And all of my hard work, to make sure that that becomes the defining Shai Hulud record – 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now, and then every consecutive album after that. That’s always my goal. But with this album – the release coming right around the corner – yes, I feel confident with it, and I really do hope that people find it to be a defining record currently.

 

e1357925381The production on Reach Beyond The Sun sounds more polished than that of your previous albums. Is this something the band decided to pursue early in the writing process, or do you think it’s more attributable to Chad’s influence once recording had begun?

Well I think Misanthropy Pure is probably our most produced record. And that said, I think it’s overproduced. It had a very modern metal or metalcore sound, and that’s not the sound that Shai Hulud really thrives in. I do like the sound of the record. It’s very heavy and very clear, but again, I don’t think that that’s where we most thrive. So with this album, based on the sound of Misanthropy Pure, we all knew what we wanted it to sound like. And Chad coming on board felt exactly the same way we did. Having heard Misanthropy Pure, he wanted the exact same sound that we wanted. So we all worked together and were able to get this sound, which is a very big, warm, natural, heavy production sound. I think the record sounds great, and everyone involved really did their part to make sure it sounds as good as it does.

 

You guys already have quite a few songs that are considered fan-favourites; how many songs from Reach Beyond The Sun do you plan on incorporating into your set for your upcoming tours?

I think we’re going to start off with three. That’s always a tricky thing; I always wonder how bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, or even Sick Of It All decide what it is they want to play. It’s really hard not to play the classics – the ones that are tried and true that people have come to love. So it’s really tricky to not incorporate those. But at the same time, you always want to pay attention to the now, so you’re not a band of the past that just releases a new album for no reason, because you’re going to go out and play all your old songs anyway. But I think a good start, as the album is going to be fresh, is three songs – the first three that we’re releasing. So people know what to expect, even if they’ve only heard it once or twice on the Internet, it’s something they’re familiar with. Everyone has their different take on it. Our bass player Fletcher loves to play new songs that no one has heard live. And that’s because he loves to hear new songs that he’s never heard before live. Me, I hate it. Me, if Iron Maiden screamed, “do you wanna hear a new one?” I would scream “No!” I don’t want to hear a new one. I want to hear a new one on the album. Let me get familiar with it, and then let me experience it at the live show. That’s just a difference that I think certain people have. So, where Fletcher always pushes us to play new songs that haven’t even been released yet, or even sometimes recorded yet, I always air on the side of playing songs that I know people want to hear. And I’m always hesitant to play new songs that haven’t been heard at all, especially before an album’s release. Simply because I just don’t like to hear that from a band. I think a new song is better understood and processed on a recording and then better experienced live once it becomes familiar. So all that said, once again, I think we’re going to start with three songs and then later in the year when the album marinates a little more, we’ll find out which ones people want to hear, and we’ll start playing those as well.

 

I realize I’ve used the word a bit liberally in the past, but you are without a doubt a true seasoned veteran of this genre. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how the hardcore scene has evolved throughout the numerous years you’ve been both creating and consuming heavy music. In what ways is “hardcore” today similar and/or different from “hardcore” in the mid-90’s, and everything in between?

There’s a running theme in hardcore. A musical theme. The anger, the chord progressions, there’s a thread there. I mean, so much so that you could play a band from today and a hardcore band from the ‘80’s, and based on the style of singing, the pace, and the chord progressions, and the manner in which it’s played and even in the production, you can still say “okay, these are hardcore bands”. I think the line starts to get blurred with certain bands. Like Earth Crisis, for example. Maybe if you were to hear Youth Of Today as a hardcore band and then somebody said, “Hey check this out, this is Earth Crisis, they’re another hardcore band” – you might say huh, this is not really the same. But it is cut from the same cloth. More so in ethic and in heart, than it is in sound. But that said, there still is a running thread through most hardcore. Hardcore to me was getting on stage and not only playing hardcore music, but it was also speaking your mind. And having something of worth to say – something different than metal bands were saying. And keep in mind, metal is probably my favourite genre of music, always, and still is. But I found the words and music of Minor Threat, Bad Brains, MDC, definitely Dead Kennedys, Youth of Today, Uniform Choice, even later on, Earth crisis for sure – these bands were saying things that made me think. And they made me feel things. And they put new ideas in my mind. And if they didn’t put new ideas in my mind, they confirmed that the ideas I already had in my mind were the right way to be thinking. And I think that’s important, and that’s an aspect of hardcore that’s always been there. Though where it differs, is that I think it’s less prevalent today. Who’s to say, because I can’t speak for every hardcore band that’s playing.

But it seems that today, the majority of the bands are less concerned with what it is they’re saying and how they’re saying it, and more so how tough and detached from humanity they come across, and how cool and unimpressed they are with compassion in general. That’s not something that I can relate to. I would never go so far as to say that that’s not hardcore, because to somebody else that is hardcore, and who’s to say that my version is right. But that’s certainly not hardcore to me. That’s not a cloth hat we’re cut from. And that’s not something that I ever want to be, and it’s something that I could never relate to, nor would I ever want to relate to it, even if I think that the music is cool. Because a lot of the newer hardcore bands seem to be spawned from the resurgence of the classic New York sound. I love that sound, I grew up on that sound; that’s a sound that helped define everything I know about hardcore in my early days. So I love that sound, but I don’t necessarily appreciate the current mindset that goes along with it. It’s elitist, and it’s very focused on the immediate family within that small circle of friends that a lot of other bands that have really beautiful things to say simply don’t relate to, nor do we want to relate to. So that’s where it’s similar and where it differs.

Also, I’ll say dancing. Hard dancing has always been the case in hardcore punk. Even back in the early ‘80’s, you can see people, they’re dancing fucking hard. The circle pits are still chaotic, and people are swinging and stage diving. The difference is there’s no belligerence. People definitely got hurt back then. The dancing that’s always been involved in hardcore has never been pristine and crystal clean and safe. It’s always been cutting edge. And people that didn’t understand always looked upon hardcore dancing from any era and said, “Holy shit, what’s wrong with you guys?! You’re crazy!” Now, today it’s a little more careless and intentionally careless than I care for. Maybe it’s because I’m old. Maybe its because I’m detached. Maybe its because I’m attached to an era of hardcore or a type of hardcore that simply has fallen by the wayside. Who knows what the reason is. Maybe I’m completely correct, and what’s happening now sucks. Who really knows? But when I see somebody deliberately, without question, take their foot and slam it into somebody’s face, or take their fist and deliberately slam it into somebody’s face who has no desire to be any part of the physicality of the dancing, it breaks my heart. Maybe I’m not tough. Maybe I’m not cool. Maybe I’m, like I said, outdated. But seeing somebody intentionally gun for another human being that’s not expecting it – it just hurts my feelings as a human being, and it breaks my heart. If that is hardcore, I am not hardcore. Because I am more humane than that. Being humane will always supersede being hardcore for me.

 

An assertion I can comfortably make is that pop culture, and entertainment as a whole, has never been as utterly over-saturated as it is today. Given the dizzying rate at which fads come and go, and the increasingly ADD-ridden culture that we live in, do you feel even more pressure to deliver records that will break through the clutter and make an impact on audiences?

I think that there’s definitely a pressure there. Because of what you see with all old bands – they were around 20 years ago, is this band still relevant? You think about the glut of everything that’s out there, and with technology, the rise of certain gimmicks and certain sounds. And you realize that wow, we just don’t do that. Can and will music simply be enough? Yeah, I feel the pressure in that – will it be enough? But I don’t feel the pressure enough to where I’ll change anything that I’m trying to do. We’ve talked to some of the booking agents that we’ve worked with in the past, and they’ll say, just in regards do tours that we’re on, “we want to do something fun”. Fun seemed to be the word – it’s like a party atmosphere. And when we heard that, we cringed. Because that’s not what our band is. That’s not what our band does. And I’m talking outside of the music, I’m just talking about the whole general aesthetic. We like to have fun onstage and we do have fun onstage. We have heavy meanings in a lot of our songs. One of our recent songs is about our friend that died. Another one of our songs is about watching somebody you love, that raised you, die right in front of your eyes. Those aren’t fun songs. We like to have fun and we like to have lighthearted communication in between our songs, but we’re never going to go out and make light of the songs within the songs. We’re always happy to poke fun at ourselves; we always have a jovial self-deprecating humor, where we pick on who we are. But within the songs, we deliver the songs quite sincerely. And we’re never going to go onstage and be goofballs, and have the party attitude that’s really prevalent right now. Do I think that there’s anything wrong with that? No! If that’s who you are, that’s who you are. But we could never change who we are. Not in aesthetic, and certainly not in sound or style, or musical or lyrical content. We definitely feel the worry of, is genuine thought, genuine emotion, and heartfelt music, played for the right reason – will that be enough to gain a new fan? That’s used to all of these other, more superficial, gimmicky components that are so prevalent today? So there’s that. But at the end of the day we simply do what we do, and I’m actually quite surprised – and thankful, mind you – at how many 18-year-olds, if not younger, are finding our band and saying, “you’re exactly what I’ve been looking for my whole life”. So that’s refreshing. Are we reaching everyone we could by sticking to our guns? Maybe not. But we are reaching some, and that shows that music to some degree – music as it’s related and expressed genuinely by a certain character – still does transcend and make an impact.

 

That’s great. It’s actually funny that you mentioned that, because I’m nineteen, and I only found your band seven or eight months ago. And that’s because I’m acquaintances with Counterparts, so that’s how I became familiar with your band. I love Misanthropy Pure; I haven’t listened to the older releases very much to be honest with you, but I received your new album yesterday and I’m very in love with it already. So for what it’s worth, I think you are succeeding in winning over new, younger fans.

Well, that’s fantastic. And that’s all anybody could ever ask for. It’s great to know that music transcends over anything else. Style over substance is usually what the mainstream consumes, but I’m really happy to know that substance will triumph over style, even if not to a larger degree. So thank you.

 

Great! So, my next question is…

In recent years heavy music has really exploded in popularity, and begun to seep into certain facets of mainstream culture. Warped Tour especially seems to continually become dominated by bands with screaming vocals. What are your thoughts on this development? Do you think this trend will affect Shai Hulud in any way?

I’m always happy that heavier music is getting popular. I don’t watch any of those reality shows like America’s Got Talent and stuff, but I know that a couple people are even doing an angry style of vocals on those shows. Even though I might hear them and that might not be the style that I appreciate necessarily, I like the fact that aggressive music is making a bit more of a presence in mainstream. Because aggressive music has its place. Metallica has its place, Slayer has its place, Napalm death has its place, Counterparts have their place. These bands are important in their own right, and of course most people involved in underground music want to keep it underground, and keep it to themselves. And I understand that, and I feel the same way; I feel the same way about a lot of things. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that these bands do have their place and they should be heard. So I like the fact that it does branch out; that doesn’t bother me. I agree with the concept that the more it branches out the more watered down it gets, but that’s just what they call an occupational hazard, I guess. And how can this effect Shai Hulud? Well, it may bring our band to new ears. A fan that may never listen to Counterparts or Shai Hulud may very well listen to The Ghost Inside, and if they listen to The Ghost Inside, they’re guaranteed to hear of Shai Hulud. Jon Vigil did a guest spot on our record, and I know Jon Vigil likes Counterparts. So by following The Ghost Inside, at some point they will hear of Shai Hulud. Whether or not they’ll be able to relate, who knows? Because the bands do sound somewhat different. But I think it’s awesome that bigger bands acknowledge the smaller bands, and they have bigger venues with which to perform to, and bands like us can gain new people. That’s how a lot of people heard us. Chad Gilbert left our band and he started New Found Glory. I can’t tell you how many New Found Glory fans fell in love with Shai Hulud. I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about that fact. The bands that don’t have that opportunity – that play a harsher sound that isn’t as accessible to the mainstream – those bands are never going to die. And most of those bands will never change, no matter who our audience is. And if there’s somebody that likes the most cheesy, generic band that they heard on Warped Tour, if they find out about us because of that band, that’s still awesome. Because it’s never going to change Shai Hulud, or Counterparts, or Hundredth. It’s never going to change who any of us are. The real bands that are doing things for the real reasons, no matter who gets turned onto them, and what those people like primarily, our bands will never change. So I say the more the merrier, and every band in existence wants more and more people to hear them, so they can share their music and hopefully thrive on what it is that they love to do. So yeah, no problems there.

It’s already been well documented that Chad Gilbert will not be able to tour with Shai Hulud due to his many commitments with New Found Glory. For those who are wondering, can you set the record straight as to what the band’s current situation is with regards to finding a permanent vocalist?

We announced that we were looking for somebody right after we let everybody know that Chad had returned and sang on the album. And we haven’t found anyone that we are ultimately deciding on yet. We got a lot of cool auditions, and we’re always eager to hear more. So feel free to send something in if you care to. You can find out where to do that on our web page (www.hulud.com) or our Facebook page, or any other way. Right now we have a good friend of ours filling in. He plays is a band called With Life In Mind from Philadelphia. His name’s Justin Kraus. And he did the majority of the individual backups on Reach Beyond The Sun. So he’s a familiar voice that’s all over the record. Right behind Chad, he’s the most prevalent voice. And he has some time off, and he’s going to come help us destroy on these upcoming tours. He’s got a great voice, he’s a good guy, and we’re going to go out there and obliterate every single person that we come in contact with. That’s the goal: to fully annihilate.

 

Due to the volume of details involved, I won’t attempt to summarize the band’s history of lineup changes in this interview. Instead I’d like to simply ask: are you completely comfortable with the lineup being a revolving door of sorts? Does that make for a feeling of instability, or does it help keep every tour and album feeling fresh and exciting?

No one likes instability. Any type of instability – in a band, in a romantic relationship, financially. Shit, no one even likes to walk during an earthquake because the ground is unstable. We definitely don’t thrive on instability, and it doesn’t make things feel fresh, at least not for me. Maybe on the albums, because we’ve always had different voices on the records. Except for Reach Beyond The Sun, which is now the second album that Chad Gilbert has sang on. Maybe the albums seem a little fresh because you never know what to expect, and it’s not the same old thing. And maybe from the audiences’ standpoint, it does come off as being fresh; I don’t know. But for me, I like stability. And it’s something that we’re always shooting for, but like I say in almost any interview when this question comes up: life happens. Life is happening right now. And in this moment right now, somebody feels differently than they did five minutes ago. And what was important to somebody yesterday may still be important to them today, but because other situations have changed, they can’t focus on that. So what people need to realize is that fact: that life does happen. There are plenty of bands that change lineups and continue to thrive. Nobody wants to quit. No band wants to entirely give up. There are some bands that maybe start off as four or five close friends, they’re all in it together, and if it’s not all of us, it’s none of us. And perhaps one of those guys leaves the band and everybody else says, “We decided it’s all of us or none of us; we’re breaking up”. What do they do? They start a new band that’s essentially the same thing. Nobody wants to stop. And it’s a real noble thing to say it’s all of us or nothing, but it’s also very difficult when you’ve been playing for a long time, and you and other people put your heart and soul into something, and somebody else is unstable. Or they thought they wanted something, and then they find out that they didn’t. Or their wife gets pregnant, and all of a sudden financial responsibilities are different. Or a job offer comes up that’s going to drastically improve their quality of life, and it’s a one in a lifetime opportunity that they can’t pass up. All of these things that I’ve just mentioned happened to us. And the band simply cannot take responsibility for life happening. And keep in mind, the core of this band has always written the music and the lyrics. And that core is the same from ’95 that it is now. So the content has never, and will never change. But some of the players have, and may continue to do so. But I don’t think it’s very fair to the core of any band to have to give up what they’ve worked so hard for because life happens, and somebody else has to change their situation.

So, an unstable lineup is certainly not our desired situation, but its something that we’re willing to deal with because the core and those that have been in the band for a while are working so hard to keep our band alive. And we work so hard on our music, and there are so many people that care about what they do, that we simply can’t let somebody else’s life happening interfere with our lives happening.

 

2b2e870dabWhile you have often cited the South Florida music scene as a major influence on Shai Hulud’s music, the band has been based out of New York for the last handful of years. I won’t ask you to pick a favourite, but how would you compare the two?

Well, I should say that I have been in New Jersey for the past couple years. The whole band is everywhere. We’ve got a guitar player in Florida, we’ve got a bass player in Oklahoma, we’ve got a drummer in Connecticut. So that said, we are definitely a South Florida hardcore band. That’s where we started, that’s where the inspiration came from. We’re forever a South Florida hardcore band. But I find that scenes aren’t terribly different. The only difference in the scene from New York and Florida that I notice, is just that I experienced the New York scene when I was older. So when I met all of the people in the New York scene, they lived through very similar experiences that I lived through when I was in my teen and early twenty years in Florida. I just happened to meet these people a little later in life. But when I hear the stories about the local bands that went on to fame, the people that joined bigger bands from other countries, all the same situations and stories seem to happen. And a lot of scenes are usually pretty close-knit. There are never usually too many rivalries. Everyone goes to the shows, and they’re all friends, and certain areas are inclined to like certain sounds and certain styles and certain projects of certain people. That’s how it was when we moved to New York, and that’s how it was when we lived in Florida. And the scenes were great. I guess the main difference is there was no show in Florida that was ever cancelled because of snow.

 

Upon the release of Misanthropy Pure in 2008, you made it clear that even though there had been a five-year interval since the release of your previous album, the band had not taken any time off, and that all the members had been hard at work on either new Shai Hulud music or other projects the entire time. Would you say that the exact same thing is applicable this time around?

Yeah, I don’t think that we’ve ever stopped. We’re always active in some capacity. In fact, the reason that I know this to be true is because my favourite thing to do in life is be inactive. I love doing nothing. I love just not thinking, and not working, and laying down and just enjoying something. That’s my absolute favourite thing to do in life. So the fact that I rarely get to do that proves to me that we are always busy, at least I am, with something. Shai Hulud is always communicating, always working on something, always trying to further itself or make itself known, whether via interviews or new music, or touring. And in addition to that, there are other projects that we work on in our spare time. So I think that it’s pretty safe to say that everybody in Shai Hulud, with work, normal life, band stuff, or other project stuff, is usually kept pretty consistently busy. Which again, I would hope that I will have a break just to take a week and do absolutely nothing. I miss those days; that’s my favourite thing to do.

 

While Shai Hulud is widely known for impressive technicality and musicianship, your lyrics have always been highly sophisticated and thought-provoking as well. I sometimes need to check a dictionary when reading your lyrics just to make sure I’m understanding everything correctly. Can you share some of your major influences, not so much as a musician, but as a writer?

That’s funny, because there are a lot of writers that I really love – screenwriters, playwrights, authors – but I don’t know that any of that really comes into play in the lyrics so much. I think what mainly comes into play is the fact that I know we have some points in our songs and we have some things that we really want to get across. And some of them can be taken as being pretty weighty, pretty heavy. Lets say there’s one side politically, and they’re championing a cause, and then one of their more ignorant participants sounds off and starts spouting off at the mouth and sounds like a real idiot. And then you might hear somebody that’s slightly more intelligent on that side say, “Hey, stay off my side.” Because they realize that even though you and I feel the same way, your whole manner, your demeanor, the things you say, the way in which you say them, just sucks and makes us seem stupid. That’s how I feel about Shai Hulud’s lyrics. Because we have something that we really want to express, I feel that we have to deliver it in a manner where somebody can read it and take it seriously. Where if we’re talking about hating people, we’re not going to just say we hate you, fuck off, you suck. Not that we would ever do that, but that’s not going to get you any attention; that’s not going to deliver the point. It might deliver the point to some, but it’s not going to deliver the point to a lot of people. And the things that we have to say, we want people to understand. And that’s more why the approach, for lack of a better term, is as poetic as it is, or as structured as it is. Because we want to say things simply in a manner where not only maybe a teenager will listen and feel like they’re reading something that’s impressive, but maybe also their parents can read something and will say, “Huh, this band has a really strong point. I don’t like the music, but I really like what these guys are saying, this is cool”. And we’ve gotten that quite a few times. A friend of mine, his mother ended up reading our lyrics. And she said, “I never want to hear this band, because I’m sure I wouldn’t like what they play”, because she didn’t like the kind of music her son listened to, but she said, “I really respect these guys’ message and the manner in which they deliver it”. And that’s simply it. For us just to come out and say, again, fuck you, you suck, is not going to make as much of a deep or lasting impact as wording that same thought phrased like “a profound hatred of man”. Which is a little more intriguing, and a little more palatable to the mature ear, as far as delivering what it is we’re trying to say, and what we have in our minds and hearts. That’s why we do that.

…A majority of people don’t like the moron that’s spouting out. People like when something is constructed well, and spoken where you can really make a strong and cutting point. But not everybody simply cares to do that. Not everybody wants to do that. So to each his own. But no matter what anybody wants, that’s what we feel is important, and especially with this band, that’s the only way that we’ll ever, ever choose to deliver our message.

 

What’s it like to know that Shai Hulud is frequently cited as a major influence by some of the most visible younger bands in the hardcore scene?

If that’s the case, then I think it’s awesome. I never thought that anybody would care about or band when we started. Who were we? We weren’t as good as Metallica, we weren’t writing as cool music as Sick Of It All or Chain Of Strength, so I’m glad to know that what I thought could never be, really is. That’s awesome; I always applaud younger bands for taking inspiration from older bands. That’s fantastic, and I’m grateful to all of them for listening to us and allowing themselves to be inspired by what we do.

 

 

Can you provide us with any updates/details regarding Shai Hulud’s elusive, long-anticipated DVD release?

Not much to tell. The only thing that I’ll say is that we always wanted to do a DVD, and when we decided to do a DVD it was at a certain time, and we thought we were changing our name. And the band was going to release a DVD almost as the final curtain. We ended up keeping the name, and to move forward with that DVD we simply needed a permanent singer, one that was going to be in the band, otherwise we didn’t feel that it made sense to release the footage that we had, or to record new footage. Because we wanted to focus on the now, and not just a period of time. So what we have been waiting for is just to get a lineup that we know is slightly more secure than it has been, and go out there and record a full tour, and give somebody a brief overview in DVD form where we have been and where we are currently. But we would rather not release a DVD at all than focus on a certain point and make it seem like we’re highlighting or giving importance to one specific time. Because the most important time in anyone’s life is now. And our most important time is now. And we don’t ever want to lose sight of that, or give the impression that we feel that anything is more important than now.

 

The next question is from my friend Ian, who is also a big fan of the band. It’s a little long winded, but I think we’ll get through it: What do you think are the most pervasive and harmful values, ways of living, ideals, etc. that most of us adopt without question that we must fight/work against to move closer to a state of autonomy/integrity?

Woah, that might be a little more than I can grasp onto after a long interview and all day of them! Well, without dissecting everything and without touching on every single point, I can tell you that I certainly have no answers, but I have my observations. Two things that I think cause a lot of consistent, and maybe even minor problems that lead to large problems – but it’s a lack of introspection, and a lack of self awareness. Which are almost one and the same, but somewhat different. Without examining yourself, and knowing exactly who it is that you are and how people relate to you, and react towards your decisions, and how people are affected by your decisions – this can cause, and does cause on a consistent basis, and I think on a small scale and large scale, a great amount of upset. And depending on the person that’s irritated, it could cause anything from a fistfight to a world war, I imagine. Any type of lack of introspection – in my opinion, I’m no psychoanalyst, I’m no psychologist. But just based on the people I know that really are never introspective, and never look inside themselves to think about what they are, they just kind of exist as they are, and they expect the whole world to accept what it is that they have to offer. I really don’t think that human beings work like that. As much as we would all love to just kind of be who we are, brazenly and outspokenly, I think there has to be also that humility that acknowledges that the things that we do may drastically negatively affect somebody else and cause a problem. Now of course, there’s a fine line for that, because I would never, ever, in a million years, ask anyone who’s born homosexual to deny who they are. I want them to be out and as free as they feel they should be, or free as anybody else. So I don’t mean that people should be restricting themselves in that capacity. Be who you are, and feel what you feel. But you know, I like heavy music. I don’t go outside and blast my music so the whole world that might not enjoy what I have to hear has to suffer through it. Or somebody that smokes a cigar walking on a crowded sidewalk smoking. No big deal, because everybody loves cigar smoke, right? This isn’t going to affect anybody! Just those kinds of people, that just aren’t aware of how their attitude, their demeanor, their actions, affect anybody else in any capacity. I think that’s a real problem. And I think that’s something that people should fight against – the comfort of not examining ones’ self. Because I think it’s really easy to disregard who it is you are, and not really think about how others are affected by that. So that’s something I think people should fight against, because for most people I think it’s natural not to pay attention to one’s self. And again, just to repeat myself, the way people react to one’s self. So that’s my off the top of my head answer to a very, very complicated question [laughs]!

 

Are there any additional words you’d like to leave with fans who are going to be reading this?

My usual parting words are the most important ones: thank you. Thank you very much for reading this. Thank you for your time, your attention, your love, encouragement, support, negativity, criticism, nasty or constructive or otherwise – any amount of attention you’ve ever paid to Shai Hulud, we benefit from. So thank you, very, very kindly.

 

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