Šakal is a Serbian black metal band formed in 2021. Since the band was founded by experienced members of the Serbian metal scene, it didn’t take long for the quartet to release their first songs. After a few singles, the first album entitled Yav, Prav, Nav followed along with their first live performance. In Slovenia, we will have an opportunity to see the band live soon, as the band is currently preparing for its live performance at the Brutal Janez Fest festival.
DEJAN: You are completely new on the scene, as the band was formed in 2021. How would you describe yourselves?
VELJKO: Actually we are a bunch of old friends who wanted to come together and play music we love. And as time went by, we quickly understood that this could be something much bigger than a few rehearsals and YouTube videos, so we decided to record an album. And that is pretty much it. We aren't planning on stopping any time soon.
DEJAN: According to Metal Archives you derived your names from individual letters in the band's name. You didn’t want to reveal your real names?
VELJKO: We have recently revealed our full names. Actually the guys who update Metal Archives did. And that's perfectly fine. We wanted Šakal to be an independent deity, a band of its own. We never wanted it to be regarded as a side project of ex-members of various bands. That's why we didn't want to reveal everything right away.
DEJAN: Since the name of the band consists of five letters, Metal Archives are telling me that one member left the band? Am I right?
VELJKO: Yes, that is correct. The original singer left the band but still contributes as a lyric writer. So that was an amicable split. We also have a new bassist, but it should also be mentioned that the previous bassist Buda has done a lot for this band, including lots of help during the recording process and making the lyric video for the song Dok Gorim. We like to give credit where credit is due. The new guy is Karoly, a well-known local metalhead who has played in probably 20 metal bands so far, including some cult acts such as M.A.D: Goya, Terrörhammer, Bane and so on. He is also the guy behind the band Khargash. He fit in really quickly and really well, but that wasn't a surprise since we have been friends for a long time. We do not wish any more line-up changes. This is Šakal as it was always supposed to be.
DEJAN: On the other hand, you don't wear masks. Do you use corpse paint on stage?
VELJKO: No corpse paint for us, we feel that we can express ourselves through the music alone. You won't see us wearing baseball caps and track suits on stage either.
DEJAN: Like in the vein of “Let the music do the talking”?
VELJKO: Exactly. If the music is strong enough, it's going to come through.
DEJAN: How many concerts do you have under your belt?
VELJKO: Just one for now, in our hometown in the badass local metal club Dvorište. It was totally insane.
DEJAN: But in this case you are talking only about the live performances of Šakal. On the other hand you have lots of live experience with other bands, right?
VELJKO: Well, personally I haven't stepped on stage since 2007 before this gig in Novi Sad and I have only played in Wolf's Hunger prior. But the rest of the guys have been active in many different bands and some still are. So, yeah, it's not like we picked up our instruments yesterday.
DEJAN: While we’re on the subject of other bands… What happened to Wolf's Hunger? Is Šakal its replacement?
VELJKO: I will try to be as clear as possible when I say that Wolf's Hunger is gone and it's something that will not be revisited. Šakal is anything but a replacement. The whole point of a new name was a whole brand new start with some different people.
DEJAN: You will come to Maribor in September, which will be your first performance in Slovenia. Did you have a hard time deciding to perform at Brutal Janez Fest?
VELJKO: Not a hard time at all, we wanted to play at Brutal Janez since the guys first contacted us. When we saw that bands like Melechesh played last year, we were really fired up since we are big fans. And it is truly an honour to represent Serbian black metal alongside the mighty The Stone. We cannot wait for that gig.
DEJAN: Well, we are also proud that we could work with Melechesh last year and of course also with The Stone this year. It has been more than 13 years since they played in Maribor. In combination with your performance I am sure it will be a special evening.
VELJKO: I couldn't agree more. I have watched The Stone live since I was a kid and I have watched them recently. They are a fantastic live band. Some of the best black metal performances I have seen live were from The Stone. So we are really fired up for that one for sure.
DEJAN: Like you, the festival is also very young, it was founded in 2021. What do you expect from Maribor?
VELJKO: Well as we said, we really cannot wait to play in Maribor. We expect a good time and hope that the local metalheads will have a good time also.
DEJAN: Last year, you released your debut album Jav, Prav, Nav, which you previously announced with three singles. Have you recorded any new music since or will the debut be all that the Maribor audience will hear?
VELJKO: First of all, thank you for a truly honest, detailed and awesome review. It means a lot to us. We have a few new songs, all of which are still in the “under construction” phase. We hope that we will present at least one new song in Maribor.
DEJAN: You released the album on CD as a limited edition. For this purpose, you teamed up with the Polish label Werewolf Prom. How did this collaboration come about?
VELJKO: We were in search for a label for a very short time and Simon from Werewolf replied to us saying that he likes what he hears and that he wants to release it. The negotiations were extremely easy. Simon is a very cool guy and he did everything relatively quickly. We are 100% satisfied with how things went as far as the release is concerned.
DEJAN: Did you ever consider releasing the album digitally only because of the cost?
VELJKO: We wanted to have CDs. If we hadn't found a label, which would print them, we would have done it by ourselves.
DEJAN: Will you have CDs with you in Maribor or are they already sold out?
VELJKO: We still have some and we are bringing all of our merch to Maribor.
DEJAN: You come from Novi Sad, which is the second largest city in Serbia. What's the scene like there? Are there many bands? I ask because Maribor is also the second largest city in the country, but the metal scene has cooled down a bit in recent years. In Maribor, we are currently trying to bring any sorts of metal back to the city. What is it like in Novi Sad?
VELJKO: I guess we do have a scene going on. When we played our debut, there were at least 200 metalheads there that night. Concerning the bands, especially black metal bands, things could be a bit better.
DEJAN: How connected are you with Belgrade? Do you rotate bands a lot for gigs?
VELJKO: We are close with the guys from Svartgren from Belgrade and plan to do more shows with them. It's not exactly easy to book a show for us over here. That's why we did our first gig in our own production.
DEJAN: Do metalheads from Belgrade come to your concerts and vice versa?
VELJKO: That's something we have yet to find out.
DEJAN: Let's get back to your music. Can you already talk about your favourite track from Jav, Prav, Nav after a year?
VELJKO: We feel each of those songs is very important. Some of the riffs are 20 years old and some are as fresh as they can be. We love all of them. But maybe we get the most fired up when we play the track Ja i Crnobog live. That's a different beast.
DEJAN: What is different there?
VELJKO: Well, it has this punky feeling to it when you play it. And it's the only song that lacks that epic element for which we are already known for. It's dark and energetic. For sure we would like to make more songs of that kind but you just cannot force that to happen. Crnobog happened by itself and so did the rest of the album.
DEJAN: How would you describe your debut in your own words?
VELJKO: With the risk of sounding tacky, it's an extremely honest expression from us. All four of us feel that music the same way.
DEJAN: What are your plans for the future?
VELJKO: To continue doing exactly the same. The new stuff is going to be in the same vein as Yav, Prav, Nav, just maybe a bit more direct and aggressive. We just want to keep on making music that we love, and spreading it among people who love it as well.
DEJAN: Do you have an exact date by when you want the new album to be finished? Probably not this year yet?
VELJKO: Considering that we are still in the writing process, I think it's really hard to pin point a date at this moment. All I know is that all of us are really keen on hitting the trenches in the studio. Of course we would love it if the songs would be recorded by the end of the year.