SHAMALL has delivered with the 5 CD box "History Book" an impressive show of their work; three decades are a lot of wood, also in the music industry. Norbert Krüler alias Shamall has long since created his own "feel-good zone" between prog, space rock and electronics. "History Book" offers a rich overview of his work. From a total of 13 albums from the period between 1989 and 2009, he has selected.
eclipsed: With the 5 CD box "History Book" you have delivered an impressive work exhibition. How did this project come about - why this comprehensive retrospective now, what was the occasion?
Norbert Krüler: The reason was of course Shamall's 30th anniversary. So a fitting occasion for a musical review "from the beginning to now".
eclipsed: How did you approach this project? How did you select the songs and distribute them over the CDs?
Krüler: I listened to the titles of all the albums again and then decided according to my personal feelings.
eclipsed: There's a clear cut. You left out material before 1989, like your 86 radio hit "My Dream" (exception "Caligula 2009", originally also from 86). You sure it's a conscious decision?
Krüler: "My Dream" as well as "Feeling Like A Stranger" were in retrospect two existential basic compositions, without which the entry into the professional music world would probably not have succeeded. Good electro-pop titles, which are rooted in the 80s, but have nothing to do with the work of today. The situation is different with "Caligula 2009". On the one hand, the title still has a large fan base today, and on the other hand I still have a special relationship to it because it was my absolute debut work.
eclipsed: At the same time there are no tracks from your last studio record "Turn Off" from 2013, but CD 5 is the delicacy in the box. Here you can find outtakes, very successful rest material from "Turn Off". By the way, it is a very consumer-friendly decision that you can also buy this CD individually! But why did you integrate this into the box and not market it as a normal new movement?
Krüler: Since "Continuation" isn't a new album in the classical sense, but rather a non-published music of the "Turn Off" theme, this was a good opportunity to give the fans what I personally think are really good tracks.
eclipsed: Didn't your old albums have any leftover material that could fit on the box?
Krüler: You can find these outtakes from earlier phases on "Collectors Items" from 1993 and on "Feeling Like A Stranger - The Whole Trip" from 2010.
eclipsed: Was there remastering on the older tracks?
Krüler: The different volume levels of different albums were striking during the compilation. These were subtly adjusted to a common level. In order not to destroy the zeitgeist of this music, the remastering was also carried out meticulously in the psychoacoustic field.
eclipsed: Special praise goes to the very valuable and beautiful presentation in a slipcase and the individual cover artwork for each individual CD. What was behind the Far Eastern man who connected everything and who sat contemplatively before the different scenarios?
Krüler: It was very important to us to create a visual connection between the individual albums. Thus the idea arose that a Tibetan monk could accompany the development of the individual Shamall phases through the years.
eclipsed: In retrospect, would you like to change some of the earlier tracks? Did you have to resist this temptation?
Krüler: I have often thought about transporting earlier titles into the present. There'd be a few of them. However, the fact that many fans associate their youth memories with the original versions speaks against this. Furthermore, it is a curse and a blessing at the same time that a musician himself is subject to a process of development over the years and therefore hears these titles with different ears. A reinterpretation would therefore entail the great risk of destroying the original charm of the originals.
eclipsed: Are there pieces you don't like anymore today?
Krüler: Not really. Each title is part of the development.
eclipsed: After working on a show like this, you either fall into a black hole, or you grab new material right away - what's the situation with you?
Krüler: Music is a matter of the heart for me. I couldn't imagine a day without music. I also don't waste my thoughts on later success when working. You can't create a good creative work if you're subject to commercial constraints. So it is always exciting to see how far I can develop musically with the help of my fellow musicians. Black holes are not an issue.
eclipsed: How does Shamall see himself in 2016 - a musician satisfied with himself and his work?
Krüler: Looking back on the work of the last 30 years? Yes, with a few exceptions, that's true.
eclipsed: Has the work on your musical work opened up new horizons for you, a new view of your own work?
Krüler: I can't say. For me, music is a "journey without a timetable". If I get goose bumps myself, I've done something good. "I can't analyze it scientifically.
* * * Interview: Walter Sehrer