Music Business

I Am The Night and how they took Black Metal global [Interview]

I Am The Night may be releasing its debut album in 2022, but it’s the culmination of a dream that Markus Vanhala has maintained for decades. 

A guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix.

We all grew up imagining our adult lives and who we might become. Then we grew up, gained debt, and began the lifelong struggle to balance professional success and personal happiness. Those still chasing dreams are either already successful, gleefully delusional, or have such a firm grasp on their identity that doing anything less than bringing their vision to life would be an utter disappointment.

Markus Vanhala would probably tell you he’s a little bit of all three combined into one happy and hardworking human. The legendary metal musician has built a career out of soundtracking the lives of metalheads worldwide, but he’s done it while ignoring a dream he’s held onto tightly since the late-1900s: He always wanted to start a black metal band.

Then something unusual happened. Three months into 2020, the world was rocked by the outbreak of a global pandemic reaching critical mass. You may have heard about it. 

Presented with ample time at home and the freedom to explore his creativity, Vanhala saw the perfect opportunity to chase his dream. He recruited a who’s-who of metal and set to creating an album that would pay homage to the 90s black metal he grew up loving. The result is a project called I Am The Night, and the album is While The Gods Are Sleeping.

Every aspect of I Am The Night’s sound and aesthetic feels transported directly from the 90s black metal scene. It’s an intentional effort to bring an oft-overlooked chapter of metal history to a new generation of curious fans, and it’s working.

In our latest ‘Fast Five’ interview, Music Biz host James Shotwell connects with Markus Vanhala over Zoom to discuss the work involved in promoting a new black metal release in 2022. Markus recounts the band’s history and how his motivations for starting the group inform his goals for the album. We also talk about signing with Svart, aging in music, and more. Enjoy!

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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