Interview: Hal Microutsicos – Engulf

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Meddlefan loves his Death Metal, so who better to have a chat with Hal Microutsicos, the legend behind New Jersey based one man Death Metal band Engulf! Yes, this man does it all, and he does it very well if we don’t say so ourselves! Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy the ride!

Hi Hal, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Let’s start with the basics, where did you grow up?

I was born in Trenton, but grew up in Central VA.

And what made you start writing music?

I got really into Metal sometime during early middle school, and after hearing “Liege of Inveracity” by Suffocation, I knew that I wanted to try and make something as cool as that!

Are you working on an any new material currently?

I am (and have been for some time) working on material for a full length Engulf album, but just haven’t had enough time to dedicate to finish the songs and get anything recorded. The full length probably won’t actually be finished and see the light of day until 2022, or later. I like to write the songs and really let them “fester” for a long time before releasing.

What are your goals for this new year?

Musically, continue working on new material for my other band, Blasphemous. We are in the process of writing the band’s 4th full length album (my second since joining in 2016). I also am going to continue promoting bands and booking shows in my area (Philadelphia) through my booking company, Death Sculpted Productions.

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What do you do for a living when not writing killer Death Metal?

I am an engineer.

Would you rather jump out of a plane or rappel from a helicopter?

Rappel from a helicopter…that sounds fun!

Which do you prefer, the axe or the sword?

AXE.

And now the Conan question, what is your favourite part of the movie?

All of it! Really great movie, through it’s been sometime since I have seen it.

What do you think of the Dune books, have you read them?

I have never read them.

Got a favourite author or authors?

I’m definitely not a reader, so I can’t say I have a favourite author. Although, Stephen King‘s stories have always interested me.

What would you say is your favourite thing to collect, if anything?

SOULS….jk. But I do enjoy collecting tapes and vinyl.

Do you hunt or fish?

I used to hunt growing up, but not anymore. Never been much of a fisher myself.

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So you’ve never been ice fishing?

Never have!…it would be an experience, I would think.

Burgers, what’s your favourite?

Good question…I like a lot of different kinds, but a bacon/blue cheese burger is really good. I also like a more simple burger – something with just a bit of yellow mustard and grilled onions. Always cooked medium rare!

Now for another meaty question, what’s your favourite thing about Death Metal?

The energy. The bands who really do Death Metal right convey a certain energy, regardless of how fast or slow they play, and when it’s done right, you just know. Ya know, those moments that, when you hear for the first time, you have to do almost a double take…”did they just do that? I gotta hear that again!” Those types of moments that just make your nose turn up with how heavy or brutal a riff or song passage is.

So can you tell us why you play and create Death Metal?

I feel it’s my primary creative outlet. I have a lot of ideas in my head that come up musically and I love being able to translate those ideas through my guitar and voice.

Who or what gives you the inspiration to create music the music you do?

Not really sure what. I just pick up my guitar and if I feel something brewing that could be a song or a riff I just start working on playing what I hear in my head. Can’t say that any one thing drives me in that direction to create, it kind just happens when it happens and I don’t force it.

Do you collect music? Vinyl, Cd’s or cassettes?

Yes to vinyl and cassettes. I used to collect alot of CDs, but not so much anymore.

What’s the best place you have been to in the world?

I’ve still got a lot of the world to see, but I’ve really enjoyed San Diego – beautiful city with alot to do (beer to drink!) I also quite like the farm which I grew up on, so peaceful and quiet. I’ve still got alot of the world to see yet, as well.

Where would you like to travel if given the chance?

I would definitely like to make my way to the Pacific Northwest USA, as well as Colorado for some of the hiking and outdoor sights. I’ve never been to Texas, so being a huge BBQ fan I’d like to make my way to some of the BBQ gems in Austin. Internationally, I would love to see the Mediterranean (Greece, Italy) as well as other parts of Europe like Germany, England and Ireland.

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What are some of your musical goals if I may ask?

Just continuing to write the sickest Death Metal that I can conjure, is really it. I’m happy with just playing shows here and there with Blasphemous, and writing Death Metal for Engulf when time allows.

Do you smoke weed?

No.

What’s your favourite kind of peanut butter?

Crunchy! LOVE peanut butter, man. I usually buy Peanut Butter & Co. Old Fashioned Crunchy, but I like JIF Natural for toasted bagels and wafflles…gets all melty!

Do you like good beer?

OF COURSE! I actually just had to buy a small beer fridge because my food fridge was running out of room for food…too much beer in there!

Do you have any touring plans with Engulf, is it a possibility?

No touring plans for Engulf. Unless the stars aligned and I got a really good lineup, doubt I’d ever play live with the band. If I did, it would likely just be a performance here or there on a bigger stage, if possible.

Do you enjoy playing live?

I do enjoy it, yes. But once a month is about the max that I have time for with my current band, Blasphemous. Last year we only played 4 shows (I was only at two of them due to work obligation).

What kind of artwork do you appreciate?

Anything visually striking that makes me want to pick the record up and listen to it. I’ve picked up a record that I have never heard anything from before and listened just because the artwork was amazing. I really like artwork that is on a really big scale. Seagrave‘s stuff is classic and I still love his newer art as well. I have also really come to love Paolo GirardiMariusz Lewandowski, Kristian Wahlin and Eliran Kantor.

Over to you mate, anything you’d like to add?

Can’t say anything else other than thank you for this fun interview! Be sure to check out the newest Engulf EP, entitled “Transcend” which was released via my brothers at Everlasting Spew Records this year. More to come in the future. If you’re into Black/Melodic Death Metal check out my other band, Blasphemous, and if you’re in a band and would like to play in Philadelphia, hit me up at Death Sculpted Productions on social media or at the emails below. Cheers and eternal hails!

And there you have it. Questions, questions, and more questions, answered in fine form by Hal, who seems to be a pretty solid dude, and can fucking play! Many thanks as always to the great Meddlefan and Hal both! Follow the links below and give him the support he deserves people! Get on it!

https://www.facebook.com/engulfdm/

https://www.facebook.com/everlastingspew/

https://engulfdm.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/deathsculptedpros/

https://www.facebook.com/blasphemousmetal/

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