Trendcrusher

Djinn & Miskatonic

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Djinn & Miskatonic are a doom metal band from Bangalore, India. Their debut album Forever in the Realm was the first Indian release by Transcending Obscurity. The album received rave reviews from around the world and further strengthened Bangalore reputation as the Doom metal capital of India. Last month, the band released their  sophomore album Even Gods Must Die. The album takes forward the sonic template established on their debut album with a few surprises.

Read my interview with vocalist GK and bassist JP on Unite Asia

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February 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Knight

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Knight are a heavy metal band from Silchar, Assam. The duo of vocalist/guitarist Shibam Talukdar and bassist Soumyadeep Nath Barbhuiyan have been working on their EP High on Voodoo for quite some time now and it is out via new label Slaytanic Records.

I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Shibam Talukdar about their influences, their soon to be released EP and plans for the coming year.

Read my interview with Shibam Talukdar on Transcending Obscurity

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December 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

Richard Weeks (Blackened Death Records)

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The label feature is back after a short gap. This time around, the label in focus Blackened Death Records from UK. The label was started by Richard Weeks a couple years ago and in a short time has put out some killer black and death metal releases.

Find out more about the origins of the label, change in bands & customers and upcoming releases in my interview with Richard below.

Hi Richard, you started Blackened Death Records in 2015. How did you decide to start a label? Why did you decide to start a label that releases only extreme metal music?

I started Blackened Death for a very selfish reason – to self-publish my own music. I started my first band, Carnivorous Forest, in 2012 and the first demos were very rough. After a few years and very little interest in my projects, I opted to start self-publishing my music. And Blackened Death was born.

Your first release was Carnivorous Forest – Necromancy. How did the release come about?

I wanted to do a cover album of extreme metal songs reinterpreted in a dark folk style. At the same time I was recording the album I came up with the idea to do my own label. It was only fitting Necromancy was our first release.

What have been the most memorable releases on your label so far?

The first two Hammer Smashed Faith compilations were incredible to work on. I got to work with some of my favourite artists like Thrawsunblat, SIG:AR:TYR, Toehider, and Chthe’ilist. We have also just released a giant 74 track album called Noise Against Racism which is almost 9 hours long. Very proud of that album and all the acts behind it spreading the same message.

What is the biggest problem that you faced so far in running the label?

One of the big issues I deal with daily is people trying to scam me. I get emails daily asking me to send /physical copies only/ to such and such zine. I also get a lot of so called labels asking me to pay them 80 euros a track to get put on their “cover mount CD” to magazines that do not exist. BDR doesn’t make a lot of money and the money we make goes right back into the label. When someone tries to take advantage of me or my bands, I see fucking red.

What kind of marketing do you do?

To be honest, we don’t do a lot of marketing. We have our social network presence and beyond an occasional Facebook ad, we just work on word of mouth. I think it’s the most honest way of doing business. I like getting involved with the community. I don’t like saying we have “fans” – we have friends and family.

What changes have you noticed in bands/customers in the past decade?

Changes in bands. A lot of underground bands are literally out there breaking their necks to entertain the fans. When you see a small band do a month long tour where they pay for /everything/ themselves just to satisfy the fans, I think that is amazing. In 2017 there are more underground bands than ever and finding your niche can be hard. I have maximum respect for small bands who do it all themselves.

As for changes in customers. I think a lot of them know about the struggles of small bands. Seeing fans buy directly from bands is awesome. Seeing a band get 100% of what they deserve is the absolute best.

What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?

I look for honesty and passion. I sign bands who I think deserve some attention. I don’t look for “bands that will push product” or “bands that will hit the charts”. I see a lot of small bands out there who work their asses off and get nothing out of it. If I can get ears and eyes pointed in their direction… that is why I do this.

Have you been in a band? What instrument do you play?

I am in many, many bands. The aforementioned Carnivorous Forest, Suicide Wraith, The Meads of Asphodel… and many more. I have found in the current day and age, you have to have as many skills as you can. So originally a guitarist and vocalist, I have taught myself how to play bass, keyboards, how to layout an album, how to mix and master, how to EQ, how to promote, how to do almost everything myself. I have learned a lot of lessons and earned a lot of skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Do you have any advice for those planning to start a metal music record label?

My advice is to /just do it/. If you have a passion for something, do it. Just realise that not everyone is going to be Iron Maiden or Metallica – you are gonna have to do as much on your own as possible. Learn other instruments, learn art, learn PR, just /assume/ you will need these skills at some point. Never stop learning new skills.

What are the upcoming releases from your label?

We have a number of exciting releases coming up soon. A huge grind / crust / death metal / punk compilation called “Grinding Aural Torture” and the three way split between Suicide Wraith / Uncanny Reality / Necrolytic Goat Converter is going to be killer.

 

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December 19, 2017 at 11:40 pm

False Flag

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False Flag are crust/hardcore band from Pune, India. The band are one of the the few current independent metal/punk bands releasing politically inspired music in India.The others being Heathen Beast and Chaos.

Find out more about origins of the band, theirs soon to be released EP and the unique cover art in my interview with guitarists Rohit Chaoji and Shaunak Phadnis below on Transcending Obscurity

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December 11, 2017 at 10:13 pm

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Palayan interview

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Palayan is the solo project of Sandeep Sequeira. I know Sandeep from my time in Dubai where he was part of a metal band, Beneath the Remains. The band featured the Ampulance compilation that I helped to put together. Last month, Sandeep released his first album as Palayan, Metanoia. The album is a mix of post rock and electronica, a big departure from the metal sound. 

I spoke to Sandeep about the origins of Palayan, the album and the possibility of  performing live.

Picture by Ahmed Carter

 

Your recently released your first album as Palayan, Metanoia. How does it feel now that the album has been released?

Just sitting with the mastered tracks in my AirBnB rented room in Chiswick was a feeling of pride. I was proud that I didn’t settle on any aspect of the album and that it was the album I was always dreamed to make but didn’t think I was capable of years ago. When I was in that room I thought, even if I don’t get to release this properly I wouldn’t be upset, because I had done something for myself. I took moments of sadness, grief, pain, anger, betrayal, confusion and made something that made me feel none of those things. Anything I write is self therapy, so far. Releasing the album and people listening to it and messaging me about the songs is a bonus for me and a testament to my team’s dedication and patience.

From those who are unfamiliar with Palayan. How did you start the project?

Back in 2012, I kind of left my music dreams in a bin. The trauma of the drama and failure from my first metal band, left me frustrated and sick of chasing the dream. After not doing any music at all in 2012, my dream was re-ignited. Collaborating with Hesham Abdul Wahab here in Dubai in our time in university inspired me and gave me confidence to explore what I was ridiculed for before. People told me I can’t sing and that I wasn’t really capable of making anything other than metal. Which was strange because even in those metal days I wrote the same way as I write now, the same sense of melodies, chords, etc. I just present it differently now. So working with Hesham was an eye opening experience. I owe the start of Palayan to him. I started out making electronic and post rock instrumentals filled with elements of fusion. I started singing in 2014 and the way I write changed after that, I found another instrument to use.

From a guitarist in a metal band to a singer-songwriter. How did you make the transition?

I always wanted to sing but the people around me at the time never gave me the confidence and I guess I allowed them to put me down. I always wrote anyway, writing songs and recording was always happening. There are albums worth of material lying in hard drives. All the songs I wrote in the metal days and now always start on the acoustic guitar. So in that sense I still write and compose the same way. Having the confidence to sing and seeing people’s amazing reaction to my first vocal recording in 2014 was enough for me to make the transition to a singer-songwriter.

The inspiration behind Metanoia is a relationship that you went through. How did you go about the songwriting process for the album?

The songwriting didn’t happen intentionally. My friends joke about my writing volume. Sometimes I feel I have the opposite of writer’s block. My phone and computer is filled with music written from 2005. There are thousands of pieces scattered and I haven’t even listened to 5% of them. These songs on the record were phone recordings found on my phone from December 2015 to October 2016. Each song is an incident or a moment. And every track is in the order it was written. I only intended to release Chapter 1 as an EP because that was already recorded before I recorded the rest. Luckily, I found some more phone recordings and I started finding all the notes in my phone and in my books. I made a list thinking, ‘Maybe this can be an album.’ That idea marinated in my head for a couple of months before I knew I had to do it. And it was a journey of sorts.

The album features Indian musical instruments like the tabla. How did they become a part of your sound?

I have always had an interest in Indian classical instruments. From the earlier days of listening to Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar and all those other greats, it was a sound that became a part of me. In fact any traditional instrument is something that I am a sucker for. If you remember Sting’s Desert Rose , it has the middle eastern vocals and percussion in it, but the track is not middle eastern, neither can it be classified as fusion. That is one example of how I like to fuse traditional instruments in my songs. Discovering fusion rock band Advaita helped opened this idea further. The way they use the tabla, sparingly and effectively, and over western arrangements, is something that I have always wanted to listen to.

You have released a music video for the track Empty Seed . How relevant do you think music videos are in the age of Youtube and Vimeo?

I don’t really know how relevant it is to be honest. I barely watch music videos, I like lyric videos more. I’ve had this vision of creating visual pieces for all the songs and I wanted to collaborate with all my friends, half of them being filmmakers. Most of my friends love watching music videos so making videos caters to that crowd as well.

What have you been listening to lately? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

These days I’m listening to Alice In Chains, Sepultura, PVRIS, Metallica and Nickelback to name a few. I guess you can say London Grammar has been an inspiration over the last few years. Their less is more approach is something I adore. The lyrics, melodies, chords and beats are next level.

What are your plans for the coming year? Do you have any plans to play live ?

Some of the plans are that I have to release music videos for every song on the album. So far I have 8 out of the 15 tracks. The others in planning and pre-production stages. I also want to record some live studio sessions and release some alternate studio versions of some songs. I really do want to play but that will have to be another project on its own. Pooling musicians together to play my song my way is quite tough. But I can see it happening.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?

It is my pleasure to do this with you. I always wanted to be featured by Trendcrusher back in the metal days. So this is really great to do with you after all these years. Thank you for the opportunity.

Listen to Metanoia below

Written by trendcrusher

November 28, 2017 at 11:00 am

The D/A Method interview

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The D/A Method are a progressive rock band from Karachi, Pakistan. I found out about the band through Patari, a Pakistani music streaming platform. The D/A Method are more progressive sound compared to Odyssey 

Their recently released album The Desert Road is an engaging listen and features classical instruments.  I spoke to Talha Alvie about The Desert Road, working with Bruce Soord and also their plans in the coming months.

Hi guys, you recently released your second album The Desert Road at show with Takatak. How did it go?

The show was great. We had an excellent turn out with about 500 people in the audience. It’s always special playing in front of our home crowd in Karachi and this was no exception. Takatak absolutely killed it, so it was a wonderful show overall.

For those who have not heard of you before, could you share how the band was formed.

The band was formed by Umair and Talha back in 2012. After jamming together, they wrote songs which were to become part one of our debut album, The Great Disillusion. While recording the album we added our friends Usama on vocals and Istvan on drums in 2013. This is the line up that appears on the first album. Danny, who had played bass with us in the past, joined the band in 2016 to complete the line up which has remained unchanged since then.

The Desert Road comes 2 years after the release of your previous album, The Great Disillusion. What was the writing process for the album?

The writing process for TDR was quite different from TGD as for the first time we were under a deadline in order to fit in with our producer Bruce Soord’s schedule. We had been planning on working on a four-song EP with Bruce but he suggested turning it into a full-length album. So the challenge for us was expanding this EP into a proper record in the matter of only a few months. Talha wrote the structures for four additional songs while Umair and Istvan added the final one to get us to a 9 track album. We actually recorded all of the drum and guitar parts before the vocals were finalized but as always, Usama went over the songs and added his magic touch. We only recorded the final vocals once we got into the studio to mix the album with Bruce which ultimately worked out brilliantly because we were able to get his input on vocal parts and harmonies and also have him as a guest vocalist on several songs.

The album features traditional musical instruments like the sitar and sarangi. How did they become a part of your sound?

Being from Pakistan, these traditional instruments have been a part of the music we’ve been listening to since our childhood. It just made perfect sense for us to use the sounds from these age-old instruments as an additional layer to our electric guitars, synths, and drums. The whole East-West fusion thing has been done for a long time, but for us this comes out of interest of adding textures and sounds that both contrast and complement our modern Western instruments.

The Desert Road is co-produced and mixed by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief, Wisdom of Crowds). How did he become a part of the album?

Honestly it was just a complete shot in the dark. We’d been fans of his music for a long time and learned that he was interested in producing bands, so we shot him an email and he said yes. He definitely whipped us into shape and made sure that we were on point with everything before we got into the studio with him, which is something we probably needed at the time.

You released a music video for the track, the Desert Journey. How relevant do you think music videos are in the age of Youtube and Vimeo?

Music videos are essential. The era of instant information means that people’s attention spans are limited and a video is a great way to capture that attention. Luckily prog rock fans still value the idea of concept albums and long songs, but we’ve always felt that if we want to get our music out to a broader audience we need to put out videos. Fortunately, as fans of film ourselves, we’re willing to put in as much passion and effort into our videos as our music. We just see our videos as visual extensions of the songs themselves.

What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

Individually we’re all over the place but as a band we’ve been more interested in singer-songwriter type stuff as of late. Dallas Green/City and Colour, Jeff Buckley, Mark Kozelek to name a few. Of course the new Steven Wilson album is on the top of all of our playlists. The new Mastodon EP is pretty great as well.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Are there any shows/tour planned in promotion of the album?

After our last show we’re probably going to lay a little low until the end of the year. We have some material that we’ve been working on which we’ll finally get a chance to make some progress on. We’ll be back on stage with hopefully a tour of Pakistan at some point in the first half of 2018.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?

Thanks for the interview and thanks for supporting our music. To anyone reading this, please check out our music. Our discography is available for purchase on Bandcamp and iTunes and for your streaming pleasure on Spotify. All the best.

Written by trendcrusher

November 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

Fonda (Saracen Charge Productions) interview

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I have known Fonda for close to a decade now. We met while she moved to Dubai and was writing for a zine. A couple years ago, she got involved with organising shows in Dubai and started Saracen Charge Productions earlier this year. This weekend is the first edition of the Desert Demolition Fest.

Find out more about the festival, organising shows in Dubai and also the upcoming shows from Saracen Charge Productions in my interview with Fonda below

Hi Fonda, you are working towards the Desert Demolition Fest Vol.1. How is it going?

Hey Pedro! Well, we can feel the stress but then, we’re pretty excited to have this simple fest having awesome bands representing 4 different countries. And it’s worth the eye bags by end of the evening, hehehe

You started Saracen Charge Productions earlier this year. How did you get involved in organizing shows?

Well, back in college, I was involving myself in doing underground metal gigs or even volunteering, and I was pretty active also with my band. Then later on, as you know, I became a zine writer too. And here in Dubai, I also worked in an event company for four years but it was more on the corporate level, but it did help. Then, working as well in a law firm which added my knowledge about the laws.. or not to get caught if I do shows! Hahaha! kidding

Combining all this, it broaden my network or contacts and it gave me the urge to be back in doing this. A friend of mine convinced me to start doing DIY event and for almost two years, I was involved doing this with them. But later on, things went on different direction so I decided to start this SCP. I’m also glad that friends and a lot of people was willing to help out for the sake of keeping the metal scene alive. And the result was a positive feedback for the first show, and this makes us to continue further!

How do you select the bands that will perform at your shows?

We don’t get bands just because they are well-known or we think about getting profit. The key to running a production is the passion for it before anything else. First, I make sure that I believe in the craftsmanship of their music. I listen to different genres whether it’s black metal, brutal death, prog, grindcore, hardcore, punk, goth, thrash, folk metal, hard rock, etc.

It’s either we approach a band that we’ve been admiring or, search for new ones that we see there’s potential. We highly welcome those who sends us message and introduce themselves and wants to come here. You know that feeling when you listen to their music and you be like “damn, these guys should be heard here in this region!”. But of course, this is risky as well, thinking about the expenses of promoting a new artist and wondering if we can even get a break even at least. However, it will always be a great feeling when sooner or later the band will soon be recognized globally, and they will look back and say that SCP crew was there to support us from day one. We gain friendship with the musicians, and that’s rewarding already

What have been the memorable moments so far? Any funny incidents?

I think I am totally brain-dead replying to this interview so I can’t think of one now! Memorable moments will always be touring the band members as if you are just chillin’ with friends. Funny incidents usually happens when wasted, lol

What are you currently listening to?

Oh, I enjoy discovering new bands or music, or stick with bands I’ve been listening to for ages and check their new album. But for now, I can give five on my playlist would be the Wardruna, Archspire, Dyscarnate, Katalepsy, and the young kids Alien Weaponry! Wait, I will add also The Sixpounder on the list

What are your plans for the coming months?

We have scheduled gigs until November 2018! Awesome really! Some are tentative, but the rest, we are furnishing everything and pretty excited to have them perform here, So we hope to get the local support that we need!

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have anything else to add?

Hey thanks also for this interview. I hope I gave you a good scoop about me and the production, hehehe. Don’t forget to follow our page Saracen Charge Productions or drop us an email if you want us to check out your music: saracen.charge@gmail.com

Cheers!

Dubai folks, don’t miss Desert Demolition Vol. 1! All details below.

Written by trendcrusher

November 20, 2017 at 11:00 am

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