Interview with Odyssey
Odyssey are a progressive metal band from Lahore, Pakistan. I heard about them through my friend Shaheryar, who released their debut album, “Ghosts of Yesterday” through his label Gasmask Holocaust. I was really impressed by the production of the album as most of the artists I have heard from Pakistan are either auto tuned or really poorly produced. They have released their second album, “Crossroads to Oblivion” online earlier this month.
Find out more about the album, their influences and also the music scene in Lahore/Pakistan in my interview with their guitarist Hussam Raza.
Congrats on the release of your 2nd album “Crossroads to Oblivion”. Tell us a bit about the album.
Hussam: Thanks! The album clocks in around 46 minutes with 8 songs on it. Some are very heavy while others are more melodic. Most of the album sounds quite dark with songs like The Reckoning, Dreamslayer and Swansong, but then there more uplifting songs like The Eden Prophecy also to balance things out.
The album has been self-produced. What was the recording process like?
Hussam: It was a pretty tiring but fulfilling experience. We recorded this album at our bass player’s home studio. He was getting ready to leave for Berklee at the time to pursue a degree in music, so we only had a small window of about 2 months to write and record this album. We were jamming almost every day from 6pm onwards since some of us had day jobs and others were studying in the day. So yes, it was quite crazy but we managed to do it and we are all especially proud of this album.
“Crossroads to Oblivion” has released for free on soundcloud and youtube, what’s the reason behind it??
Hussam: The reason was basically to get our music out there for people to listen to. Our main aim was to make people aware of our music. Besides, the music industry is changing. People are not buying CD’s anymore and especially here in Pakistan, nobody buys CD’s anyway. Everyone downloads off the Internet. So we decided to use the medium as a promotional tool instead of going against it.
You released your debut album ‘Ghosts of Yesterday’ in 2010. How was the response to the album?
Hussam: The response was brilliant. We sent out CD’s to places like the UK and Dubai as well and everyone really appreciated us. That was our first album so it will always be very special to us.
You’ve released 2 songs in Urdu, “Khabi Nahin” and a cover of “Hawa Hawa”. Why did you decided to release your albums in English and not Urdu??
Hussam: We’ve actually released three songs. ‘Zameen’ is one of our most popular songs here in Pakistan. But the reason we decided to release our albums in English is because Urdu doesn’t suit progressive metal at times. The Urdu songs we have recorded so far were recorded in Urdu because the language suited the music and we felt we could make it work. But I really cannot imagine some of the songs on Crossroads To Oblivion or even Ghosts Of Yesterday in Urdu. It would end up sounding forced and contrived and that is something we wanted to avoid.
Dream Theatre and Symphony X are the obvious influences, which other bands that have influenced your music?
Hussam: Metallica was the reason why most of us even started listening to music and they remain a HUGE influence even today. Megadeth, Savatage, Alice In Chains, Opeth, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are also really big influences.
How did you get into metal? What was the first band you owned? Which first cd you bought?
Hussam: I personally got in to music because my mom one day bought me Metallica’s S&M CD which had just been released. Once I heard that, my world changed forever. So Metallica definitely was the starting point and they remain my personal favourite band today.
Are there any other metal bands from Lahore that we should know about?
Hussam: Takatak is a pretty good band here from Lahore. They’re very influenced by Lamb Of God and have released a couple of songs so far.
Are there any live gigs in Lahore and other cities like Karachi and Islamabad?
Hussam: Yes, Lahore has quite a few gigs. They’ve dried up a bit in the last year or so, but we had an initiative called ‘The Mosh Pit’ which was started by a few kids here. That was a metal gig only with all the best metal bands from the country coming together to perform. We’ve had two of those so far, and looking forward to more of them in the future.
Thanks for your replies. Any Final words?
Here is “DreamSlayer”, one of my favourite songs from “Crossroads to Oblivion”
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