Shepherd are one of the bands I have been listening to this month. Winner of the ‘Best Emerging Act’ award at the Rolling Stone Metal Awards last year, they released their debut album ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ 2 weeks ago. I spoke to the Namit and Deepak from the band about the album, being a sludge band in India and a lot more.
“Feels great that all our work is finally set in stone so to speak! Relieved as well, because at one point it seemed that there was always something ‘round the corner that would get in the way of us releasing the album.”said Namit, guitarist and vocalist for Shepherd about the album finally being released. “Yeah it’s been a blast so far. Time to write some new shit.” said Deepak, drummer and vocalist for the band. The sludge/doom metal band is rounded up by bassist Abhishek who is also a member of Death/Thrash metal band Inner Sanctum.
The band started in 2011 and they put put 2 demos, one in November that year and the second in April 2011. “We’ve known each other since college, but it was only when Deepak moved to Bangalore that things really started to fall in place.” said Namit about how they got together.
“We started out as a band that loved to jam it up and bring in the improv element to the mix. But gradually as we started playing more shows, we also started writing more songs. It came to a point where we had enough songs to head to the studio and record – which in itself took as long as it did to write the album, due to lineup changes and whatnot.” said Namit about writing the album. “We took it pretty much one song at a time. We used to jam a lot onstage to compensate for not having enough songs. And as we wrote more songs our sets became more song oriented. It’s just been about trying to be concise and to the point.” said Deepak.
‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ was recorded at Area 51 studios in Bangalore. “Recording was good fun. A little tedious at times with the retakes. Halfway through we had to write lyrics, and sing on the songs we had written – which was a first for most of us.” said Namit about the recording process. “ Heading to the studio, and singing / listening to the vocal lines before they had been tested on a live stage was insane.
The album was masted by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege “He’s a master at what he does. Our mixing engineer Rahul Ranaganth (ex-The Bicycle Days) is also responsible for the massive sound you hear on the album.” said Deepak about working with Brad.
‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ is probably the first ‘Sludge’ release in India. Shepherd started out as improvised band with hints of doom metal on your initial demos. “As a jam band we’re definitely more chilled out and along the lines of Earthless, Yawning Man, Truckfighters – simple groovy stuff on which you can build the jam. But we have always wanted to write songs that would fucking destroy places. Low, plodding and intense – influenced by our love for all things loud and heavy.” said Namit about their shift towards a sludge sound.
“It started with Sabbath for me. Then through Pantera I discovered Exhorder then Crowbar, Corrosion, Eyehate etc.” said Deepak about how he got into sludge and the band that have influenced them.“It’s just like how when you find something you like, it makes you want to dig deeper and find more of it.”
“Putting out ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ on vinyl. New EP release for late 2015/early 2016.” said Deepak about their plans for rest of the year. “Starting writing/recording this summer for that. Besides that, play some gigs anywhere we can. That’s about it.”
Listen to ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ below
Here is a video of Shepherd performing ‘Blog Slime’ live