Ironic Reversal Interview
Ironic Reversal are a metal band from Bangalore. I discovered them through a facebook post by my friend Abbas (Skrypt) and was impressed with what I heard. The band released their 2nd album ‘Dysgenic‘ in October. I spoke to the band about the album, the concept behind it and more.
Madhur Murli (guitars), Kaushal LS (vocals), Rahul Kini (drums)
Ironic Reversal has been around for just over a year now. How did the project start?
Madhur: Ironic Reversal started off as a bedroom project when I was studying in Manipal. By December 2013, I had written most of the songs for Clonus and was looking to record and release it. Around the same time, I was introduced to Rahul Kini by our producer Narayanan. All of us were playing together as a part of an instrumental prog metal band called Analyzed Consequences. Narayanan—after watching a couple of Orchid’s shows—suggested that I approach their vocalist Kaushal to perform the vocals on Clonus. Kaushal was interested and we started working on the album immediately. Rahul had helped me out with the drum programming during Clonus and I was really happy with the result. So, when it came to the drums for Dysgenic, I was absolutely sure that I wanted him to do it. I asked him to officially come on board and he agreed.
What is Dysgenic about? Tell us a bit about it.
Kaushal: Dysgenic speaks of a bleak, dystopian future where genetic experimentation has spiraled completely out of control. GMO mega-corporations have seized power and have replaced the democratic governments of the world with a corporate republic. As a result, all privately-owned mass media is criminalized, protests of any kind are banned, propaganda is rampant, farmers live in perpetual debt slavery, all organic food is outlawed and radical environmentalists have resorted to terrorism.
And that’s just the premise. It’s a tale that spans the five songs of Dysgenic. You can check out the lyrics and the extended synopsis here
What was the songwriting process for the album? How long have you been working on it?
Madhur: The songwriting process began in January 2015, a few months after we released our debut album Clonus. It took me about three months to write all the five songs in Dysgenic. After finalizing the guitar parts, our drummer Rahul spent a month on the drum lines. Since we decided to program drums rather than go to a studio, we spent more time trying to humanize the drums as much as possible. Rahul literally mapped note-per-note of what he was playing on the drums to MIDI. Once the drum lines were written, I borrowed a friend’s bass and spent about a couple of weeks writing the bass parts.
After hearing how the whole thing was sounding, I felt that there was a certain flow amongst the songs. I thought of making the record a concept album which our vocalist/lyricist Kaushal seemed pretty interested in. Kaushal started making notes of possible ideas and storylines that would fit the music. It took some time to narrow down the final theme of Dysgenic—we wanted to get it right. Once we did that, the lyric-writing process began.
All in all, the entire songwriting process took about six months.
How was the recording process? How long did it take?
Madhur: Considering the fact that I had moved to Delhi when we decided to go ahead with the album, I had to make a schedule of how we were going to go about recording the album. The first step was to freeze the guitar parts, which I did and tracked each song as I finalized the parts. This took about two weeks after which I sent the guitar tracks to our producer Narayanan in Manipal.
Since we programmed the drums, we didn’t have to spend time recording them in the studio. Although, as I’d mentioned earlier, Rahul spent quite some time humanizing the drums as much as possible.
The next step was to record the bass, for which I went to a friend’s (who’s bass I’d borrowed) house to record. Recording the bass took only three days since all the parts were pretty much written.
On Narayanan’s advice, we headed to Manipal to record the vocals. We spent three days recording. During the free time, I sat with Narayanan to figure out guitar, bass and drum tones.
How does it compare to your previous album, Clonus?
Madhur: From the writing perspective, the biggest difference would be that the tracks in Dysgenic are linked to each other. I had written Clonus over nine months and all the songs are kind of disconnected. Dysgenic was written over three months and a certain amount of continuity was maintained. Clonus was our first album and I feel we were still looking for our style and sound but with Dysgenic, I think we finally have a distinct style and sound.
Kaushal: Lyrically as well, all the songs on Clonus have individual themes; some were inspired by a few ’70s sci-fi/dystopian films. But for Dysgenic, the lyrics were written as a whole with a specific concept and storyline in mind. It’s meant to be heard/read from start to finish
Do you plan on playing live anytime soon?
Madhur: I don’t think we will go live anytime soon, mainly due to the fact that I’m currently in the USA for a master’s degree.
Listen to ‘Dysgenic‘ below
Photo Credit: Photo 1 – Khalid Saquib,photo 2 & 3 – Neerav Nagumantri
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