death by fungi interview
death by fungi is a hardcore punk band from Mumbai, India. Formed in 2013, the band released a self titled EP last year. Earlier this month, the released another EP, ‘in dearth of’ which features a more melodic sound.
I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Vrishank Menon about the ‘in dearth of’ EP, recording it and also their plans for the rest of the year.
What made you decide to start a hardcore punk band? What about the style appeals to you?
I can’t say! I got into punk rock when I was very young, right after I got into Slayer and Metallica, but mostly listened to skatepunk bands like Strung Out and Propagandhi. As I got older, I got into eighties hardcore (Black Flag, Minor Threat), metalcore (Shai Hulud, Converge, Integrity), powerviolence (Spazz, Charles Bronson) and post-hardcore (Fugazi, Glassjaw, Nation of Ulysses).
The music was very empowering, it was fast and it broke musical convention – as a 12 year old, I loved that! I still firmly believe that most alternative genres of music we listen to today – be it alternative rock, metal, math rock, whatever – comes from hardcore and hardcore ethic.
Mumbai is a city better known for it’s metal than punk scene. How did you find like minded band members? How did the band get together?
I was very fortunate to find these people but we aren’t all that like-minded when it comes to music. I mean we all love hardcore bands like Converge and Despise You, but we come from different places, musically. I began writing punk and indie rock tunes when I was in my mid-teens and used to record songs on my own since none of my friends liked punk rock. Kamran and I grew up playing in odd bands here and there so it was natural that I’d make him play bass with me and he did. Another friend agreed to play drums but he didn’t really care. Finding Aryaman was more a stroke of luck. He used to play drums in a mathcore band with Kamran and so when our old drummer left us right before our first show, he asked Aryaman to drum for us. We had no idea but he came from a background of thrash and old-school death metal like Entombed and Morbid Angel. So he was super stoked to play fast songs with us and we all clicked immediately. The first song we jammed to was perfect and all of us established ‘musical intimacy’, if that’s a thing. We shifted to a heavy hardcore sound because of Aryaman’s influence on that band. I think we found our sound our current sound together.
The ‘in dearth of’ EP sounds more melodic compared to your self-titled EP. What prompted the shift in direction? Tell us a bit more about your EP.
Two songs on the EP are more melodic but the other two are much heavier than our older work. In terms of sound, we’re just doing more, not letting genre boundaries limit us. We threw in bits of post rock, skramz and emo (bands like American Football and Christie Front Drive, mind you) while fucking with time signatures and guitar tones. We just write what feels right.
What was the songwriting process for the EP? How long did it take?
It’s different for every song. Iced and Pathfinder fell together very quickly and sort of assembled themselves. I literally remember Aryaman and I spit-balling riff and drum ideas and putting together all these songs in literally less than an hour. Endless Rain and Black Lung were very different and we spent a lot of time writing those. Endless Rain was actually the first song we wrote as a band and we’ve been revising it for 2 years. We weren’t even going to put it on the EP but we had extra studio time booked, so we altered the structure and put that in.
We try to be systematic but our band works better when we’re impulsive and do things if they feel right.
The EP was recorded at That studio and a home studio. What was the recording process like? Did you try anything different this time around?
It was much better, we enjoyed the process and everything came out sounding very nice and didn’t rob us of all of our money. That Studio was great and the engineers we worked with, Anupam Roy and Abhishek Kamdar, were very helpful and added a lot to the record.
The only thing I did different was recording a lot of guitar layers.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any shows planned?
We are recording a split with our friends from Jugaa (Kathmandu based- metallic hardcore) in the summer and I’m currently trying to book as many shows as possible. We’re also organizing DIY house shows, which should be very fun. Hopefully.
Stream/Download ‘in dearth of’ below