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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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Benighted

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In the past year, foreign bands have started touring across India not only playing one off shows. The first was Australian technical death metal band Psycroptic and this weekend French death metal band Benighted will embark on a tour across the country.

Benighted are one of the well known metal bands from France. The band have released 7 albums over the past 2 decades. Earlier this year, they released a concept album, Necrobreed through Season of Mist. The album continues in the death metal vein of their previous albums and is a ferocious listen.

Read my interview with vocalist Julien Truchan about Necrobreed, their tour of India and also their upcoming plans on Transcending Obscurity.

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November 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

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Chepang

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Chepang are a US based “immigrant core” band. I first heard them last year, when they released their EP, Lathi Charge. The impressive debut release was hailed by webzines around the world. The band release their first full length album, Dadhelo last week. The album is a more complex and intense listen compared to Lathi Charge. After multiple listens, I can tell you that it is not your run of the mill grindcore release.

I spoke to guitarist Kshitiz Moktan aka Grandmaster Bhudey about Dadhelo, recording the album and their upcoming shows. Read the interview on Nine Circles.

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November 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

Roy Dipankar (Royville Productions)

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In the past decade, there have been quite a few documentaries focusing on metal music. My personal favourite has been Metal: A headbanger’s journey. Closer home, the few documentaries I seen have been college projects.

Last week I came across a crowdfunding video by film maker Roy Dipankar his documentary, Extreme Nation. This first of it’s kind, it will not only feature the metal scene in India but also neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Sri lanka and Bangladesh.

Find out more about Extreme Nation, the challenges that Roy has faced so far and his plans for the coming months in the interview below.

Photo by Kabir Ahmed

Hi Roy, for those familiar with you please introduce yourself. How did you get into filmmaking?

As far as I remember, I have been associated with producing & promoting music and film content; both independent and mainstream, as an oft non-conforming, artistically debauch A&R (artist & repertoire) and a compulsive anthropologist.
I also curate film festivals and screenings throughout the year for independent cinema and try to make films that convey compelling stories of our times, that need to be told. I am gradually getting in to the foray of fiction.

How did the idea for Extreme Nation come about?

I had always felt for the need to have quality documentation of a show, an interview or a music video in extreme metal music. I am talking in terms of Indian and Asian countries. Most of the information or coverage has been scattered, kind of disorganised.

Filming for Extreme Nation began at the Trendslaughter gig in Bangalore on February 2014. What I had in mind was a docudrama of sorts that would be part documentary, part fiction. This was the initial seed. However as my horizons expanded from city to city, town to town, country to country – I believe there was enough of amazing already happening with real people and events. Hence since late 2013 to now – Extreme Nation has developed to be quite a unique story!

Metal from the Indian subcontinent has it’s own flavor. Though the seed was laid in the west, metal music has gradually metamorphosed into a monster of it’s own kind. Metal music from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal through it’s various sub-genres, avenues and initiators carry their own story that is akin to the region. We are telling our tales through the eyes and tongue of a leviathan spawned out of our own backyard.

How do you select the bands that feature in the documentary?

Bands and individuals who feature in the film range from old school initiators to current violators of what accounts for blind human faith, mundane routine and beyond the ordinary. Music that is outrageous, boisterous, that defies authority, questions rules, proclaims of all & most things forbidden, through ill art. This film is not just about music or art alone but also about the people of the subcontinent and their inter-relations. That makes an interesting premise.

What is the biggest problem that you faced so far?

Financial constraints and mobility to countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. Hence sometimes accessibility was a major concern, though I’ve overcome that through technology, networking and a handful of trustworthy individuals.

What are the memorable moments so far? Any funny incidents?

There are many in fact. Missing flights, drunk interviews, head of a metal maniac striking the camera, Hair getting stuck in a tripod, etc. Also once when a band member showed me what he calls a ‘mini horns up’, that was indeed extremely funny.

Tell us more about the crowdfunding project you have started.

This story has been initiated by me but the ultimate resource seemed clear as more and more people contacted me over the last few months in terms of support. Crowdfunding, hopefully will help finance the completion of the film and also involve a mass movement which is exactly what this film deserves.

This is not just a rockumentary highlighting metal musicians in their elements, but also showcases the characters’ personal relationships with a volatile subcontinent steeped in geo-political strife & constant power conflicts.

So this film is important not just for metal heads, or music lovers but as well for those who possess active interest in the political, historical, sociological & ethnographic affairs of the subcontinent and the world at large. It is a fun ride through captivating stories, revelant gigs, places, band and their concepts of the past and present in the extreme underground.

What are your plans for the coming months?

To complete Extreme Nation and apply for festival premieres across. I am also working on the pre-production of a short film; it will be hybrid cinema with mix-media involved (there will be music, though not metal). This short film will try and lay the foundation for a feature film in the making. All I can say right now is that it will be “a psychedelic experience from the underbelly laced with vitriol laden social comment”.‎

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

You are welcome! I can only ask for more and more support towards documentary films and of course the best way to do so is begin with my film. This will only help me to bring one unique ethnographic film out of India to you.

Contribute to crowdfunding campaign on Wishberry

Written by trendcrusher

October 29, 2017 at 9:52 pm