Trendcrusher

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

Gutslit

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I first heard Gutslit when they started out in 2007 and they have come a long way in the past decade. The band has released 2 albums and toured Europe multiple times despite line up changes. Their second album Amputheatre via Transcending Obscurity records is out now and it sounds great. The album is huge leap ahead of their previous album Skewered in The Sewer with regards to songwriting and production.

Read my interview with bassist Gurdip Singh Narag on the Everyday hate blog

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October 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Neck Deep in Filth

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Read my interview with vocalist Vishal Rai on Transcending Obscurity.

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October 15, 2017 at 10:00 am

Dream Theater

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I wrote a gig review after ages.

The rain caused fans to wonder if Dream Theater’s concert at the MMRDA Grounds on Sunday night would be canceled. Their fears were allayed when the veteran American progressive rock band took the stage and played ‘The Dark Eternal Night’, the track with which they’ve been opening the last few shows of the Asia leg of their ongoing Images, Words and Beyond world tour. About 5,000 attendees braved showers throughout the gig and were treated to a flawless three-hour set, the highlight of which was the 23-minute epic ‘A Change of Seasons’. Each member of the band got their moments in the spotlight, with guitarist John Petrucci drawing the loudest cheers and even vocalist James Labrie, who has his share of critics, silencing his naysayers. The band promises to be back in India soon and considering the response they got, it’s very likely that their fans here won’t have to wait as long as they did for this much-anticipated live debut.

First posted on The Daily Pao.

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October 12, 2017 at 10:00 am

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The Recipe

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The Recipe started out as a hip hop collective in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to record a compilation album and help promote the culture. In the past 8 years, the group has gone on to release multiple mixtapes and support international artists ranging from  Snoop Dogg, Fat Boy Slim to Foreign Beggars and Pendulum.

The Recipe is currently 3 MC’s, Swerte, Kaz Money and Perfect Storm and their first studio album Funerals & Purgatory releases today. Check out the first single, Uma Thurman. 

 

Here is a throwback to an interview I did with Swerte and Jabbar when they first started out in 2009.

 

What is “The Recipe”?Who is cooking it?

Swerte: The recipe is a collection of hip hop artists in the UAE, who are trying to push the scene here by doing gigs and putting out a mixtape  which is currently being produced. The Two people behind it are Jabbar and myself (swerte)

Why the name “The Recipe”?

Swerte: Cus the people involved are the main “ingredients” in the hip hop culture here. Hehe. plus we wrestled with a name for so long and we always referred to the studio as the kitchen. it’s cliché in a way to say that we ‘cook up’ tracks in the studio but, we were just having fun and joking around. Hip hop has this serious, gangsta bling bling appearance.. we wanted it to be fun and more about the music and talent.

Where did the idea/inspiration for “The Recipe” come from?

Swerte: It came about from just watching people try things and fail. I think artists here were just going about things the wrong way. They had this idea that in order to be a star you had to act like one already. So they were reaching for goals they couldn’t reach. We wanted to bring it back down to pure talent and entertainment. Focus more on us and what we were doing instead of trying to impress record labels.

What differentiates “The Recipe” from Hip-hop/Rap that is normally heard on radio or seen on TV?

Swerte: Its local talent for one. And the artists are talking about issues that people herein the uae face and deal with.

What is “Dead-Ears Productions”?

Swerte: Hahahahaha.. a joke. Jabbar has this production house called “deaf ears” and  mine is called “dead end”… so it was either  gonna be “deaf end” or “dead ears” when we worked together.. again.. we just having fun

Since both of you have lived in other countries, do you notice any difference in the Hip-hop/Rap artists and fans in the UAE?

Swerte: All in all I think the culture here is still very young.. its just getting past the mimicking stage.. all hip hop cultures start off by mimicking what they see on tv. it takes awhile before they start developing their own styles and incorporate their own native culture to build a hip hop scene they can call their own.

Jabbar: also at the same time, very few people in the media actually support the local talent which has been discouraging for a lot of artists. you have to look at the UAE population, a lot of people see the country as a pit stop, so they don’t take time to listen to the local talent and would rather listen to international artists they are familiar with. this dictates radio and club playlists…in most of the other major cities, they support their local talent…but we have a feeling things are about to change.

Tell me a bit about your musical background.

Swerte: Check out my myspace.   www.myspace.com/swertemc

Jabbar: I don’t have a musical background really..never had training in music…just love making it tho

What have you been listening to lately?

Swerte: A lot of british hip hop.. it goes well with the rain that’s been happening.

Jabbar: Most of the stuff being put out is crap, so I’ve been listening a lot Lupe, The Roots, and some JayZ here and there.

27th of March was the first live gig for “The Recipe”, how was it performing live for the first time? What was the response from the audience?

Swerte: It was amazing. I don’t think anyone, especially us, expected it to be so successful and enjoyable. The crowd was absolutely amazing.

Jabbar: What was encouraging was the crowd’s feedback considering they haven’t heard most of the music.  Not only did the crowd enjoyed but everyone on stage was so psyched up about it that we wanted to keep performing.

Do you any more live gigs planned in the coming months?

Swerte: We’re looking at doing as many as we can. Maybe even going on tour around the region. But we’ll see.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2009?

Swerte: Make music and travel.

Jabbar: Continue making music…and try to make it my primary source of income!

 

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September 28, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Interviews

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Zoheb Mahmud (Maximum Noise)

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The previous 2 gig organizers featured here were from India, this time around I decide to look to the East, Bangladesh. The metal scene in the country has been growing for some time now, the first band I heard was Severe Dementia; they were a part of on the Rise of the Eastern Blood split released by Demonstealer Records

I have gotten to know Zoheb Mahmud through his PR company Qabar PR over the past year. He also has been organizing gigs in Bangladesh, the most recent being the first edition Dhaka Metal Fest. Find out more about metal scene in the country, the Dhaka Metal Fest and the upcoming events from Maximum Noise in my interview with Zoheb below. 

 

Hi Zoheb, you recently wrapped up the first edition of the Dhaka Metal Fest. How did the show go?

Hi Peter. Dhaka Metal Fest – 2017 was fabulous, considering the first edition of this fest, I am contented with the turnout and massive support from the crowds. Each and everyone associated with Maximum Noise and The Rock Project Dhaka put their best efforts to make this fest successful. The performing bands enchanted the crowd with jaw-dropping performance. We had promised to donate the amount of profit from the ticket and merch sales to the victims of the landslide of Rangamati district, and we have been able to donate an amount. Maybe it was a small amount, but we are definitely pleased.

Yes, there were some disturbing memories, actually because of some jealous, perfidious persons, we had to handle some critical situations. Some people tried to stop our show by influencing the higher authority and police. Things were crucial, we had very hard time, but we were the ones who got the police permission before organizing this show, and in the end, their shameful intention to sabotage the show failed miserably. We got to know from the Special Branch of Police that person(s) who recently failed to organize show with two foreign extreme metal bands was/were responsible for influencing them to stop our show, having political or administrative power, they tried their level best to stop Desecravity — the headliner — to perform at the venue, and that was their main intention. In the end, it was a slap to their face when Desecravity brought total vehemence at the stage, and made the crowd insane with their technically crafted death metal numbers. I can’t remember if any other extreme metal organizers from our country had to face such kind of trouble to host a show.

We are not accusing any person as we do not have any written evidence, hence, our source of information can’t be neglected.

For those not familiar with the metal scene in Bangladesh, could you tell us a bit about it.

It’s a pity Bangladeshi metal scene has failed to reach to the international scene in a larger scale, even though the scene started back in the early 80s when heavy metal/hard rock band Waves initiated the journey. Later, in the mid-80s, bands like Rockstrata, Warfaze, In Dhaka and Aces started to develop the phase of Bangladeshi louder sounding music scene. Bands like Artcell and Warfaze are very popular all over the country, they belong to the list of the most renowned bands of the music scene. Aurthohin is another popular band, yet they focus on different genres, but have some metal numbers as well. Cryptic Fate and Powersurge are not as popular as Artcell, Warfaze or Aurthohin, but they have a strong number of fans and have gained mainstream success as well.

Not all of the fans of Artcell, Warfaze or Aurthohin are into metal music, let alone underground or extreme forms of metal music, Maybe, Artcell has close to half million or even more fans all over the country, but it doesn’t mean that all of those fans are serving anything significant for the metal scene of our country.

The main metal fans of the country belong to the underground, be it extreme metal or non-extreme metal scene. Whereas the above mentioned giant bands of the Bangladeshi metal scene have hardly tried to reach to the international scene, many of the underground metal bands, mainly the extreme metal bands are trying their best to reach outside the border. After 2009/10, the scene has changed a lot, our bands are touring outside the countries (not in a larger scale though), and a few bands from other countries have come here to perform.

The country is still not having a proper record label, a proper metal or music related zine/blog, and we still lack promoters who are capable of hosting foreign bands. So far Primitive Invocation has been organizing gigs with foreign bands successfully since 2009/10, maybe they are not bringing the popular metal bands, but still they have paved the path. Maximum Noise/The Rock Project Dhaka together brought Desecravity this year at Dhaka Metal Fest, apart from that Get Amped Series and Archaic Reincarnation, successfully hosted shows with foreign UG metal bands.

I think we also lack expert sound engineer with a good understanding of metal sound. In my perception, we have many amazing sounding bands, but in most of the cases their music can’t blaze properly because of poor recording, mixing and mastering.

Dhaka is undoubtedly the most important places for Bangladeshi metal music, but for the last couple of years, metal scene inside Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet have prospered a lot. Most recently, we have seen the rising of Rajshahi, Habiganj and Rangamati metal scene.

How did you get involved in organizing shows?

Back in the mid-2012, I joined in Primitive Invocation. Thanks to the main guy Iftekhar Faiaz (Nafiz) for letting me in. Primitive Invocation organized Death Skull Ritual II, which featured bands like Orator, Enmachined, Warhound, Nuclear Winter and Purgation from India, in early 2013, and that was my first ever show as an organizer/crew member. After that, I have worked with Primitive Invocation for some other gigs and all the editions of the infamous yet prestigious Banish the Posers Fest.

Dhaka Metal Fest has been undertaken from different platforms. Maximum Noise and The Rock Project Dhaka had jointly initiated and organized it. I am the founder of Maximum Noise.

How do you select the bands that will perform at shows?

At Dhaka Metal Fest, we select the bands who are having decent music and stage performance within their style of music, so we usually do not ignore a band because of its genre. I am personally strict with the lyrical aspects of a band, I will never take a band on the bill that spread racism, fascism, misogyny or support toward rape through their music. Before choosing a band for the gig, we seek the opinions of each and every major person involved in both Maximum Noise and The Rock Project. It is true that we, the folks of Maximum Noise. mostly like the heavier and extreme sounding bands in the realm of metal music, so we give our priority to our own taste.

Primitive Invocation mostly invites the bands having old school extreme metal sound; of course, mediocre or worthless bands are ignored.

What has been the most memorable show you have organized so far?

Having a successful gig after fighting against the conspirator and influenced authority is always an outstanding venture, for this reason I am definitely going to pick Dhaka Metal Fest – 2017.

But, I want to mention the last edition of Banish The Posers Fest (2016) as well, everything went close to perfect if I evaluate the show from the perspective of an organizer.

What are 5 independent bands from Bangladesh that the readers should check out?

Picking 05 independent bands is definitely a tough choice. Still trying my best to put the name of 05 most deserving bands who are currently active, have at least a release and play the type of music I do enjoy.

Orator (Death/Thrash)
Enmachined (Old School Thrash)
Nafarmaan (Black/Death)
Nekrohowl (Old School Death)
I am having hard time to pick the 5th band (laugh); Check both Warhound (Old School Death Metal) and Eternal Armageddon (Black/Thrash)

 

Do you have any more shows planned for this year?

Maximum Noise is in talk with some metal bands from abroad, still nothing’s been confirmed yet. But, The Rock Project Dhaka is organizing the first edition of “Dhaka Rock Fest – 2017” featuring Bumblefoot (Sons of Apollo, Ex – Guns N’ Roses) on this September 15. I am working with The Rock Project for this show.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have anything else to add?

Can’t thank you enough for this interview. I expect Bangladeshi metal scene to have more extraordinary bands and the music of all the decent Bangladeshi bands to reach to every corner of the world within a few years.

Written by trendcrusher

September 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

Joerg (Folter Records)

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I have been featuring mainly grindcore and death metal on the blog recently, it’s time now for some black metal. I was introduced to Folter Records a German metal label by Ulf (Metal Masala). The label have put out some killer black metal releases in the past 26 years. Do check out their recent releases at the end of my interview with label owner Joerg.

It’s has been 26 years since you started the label. How does it feel looking back?

I´m proud that my label is still alive. There are many labels coming and going through the years, but to survive for more than 25 years, that makes me proud.
So it´s a good feeling.

Your first release was As Divine Grace – Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn. How did it come about?

This was my first CD release, before I had released two 7“ EPs. I don´t know from where the band got my address because I was not well known as label and just at the beginning. Anyway, I got a promo tape and I had to travel to my grandfather by train and I had enough time to listen to the tape.I was more into extreme Black and Death Metal, but somehow I was touched by their music and I would release it.

What have been the most memorable release/s on your label so far?

There are a few, SKYFORGER-Thunderforge, URGEHAL-Death is Complete 7“EP, MAYHEMIC TRUTH – Cythraw 7“EP.

What is the biggest problem that you faced so far in running the label?

That I never got a distro service for my releases. But this have changed now. Since about 2 years I have a german distro and since last month also an american distro .

What kind of marketing do you do?

We still press promo CDs we send out to mags, in german mags we book advertisements and of course we send out digital promos. Bands play live and this is the best promo you can have. Of course when the band play well, hehe

What changes have you noticed in bands/customers in the past few years?

Bands accept more worse deals. In the past, the label had to pay studio costs, to pay royalties and now the bands are ok to get some % from the pressed CDs. Since customers don´t buy CDs in the right amount, the labels can´t pay for everything anymore. For bands it´s better to accept such deals than to have no deals.

What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?

I need a good feeling that the band will fit on my label. The band should play live, this is very important.

Have you been in a band? What instrument do you play?

No never and I don’t play an instrument. There are enough talented and untalented musicians hehe

Do you have any advice for those planning to start a metal music record label?

Better not to start a label when you have no money, no distro and not the right bands. Many labels have closed over the last years, hard times.

What are the upcoming releases from your label?

The next 2 releases are NARBELETH-„Indomitvs“, a BM band from Cuba, ah not just a BM, it´s the best BM band from Cuba and the new album of ARCKANUM-„Den Förstfödd“. Both will be released end of September.

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

I have to thank you for the interview once again and keep the flame of Metal alive.

 

Here are a few of the recent releases from Folter Records.

 

 

 

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September 23, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Interviews

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