Trendcrusher

Posts Tagged ‘Indian metal

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

Written by trendcrusher

October 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Demonic Resurrection

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Demonic Resurrection is one of India’s oldest metal bands. Frontman Sahil “Demonstealer” Makhija has kept the band going with his dogged determination despite multiple lineup changes over the years. The band have performed at festivals and even toured the UK. On their fifth full length album Dashavatar, the band have expanded their already full sound with the introduction of Indian instruments and further experimentation in melodic death metal mixed with black metal and even strains of epic power. I spoke to Sahil about Dashavatar, their new sound and their plans for this year.

 

Read my interview with Sahil “Demonstealer” Makhija on Nine Circles

Written by trendcrusher

April 13, 2017 at 8:17 am

Indian indie goes digital

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A few days ago I came across this article in inbox that I had written for a zine in 2012. It did not get published for some reason. The article was about 4 new websites which had music by independent artists from acrossIndia on sale. From the websites listed below only Oklisten is still active. The Tagmuse website is online but has not been updated in some time. Musicfellas was acquired by Gaana.com in 2014. Flipkart shut down it’s Flyte store.

The “Big Boys” like Apple and Google are now in India with their Apple iTunes and Google Play. There has also been a shift with streaming services emerging in the past couple of years. The dominant players are Gaana and Saavn, however they feature a limited amount of independent artists.

The past decade has seen a rapid increase in the number of EP/Albums being released by independent bands in India, there were over 50 last year according to NH7.in. A basic problem for bands is getting their music heard and distributed; there have been many platforms, soundclick (does anyone still use it?) Myspace and reverbnation that have been around for a while; bandcamp and soundcloud are relatively newer. Bands in the past used to post their mp3s online for free. “No one will pay for Mp3s ” is a common statement I have heard by band members. However things are slowly changing, in the past few months, a few platforms have emerged in India that offer paid downloads.

music fellas Music Fellas is described as a “social, music discovery platform helping people have great experiences and meaningful conversations around music they love.” The platform was started by 3 techies from IIT Roorkee and BITS Pilani who are also music lovers, Mayank Jain, Shubhranshu Jain and Gaurav Shahlot. Currently it is invite only. Visit http://www.musicfellas.com to get your invite

 

nh7-flyte-banner

NH7.in, the music streaming and discovery platform tied-up with the Indian e-commerce Flipkart.com to launch digital music downloads featuring independent music, via Flipkart’s Flyte digital store. The store currently features over albums/EPs from over 50 artists ranging from folk rockers Swarathma to hardcore band Scribe. The singles are priced between Rs. 6 – Rs. 15 for singles and Rs. 20 – 150 for albums. You can download the songs up to 4 times. Visit http://nh7.in/musicstore for more information.

ok-listen-logo

Ok Listen! was started after Vijay Basrur could realised that he could not buy Mp3s of a Indian rock band. He has over 16 years of experience working in companies like Baazee.com and Quikr. The platform currently features mainly folk and rock artists like Raghu Dixit Project, Indian Ocean and Parvaaz. The prices for singles range from Rs. 10 to Rs. 25 and albums from Rs. 60 to Rs.200. They is no limit on the number of times you can download the songs. The platform is pro musician as they receive 70% of the net sales. Visit http://oklisten.com for more information.

tagmuse-logo

Tagmuse describe itself as “A double-octave space for independent artists to perform, connect, amplify and inspire the rest of humanity. Creating a launch pad for all musicians irrespective of race, language, ability, style, or genre. We appreciate it all.” They will be launching in another month or so. Sign up on http://tagmuse.com and stay updated.

Written by trendcrusher

October 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Vishal J Singh interview

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Vishal J Singh is Indian guitarist/multi-instrumentalist and producer known in the independent music scene for his band Amogh Symphony. The band are working on their fourth album that should be released later this year. I spoke to Vishal about the album, his work as a producer and composer and also his other projects.

Vishal J Singh

What is the current status on the new album from Amogh Symphony? When can we can expect it to be released? What can fans expect from the upcoming album?

Things were pretty slow after Jim moved to a new house, Andrey had an eye surgery and Derick and I are busy with our regular studio works. Andrey was not allowed to play wind instruments for 2 months and he is the guy who plays maximum number of instruments in the songs. After Derick joined us, we discovered some great new ideas, techniques and concepts of songwriting and production. It’s a joint effort, as you can imagine already. It seems like we are almost done with “IV”. Just few final touches once drums are done. Jim spends a lot of time in writing his parts (which I or anyone else in the band cannot write at all). There were some major abnormal talks and differences in opinions as we four are equally skilled multi-instrumentalists and producers (except me). But sooner or later, we find our common spots to hang out musically. I gotta be honest – my guitar parts make no sense without the sounds that these 3 guys (Derick, Jim, Andrey) create in AS. It doesn’t sound like ATOS, TQHC and Vectorscan at all yet, it’s pretty catchy and tricky. Goregaon Brass Orchestra did fantastic as usual, some brilliant tribal wind instrumentalists from my tribe in North East were recorded too, some ethnic and poppish vocal parts. Almost like an art- action movie soundtrack. We really can’t wait to show this to everyone. And this is not a sequel to Vectorscan. It can be art-pop or avant garde or just soundtrack. About release, I think it should be out in 2016 winter.

Amogh Symphony released a single Aai earlier this year. Tell us about it.

Aai is one of the songs from “IV”. Actually, this is the first track in which i used my custom-newly made hybrid ethnic guitar (Fretless baritone acoustic guitar with hybrid tuning of sarod and sitar) for the first time. Also, it’s the first track with new member Derick Gomes’ synth, foley and percussion inputs. We thought we should upload a track from the new album so that some fans can get back to us with their feedback and criticism. Surprisingly, we received decent response. I, personally, take healthy criticism very deeply to understand the point of “connection” between us and the fans/listeners because it challenges my writing, playing and producing skills every time. You know, everyone need some push so I get that from some honest fans. Like, someone described our music “Robot Jazz” on bandcamp and we really liked it. lol

What is your typical day like as a Producer/Instrumentalist?

My typical day is exactly like a Chef or a Head Cook. Mostly, working on tunes of other artists of creativity. There are just too many ideas and tunes floating inside the brain that sometimes wants to burst out of my skull. Mind works faster than the body. Yeah, sometimes I wish I could turn into a ghost. Sometimes it’s really fantastic and sometimes it’s very saturating. At some point, you just don’t want to hear any music because you know what’s coming up in the next 5-6 months with major promotions everywhere. Not that you hate it but it’s already “too old” to your ears. No matter what, you always have to be on positive side because in artist-life, sometimes there is no reason behind depression and you have to learn the art of getting out of it or to learn how to use it creatively. Working with other people let’s all my creative ideas flush away or flow away to make space for fresh new musical ideas which sometimes I use for Amogh Symphony with my bandmates Derick, Andrey and Jim who are, in reality, way more skilled and developed in creativity than me. I think I must have answered all this in my very old interviews(from year 2009-2013) that I cannot stick to one style of music or song just like how I like to travel to different places as much as I can. I do not have the fear of rejection because I believe that there is acceptance and understanding for all. Sometimes, it’s like reading minds. It can be beautiful or it can be a nightmare. I really appreciate artists/film-makers/musicians who let me feel their heart-beat and who let me see their artistic vision from their eyes, before I get into composing or producing/mixing the music. People can lie but their art cannot. I can put 10,000 ideas in rows but that would lead them to confusion and quick-saturation and things will turn into a giant clusterfuck. Well, that’s not the point and that’s not how we connect through art. I believe in the artist a lot. He/She must have the vision or I will simply turn into a dictating demon into his/her creativity. Because, being a composer/instrumentalist/producer myself, I do have a signature/trademark and limitation. I simply do not want my personal musical influence going into that particular music. I am talking about a perfect balance between brain and heart. We have to keep inspire each other in our lives because one cannot be inspired by itself. While working, I find lots of creative challenges. Sometimes, it’s way beyond my capacity but where is the fun when things are easy? Every day is a test of either extreme simplicity or extreme technicality. Now, tell me, where is the time and space for socializing? I do not socialize much while performing in corporate gigs. When I meet my friends, I get as excited as a 9 years old kid at a circus. I listen to people. I do that a lot. Every physical movement has its own background music. It’s very important for me to hang out with right bunch of people with whom I feel the good vibe and with whom I feel completely disconnected from my “pro-musician/producer world”. Also, best company gives you lot of links to great non-popular music. So, there is inspiration…always.

Ideally, what is your personal approach to compose and produce music? Like, for anything such as film-music score, ads, Amogh Symphony etc.? Do you follow music theory a lot?

There is no strict rule but I keep changing my approach to avoid saturation. But usually it starts with imagination of sounds and patterns in my head with a random story sequence. 4-5 years back, being a Guitarist and Drummer, my main mediums for writing music were Guitars and Drums. So, if you listen to all my old music, almost all of them are too much “Guitar oriented” or “Complicated drum pattern oriented”. If I ever feel depressed or lacking inspiration, I listen to all my music from initial days till date to remind myself how far I am standing today from where I started. You know, I wish I could start music earlier. I totally regret. Before I started playing Drums (I was 9 or 10 years old when picked up Drums as first instrument), my parents (both musicians) made me listen to various artists and varieties of music. Initial years of focused “listening” helped me a lot to become a Music Composer. Like, if you want, you can apply all the knowledge OR you can ignore all the things that already “happened” in music to write something new. I got into Electronic music some years ago and whatever musical piece I composed on acoustic instruments, their sounds were later engineered to synthetic sounds by me. I studied about synthesizers after Sound Engineering. I do not feel connected with anything standard – standard jazz, standard rock, standard electronica or whatever. You can write a good prog-rock song in 4 by 4 because odd time signatures sound boring after sometime and sometimes simplicity kills complexity(sometimes, it’s the other way round too. Anything is possible). I produce “standard” only when the band/artist/film-maker want something standard and if everyone seems happy, I say “Yeah, cannot be wrong if everyone is happy with it”. You see? I also need money to stay alive.
Today, I see myself more of a “Composer” than a Multi-Instrumentalist. Sometimes, I like to write a very simple tune with only one or two instrument(s). Sometimes, very dense and layered with twisted Brass sections and lots of synthesizers. But I cannot compose without a storyline. You know, that story can be very complicated for a very simple song or a very simple story for a tricky song. It’s the habit of doing background music for art films – I love it so much because when you have a story with an artistic edit, you have a non-punctual/non-linear sequence. When you have such sequence, you have different sets of feels and emotions. To imagine sounds and musical patterns, you need to have a lot of creative ideas, datas stored in your head. You know, coming out from your comfort zone. It challenges you so much that you prepare like a knight to get inside that nightmare to win. Things start with random ideas like “What will happen if I put a holdsworth-like improvisation in E-Piano on top of a Aphex Twin bassline, Buddy rich like retro jazz drums with a Shehnai player trying to copy Miles with sudden Green Day riff moment that keeps coming and going and Lykke Li singing with bad throat?” Mix fire with water and watch the unseen magic. It’s like Chemistry or preparation of a medicine. Sometimes, I say, screw that, I love that verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format because the story/lyric is about something very morbid or very spiritual/love. I got to work with some really creative guys in films, ads and bands who literally forced me to think of something else. I think, I like the fact that whenever a film-maker or a band/solo artist ask me to create/produce/mix sounds for them, they always expect something which is not common. But I simply say no when they ask me to produce something like Amogh Symphony. I cannot do that because Amogh Symphony is my alter ego and you can see how niche the fans are. It’s a little personal yet different music to connect with different people. It’s like giving away your own baby. Usually, it’s all the “rejected” ideas from film-makers and artists which later turn into a new story for new Amogh Symphony song/album.

Sometimes music theory is used for certain parts but mostly theories are not used because then you start seeing borderlines while composing. If the intention is to cross that line in your mind, then first you need to know what new improvised or planned out “idea or concept” in your composition will let you to cross nicely to blend with earlier musical theory. Let’s give you a small example – It’s like making a driller out of diamonds, because diamonds are sharp and tough but not sharp enough to drill into the deep ground to search crude oil. If you combined rotating wheels with diamonds attached to form cutter rings attached to a heavy metallic non-rusting armor, then it can cut any solid rock like things deep underground.

Vishal with engineer Ariel Samson at Benchmark Studios, Thane.

Vishal with engineer Ariel Samson at Benchmark Studios, Thane

How do you deal with session music instrumentalists, music programmers and session singers while working with them for any project?

I connect with them very quickly and easily. Probably because I have done many session works as Session Guitarist and as a Producer with Bollywood Music Composers. I am very strict when it comes to getting the right performance from them in the studio. But I try my best to inspire them with good vibes. A lot of cheerful vibe is what we all need. I let them play whatever they want to, initially, so that they connect with the music immediately. I believe, it’s an indication of showing deep respect from my side to all the session guys and girls who work so hard with patience. I make sure that they are credited properly. There are some really incredibly amazing young instrumentalists and singers who just make you think like “Ok! I better not sing and play to him. I am nowhere close to this guy. Damn. I must practice.”

What advice do you have for younger musicians who like to become full time musicians? Is it very tough to survive financially?

If you want to be in a band and play only one style of music, then simply get a job. But if you want to become a full time musician, the first basic rule is to be a versatile musician with knowledge and taste in all kinds of music. Most importantly, avoid hanging out with rich kids and scene friends but pro-musicians of earlier generation and struggling artists. Be nice to everyone and respect hard work of others even if they are sold out popular ones. Get inspired but follow your own path. Avoid gossips as much as you can. Also, learn to save money. Do drugs but only to a limit when your creative side of the brain gets accelerated.

The lesson that I learned till date: Your unique/creative nature in your music gives birth to your identity but your versatility in nature in your music pays your bills. You must be able to pull both 100% with balance and focused mind if you want to survive in “any” industry. There is no other short-cut. Keep yourself updated with generations. Be nice to everyone and all the artists should help each other – to get work, to help with small money matters etc. We have to look for each other. Sometimes, a Ten dollars project will bring you a Thousand dollars project. Depends on your honesty, word of mouth and time-table.

To certain extent, it is true that surviving as a musician is tough. There are musicians who are still earning a lot but the incoming money-flow always fluctuates and not stable. But how dare you even think to give up? How? Never.

What projects are you currently working on at the moment?

Nothing special really. Few months back, I finished composing and producing songs and background music of US based film-maker/producer Vijit Sharma’s Thriller film called “Mirror Game” starring Parvin Dabas, Omi Vaidya and Sneha Ramachandran. Soundtracks of this film are produced by Amogh Symphony and Mixed by Ayan De. I am quite excited about this because this is also my first BGM collaboration work with my Mother Kasturi Nath Singh (who wrote all the orchestral string parts in the BGM) and my debut as a playback singer. Then, producing music albums of some really refreshing new sounding bands and solo artists from India, UK, Australia, USA and so on. Few ads/commercials with some UK based agencies. Job becomes easier when artists/bands come up with really refreshing, honest and great songs. Financial ups and downs (let’s not even talk about it). Some collaborations with various phenomenal bands and artists/songwriters/producers. My good friend Siddharth Basrur and me are planning something in between our crazy studio work schedules and hoping that we will be able to pull it off. Then…there is Fractured Dimension’s new record – I am done recording the guitar parts with Jimmy Pitts (who is an extraordinary Keyboardist and composer). There is more but I can’t really talk much about it at this point to be honest. Apart from all that, composing and producing soundtracks and Background music for some upcoming film projects with some good Film-makers from different corners of the globe about which I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about. Let’s see if the Earth survives by then. We all know that film work takes a hell lot of time to finish.

What’s up with your other projects like The Library, Vijay Xavier’s XSCT, Feathers of Jatinga and Superzero?

The Library – We have enough materials. I just have to record myself on drums, do few arrangements with Siddharth Basrur. Don’t really know how and when we can finish this first album with crazy schedules. Eh. We already had husband-wife arguments over this band.

Vijay Xavier’s XSCT – Finished producing Vijay’s album. We just did one gig with me playing drums. Though, I am not a part of XSCT anymore for some reasons that I don’t think I should talk about at this point.

FOJ – I cannot write sad songs anymore. I need proper North Eastern Winter to re-write and perform as Feathers of Jatinga. But where is the time?

Superzero – Derick and I can come up with songs in 1 day. But the point is – who will listen to us? Nevermind! After Amogh Symphony “IV”, there will be new Superzero immediately.

 

You are launching a label Vmbrella with Tom Geldschläger, Andrey Sazonov, Fatum Black, Jimmy Pitts and Matheus Manente. Can you tell us about it?

Too early to talk about it. But I think there will be an update very soon from Fatum and Andrey.

Any final words? Anyone that you would like to thank?

Peter. For being connected, always supporting and for being patient with me.

Written by trendcrusher

September 8, 2016 at 10:14 am

Godless Interview

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Godless are an upcoming death metal band from India. The band members are no strangers to the Indian metal scene, they have been part of bands like Skrypt, Eccentric Pendulum, Ironic Reversal and Shock Therapy. The band release their debut EP ‘Centuries of Decadence‘ this week through Transcending Obscurity India. I spoke to bassist Abbas and vocalist Kaushal about the EP, working with Joe Haley and also their plans for the rest of the year.

Godless

“Ravi (my band mate in Skrypt) and I decided to form a new band. We wanted to take this project really seriously and wanted like minded musicians to play with. We got in touch with the other members and things just started to fall in place.” said bassist Abbas about how the band got together.

“We never really made a conscious effort to play any particular genre of metal really. We’re all definitely fans of death and thrash metal though. We just wanted to make some really powerful and and aggressive music so what we ended up making just happened to fall into the death metal category.” said Abbas about how they decided to play death metal.

Last year Godless released a single Infest featuring Sean O’Kane Connolly (Ex – In Dread Response) on vocals. “So we had struggled a bit trying to find vocalists when the band started off. We thought it would be a good idea to get a guest vocalist to track a song so people could get a feel of the band and it would be easier to jam with people during auditions. Soon after releasing the demo we actually tried out a few vocalist but things just didn’t work out as planned. We then thought of trying out someone from either Pune or Bangalore since they’re quite close to Hyderabad. The eccentric pendulum guys are really good friends so I asked them to suggest someone and they recommended Kaushal. He came down and jammed with us and things just went way better than we imagined. He was quite keen on the band and really enjoyed the music and has exactly the same focus as us so everything was just perfect.” explained Abbas about how vocalist Kaushal become a part of the band.

Centuries of Decadence

“All four songs in the EP have their own themes and narratives. The opening track Infest’s lyrics was written by Sean O’Kane Connolly and talk about the effects of overpopulation on the world. Ossuary is about a wretched creature which lives in the catacombs in a state of suspended animation, about to wreck havoc into our world — a metaphor for covert groups and sleeper cells within the governments of today. Replicant’s about, yes, the replicants from Blade Runner. Our vocalist’s big on sci-fi. Oneiros is our take on the Sandman, and we’ve taken our inspiration from Neil Gaiman’s graphic masterpiece. The artwork and the title of the EP reflect the narrative of the second song, Ossuary.” said vocalist Kaushal describing the themes behind their ‘Centuries of Decadence’ EP.

The EP has been mixed and mastered by Joe Haley (Psycroptic). “We’re all really big fans of Psycroptic and Joe’s playing. Since he was already mixing our stuff and mentioned to us that he was really digging the music we thought there’s no harm in asking him to try and lay down a solo. He was cool with it and just blew us away with the solo he laid down. Can’t wait for people to hear it.” said Abbas about how Joe Haley contributed a guitar solo to Ossuary. “Joe was just brilliant to work with. He was really cool with all the changes we had asked for and was just really nice about having to do even the smallest changes over and over. That said, he pretty much nailed the mix in just the first attempt and we’re really happy with the way everything turned out.”

With each member being a part of other bands, Godless could have become a side project. “Definitely not. We started off with the intention of never making this a side project.” said Abbas dismissing the idea. “Every band member took this up knowing that they’ll be able to commit to this band and make time for this apart from the projects they’re already involved with.”

Godless Album launch gig

Godless are launching their album in Hyderabad tomorrow at Houz of Blues. They also perform in Mumbai at the 8th edition of Domination the Deathfest on 5th June. “The plan is just to gig as much as possible. We’ve got a short album launch tour planned and then just booked a really cool gig at this metal festival Orka Networks is organising later this year. So just gigging as much as possible and writing new music in the downtime.” said Abbas about their plans for the rest of the year.

Listen/Download ‘Centuries of Decadence’ below

Written by trendcrusher

May 6, 2016 at 5:16 am

Heathen Beast Interview

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6 years ago, I was writing for Indianrockmp3 and got an email from a band I had never heard of before, Heathen Beast.  The band had emailed me about their debut release, ‘Ayodhya Burns’; The bold artwork and themes really surprised me . The band members used pseudonyms, no one knew who they were despite India having a relatively small metal scene.

The band returned last year after a 3 year break with a new EP ‘The Carnage of Godhra’ and their entire discography was released on CD by Transcending Obscurity. Today, the band release ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ their most venomous tracks yet. I spoke to the band about the EP, the themes in their music and more.

Rise of the Saffron Empire

Kolkata is not a city known for it’s metal bands. How did you get into metal?

The original line up of Heathen Beast was born and brought up in Mumbai. Later some of us were transferred to Kolkata on work. Since then we expanded our band to many parts of India with our main base in Kolkata. So we are quite new to the metal scene here. We all got into metal differently, some of us through friends, some of us through discovery via the internet and some of us via older siblings. It’s a different story for each member of this collective.

What made you decide to start a black metal band? What about the style appeals to you?

The absolute purity of black metal is what drew us to the genre. It is a genre that stands for something, it stands against something and it is never afraid to draw blood. It is the most primal form of metal and the perfect vehicle for us to express our hatred. It’s an ideology, a message and one that provokes thought. Very few other metal genres do that.

How has the response to your previous releases been? Have you faced any threats or complaints?

We are too insignificant for anyone to give a shit about us. So far we have had no threats or complaints. The response for all our music till date has been incredible. The fans have been more supportive than ever.

You went on a 3 year break after your first 2 releases? What was the reason behind it?

We are not full time musicians and life gets in the way and fucks us all. We have to move cities, change a lot of things around so sometimes it takes time to make music. Most musicians these days are all trying to balance life and music so we are doing the same. We are clear that this is 100% passion for us so we will do it at our own pace and we will do it right.

Your new release ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ has received accolades from around the world. How does it feel now that the EP has been released?

The feeling is amazing when people get your music and understand it. We don’t want posers listening to our music, we want people who not just like the music but also follow the ideology of the band. So we are happy to hear from most fans that they not only like the music but they relate to the lyrics and the ideology of the band.

The themes behind your music are current social and political issues in India. What is the main reason behind it?

Religion is the reason, God is the reason. Even the political events are driven by these man made creations and it is the most powerful force right now in our country. It is what is destroying what we have. It’s what needs to be spoken about right now. So we could not think of anything else that made more sense to sing about. However they are assholes out there who always go, but what about this and what about that, why are you not singing about this topic or that topic? We want to tell them you bastards if that topic is important to you then you should do something about it. So yeah fuck politics!!! Fuck political cocksuckers!!!

You have incorporated more Indian sounds on your recent releases. How did that happen? Have your taken formal music lessons in Hindustani music or percussion?

We have mentioned before that Heathen Beast is a collective and there are many elements that need to come together to complete this puzzle. So there is always some member who can bring a certain element to the table. Some of us have learnt Hindustani Classical and Carnatic Music while we were growing up. So we have that knowledge and we constantly strive to learn more and soak in as much musical knowledge as we can.

The production on the EP sounds better than your previous releases? Did you do anything different during the recording?

We are a beast that keeps growing and evolving. For us we do not look at production of EPs as better or worse. We only look at what is it that the material needs. How can we create a sound. How can we make the message stand out. For us our production is all about being raw and dirty. It should be abrasive and should be like a sonic assault without sounding like those programmed metalcore and deathcore robots.

All your releases are available for free download. What is the reason behind it? Do you personally like the digital format, which is intangible compared to cds and vinyl?

For us it has nothing to do with the format. It’s about spreading the music and the message. From day one we have said our music is always going to be free. Even when we signed to Transcending Obscurity we told brother Kunal that he can release it however he wants but we will release it for free as well on our pages. We know there are fans who want to own the music and support the bands and we really appreciate that because we can make the next album with lesson tension about money. But in principle we will keep the music free. This has always been the plan.

You have only released EPs so far. Is there a plan to record a full length album in the future?

“We think the age of the album is over now. The attention span of people has fallen and we think the 3 song format is the best way to get our message across.”
“We will always be open to recording an album one day when it makes sense for us. We are also full of surprises so you might just get an album next instead of an EP. You can never tell with Heathen Beast.”

Do you have any final words?

Hailz to all the Heathen Beasts in the world. Let us destroy religion and the concept of god and free the minds of men and find true freedom. Hailz!

‘Stream/Download ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ below

Written by trendcrusher

April 25, 2016 at 10:00 am