Posts Tagged ‘indian rock’
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
Post rock has been growing in India over the last few years. In the past 3 years there have been releases from bands like The Eternal Twilight, Kaav, Until we Last and others. Polish post rock act Tides from Nebula and Russian electropost rock band I Am Waiting For You Last Summer toured India. Festival organisers have taken notice of this new movement, this year Scottish post rock band Mogwai and American post rock act Explosions in the Sky will be headlining festivals later this year.
Earlier this week, I came across Aswekeepsearching and was really impressed by their single ‘What if_?’. I spoke to Uddipan Sarmah (Vocals/Guitars) about their album Khwaab, their tour of Russia and other plans for the rest of the year.
There are not many bands from Ahmedabad and Gujarat. How did you start out?
Uddipan: Just like how every band starts. Me and shubham wanted to record some music and while doing it, our friend did the drums and so it shaped up to a studio project. From there, it was all our determination to get out of the city, play to new people and spread our music. That led us here.
How did you’ll get into post rock?
Uddipan: Let me not talk about a genre. I would say, music like post rock was always there from quite sometime in our lives. It’s just that we recorded it late. Also, me and shubham has been working on different projects, but this kind of music got us to connect more. In short, we realized, we love emotional stuff.
I am influenced by lot of post rock bands and to name a few would be God Is An Astronaut, Caspian, This Will Destroy You, Mogwai, Mono, Maybeshewill. I would say, as a genre, post rock to me came from these bands. It’s not a very commercial genre yet, its still underground. And I am happy of the fact that in India, people have started talking about it.
You are one of the few “indie” bands that sing in Hindi. What is the reason behind it?
Uddipan: I am sure there are lot of indie bands who sings in hindi. In fact, we have very minimal vocals on our songs. There is no planned reason behind us doing hindi vocals. We wanted to stay true. And while writing music, we felt more connected with hindi lyrics and alaps. Also, I have been singing in hindi for sometime and that helped me to write some words for aswekeepsearching. Also, now after 2 years with the band, I realize we made the right choice, as singing in Hindi has got us doing something new. Rather it helped us to stand out of many indie bands.
Your debut album Khwaab is out tomorrow. Tell us a bit about your album.
Uddipan: Khwaab, as the name says, is like a dream to us. Starting from a place like Ahmedabad, where you have no scene, no venue, no festivals happening, working hard day & night and finding a way to come out of the city, travel my bus, train, save money to perform at a different city, come back home only with empty pockets, yet keep doing it to reach a place where we are now, all like a dream. I know the world is not over and we have a long way to go, but it feels good to look back and realize from where we started 2 years back. The album is dedicated to everything that has happened in our journey until now.
What was the recording process for the album?
Uddipan: We have been writing the songs from more than a year now. Constantly analysing and re writing parts while performing them live. It took some time for the songs to get matured and give us the confidence to hit the studio to record. But finally on Aug 9th 2015 we started tracking the album. For the 1st time, we had a deadline to complete the album as we were getting signed to a label and they wanted files in time. So yeah, we had to prepare ourselves, plan things well and make sure the we do things when we are supposed to do. Recording started with Drums and Bass recorded together at That Studio, Sion, Mumbai. It was in presence of some experienced guys & actually we were a bit nervous initially, which later vanished on their extended help and support. Rahul Hariharan (Bhayanak Maut) let us use his snares and also got one floor tom on rent for us. Abhishek Kamdar (Devoid) let is record Bass with one extra signal via his pedalboard, which definitely added the required texture in the sound. Anupam roy, to set up everything, Adhiraj Sing to track and patiently bare our mistakes. Lol. It was a great experience.
After that we tracked guitars. As we are not a band with good gear, so we had to ask for favors and we are so lucky to have some amazing friends around. I went to Siddharth Basrur’s house and tracked my guitars, as i wanted to use a fender for the clean tones. Later in Ahmedabad i borrowed a friends Epiphone & Gibson to complete the dirty parts. Vocals were tracked at my studio, Bluetree Studios in ahmedabad. We have added 3 songs from our EP as we think its important for those songs to be in the album considering the change in our sound and the way the band has evolved.
All files were sent to Adhiraj at Refractor Studios, Pune for post production. What followed next was sleepless nights, constant review of mixes and exchanging edit mails. It was a super 60 days. And yes, we completed everything in time,
How does Khwaab compare to your EP, Growing Suspicious?
Uddipan: Its completely different from our Ep. Though we have the same emotions like that in Growing Suspicions, but the emotions have gone a little aggressive. We as a band have evolved with our sound and songwriting, I won’t talk much about it and leave it completely to the listeners to figure out and see how they can connect to the new sound.
The album is being released by Russian label Flowers Blossom in the Space. How did the deal come about?
Uddipan: I have been in conversation with the CEO of the label from 2014. Sharing our old music and also scratches from the album. We have been planning things and waiting for the right moment to release the news. And I guess it is happening at the best time when we are releasing a full length album. Our meetings were on facebook and emails, to figure out things and plan ahead on how the band will grow. Yeah, that’s it, nothing fancy.
You are heading on a five show tour of Russia this week. How did it come about?
Uddipan: So we are releasing the album under the label Flower Blossom In The Space, which is from Russia. They are also a booking agency and have been doing lot of big instrumental, neo classical events worldwide. I have been in conversation with their CEO form quite a long time now, right after release of our EP Growing Suspicions. We have looked on the possibility of expanding aswekeepsearching’s reach and try to push the band as much as possible. The label has booked us for a tour on the album release. We will be going to Russia for 12 days and will be playing 5 shows. We will be supporting I Am Waiting For You Last Summer on their Album launch tour on 4 shows. All details in the poster attached.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? More tours?
Uddipan: We like being on roads. We are working on Indian dates, or it must been out by now. November we tour in India, then shoot our music video. December we might play couple of festivals. And then 2016 is in the planning. New music on the go always.
Listen to ‘What if_?’ below and pick up a copy of Khwaab from here
Who: Deadstar is the instrumental project of Nihal Anand.
Where: Bangalore, India
What: Last month, Deadstar released his debut album “In Between Dreams“. “Well its quite varied for the different songs on the album. A lot of the mood is based on travel and places I was lucky enough to see during the time I was writing the album.” said Nihal about the album. “Other songs are based off of TV shows, other bands, people that I know well and people I’ve never met. So it’s basically anything that really pushed me to feel something over the last 4 months. I think most of the songs are quite happy on the surface, but they all make me a tiny bit sad, so I think that’s the perfect vibe for this album.”
How: “I’ve been writing songs for the album since May this year so its been about 3 months of writing, I usually finish writing/recording a song in a day so its still fresh, so I guess its 10 days of those 3 months that I actively spent writing songs.” said Nihal about how he went about writing the album. “A lot of times I didn’t feel like I could come up with anything nice if I forced it so I just picked up the guitar when I felt like. I probably spent more time travelling and collecting ideas in those months. Since I play and record alone, the songwriting process is completely linked to the recording. I’ll start off recording the riffs I have in mind, then add in second guitar and whatever drums I have in mind and from there it just keeps going. I rarely I have complete songs written when I start recording, because I need to know how all the parts sound together.”
“So that way, the actual recording was about 10 days and then I sat and obsessively mixed it for a few weeks, adding in keys, electronic bits and field recordings.” said Nihal about the recording process. “I do everything at home on my own, I recently bought this really nice Focusrite sound card and since I have an amp simulator I can record at any time, but it’s usually in the wee hours of the morning.”
Listen to “In Between Dreams” below