Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Hi everyone! Something for my almost-dead blog right here. I recently took this interview online with Vishal Rai bro., guitarist of one of the sickest Nepali bands Jugaa and who had also been a part of few real awesome bands in the past, like 5th Grade Dropout and Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles. Having released 2 EPs and 2 split albums, Jugaa recently played in Undergrind 2012, Bangalore in April, sharing stage with the mighty grindcore specialists Wormrot from Singapore. Unfortunately, he fractured his leg during the show while stage-diving and had to cancel their performance in Chennai that followed. He’s been so generous as always answering me these silly questions. Here’s how it goes:

Greetings, brother! How are you doing? How is your health?

Most excellent. Getting leaner by the day. How are you?

I’m doing well, thanks! Share us a bit about your Undergrind experence, would you? I saw this fantastic review about your performance.

The India trip was the longest time we spent as a band together so the whole trip was fun. Too bad it had to be cut short (due to my injury). Undergrind was incredible, one of the best sets we played. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten such a great response so it was surprising. Pretty much every band was cool and, of course, Wormrot absolutely killed. Really friendly and helpful people too. Would love to hang with some of those bros again. I also wish we had a venue like Kyra in Kathmandu.

Any cool/memorable incident that happened there? I’m sure there were plenty.

Sushil finally cracking and throwing a glass of beer at my face because I had been making fun of him constantly for the past few days was priceless. The funniest though was Ranav pushing me around in a wheelchair at 2 AM in a hospital in Bangalore, right after Undergrind where I broke my foot. Despite being in pain, we both found that particular moment hilarious.

Although I wasn’t around, I heard that Anil (who has strangely hairless legs) had an encounter with a hijada on the train, who asked him whether he shaved his legs.

Nothing crazy. We’ve all become fairly boring adults.

Haha, awesome! Well, now towards the general questions, tell us something about you that most people don’t know about?

I’m a huge fan of fantasy literature. I’m constantly reading.

I can’t grow a beard or a mustache although I have been rocking a pair of sick sideburns for more than a decade now. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be a real man.

I learnt classical guitar for 6 months before I dropped out. Still regret it sometimes.

I have seen Static-X live. They were awesome.

What bands are rolling on your raiPod these days?

Black Breath – “Sentenced to Life” (I’ve been jamming this for a few months now. Entombedcore lives!)

Homewrecker – “Worms and Dirt” (Cleveland hardcore, tough as nails!! That city has spawned my favourite bands)

Seven Sisters of Sleep – S/T EP (Heavy as fuck, sludge)

Black Sheep Wall – “No Matter Where It Ends” (This might just be the heaviest album of the year, until the new Xibalba drops that is. It should be illegal to create something this heavy)

The Story So Far – “Under Soil and Dirt” (A regular on my playlist since last year. One of the best pop punk albums of recent years)

Burning Love – “Rotten Thing to Say” (Chris Colohan’s newest band. The album is a brilliant mix of hardcore, punk and rock n’ roll)

And the new Sangharsha EP of course. “Prasanna” is a masterpiece!

Few of the albums that changed your life would be?

I can probably give a dozen different answers each time but after some thought I’ll narrow it down to these. These aren’t my favourites but…

Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” got me into heavy music.

Rancid’s “…And Out Come the Wolves” and the Ramones’ S/T were the albums that got me into punk as a young one. The first songs I learnt to play on the guitar were from these albums.

Earth Crisis’ “Destroy the Machines” and Integrity’s “Humanity is the Devil” for introducing me to the harder, metallic hardcore that I love so much.

So how has hardcore influenced or shaped your current viewpoint and attitudes, and the way you generally perceive things?

Since hardcore and punk are message-heavy forms of music, I would be lying if I said a lot of my beliefs weren’t shaped by them. I have been listening to the music from an impressionable age after all. I don’t want to go into details. There are plenty of things I wouldn’t have been aware of or wouldn’t have given a fuck about if it hadn’t been for hardcore but, at the same time, there are also plenty of things that make me cringe. Let’s just say I steer clear of all the cheesy and “No Fun Club” activities that come with hardcore/punk and there are far too many of those.

I met most of my closest friends through punk/hardcore though so it’s had a massive influence on my life if only for that single reason.

Anything you listen to apart from hardcore/punk?

Everything but jazz, sports metal, contemporary R&B and keyboard metal.

You’ve been an awesome guitarist who has bestowed the listeners with some of the hardest, heaviest riffs. Yet you never seem to talk much about the guitarist side of yours like most others do. Why is that? Plus tell us a bit about your history with guitar?

Haha that’s because I’m not a “guitarist”, I just play guitar in a band. There’s a big difference. I am a very average guitar player and my theoretical knowledge is zero. If people find my riffs awesome, it’s probably because of I rip off songs pretty well.

As for my history, I was influenced by my dad and because an uncle of mine said girls would find it cool. He was right.

Haha, okay. Well… the best gig you’ve played in would be?

With Jugaa, Undergrind 2012 and our comeback show last year (Na Aune Haru Kera Khau), although we weren’t tight at all. With Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles, our first Pokhara show and Fistful of Rock in 2003 which was definitely the most volatile show we played. The crowd absolutely hated us and we kept pissing them off.

How is playing with Jugaa different from your past bands?

I get to jump around a lot more.

Haha! Any unforgettable moment/s as a guitarist/performer/musician/band-member?

Watching a guy get beat up by his own band because he was drunk and completely ruined their set.

Getting free beers at a Parkway Drive show in Sydney (of all places) because the bartender recognized me from my I2ST days. Felt strange and awesome.

5 bands you’d love to share stage with?

Sangharsha, Integrity, Ringworm, Mindsnare and Eyehategod

Ok. Now. What do you think about Satanism in Nepal?

Needs even more face-paint and chickens being sacrificed. Or goats but that’s already a Hindu thing. Give more, give everything, give blood.

And what’s your religious belief?

I’m agnostic but I’m not anti-religious. People need what they need and if it makes them happy, who’s anyone to say otherwise. I find loudmouth atheists as annoying as religious nuts, maybe even more. Actually, the most decent people I’ve met have been religious and they’re just trying to get by.

Just be a chill bro. You’ll like everything a lot more then.

Who are more annoying? IMNs (Internet Metal Nerds), nationalists in the internet or the duck-faced cuties on Fb?

Internet Metal Nerds, obviously, with their excessively strong opinions on music. That extends to tr00 punx as well. It hurts to think that I used to be like one of them just a few years ago. I’m a changed man now, I listen to more easycore than anything else these days.

What do you think about people who say music is their life and that they can’t live without music?

Try living the life of a deaf person, you heartless bastards.

Word!

What do you do beside playing in Jugaa?

I have a Bachelor in Public Relations (lol) but haven’t really done anything with it. I’m involved in the family business right now.

Do you have pets?

Yes, two dogs and a turtle. If a pond with koi fish counts, then them too.

Dream date?

Mila Kunis

“Who the fuck cares about the beauty of your country when it’s populated by shit like you”, well, the song title itself says it, but any particular thing or situation that made you write this song?

Nalina Chitrakar. It was a Nepal bandh and there was a lot of shit going on. I turned on the TV and there she was with her big nose singing about how beautiful the country is. What an annoying woman.

So what do you say about the present political situation of Nepal?

Nothing. Being politically aware is gay.

Haha, alright. I understand you don’t give much care to the local scenes, but anyway, do you like how the Kathmandu underground scene is currently and where it is heading towards?

I couldn’t care less. How many good bands are there anyway truthfully? I haven’t liked more than 5 local bands in the last 10 years. People get too serious about the music scene like it’s some sort of spiritual experience. It can head wherever the fuck it wants. As long as I get to play a show every few months with my friends and record stuff once a year, that’s all I care about.

So when is the next Jugaa release coming our way?

Hopefully something by the end of 2012.

I came to know you’re also secretly listening to much Swedish death metal and doom/death metal. What are the chances that Jugaa’s sound will now move towards Entombedcore in coming releases?

Never secretly, man. I’ve loved Entombed for years but never got into death metal. I’m just starting to get into it now. Who knows, that Entombed influence might just creep in. I might even get myself a HM-2 pedal.

Thank you so much for the interview, bro. Last words to your friends, fans, foes and all the beautiful chicks and dicks out there?

Listen to Sangharsha, Binaash, Jugaa, XKali-GulaX and Samyam’s new band. Don’t be an Internet Metal Nerd.

[Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09]

LILLE GRUBER is considered to be one of the most unique sounding and versatile drummers in the death metal world. He is the only remaining founding member of the German brutal death metal monsters Defeated Sanity and has also played for numerous death metal bands like Cenotaph (Turkey), Belphegor, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Mucopus, Sinners Bleed, etc. Here is the interview with him:

Greetings from Nepal, Lille! How have you been doing lately?

Hey there, I am doing fine! We are preparing for the Euro tour with Gorgasm in August/September right now and things couldn’t go better!

Going back to your starting days, who inspired you to start playing the drums? At what age did you start playing?

The person that inspired me the most to play drums or music in general was my dad, who also was a musician. I grew up in a community of musicians. All my dad’s friends were musicians and I heard and saw them play everyday. So I guess that influences you as a child.

Your style of drumming draws a lot from some other elements of the drumming world and makes your sound and style unique than any drummer I have personally heard in brutal death metal. Can you elaborate on how you created your playing style?

Well, I really take music in general seriously. My aim is to make serious music, not pop music. So if you wanna make the best music you can, you will look up to the best, the top of the music world. And that includes mostly jazz, classical, folklore but also pop, rock, soul, blues, of course metal and even hip-hop, electronic stuff, etc. A good musician gets inspired by all musical art form. For how I created my style, my way of playing evolves from my preferences and what comes out is a mix of all that I prefer. I guess you create your own style in a way where you listen a lot to other drummers/musicians and then first try to imitate, then find your own way how to involve this stuff.

How do you tune such a unique set of drums?

I really just learned to really tune my drums haha, before I just worked on the drums until they kinda sounded cool for me. For me personally a very important thing is to have the snare nice and high. A too low snare drum seems too “fat” for me, a high one is nice and dynamic, also has that punch.

What kind of snare drum do you use to get that tight sound?

I use a Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum – to me, the mother of all snares. Although, I can’t even say that. I just never used much other stuff besides that cause I never felt the need.

Would you care to elaborate a bit on your current kit?

My current kit consists of 1 bass drum with double pedal (never could afford a second one plus it has no room in my rehearsal space haha), 2 hang toms, 1 stand tom, 2 crashes, ride, china, hihats and the crashes have splash cymbals and a bell on top. I like playing around with splashes now; it’s the first time in my life I had the money to afford some small cool stuff like that. It’s a Pearl Master series kit btw.

Tell us the way you approach after every album? There is quite a shift in drumming between all of your albums, each got better than the previous.

Well thank you, glad to hear that! Well I never give up and never stop doubting myself so I guess that is the reason for always improving. The general style of every album changed too – different song structure, different riffs. So that is the reason for a different drumming style as well. Also, every album had different drum sounds. None of them really satisfied me yet. I hope I can get closer to my vision next time.

How much do you think that the change in band’s lineup affects the style of music that it plays? What has been the case with Defeated Sanity?

Hmmm depends what situation you have. I think the most important is if the core band knows what they wanna do, if new members come into the whole thing they can be either “executors” or creative minds that vastly change the material. For us, when Chris came into the band his style of playing inspired more fast grinding then we had before. I remember I had to really keep up with him in the beginning. He writes less “contemplated” stuff than going for raw fast insanity, which is a nice contrast to what I was doing.

Sadly enough, quite a lot of bands use programmed or at least triggered drums on their albums. What’s your thought on programmed drumming? Were you ever tempted to use programmed drumming?

I was never tempted to do that stuff. We need organic, human sounding drums. Well programmed drumming works for a few bands, I am thinking about Heinous Killings and Mortician here. But for a live drummer to sound like a machine (=trigger¬ing the whole kit) makes no sense to me. Also lots of guitarists do it cause they can’t find a drummer but wanna release shit…. so it’s kind of “worst case scenario” thing.

What bands are you listening to right now? And what sort of music do you normally enjoy listening to?

Right now I have been on a big old school trip haha. Listening to lots of old Malevolent Creation, Monstrosity… the more thrashy stuff you know? Always listen to jazz and classical stuff on the side, but my main menu is still metal. Right now listening to Watchtower “Control and Resistance”. Immense album!

Could you name some drummers who have influenced you a lot?

So many great drummer out there, so this time I will mention a whole lot of them haha: Tony Williams, Jack De Johnette, Billy Cobham, Wolfgang Teske, Alex Marquez, Stephen Shelton, Rick Colaluca, Lee Harrisson, Chad Walls, Jon Engman, Brad Fincher, Gene Holgan, Sean Rein¬ert… the list is endless.

So what’s up with your current bands, Defeated Sanity and Cenotaph? You were in verge of touring?

Well, with Cenotaph I don’t do stuff anymore. I haven’t heard from Batu in a longer time now. I think they are working with a young line up in Turkey now and it seems to go really well with their drummer. With DS, as I said, we are right now preparing for the Euro tour starting in August. Also working on 5 new songs and writing much more material than that. I think the next album will be recorded next summer. I am confident about it.

You have been the only remaining original member of Defeated Sanity now. How does it feel to drive the band as the only founder member remaining?

Well, first and foremost it’s sad to have lost the founding member Wolfgang Teske last year to cancer, RIP!!! He was there with me from the beginning, and then decided he couldn’t do it anymore in 2008 because his fingers didn’t work that well anymore. But with Jacob and Chris, the core of the band seems like my first real band, so it still feels like this is the first line up (minus Wolfgang). It’s a great feeling to know, the 4th album is coming up and things just keep getting better for us. Also is a hard task to top each album you released before though. Songwriting-wise, we can’t top the last one, but we will try to make the production better.

Can you please tell us about each member and a brief background of Defeated Sanity?

Yes, gladly! Jacob I got to know when we were building a new line up after I came to Berlin from Bavaria. I saw him with his old band CEREBRIC TURMOIL, who made a crazy mix of math core and death metal and when I saw him play I knew he was the guy I wanna work with, he was a young fucker too, 17 years old. Chris we met a bit before when we were searching for a bass player, some bassist came to audition and brought Chris with him. In the end we decided to work with Chris but not the bass player. The latest member for DS is Konni on vocals. He was in Despondency before and we have known him since the Demo days. He is a very good frontman and singer, so we are a very strong team!

Who’s writing the songs? What are the main themes/subjects of the music?

Well I would say I am the musical director in this band. I hear lots of riffs from my band members and compose even more than that myself… and most time in my life I spend with contemplating about putting them together in a good order. This happens on the way to work in trains, at the instrument, or just walking around, or while giving lessons. Lyrical themes are all inspired by the evil in this world. Both the evil that we witness ourselves, but mainly the repugnant things we hear everyday in the news or whatever. We are just very fascinated with cruelty, violence, dark thoughts.

Are there any goals you want to reach drumming-wise?

Yeah, for sure. I try to get faster and more accurate with my double bass. But on the other side I wanna get more fluent with improvisation and jazzy stuff. If u ask me, two contradicting things… but practicing completely different things must be good for you, as you will get a broad horizon musically. I might wanna start jazzy stuff when I get old, haha. That would rule!

Anything you do besides drumming (I mean some other jobs)?

No, I only give music lessons right now (guitar and drums), it’s my job.

Lastly, any advice, tips, would you give to younger drummers here in Nepal?

Play everything SLOW first, if you wanna be able to play it fast. Also incorporate dynamics in your playing. Listen to the drummers and the bands I mentioned! And listen to them good, and then play your own stuff and try to emulate it at home while playing your style in the shows!

Thanks a bunch Lille for your kind reply ! Keep it brutal, and keep it sick.

DEFEATED SANITY:
http://www.facebook.com/DefeatedSanity

[Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09]

So the Singaporean grindcore specialists Wormrot have greeted the world with yet another brilliant album “Dirge” a couple of months ago, and which has already burst a lot of balls throughout the globe. Here’s an interview with the band’s founding members, Arif (vocals) and Rasyid Juraimi (guitar).

Greetings from the Himalayas, yo! Firstly, I would like to congratulate Wormrot for the amazing worldwide response on your new album “Dirge”, which many would consider to be one of the best grindcore releases of this year already. So let me start with this: how would you define ‘grindcore’ yourself? And how would you define Wormrot?

Rasyid: Right now, I would say grindcore is a bastard child of punk and metal with less limitation. I would say Wormrot is a band that plays catchy tunes at a faster BPM.

So how did the band come into existence?

Arif: Wormrot started out as a death-grind project formed by me on vocals and Acit (Septikaemia, Hellghast) on drums. We took in Halim (Arbitrary Element, Cardiac Necropsy) to fill in the bass. I met an old high school friend Rasyid who had just completed his national service (2007) by a chance meeting through a mutual friend and was invited to try out on the guitars. A couple of jamming sessions followed yet we couldn’t find a comfortable stride. Rasyid and I decided to go on our own to form a grindcore band, retaining Wormrot as the band name. Fitri was a friend of mine in camp while we were in our national service. He fitted the empty drum slot comfortably. And hence was our current line-up positioned.

Hey, when I first heard the band name, I thought you guys would sing something on gore and disembowelments and necrophilia and stuffs, but you actually sing about… you know, some other things on life. I mean do the lyrical themes have anything to do with the world around, the society and politics pissing you off for some reason?

Arif: The lyrics are always about my own personal issues. We don’t have any hidden messages through our songs. Just a warning to assholes around the world not to fuck with us or rather me. We’re not a political band. Rarely would I incorporate the army negativity into our songs but at the same time making it humorous amongst the degrading words. Lyrical ideas will never fade. Personally, I’ve experienced tons of shit that are most likely to contribute to the theme.

I very much would like to stick the band’s style with that of Insect Warfare or Kill the Client. So what made you guys ending up with generating some no-bullshit, straightforward grindcore sound?

Rasyid: It actually came naturally to us. Like I said before, we just wanna play some catchy and easy-to-listen riffs. Simple aggressive music.

Tell us what you guys dig more personally – hardcore or death metal?

Rasyid: I’m going with hardcore. I never ‘get’ death metal.

Arif: All of the above. I can’t really say which one I prefer the most. Basically I listen to everything. Although I’m leaning more towards grind and powerviolence these days.

Well, there’s no bass in the band’s music and I came to know it was on purpose. Anyway, do you think you guys would hire someone on bass anytime in future?

Rasyid: NO!

Arif: 3 is a crowd.

Talking about your current record label, how did Earache Records first find you? Were you guys surprised or something at first to have known Digby Pearson, the label’s owner, was actually very impressed with the band?

Arif: Pretty much shocked actually. We were looking for a label to release our second album and we did ask some labels but we didn’t approach Earache cause we didn’t think they would be interested anyway. So when Digby himself messaged us in Myspace, I was refreshing the page a lot of times not believing what just happened. We could not believe it!

Well, and let me tell you that the music videos of songs “Spot a Pathetic” and “Erased Existence” you released in past couple of months were fucking amazing. I really liked the concepts. Anything on this? How was their making process like?

Arif: Both videos were recorded live in one of the shows during our US tour this year at The Blvd in LA. Earache and Dave, the videographer, did a tremendous job in coordinating for both videos.

Considering that an average Wormrot song lengths below one minute, how long does it take to write a song? How’s the songwriting process like?

Rasyid: It depends dude, sometimes it took less than 10 mins to write a good song, sometimes it took us 6 hours sparingly to come up with an ok song. For “Dirge”, we came into the studio with basically nothing, sometimes I didn’t even have a standby riff to play. It was really a ‘starting from nothing’ process.

Oh, that must have been a crazy experience then. Well, you guys have recently played your shows in US and Europe. How was the whole feel playing in those parts of the globe? How do those gigs differ from the usual Wormrot gigs in south-east Asia?

Rasyid: Actually we suffered from the ‘just another local band’ stigma (in Singapore), until we gained exposure from our touring, and recently, our signing to Earache. Maybe it shows that “hey we’re fucking serious and we’re here to make a difference”. We’ve been getting better attendance numbers in our recent gigs than our early years, definitely. Singapore’s a conservative crowd, but more and more are throwing their inhibitions on the moshpits.

How much have you noticed, in your career till now, that Asian bands are often overlooked by the metal world at other corners of the world?

Rasyid: It’s a sad unjust fact, but it’s not gonna change. We know, and have seen, many quality bands in Asia, but the spotlights are shining too brightly on the other side of the world that they are contented with what they have there. And unfortunately, people in Asia are tuning in to the West much more than they bother about what’s under their noses, contributing to the ‘just another local band’ stigma.

“Just another local band” stigma? Talking about it, I came to know the local bands in Singapore are often overlooked by the crowd there (bands playing in front of ten), while they agree paying even very big amounts to catch international groups live. Is it so?

Rasyid: Yes, it is and it’s common, nothing’s gonna change. That’s why we’re playing more shows in the US and UK. Sometimes you just wonder “why should I ever give a fuck about the Singapore scene”, and the answer lies in those 10 people watching the shows. That is a good enough reason.

That’s a great thing to hear, man. What are you guys’ day jobs by the way?

Rasyid: Right now I’m a driver in a furniture company.

Arif: I’m a freelance artist doing artworks for bands and I can be reached at my website ‘Rotworks’ (http://www.rotworks.net).

So what’s ahead of this, yo? I guess it’s too early to ask but when could we expect another Wormrot release?

Rasyid: FUCK OFF! NOT SO SOON! By the way, thanks for the interview dude!

Arif: A new one? Hahaha! Won’t be too soon brother. Thanks for the interview.

Thanks for the interview, guys. And all the best for everything that’s ahead.

You could check out more about the band through the following links:
http://myspace/wormrotgrind
http://facebook.com/wormrot
http://twitter.com/wormrot
http://wormrot.tumblr.com

– Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art

[This interview was originally taken for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09.]

Devoid is a thrash/death metal band from Mumbai, India. Here’s an interview with them:

Hello guys, firstly, I would like to congratulate Devoid for the awesome international response on your debut album “A God’s Lie”. To begin with, for those who haven’t listened to your music yet, how would you describe a typical Devoid sound?

Thanks a lot for the wishes, man. The awesome international response was surely a pleasant surprise. Hard work does pay off. For people who haven’t heard our music, we are a thrash/death metal band with hint of melodic elements. Conscious efforts have been put in to NOT sound like any other thrash act and hence, it’s an interesting listen.

Devoid has definitely made an impact in the Indian metal scene with the release of the album and the band is obviously getting a healthy amount of exposure in the international metal arena as well. So how has been the six years’ journey till now?

Our six year long journey has been needless to say, tough. Earlier it was the lack of funds to buy good equipments. Later it was the lack of funds to record in a good studio. Determined to come out with an album, we took matters into our own hands. We recorded the whole album at MotorG studios which is the brainchild of Arun (band’s vocalist/guitarist). Recording the album was huge learning curve for the whole band. In these six years, we have not given up and practiced our asses off to become better musicians and more importantly, a tighter metal band. The band’s closest friend and manager, Roydon Bangera has played a very important role. He handles all the business end of the band, which according to us is as important as the band itself. Together with him, we have grown as a unit. Opening for bands like Cradle of Filth and Decapitated, who have been our childhood heroes, was definitely a dream come true. We have set very tough goals for ourselves, so right now we’re nowhere near where we imagine ourselves to be. We’ll be pushing hard as always.

Could you describe the concept behind the album and its name? Any meaning that Kali on your album cover depicts?

The face of Kali is a placeholder for God and why specifically Kali needs no reasons! If any Hindu God/Goddess deserves a spot on a metal album, it would be Kali and it is probably because she is a badass who crushes demons with her feet, then tears them from limb to limb and then wears them as trophies around her neck while obliterating everything everywhere. Very metal. She, the God, is sticking her tongue out because at the tip of it is the source of the meaning in the album title – A God’ Lie. It signifies the divine lie, hot and ready for selling and spreading. The colors and the images on the album are the brainchild of Shakti Dash. He is an intense guy and he knows his trade. He really got into the album and he wanted to represent what he felt through the music and the lyrics.

Tell us something about the recording of the album, which was entirely recorded and produced by the front-man Arun Iyer. How was the experience?

One of the main reasons for us to record this album on our own setup was the lack of funds. We never really intended for it to be a complete DIY project as far as production is concerned but since I (Arun) had dabbled with the recording arts before I thought it’d be much safer and readily available for any last minute tweaks, and believe me there were a million of them. It was a brilliant learning experience for me and I am really looking forward to more. The final sound though on the album was never good enough for me and that stretched on and on for a year till we settled for a sound that was closest to what we had in our heads all along. I understand that in this age records short of pristine quality is thrown right off the window, but to my surprise people have taken the under-produced sound, if you may, rather well. I am not entirely satisfied with the final sound on the album and now, when I spin the album again I usually find more than a few things I’d like to change but that process was seemingly endless. But hey, with jack-diddly for a budget, I think we did just fine.

Was there any reason you had put the “Beer Song” as a bonus track? Is it because of the difference of its lyrical concept as compared to the other songs?

Speaking on behalf of the band and the evident numerous minge sessions, we all love beer! This song was one of the quickest songs that came out of the jam room and though it stood out of our set list, which became a major reason for us to enjoy this song even more. We were scared if this would backfire on us but thankfully it is now a crowd favorite too.

You are among those bands in the world that are reviving the genre of thrash metal. Tell me few of your favorite groups among the revival horde? And also some of your other major influences that you’ve incorporated to make this album?

The first band that comes to my mind is definitely Hypnosia (if they were still around). Their album “Extreme Hatred” according to me is one of the thrash epics. Sadly, they disbanded after the tragic death of their drummer. Amongst the others are Lazarus AD, Destruction, Bonded by Blood, Deathchain, Violator, etc. These bands came out with some really good albums which had that essence of old school aggression but didn’t sound like copycats. We in the band grew up listening to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Kreator, Sodom, Sepultura, Pantera, Exodus, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide etc and the influence is hence understandable. But, Slayer has had the biggest influence on us. Slayer is the reason why we started this band. We just wanted to be as fast and brutal as them. “A God’s Lie” is a mixture of all our influences and we’ve tried to make the album sound as interesting and not boring or repetitive as possible.

Arun, you were surprised to learn that you also have fans here in Nepal. Had you expected it at first? How about a Devoid gig here in Nepal for us, the Devoid fans?

It’s always makes us happy when someone appreciates our music. When I read on Facebook on one such event page as to how many people wanted to see Devoid live, we were ecstatic. We do hope that someday we get to showcase our music to Nepal.

So what were your expectations out of the album, when you first started working on it?

Honestly we had no time to think about expectations as our prime aim was to record what we felt was our best over the years and since this was our first attempt in recording, we took all the time to make this one count.

It’s sad that the record label you’re signed in, Demonstealer Records has now closed its label division. But I’m confident that there might be few international labels as well, out there who are eyeing on you. What do you think?

Yes, Sahil who owns Demonstealer Records did issue a notice explaining as to why he decided to shut his label. So presumably, our next album will be released on some other record label. About international labels, we leave that responsibility on our manager to select the most suitable option for us. We would love to be on an international label to increase our chances of international tours.

I wonder if you guys have already started writing for your next release. Well, have you? Could you enlighten us a bit about it as well? How different is it going to be from the last album?

Yes, we have started working on some new material although it is a mess right now. We have all the ideas in our head and we just need to execute them in the right manner. We’re taking it easy to get the right sound. It’s going to be a little different from our last album – less melodic and more brutal and faster. That said, we will retain all the elements that make us sound unique.

So how do you see Devoid, lets say, five or ten years down the line?

Touring Europe and recording in a top notch studio.

Any last words you would want to throw to end this interview?

Keep supporting metal, and all deserving bands. We hope we will have the pleasure of spreading our music to Nepal soon. Cheers!

You could check out more about the band in the following links:

http:// facebook.com/pages/DevoidIndia/140937786471
http://reverbnation.com/devoidindia

– Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art

[This interview was originally taken for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09. Caught these guys up in their great practice space at Sanepa. This is not the full version of the interview.]

Hello guys, what’s up with the band lately?

We’re currently working for our sixth studio album. We’ve added a new bassist, Kundan Shrestha (ex-Wings of Spasm) and our former bassist Bhaskar will now be the second guitarist for the band.

A new album? Could you enlighten us a bit about this?

Yes, we have started working on it. We’ve just finished composing one song, which we’ll be playing in the forthcoming gigs. Musically, we’re up to some straightforward black metal this time, with a bit of funeral doom influences. There won’t be any death/grind elements as in our last album “Putrefaction Eternity”, but you could observe some raw black metal and brutal black metal influences within. This will be some primitive, cold and depressive black metal, to speak.

Any concept the album will embrace?

As said above, this time our lyrical theme will revolve around the depressive side, the melancholy of life, built in with dark fantasy.

So when do you think will it be out?

We’re not in hurry for that. This time, we’ll do the thing slowly and steadily. We’ll attempt to achieve the best quality music no matter how long it’ll take. We’re just in the songwriting process and there is no any rush at the moment.

You guys had recently played in Deccan Rock, Hyderabad in your first ever performance in India, which was headlined by Decapitated. How did the tour go? What was your anticipation before the tour, the actual gig and the responses?

Well, it wasn’t any minor thing for us. The anticipation was really huge for all of us. It was an honor to play alongside one of our favorite bands, Decapitated, whom we are following since their debut release. The crowd was a little thinner than what we had expected, about 500 (in the first day), but the gig went awesome, and it was one of the best performances we’ve ever given. After our set, we were stunned with the reaction of people. Those weren’t just “you guys were pretty good” responses, but “man! you guys surprised me, I didn’t know good metal bands existed in Nepal” sort of responses. Obviously, there was a bit of underestimation from the crowd before, thinking that we’re from Nepal. But later, they were literally shocked through our performance, and we were shocked through their reviews. Gaining “the best band of the day” title (in some review) is obviously a huge thing for us. A great appreciation was there for our drummer Surya and guitarist Pankaj, who had better stage presence than rest of us (haha).

After the gig, we could also converse with the guys of Funeral in Heaven (Sri Lanka) and Violent Eve (Spain). They were really cool guys and we have become good friends with Funeral in Heaven.

About the upshot of the gig, I guess it could be an opening of the door for other local bands to the international metal arena. We’ve given them a hint that we have a decent metal underground here and it could be good for our local scene as a whole. So overall, it was a tremendous achievement.

Also, few promoters in India have shared their desire to invite us there, in cities like Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, so hopefully, we’ll be playing there soon. Also, we might be playing in Sri Lanka as well, with the help of our friends in Funeral in Heaven, and we will also be trying to bring them here in Nepal.

Having released five albums, you have a lot of song options to select for a gig. How do you normally select songs?

Well, it’s all in random. There’s no such criterion at all. But sometimes the wish of crowd would drive us pick few songs as “Forever Winter”, “300” and “Infected” which have always been the local crowd favorites.

What was your set-list in Deccan Rock like?

In order, “Pashu Samrajya”, “With Vengeance I Bleed”, “The Ruin of Immortals”, “Winter Blossom ov Ceremonial Grief” and “300”.

So what are the upcoming performance dates in your diary?

The three confirmed are KtmROCKS Black Tour, Nepfest and Silence Festival, the latter one opening for the mighty Vader. Under the Black Tour, we’ll be playing in Pokhara, Dharan and Kathmandu, that’ll take place around Dashain/Tihar. After these concerts, we would probably stop focusing much on playing live for a while and concentrate on our next album.

Your last release “Putrefaction Eternity” had received some critical reviews from the listeners. What do you say?

Our last album was a total experimentation. We had brought together black metal, brutal death metal and grindcore elements all in one mixture. So there was a greater risk of disappointment for the listeners who would want some regular Antim Grahan stuff. It wasn’t purely black metal and it wasn’t purely brutal death metal either. So, with many listeners taking it as a total shocker album, most of the fans of the typical Grahan melodies/symphonies could be dissatisfied.

Nearly 23,000 likes in Facebook. Had you guys expected that you would have such a number of fans when you first started Antim Grahan?

First of all, we hadn’t even expected that there would be something called Facebook, haha. And no, we seriously hadn’t expected this at all, since we were formed just as a college band for the sake having fun without much seriousness (in the beginning that is).

You’ve definitely come a long way observing a drastic change in the local underground. Any new band in scene that you really like?

Yes, there are a lot of excellent bands lately. One of them is Hatebook, who look really promising. Although not so new, we really like Binaash and their straightforward no-bullshit brutal death metal blended with some grind. Also, the black metal band Garudh, whose raw and primitive sounding music we like. And how can we forget Define Mental? Haha.

(I was interviewing there and Surya was playing keys and Niraj was with a guitar so…) You guys seem to be multi-instrumentalists, right? What instruments can each member play?

Parash (vocals): I can play drums.

Surya (drums): I also play guitar, madal, flute and keyboards.

Niraj (keyboards): Flute and guitar.

Pankaj (guitar): Well, I can growl and can also give some drum beats on pop songs, haha.

Bhaskar (guitar): I also play bass and drums.

Kundan (bass): Drums and guitar.

Alright, thank you very much for the interview, guys, and all the best for the upcoming album and the gigs.

– Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art

[This interview was originally taken for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 9]

InnerGuilt is a thrash/death metal band from Beirut, Lebanon, who are playing in this year’s Silence Festival, Kathmandu, on October 15. Here’s a short interview:

Hi there. Thanks for taking some time to do this interview. Since most of us here in Nepal are unaware about your band, could you briefly tell us something about InnerGuilt?

Hey, thanks for the interview. The band was formed back in November 2010 by the members Sako (the front-man) and Serge (lead guitarist). Shortly, we had released a single entitled “Burden of Guilt” which got many positive reviews and feedbacks. The first show we played was at Holy Noise, Dubai which was great. After two months we headed to India to perform in Deccan Rock Fest 2011 and got many positive reviews both from the crowd and the reviewers. Currently we are a four piece band and we play thrash/death metal. InnerGuilt are:
Sako Helvajian – Vocals
Serge Keshishian – Lead Guitars
Gary Kabakian – Bass
Christ Michael – Drums

What’s up with the name InnerGuilt? Any philosophy that your lyrical themes follow… or should I say, follows your music?

InnerGuilt is a word that explains the authority’s power against the poor and the weak, the justice that always stands with the guilty; the guilt that lives inside every person and it is reflective towards wealth, power and dissoluteness. It remains inside and is denied by humans, who seem to be clean and white but yet, BEASTS. But the music plays the biggest role in the band and the band’s theme.

The band was formerly called Tristmoon that played melodic black/gothic metal and had also released a full length album under the name. How did the sudden change in name and musical direction come in?

InnerGuilt has nothing to do with Tristmoon. Some of InnerGuilt’s members used to play with Tristmoon and that was it. Now it’s a whole different thing! There is much aggressive theme, music and lyrics now.

You seem to have a varied musical influences then, i.e. from gothic metal to thrash/death metal. What are your individual musical backgrounds?

The gothic part has never been InnerGuilt’s members’ background, but Tristmoon’s. We always knew we would be a thrash/death metal band, and that was the thing. InnerGuilt’s members are mostly influenced by thrash, death, progressive and technical metal music.

Recording anything soon with the new band name and genre on?

Actually we are recording our debut album “Slanderous Society” and hopefully we’ll be able to release it in our Asian tour “Show No Mercy” starting September 2011.

You guys had recently opened for Decapitated in Deccan Rock in Hyderabad, India, with some great reviews. I heard you guys wowed the Decapitated guys as well?

The reviews were all positive and we surely were satisfied. Opening for Decapitated was a dream coming true. This awesome band is one of our biggest death metal influences, and we can’t wait to share the stage with them once again.

Did you guys catch up Antim Grahan from Nepal in that show? Plus have you heard anything metal from Nepalese underground?

I wish we did, but we arrived to Hyderabad in the morning of the second day of Deccan Rock. But I’m sure we’ll catch them soon and many other Nepalese bands as well. Concerning the Nepalese underground, we’re excited to know more about the metal scene over there.

It might be really hard to operate a metal band in a Muslim country like Lebanon. How’s the reaction of the general people over the music? Plus do you see a hint of change on the general taking on it in due time?

With all respect to our Muslim brothers, sisters, friends and fans, Lebanon is not a Muslim country. It’s a mix of 18 different sects! The majority of the population is Christians and Muslims, and it has always been this way. Compared to the middle-east, Lebanon is the ONLY country influenced by the western culture. In the past, a lot of Lebanese bands faced major problems with the cops, but not anymore. Nowadays you can play metal music; you can have long hair, piercing and tattoos. We always have metal festivals and concerts including international acts and local acts.

So how’s the overall metal scene over there? Any cool bands you would want to recommend us?

The scene is great in Lebanon. We have a lot of rising bands with good music like Level 7, Tormented and many more. We have some old and well known bands like The Weeping Willow, Oath to Vanquish, Post Mortem, Element 26, Nocturna, Melancholy and many more.

Thanks for the interview, guys. At last, a final shout-out to end this interview?

We would like to thank you for interviewing us, and all the Nepalese metalheads over there as well. We are looking forward to play in your beautiful country, and make friends and fans. Cheers to you all, best regards from Lebanon.

You can download the band’s single “Burden of Guilt” through their official website: http://innerguilt.com.

Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art

(Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS Emag 08)

Kalodin is a symphonic black/death metal band based in Nepal and Singapore. Here’s an interview with the band’s guitarist and the ‘brain of Kalodin’, Davin Shakya:

Hi Davin, thanks for granting me this opportunity to interview you! For those who haven’t listened to your music yet, could you please define Kalodin briefly – the band, the sound and how it all got started?

Davin: Greetings Samyam! We appreciate your effort in this brother, and thanks for the interview. “Kalodin”, is a word play of Nepali language literally translating “Black Day”. At the time when I was trying to brainstorm on our band’s name, I thought of few other possible names until I found out that those were already taken. And I knew I had to sort of imprint our background onto the name, hence the name, “Kalodin”, which metaphorically means “Dark Age” in Nepali.

Kalodin consists of:

Davin Shakya: Guitars, keys, backup vocals and sound engineer
Rai: Bass, graphic designer
OmEO: Guitar, video editor
Gobinda: Drums

During our “torture” era, we were just starting out as a metalcore band and as we aged, we started getting heavier and heavier – from metalcore to thrash metal to melodic death metal to symphonic black/death metal. And now, we have finally found our ‘signature’ touch that we establish in all the songs that we write. Spanish/Arabic vibe is a part of our whole song writing process not forgetting war/the downside of humanity/sex/religion.

Speaking of sound, we played with different musicians during our growth towards the present – different drummers, different guitarist and bassists. But we soon realized that in mean time, we will have to part ways due to my visa issue in Singapore. So I had to decide whether to stick with the lineup or move on, and decided to move on. Thus, explaining why we used MIDI drums on our whole production in “The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry” and the parting of our ex-vocalist, Kiew Jay Joel from Singapore who played a huge role in Kalodin.

We recently recruited an official member once from Garudh, Gobinda on drums. But Ashis and Sanjay, from Garudh are also sessioning for us for our tours in Nepal.

And we have the luxury of a home recording studio so I can’t deny that we cut cost during our production stage but trust me, my balls grow white hair upon completion.

It’s not fun anymore man. It’s our way of life. Kalodin is our legacy and our destiny we can’t afford to fuck up. And I’ll do whatever it takes to honor this name and watch it go really far with the help of our members and fans!

It’s been sometime that Kalodin released the debut studio album “The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry”, which was produced independently by the band itself. How have been the responses till now?

Davin: The responses have been all positive so far besides the MIDI drums!

Kalodin at Putrefaction Gig in Pokhara, Nepal

Kalodin recently played in Pokhara Putrefaction Gig in Pokhara and you said it was the best thing that has happened to you. You want to share something on it?

Davin: It was in fact the best live gig we ever played in our history! Our first make-up attempt was a complete success! The stage was outdoors with just sky as the ceiling! The lighting was pretty good. We FINALLY got to tour with our good friend, Antim Grahan. And most importantly, THE FANS WERE ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!!! Those guys were fucking awesome, supporting us from the start till end, taking photos with us! We did feel like rockstars in that moment! But what makes a rockstar? The answer is simple – our family, our friends and fans who keep supporting us in every move we partake to strive for the better!

Any interesting moment in the tour you’d like to share with us?

Davin: Haha, there are many moments that we won’t be able to forget! Kalodin’s version of “Eddie”, LIGU! was kind enough to buy some spaghetti and rub it all over the hotel room’s wall and puking all over the toilet, getting fucked up with great friends! Ligu nearly threw a TV set out of the window but I guess he realized we were all there on budget, hahaha! We also got to explore the beautiful places of Pokhara! It was awesome.

And you guys are also touring a couple of other towns in Nepal with Antim Grahan?

Davin: Yes, It’s an honor!

The Singaporean metal scene, as I know, is fucking huge, with frequent visit of world famous groups. What do you say about the Singaporean metal scene yourself?

Davin: Well yes the ‘scene’ there is great. Great international bands tour Singapore all the time. Maiden’s coming on February. People do not mind paying ALOT for these bands. But I am very disappointed with the local scene there. Bands playing in front of a crowd of 10. Let me just put it this way – the local metal scene there is bad. But some bands there are amazing! They truly are.

So till now, what differences have you noticed in between playing in Singapore and playing in Nepal? The atmosphere? The bands? The fans?

Davin: Well yes, the atmosphere is entirely different. As mentioned before, Singapore’s local metal scene is pretty bad. But that didn’t really affect us because we were the headliners. As for the bands that we played with in Singapore, they are awesome! But a little more attention from the audiences’ side would be great! These bands deserve to be heard man!

In Nepal though, everything was different. The fans were crazy! The stage set-up, and the unity of metalheads in Nepal! And that is important. Unity! For in the family of metal, we are one!

Since the band members are/were dispersed in two different countries most of the time, how did you manage the making and recording of songs all those time? How did the whole process go?

Davin: It started when I was in India studying Audio Engineering. Our vocalist at that time, Joel and Rai were in Singapore. So being the main songwriter, I compose something and send the mp3 file over to them by email. Upon receiving it, they will add their own stuff on it and send it back to me. The songwriting and recording process were done through these means. Joel recorded his vocals in a professional studio in Singapore while Rai bought an audio interface and recorded using that. They then send me all the completed files and I’d mix and master them altogether. It was a long, dreary process but we still pulled it off.

Kalodin’s music has symphonic, black, death, melodic death, progressive, power as well as heavy metal elements. Was it a sort of experimentation? Who are your primary influences behind the music?

Davin: We weren’t really experimenting. Instead, we tried to evoke different emotions in different parts of every songs thus the perception of various sub-genres of metal in our music. Our main influences are Dimmu Borgir, CoF, Behemoth and artists from Roadrunner Records.

There had been a lack of stable drummer with the band since the beginning, which had also led the band employing programmed drums in the album. In the mean time, Kalodin recently added Gobind as the official drummer of the band. Anything you want to say on the drumming department?

Davin: Well, like I mentioned above. We went through a great deal of changes in the past and because of geographical difference, we had to resort to MIDI drums to fill up the void in our production. But now that Gobind has joined the band, we will be releasing an EP with live drums intact! We want to brush away any doubt that we can’t do without a drummer which is going to require a hell lot of work and experimenting on the audio production side.

And Kalodin also released “The Divulgence”, a promotional package/compilation set of the album in Nepal?

Davin: No, “The Divulgence” isn’t an official initiation. We did this so that we can market our music for much cheaper rate. It is basically a compilation of 4 tracks from the album.

So how many copies of the album/package do you think were sold in Nepal?

Davin: The music industry here for metal isn’t up to the international caliber. And our price is too expensive for the market here so we didn’t really sell much. In fact, it was below 20 copies. We hope to see the market flourish in due time! It’s about the art’s integrity and yes, we do need money to upgrade our gears, don’t we?

We’ve learned that the band is working for the next EP already, which is said to come out in few months, probably. How’s it going?

Davin: We have already started writing new materials but it’s going to be a total surprise! So I won’t spoil it now. But we are going to make it such that fans will be able to download it!

That’s great. It suggests the band is going to shift a bit of direction in the EP musically?

Davin: Yes definitely! That’s the whole point. It’s going to be more brutal and darker.

Well, we were stunned (hehe) to get you playing with corpsepaint in Putrefaction Gig. I can say that you guys were the first in Nepal that actually did the make-ups for a live show. How were the comments?

Davin: Haha! It took balls of steel for us to do that man! We were certain that “golveda” (tomato) was gonna be all over our attire at the end of our set! Amazingly enough, nothing happened! Instead, fans respected that and took lots of photos with us which was an honor! We thank our fans for their support!

So what does the corpsepaint actually try to signify when talking about Kalodin?

Davin: Right now, it’s just a new face of the band. I know that our current music and the corpsepaint don’t match. But the whole make-up situation was implemented so that we can make an appearance as KALODIN instead of 6 different individuals. When the make-up comes off, we’re simply who we are outside Kalodin. But when the make-up’s on, we rock out as ONE. For our upcoming EP, our genre is going to be well suited with our appearance.

While talking about the philosophy behind Kalodin’s music, are you guys really into all those Satan stuffs personally?

Davin: I can write about this the whole night, but I’m not going to. Every individual is subjected to their own beliefs. Before answering your question, look around what’s happening in this world. It’s good to be optimistic in life but one has to be pessimistic too, to embrace the way of life. We are NOT Satanists but we do not overlook its teachings either. Our music is mostly about Atheism which is presented in the most metaphorical way possible using religion, sex and war as the references, rebelling against the ones who put you down. Against the fucking system, the transition of the old world and the new world in which, during the process has been defiled by men and lastly the APOCALYPSE which awaits us!

Our goal is to instill our music and lyrics in different minds, interpreting our words in 100 different ways. Everyone’s got a different story after all.

Lastly, few words you’d like to share with fans, friends and foes?

Davin: We, Kalodin embrace our friends’ and fans’ undying support from the bottom of our hearts. We will keep the brutality alive and spread our music… Worldwide! We will not disappoint. As much as we’re enjoying, creating our work, we’d like you to enjoy it MORE listening to it! We’d like to thank all our supporters! And as for our foes, who gives a fuck about them?

Kalodin thanks KtmROCKS, Antim Grahan and all our fans for believing in us and aiding us in every way possible! And thank you Samyam, for the interview!

Thank you, Davin. We wish you all the best for your upcoming EP, the tour and everything that’s ahead!

– Interviewed by Samyam Shrestha