Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

(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

(Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS EMag 08)

Arsames is a (Persian ancient) death metal band that comes from Mashhad, Iran. The band had played in Sikkim Music Festival last year alongside X-Mantra, and they will also be touring Darjeeling for the Underground Unleashed Festival in September later this year. Here is a short interview with the band’s front-man Ali Madarshahi and manager Mohsen Faiiazi.

For those who haven’t listened to your music yet, could you please describe Arsames briefly?

Arsames is the first Persian ancient death metal band formed in 2002 in Mashhad by front-man Ali Madarshahi. Most of our songs are based on ancient Persian mythology.

What does the band name Arsames actually mean?

Arsames (520 BC) was the king of Persia during the Achaemenid dynasty, who was the grandfather of Cyrus the Great. He was the first instructor of human rights in the world.

So how do you define Persian ancient death metal?

Well, it’s not a separable genre. All death metal elements like heavily distorted guitars, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, etc. are used in it. The only vital distinction lies in our lyrics and the use of Persian scales in songwriting.

You guys had headlined the Sikkim Music Fest last year, sharing stage with X-Mantra from Nepal. How was the whole experience playing in this part of the continent?

Yeah, that was really a good experience. To meet new people has always been lovely for us and we met many nice people there too. Metalheads in all corners of the world have the same attitude – they always look like a strong Army full of emotion and kindness.

I really liked the behavior of Nepali bands especially X-Mantra. Their music was really awesome.

And the band is also playing in The Underground Unleashed Festival in Darjeeling later this year?

Yes, we are already excited to travel there once again!

Well, the band had released the debut album “Immortal Identity” in 2010. How have the responses been so far?

We got well regards from fans and it has helped to keep us working and working.

And I’ve learned the album was dedicated to Ronnie James Dio, R.I.P.?

Yes, Ronnie J. Dio was a great person – the voice of metal, and his career was so huge and honorable that we decided to dedicate our album to him. And also, we wanted to show our sympathy to his family and his fans.

The band has announced the start of work for the next album, “Epic of the Kings”. Has the work started already? How is it going so far and when will it probably come out?

Yes, we have started it recently and we will effort hard to release a good album for our listeners. We are satisfied with the process of our work and we hope the album will be released at the end of 2011 or early next year.

Could you explain the philosophical/lyrical content behind Arsames’ music?

As said above, we focus on cultural and ancient background of Persia for the lyrics as you know most of pop bands focus on shallow topics such as materialistic love and have ignored some deep meanings such as culture, identity, humanity, etc.

And what are the band’s primary influences, musically?

Our musical influences include Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Kreator, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Opeth, Arch Enemy and many more. I think we are also looking for something from our ancient Persia to create an epic music that no one has done before.

Could you name few of the notable concerts you have played?

In 2009, we performed in an international three-day Unirock Festival in Istanbul, Turkey, where we opened for Amon Amarth. We had shared the stage with famous acts like Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Kreator, etc. then.

We’ve learned that heavy metal music is illegal to perform in Iran. So is it that there is no live scene there? Have you played any live show there?

Yes that’s right. Metal music is illegal in Iran and there is no any metal performance here. We haven’t played any live show in our own country, and we are not going to do that till the day the government accepts to give us the permission of doing it with vocals.

So what do you say about the overall existence of heavy metal bands in Iran? How hard is it?

It is very hard to play metal music in Iran but I think it’s a good chance to practice and work harder for being great bands and make some new music in this situation.

In fact, Iran is one of the hardest places to play metal music but don’t forget, this hardest situation has made us to be stronger, heavier and louder. We love to see metalheads grow up in our country and be a main part of the metal world. When we talk about 3,000 years of culture, we have to stay and fight for it!

What about the western music in general in Iran?

Most of the Iranian people like pop music; they follow the news about their favorite superstars and their new stuff. Moreover, they try to keep themselves up-to-date. There are a lot of genres of music that they like and listen to, like heavy metal, jazz, rock, blues, hip-hop, etc.

How are the metal recording studios?

There are some underground recording studios here but they are limited in hardware and software.

And what about women into heavy metal?

We have some female metal vocalists in Iran and they are trying hard to prove that Iranian females could be good metal vocalist as well!

Well, I read somewhere that you (Ali Madarshahi) are into heavy metal music for more than twenty-five years. How did you discover the music (and the western music in general) at first?

(Ali-) I first discovered rock music. When I was a kid, one of my family members gave me some cassettes from Pink Floyd (“The Dark Side of the Moon”). I was inspired by their music, and it was an awesome moment in my life to listen to something different than what I have listened before in radio, so I decided to discover more of this kind of music. Then I slowly started to find records by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Sodom, Testament, Megadeth, Kreator, Venom, Exodus, and more and more, so the METAL side of my life began to grow. I was fourteen when I started with heavy metal.

Cool. So what do the band members do besides playing in Arsames?

We do individual works for money – teaching music, graphic designing, etc.

Finally, any last words you want to throw to the metalheads here in Nepal?

Well, I wish good days and luck for our fans and other metal bands around the world and also I hope a peaceful year for all people and all metalheads in Nepal.

Thanks for the interview! HORNS UP TILL DEATH!

You can check out more about Arsames in their official band pages:

Official Arsames page

You could buy their stuffs at Amazon.

– Interviewed by Samyam Shrestha

(Well it was supposed to be “Interview with Bikram and Bijay Shrestha”, but unfortunately Bijay couldn’t make it to the interview, thus it has taken this form)

Bikram Shrestha has been one of the finest drummers our local underground scene has witnessed, who has been a part of numerous bands as Prakanda Bimba, Taamishra, Angel Dust, Monkey Temple, etc. and also a live member for X-Mantra. Here is a short interview with the guy:

What’s up, yo? Anything specific you’re working on lately?

Bikram: Naah, nothing actually. I’m not involved with any band right now, so I have to say I’m in a break for the time being, before coming up with anything new.

What about the Monkey Temple’s new album which was going under the recording process?

Bikram: I had recorded only a song with the band a while ago, and I’m not aware about what’s going on with the band and the recording process right now.

Prakanda Bimba. Taamishra. Angel Dust. Monkey Temple. Besides the obvious genre differences, what are the differences or distinctions you could find in playing with each of these bands?

Bikram: Prakanda Bimba was primarily a learning process than anything else. For that matter, I’m still learning and it is a continuous process, but it was crucial for even the basic things then.

Besides the genre differences, I don’t find any significant distinction between these bands, but since I’m more into death metal, playing death metal came from my inside more than when playing other forms of music, and thus I felt easy.

So having played such a varied musical genres, which is your favorite genre to listen to?

Bikram: I listen to almost every type of music, but like I said, it’s got to be death metal on the top, followed by jazz and electronic music.

You were also a part of a major death metal band, Taamishra. What happened to the project all of a sudden? Any chance of reforming?

Bikram: Subash (guitarist) had left Nepal to pursue his higher studies and thus the band was dismantled just after. I don’t think the project will reform again.

How did you get into playing drums? From what type of music did you start playing?

Bikram: I was 17 when I bought my first drum kit, after I did my SLC. I started playing them just from that point. I straight away began with death metal, since it had struck me really hard. I had bought twin pedal in my first purchase itself.

So how was the whole learning process? Did you take any course or learned things by yourself?

Bikram: Well I haven’t taken any formal drumming lesson till now, except that I had joined Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory for a very brief time for gaining jazz skills. Beside that, it was all self-learned with the help of my friends, and persons like Sarthak (ex-Prakanda Bimba) had also encouraged me a lot.

What were/are the best and the worst thing that have happened to you as musicians?

Bikram: Well, I can’t recall any worst thing right now, and I am still waiting for the best thing to happen, haha. Being a musician, I think more people have started to recognize me. Once in Butwal, when I was playing with X-Mantra, a bunch of audiences had approached to me. At first, I thought they have come towards me as I was the drummer of X-Mantra in the show, but I was really shocked to have asked, “dai, tapai Taamishra ko drummer haina?”. It is stunning that people even from such unnoticeable places do recognize me as ‘Taamishra ko drummer’, haha.

What changes do you feel in the overall Nepalese underground music scene over the years? From the time Prakanda Bimba first entered the scene to the present times?

Bikram: The obvious changes are – many good musicians are sprouting lately and the sound system in gigs has also improved. Tei ho.

Any of your favorite local bands?

Bikram: Binaash is my favorite local band right now who play my type of music – brutal death metal. I also like Jugaa. From the past scene, I like Cruentus, Maya, Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles and early X Mantra.

Who are your primary musical influences?

Bikram: It’s got to be bands like Deicide, Nile, Origin, Cryptopsy, Meshuggah, etc. and drummers like Derek Roddy, Vinnie Colouita, Jojo Mayer and Dennis Chambers who’ve influenced me a lot. Deicide was the band that dragged me to playing death metal at the beginning.

You (along with your bassist brother, Bijay) were also in a back-up band in Image Channel’s Guitar Maestro’s ‘metal round’. How was the experience with the guitarists?

Bikram: Well, everything was a rush. We only got one day to jam up with ALL the guitarists, and that too, for performing their originals. No wonder, we messed up numerous times onstage. The guitarists were amazing.

You were also session musician for a movie track or something. Could you tell us something about it?

Bikram: It’s not a movie track or anything. It’s just a promo music for a movie called “Batch No. 16” that we recorded in Silence Studios. Actually I had never thought I would be recording something for a movie someday. Ramailai vayo.

So what do you do besides playing music?

Bikram: I do nothing besides playing music. I’m still trying my best to perform the best as a musician. Music is everything that I do.

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

Bikram: Support music and support musicians, and thanks for the interview, dude.

– Interviewed by Samyam Shrestha