Posts Tagged ‘Jugaa’

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.

I had been excited to have my ears on this release since the time Vishal Rai (guitarist, Jugaa) announced his band is working on a split with New York based Nepali hardcore group Sangharsha. Well, I had been a fan of both these bands – Jugaa for their uncoventional hardcore sound, rawness, superheavy riffs, sick live shows and badassery of the members, and Sangharsha for their catchiness (esp. the demo), that had put me in serious consideration of giving hardcore a second chance (I didn’t have clearer picture of hardcore before that and which I connected to metalcore, more or less, which I always loved to bash).

The first half is Sangharsha’s. It opens with their cover of Integrity’s “Vocal Test”. Then comes their two crushing originals, “Insaniyaat” and “Ekata”. Well, the band doesn’t seem to get stuck with one particular style over and over their releases. This had already been presented through the giant turn of their sound from modern hardcore sounding demo to the more powerviolence/sludge/hardcore in their one-song EP in such a short span of time. And again, this time as well they have presented themselves a bit differently. More sludge/doom incorporations with the dirty distortions and heavier the tracks get. Hence they’re tending to move towards a sound they could call entirely their own. Slow to mid tempo most of the times, the riffs are quite enjoyable. But alongside, they did somewhat disappoint me because I was so enjoying their older approach to hardcore, i.e. of the demo, but killer tracks these are, nonethless.

The second half is Jugaa. I have always loved Jugaa’s sound – they tend to merge everything metal, punk, grind and hardcore, procreating a unique sound. I also loved them because of Ranav’s vocals, which were growls and not screams, the ones which every generic metalcore act in the scene employ nowadays. Through this album, Jugaa too have shifted their sound, i.e. to a darker direction. While elements of doom, grindcore and sludge could also be observed, the typical Jugaa vibe is well observed through Vishal Rai’s vile riffs, which have always been nothing less than super-heavy. This time around, Ranav utilizes more of his high-pitched screams instead of his trademark growls found in his previous works with Jugaa, Cruentus or Maya. The riffs, as said never fail to impress – the groovy segments, the neat breakdowns and all. But the best part comes in the opener of “Vultures Will Feed”, which sets me feel like slamming a face everytime it plays. “Come the Winter” is said to have some connection with “Game of Thrones” but fuck… I don’t know what it’s all about, so I rest the case. The record ends with Jugaa’s cover of “Birth is Pain”, originally by Ringworm.

The production is what sets it a notch down to me, as I love the sound of everything these bands did before this. But anyway, balls-bursting hardcore/sludge will sum it up, the best to come out of our putrid land (and Amerika) as of late. HxCx!

8.5/10

[The split is up for free download. Click here to download]

Bands: Hatebook, Jugaa, Binaash
Venue: Aussie Bar (Old G’s Terrace), Thamel
Ticket: Rs. 100

[Photos: Umes Shrestha (KtmROCKS)]

March 12. The weekend had two metal gigs in Kathmandu. First, “Deification of the Saboteur II” that featured some relatively newer bands from the city. And the other – this DIY show with such an awesome title. The decision was easy. And the reason too. Could I be eating a ‘kera’ not being there anyway?

Firstly, it was a super-rare Jugaa concert, who had played two gigs in last three years, and I hadn’t seen them live a single time. Secondly, the other two performing bands were Binaash and Hatebook, both executing ‘my’ kind of music – brutal death metal. Thus, I couldn’t miss this infrequent chance of seeing three of my favorites up on same stage.

Well, to start with, the name itself is an epic win – simple, amusing and to-the-point. The gig was scheduled to commence at 3 PM (3:27 perhaps) but as usual, it was pushed to 5 or something. More or less about a hundred people gathered, and the (mini) hall setup was loose enough that there was no barricade between the bands and the crowd. In a sense, there was no stage at all.

With an immense amount of time consumption, Hatebook were on their gears. For me, they had become a band to watch out for, as they are among the very few groups who play death metal here, in comparison to the mushrooming metalcore devotees. They had recently won the Nepfest All-Nation Music Competition and I was already looking forward to catch them up this time too.

Couple of originals and two covers of “Sphere of Madness” (Decapitated) and “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty” (Cannibal Corpse) were what they had to offer. Navin Pokharel is really growing as one of my favorite vocalists in the scene and he was lively as always – liberating low death growls that perhaps go in the league of The Faceless, fused with some animalistic pig squeals. And about the instrumentations, I could actually feel the technicality in riffing, by figuring out the guitarists’ fingerings. A mixture of old school and technical death metal is their arena.

All in all, they had a decent set that I won’t consider their best but they had pulled it well nonetheless. By the way, it was in their final song when the bass drum was cracked and that had brought another one hour of void.

The delay kept me and my friend converse with an Israeli metalhead who had come upstairs just by hearing the noise from outside. Talked about trekking, Orphaned Land, beers, prices, Abed, Ides of March gig, Jugaa, the army training, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, the Greenday songs on speaker, Iran and couple of other stuffs.

So… After a long wait for another bass drum to arrive and after a super-duper wait of seeing Jugaa live, the band were finally on their set. I have been a fan of Jugaa for quite a long time now. The split and the two EPs – they are probably the only Nepali hardcore band I absolutely dig (may be the only hardcore band in the world I absolutely dig). So without much ado, they totally began slaying. About half a dozen songs from their two EPs and the pit went wet and wild as fuck. The band members were real fun guys – kicking each other at instances and making a joke or two in between, making the ambience all good. Ranav was doing vocals and moshing with the crowd at the same time and that was a moment to behold. That guy is a MONSTER. Overall, great stage persona, hardcore for life, true till death, explosive set.

The last band to play was Binaash – the local death metal powerhouse, initially formed by the ex-members of Ugra Karma, Arachnids, 72 Hrs and Naramurti. It was noticeable why they have this self-named genre of ‘ramailo death metal’. Warm interaction with audiences and cracking jokes here and there is the typical Binaash style, and this time was no different. An even sadistic mosh arose and they did about six (or seven or so) originals.

Another grand stage presence, another set of powerful vocals, the super-aggressive hardcore mosh in the crowd, the brutal semi-technical death metal riffs, super-fast blast beats and a super-talented bassist – that’s Binaash’s death metal. Now all I am waiting for is their upcoming studio full length so that I could scare off some metalcore kids at my backyard.

So…
That was the gig. Awesome day. Awesome evening. Fun was had by all. Hope to catch these guys soon.

– Samyam Shrestha