Metal is growing at a rapid rate in India. Most people who are part of the scene today don’t even know what it was like almost a decade ago – from having almost no bands playing original music, no international metal concerts, no album releases, few festivals, lack of good recording studios etc. to what exists today- an Indian Metal scene. We now have bands writing original music, new venues and avenues for bands to play, almost 30 releases a year for metal alone, lots of good recording studios, almost 5-6 international metal artists touring the country every year and considerable growth in infrastructure. The Indian Metal scene is coming of age slowly, but surely.
So the big question is where do we go from here? What is the future of heavy metal in India? The rate at which our scene grows is going to depend on the “support” it receives which means that it lies in the hands of “the fans”. Every scene develops commercially which essentially means that there has to be money to sustain the scene. It doesn’t matter if it is a new trend like Djent or Old school or even the underground Porno grind scene. Whatever the case may be, unless there are dedicated fans who are willing to spend and support their favourite bands, the scene goes nowhere. Let me break it down – when fans pay for the music it enables bands to invest and record that music and then sell it. When a fan pays for a ticket he ensures the band earns money which allows the artist to play more shows, if the artist makes no money from shows he has to earn a living elsewhere which results in lesser shows and maybe ending up playing only local shows when time permits.
The Indian artistes have developed to a point where they are investing huge amounts of money to record their music well, package it into CDs/Digipacks/Boxsets and create a good product for fans to buy. Gig organizers are creating festival properties with international artists and local bands to create a great concert experience. Unless they see returns for the money and effort spent, bands are going to find it hard to continue forward. However this is not all that the future is limited to. Corporate funding and a growing interest in metal has made college festivals the hotspot for international bands to play, which in turn has made India the new touring destination as these festivals pay the bands good money, sometimes even more than they would be paid in the United States or Europe. As a result, there is bound to be a huge increase in the number of bands touring India and playing college festivals. This means kids who dreamt of their band opening for their idols at a concert might actually get to do that for real.
The international interest in India started with Sam Dunns’ documentary ‘Global Metal’ and we have also seen Metal Hammer from the UK take a special interest in India by featuring Indian bands twice in their Planet Metal CD. The reason behind this probably because they believe we have the next big market for metal.
Remember, we are 1.2 billion people. In 10 years’ time, even if we manage to convert just 1 million of them into metal heads, we will have a pot of gold on our hands. But it is all going to depend on the fans and whether or not they support their passion, I don’t mean a fan needs to buy a bands album or merchandise just for showing “support” but if you as a fan believe that it is worth your money and you want to continue to see that band do well 5 years down the line, the future is in your hands. You can start the ‘Heavy Metal Revolution.’