Tag Archives: Cradle of Filth

The Indian Music Conference Fiasco : Facts and Friction

Share

The concept of Indian Music Conference was appealing to everyone in the music community – bringing together musicians and fans from across the country to discuss and improve the growing music scene in the country together. Conferences, guitar clinics and performances were to flock the grounds of Goa at different venues between the 17th and 20th of November. The performances included DJs from across the world, rock and metal acts including Cynic, Hacride, Leaves Eyes, Cyanide Serenity and the country’s finest bands.

IMC Canned!

While fans waited on the beaches for Saturday to approach to watch Cynic and Hacride play alongside their friends on a big stage, little did they know that only half of Cynic were going to land in Goa the following day. Cynic’s visa processes were incomplete. “When Robin and I did make it to Goa, we agreed to do a stripped down, spacey improvisation instead of our performance with Cynic. We prepared some really cool sounding ideas but the entire festival part of IMC got cancelled,” said Tymon Kruidenier, guitarist of Cynic.

Pink Noise and Skinny Alley who did make it in their full avatars to Goa also did not play due to inadequate sound systems. Jayashree Singh, the vocalist said they received unprofessional answers from the production team and the sound guys. We spoke to Chandan Raina who worked on IMC during its conceptualization. He recalls Gagan responding to the Leaves Eyes tech rider saying “Agar volume half pe hee bajaani hai toh itni sound kyun? Kam sound laao – sasti padegi.”

Just a week later, the organizers of IMC start a new event on Facebook for ‘Indian Music Conference 2011’ without releasing any kind of statement or apology regarding IMC 2010. After a number of fans bombarding the event page with sarcastic and nasty comments, Gagan Myne finally posted an apology but there was no clear explanation as to why the rock and metal acts of the festival were cancelled.

While the artists and fans were told that there was trouble with the authorities about permits, Gagan had commented saying that the Goan government and locals did not cooperate leading to the cancellation. To which Yuri Rubeiro, an event manager at Goa’s famous club Titos responded saying “Why would they? Not a single artist from Goa was a part of it. None of the DJs or bands from Goa were invited which led to the boycotting of IMC by the locals. An event requires a large portion of its crowd to be from the local area. An organizer cannot rely on a large number of people flying in regardless of how big the show is.”

Sankalp Narayanan, bassist of Theorized said there was not a single ad in the newspaper he picked up. There were a few hoardings and posters here and there. The publicity was definitely not up to mark. When asked on the same, Yuri said, “My clubs ran full on the same day as the events of IMC. So I don’t really know what kind of publicity ran for those. I even did a DJ from Bombay and it still got a packed crowd.”

The artists speak 

We spoke to a few artists who played or attended IMC 2010 and they all had bitter-sweet things to say about the festival. There was no compromise made on arranging the finest travel and accommodation for bands from across the country. There were some complaints from bands whose members were booked on different flights and some bands whose flights were cancelled. One of Bangalore’s most popular bands (who would prefer not to be named) said they were not even informed by the organizers that their flight was cancelled. They luckily double checked with the airline the previous night.

The transport from the airport to the hotel was delayed for most bands. A lucky few who knew the organizers prior to the event were picked up on time. There were no complaints about the accommodation. The bands were put up in luxurious hotels where the service was great.

Apart from inadequate sound, Archana Sudarshan from Artistes Unlimited said there was no one place where people could get information. There was a help desk located at Resort Rio where most of the bands were put up and the seminars and guitar clinics were happening. But the other venues were clueless as to what was happening where and since the venues were apart from each other, getting around the festival was quite a hassle.

Many of the clubs were unaware of the artists who were to play at their venue. The organizers themselves had never been to the clubs. “They have sent artists to clubs they haven’t visited themselves and after the gigs they asked the artists how the club is, so I was a bit disappointed there. So I spoke to the other DJ’s that played that night and together we rescheduled the IMC schedule for that night and rocked the show,” said DJ Mike Bosch from Spain.

Even though the festival had taken a clearly bad turn, nobody complained. “We got to hang out with a lot of musicians who we had never met before. We felt bad for the organizers, for the young girls who had to handle everybody’s questions. Everyone was just trying to make the best of the bad days. I felt proud of my community,” said Jayashree Singh.

While the organizers of IMC blame the failure entirely on Goa, ironically it is Goa that saved them from facing a riot. The artists were upset about the cancellation of their performances but on the other hand, they were on holiday in Goa for 5 days! If it was any other city, the response would surely have been different. When asked if they would play at IMC again, all the artists responded positively but they did have a few suggestions to make.

“I’m looking forward to the IMC 2011 to get connected to more people in the music industry. In order to make it better, the organisation should check out the clubs BEFORE they put artists on their stage or DJ boot. Also shuttles and time schedules could be better organised,” said DJ Mike Bosch.

“They bit off a whole lot more than they could chew. Take baby steps – cut down on number of venues, artists, days. I’m sure they’ve learnt their lesson. They should change their production team, get a professional crew and pick a location where infrastructure is in place,” said Jayashree Singh.

Fans disappointed

The artists were given travel and accommodation but the trip costed a whole lot more for the fans. Apart from spending on the ticket, travel and accommodation, music lovers took leave from their jobs causing them to spend over 8000 rupees on the whole ordeal. The organizers had separate tickets that included the entry into the clubs. This ticket was sold at 2000 rupees. “All the club shows were free, anyone could have entered, so we ended up paying 750 extra for no cause,” says Anand Kamath, one of the attendees who got a refund for his ticket.

Adarsh R clearly sums up the pleas of every disappointed fan – “Can I have my Rs.1250 back?”

The refund mess

After the canning of IMC, many fans returned disappointed and broke. The IMC pages were flooded with fans cribbing about refunds, many going to the lengths of using Fs and Bs. One fan, Varun Sharma from Bangalore sent a bunch of emails to IMC and Kyazoonga claiming refunds but was only juggled between the two and to this date is still waiting for his refund. On the other hand, Anand Kamath, also from Mumbai made about 200 badgering calls before Gagan Myne refunded his and his friends’ tickets.

While many fans are still waiting for their refunds and are tired of making calls and sending emails, I contacted Kyazoonga to find out who exactly is in charge of the refunds and why there is so much confusion. “As soon as some of the events of IMC were cancelled, we were instructed by IMC to direct people to them regarding refunds. We have been receiving emails from people and have been directing them back to IMC. We are not in charge of refunds for the IMC tickets,” said Neetu Bhatia from Kyazoonga.

Amateurs or simply unethical?

The reactions to the disorganization of IMC have been plenty. Many people spammed the event page with nasty comments and sarcastic remarks. No statement of cancellation or apology was released by the organizers until more than two weeks after. Nobody is saying that Spotlight Events organized IMC badly out of spite. But a certain level of respect that must be maintained towards the growing music scene and musicians in India was not met.

No damage control was done on part of IMC to accommodate the International bands like Hacride, Leaves Eyes and Cyanide Serenity. Thanks to an initiative by B69, Hacride and Cyanide Serenity got to play a show in Mumbai. And as for the bands that did get to play at IMC on inadequate sound, what is the point of providing a musician with the best travel and accommodation if you are going to compromise on sound?

Things went wrong and what’s done is done. But the responsibility of an event doesn’t end with it. Not only did they fail to apologize on time but many fans asking for refunds were treated with disrespect on the event page. People’s questions were not answered but deleted. The response from the organizers of negative criticism was defensive.

We spoke to Gagan Myne and told him that if he answers our questions, it also gives them a chance to come clean and win back the audience they lost. He agreed and we sent him the questionnaire on the 27th of January. Two weeks later, when we still hadn’t received his answers, we asked him if we should write the article without his answers to which he said “As you feel because you are the boss and have a very keen interest in IMC and it makes me proud when people talk about it.”

Yes, we are talking about it. For some of us, it came as a blow to the Indian music scene. What does the disorganization of IMC say about the music scene in India? What kind of picture was painted for the international bands that came down and didn’t get to play? What does that picture make of the people who are working hard to improve the scene?

It’s the 1st of March and we’re still waiting for the answers to our questionnaire.

Rumour is that the Cradle of Filth event is also being organized by Spotlight. But more on that later!

Comment

Interview with Kryptos

Share

Kryptos is a melodic/thrash metal band from Bangalore. It was formed in 1998 by Nolan Lewis (vocals/guitars) and Ganesh Krishnamurthy (ex- vocalist/bassist). The band went on to release their debut album Spiral Ascent in 2004 and eventually went on to become one of India’s biggest Metal bands. In 2008,Kryptos released their second album The Ark of Gemini, under Old School Metal Records. Their music is an amalgamation of aggressive riffing, melodic lines and ambient drumming.

WTS: Tell us about how your band got started and took its first steps musically?

Nolan: The band started around ’98, it started with me and our ex-vocalist, his name is Ganesh. We were both classmates in Josephs Commerce College. He had another band, they used to play just covers and stuff, and they needed another guitarist so they asked me. But then that band broke up. Then we decided to do something on our own and we found this drummer from the north-east his name is Ching Len. We had put up an ad on one of our local music magazines and he answered that advertisement 8 months later! (laughs) Luckily by then we hadn’t found anyone so he joined us. It was just three of us in the beginning. We used to practice at the drummer’s place in Frazer town. It was a really tiny place, a small garage and we had terrible equipment, everything was terrible! (laughs) We were just doing it for fun that time. It was just like a hobby. There were quite a few metal bands back then like Millennium, Warden, Vulcan Haze, Crimson Storm, plus we had the other bands like Angeldust, Thermal and a Quarter etc. who used to play a lot.

Rohit: Around the same time that we started out, bands like Threinody and Myndsnare started. They started slightly before us, and we picked up after that.

WTS: How has the band evolved in terms of band members and how has that affected the music?

Nolan: Our drummer had to go back and take over family business, last we heard he’s into politics and stuff. (laughs) Ganesh lasted for quite a long time, he was with us for 8 years, but then had his own priorities and couldn’t dedicate enough time for the band so we just decided to part ways. Ryan joined in 2002-2003 and these guys joined in 2006.

Jayawant: November 2006!

Nolan: November 2006! (laughs) Yeah! Before that we had a guitarist called Akshay who was with us for 2 years or so and then he left. When Ryan joined we weren’t doing much, we were just playing competitions, playing covers and a few originals here and there. After he joined we started writing more stuff, it started becoming very stable, after we released our first album the other guys joined. Luckily it happened at a time when we could manage everything!

WTS: Was thrash metal a natural option for you to start off with?

Nolan: When we started off we didn’t know what we were playing actually. We had no idea what we should be playing. We used to just play covers, and the usual stuff – Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica. Nobody used to play originals then. Bands that played originals used to get booed. We had originals that we wrote which were pretty bad and whenever we used to play them at freedom jam and stuff people used to boo us, throw stuff at us, quite sad! (laughs) Back then we had very different preferences, I was more into thrash, Ganesh was more into blues, hard rock AC/DC stuff, our drummer was more into progressive music.

WTS: Were there other genres of metal that fascinated and interested you?

Nolan: Yeah, there was a point in time when Cradle of Filth and bands like that were really big in Bangalore for some reason. We also tried our hands at that, just to see how it goes. Back then we didn’t have a certain style, nothing. We even got a keyboardist for some time to see how it sounded. But then later on we figured out we’re no good at it! (laughs)

WTS: What bands could you consider as some of your influences or inspirations? Would you say that some of those influences are visible and can be tracked down in Kryptos?

Rohit: I hope that doesn’t happen! (laughs)

Nolan: Actually the good thing about our music is that our influences are all the old bands but we also put in some of the extreme types of music like doom, little bit of thrash, death metal here and there, so it’s like a mix. It sounds familiar but you can’t exactly pinpoint.

WTS: Are there any Melodic/Thrash Metal bands that have inspired you?

Nolan: Not really. The thrash bands weren’t that big of an influence. It was more like the 80s bands like Maiden, Priest. Maybe you could say Dark Tranquility was a big influence because they mixed death metal with the 80s metallic stuff. So, Dark Tranquility, In Flames and bands like that have definitely inspired us.

WTS: Could you tell us about your music making process?

Rohit: What we do is sit down and jam and whenever a song is good to our ears, we usually keep that. Let’s say Nolan has a riff, Ryan comes with a rhythm backing and if it sounds good to our ears then we build on it.

WTS: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you guys have a set time during the week for that?

Ryan: We usually jam at 6:30 in the evening and it has worked out really well for all of us because even though these guys are working they put in a bit of effort and finish their work by 5:30-6:00. All of us make it for practice at 6:30. This happens every week, unless we have an interview or something! (laughs)

WTS: Tell us something about the releases you have had so far and what kind of plans you have for your future releases?

Jayawant: We got 2 albums down so far. First was in 2004, before Rohit and I joined the band; that was the old line up. With the new line up one of the first things we did was come up with new material. We recorded our second album in 2007 and finally launched that in 2008. We are currently working on our third album that we plan to record in February and hope to launch in March next year. We are experimenting a little with the lyrical content. As far the music goes, we’d like it to be more melodic, but we wouldn’t like to deviate from what we have already established as our genre.

WTS: How much has internet helped to get your band name around to people’s lips? What are some of the disadvantages of the internet in your opinion?

Nolan: It’s probably the most important factor in getting our stuff out. We actually had a tough time. The internet started becoming a useful tool only around 2005-2006. For the first seven years or so it was very tough. There weren’t any cellphones back then. At that time we didn’t know how to get in touch with people, nobody knew we existed. It was very difficult unless someone actually sees you. We only had landlines! If they had to call us we had to wait at home and wait till they call us. Of course, the main disadvantage is the downloading. Some bands don’t give their full album for download. They may give two or three songs. But now its picking up and people are buying a lot more CDs but college kids are the ones who usually download stuff. It’s alright to an extent because the music gets places, but it hurts the bands because they don’t make any money from whatever they invested in the first place.

WTS: What are the key elements of your sound?

Jayawant: A little bit of Lithium and Potassium…

Nolan: All the metals (laughs) Of course, the most important element is melody. Our songs have to have some melody, have some catchiness to it. There’s no point taking a bunch of riffs together, if it doesn’t make sense. We try and balance out the melodic stuff with the aggressive stuff, that’s exactly what our sound is actually. Back then most of the guys used to listen to old bands and stuff but now because of the new bands that are coming out, they are getting more brutal and aggressive and the audience is of course tuned into it. But today a lot of them are getting back into the old stuff. They get into that and start working their way backwards.

WTS: What is the most challenging and hardest thing for you in terms of song writing?

Ryan: Sometimes one of us has an idea, and we share it with the rest of the guys while jamming and then it is just inspiration and spontaneity. We just try different stuff out and we work it by ear. Sometimes a song works itself out. If you’re having a bad day you have to keep doing it over and over again, that is the tough part. When it’s a good day, we get it in just like one or two shots.

WTS: What are the main themes/topics in your songs? 

Nolan: We are not a death and destruction sort of a band. That’s too clichéd, that’s a stereotypical image that people have. For our first album Ganesh wrote all the lyrics and he had this very abstract way of writing lyrics. We tackled a lot of subjects like child abuse, sci-fi stuff and things to do with philosophy – he was totally into philosophy and stuff. For the second album, I started writing the lyrics. I’m very anti-religion, anti-politics, so those were some of the topics, mythology and a lot of environmental stuff too, there’s one song which deals with what the world will end up like if people continue to destroy the environment.

With the next album, the concept is a little weird, is sort of occult based and how it fits into the global scenario. Who is actually behind the scenes? Everyone thinks there’s good and evil. There’s God, the Devil, and the man stuck in the middle. But the next album is about how evil actually controls both sides. It’s like, God and man are puppets of the Devil. But he himself is the puppet of someone else who nobody knows. This kind of answers the question, why do so many bad things happen in the word and if God was actually there then why he doesn’t do anything about it? So he pretty much doesn’t exist. He is actually a creation of the Devil who himself is the creation of somebody else. (laughs)

WTS: Your last studio album ‘The Ark Of Gemini’ was released in 2008. When are you planning to record some new material?

Ryan: We are planning on recording the third album in Feb. I personally, want to get everything right this time. So I don’t mind taking the extra time and effort when it comes to practicing and of course, finding the right studio, getting the right sound, getting the right sound engineer and figuring out how much it all costs. I just don’t want to do the album and let it die down. Together all of us are planning things in such a way that we can do an album and start touring after that, and get shows so that everything works out in a sequence.

WTS: Tell us all about your tour across Europe. Was your music well received?

Jayawant: The tour… they were pleasantly surprised. What basically happened, was people expected something very Indian to be delivered as a part of our performance, but when they saw that it was genuine old school stuff, for a lot of the older guys it was a feeling of nostalgia which made them come right to the front and head bang, and for the younger crowd even though they were into different genres of metal they were still able to appreciate this as being something true and genuine. We got a fantastic response and got great feedback to the extent that they want us back again next year. Three different tour managers were interested in having us back there and play in a different set of clubs and festival venues. The response was really encouraging. It’s only the question of us saving up money so that we can go there and play again.

WTS: You’re the first Indian metal band to be signed by an International label. How did that happen?

Ryan: It happened because Nolan spent a lot of time on the internet!

Nolan: Actually back then we didn’t know much about labels. I had a fair idea about who would be interested,. Write up of our babnd and stuff. The name was Old School Metal Records and it was very obvious that that. This is how it used to be done, they were pretty impressed. They liked the music straight away. Next thing you know they’re sending us a contract.

WTS: Despite being the biggest Indian metal band and having an international label, why do you think it’s been generally hard for you to sell records overseas? Is it mainly the lack of touring?

Nolan: The main thing is the media exposure. You need a lot of marketing, promotion. The label that signed us is not that big a label. Their distribution reach is pretty limited. There’s a lot of work that can get people intersred, a lot of hype that goes into actually promoting a band out there. A lot of our CDs got sold over there, so it worked out quite decently.

WTS: How important is interaction among bands in India, do you think it’s necessary?

Ryan: It is necessary because when we started out all of us used to help each other, passing on a show to somebody else which you couldn’t do. Everybody used to do that. As far as I’m concerned I still do that. People have more attitude now, or…I don’t know! I’m pretty much in touch with everybody . Especially Rohit and Nolan… these guys make it a point to meet other bands and stuff like that.

WTS: What do you have to say about the current metal scene in India?

Nolan: They all split up. That’s a big problem actually. Bands get disheartened easily and there’s a lot of societal pressure. So bands crumble to that pressure.

Comment