Tag Archives: Iron Maiden

A Chat with Higher on Maiden – Iron Maiden’s official tribute band

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Higher on Maiden, Iron Maiden’s official tribute band from UK gave an unforgettable two-hour performance at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, Bangalore on 12th January 2014 (Read all about it here.) Higher on Maiden has Big Dickinson on Vocals, Swifty Harris on Bass/Vocals, Adrian’s Myth on Guitar/Vocals, Dave Hurry on Guitars and Clive Blurr on Drums.  We had a quick chat with the band and here’s what they had to say…

WTS: How does it feel to be back in India again?

HOM: The feeling is awesome and unforgettable. We have been here five times now. Every time we come back the whole experience seems to get better and better. We love India and we love the people, we cannot wait to return again!

WTS: What was the reception like the last time Higher On Maiden performed in India?

HOM: The reception is always the same – everyone goes crazy for the music. The crowds in India really know how to have a good time and we feed off that energy and try to put on as good a show as we possibly can. We think definitely the best crowds we have ever played to are in India!

WTS: Your band has shared the stage with the legendary Iron Maiden. How was the experience?

HOM: It’s like you’re standing there on stage, with your instrument, playing Iron Maiden, then you look across the stage and see Adrian Smith or Steve Harris or Nicko McBrain who are on stage with you, playing along! How surreal is that? You have to pinch yourself! We are so lucky for this to happen, and they are all such great guys who are really down to earth – amazing!

WTS: Can your fans expect original compositions in addition to Maiden covers?

HOM: Over the years we have discussed the possibility of writing some original tunes but never really got around to it .but also over the years we have all been in original bands, trying to make it, some a bit more successful than others but now we just love playing in this band, celebrating Iron Maiden and having a great time with Iron Maiden fans.

WTS: What are your big plans for the future?

HOM: More tours of India would always be amazing also there have been talks of Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam maybe, we are also constantly trying to play better, tighter and put on the best show we possibly can.

WTS: What do you think about the metal scene in India?

HOM: Because we are only in India a few weeks a year it’s very hard for us to comment on the metal scene there – it’s something we are interested in and hope to find out more.

WTS: Which other band has been a major influence other than Iron Maiden?

HOM: 5 members of the band, 5 opinions – Led Zeppelin, Rush, Helloween, Van Halen, UFO.

WTS: Given a chance, where would you choose to perform – what is your dream destination?

HOM: We have been blessed to play in so many countries over the years and for us India is at the top of the list. Brazil or Tokyo are two places we would love to perform and visit.

WTS: As a band, how has the journey been since the inception?

HOM: It’s mind-blowing that after 19 years we are still doing what we are doing and it’s still getting better. As we’ve said before, this band is about having fun, putting on a great show and fully engaging the crowd in the show, so we are as one, celebrating the awesome music of Iron Maiden.

WTS: What are your top 3 Maiden songs?

HOM: Oh dear, lots of differences of opinion here! This is the hardest question, but if it has to be 3 we think ‘Hallowed be thy Name‘, ‘Phantom of the Opera‘, ‘Aces High‘, but there are still arguments about these – too many great songs! .Oh yes – ‘Fear of the Dark‘, ‘Number of the Beast‘ etc etc!

 

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Anaadyanta feat. Higher On Maiden at NMIT, Bangalore

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Photo Credits: Chandra Prakash

Higher on Maiden received what one would say, a sonorous Indian invitation, with the microphones and the drum kit decorated with the customary garlands and needless to say, thousands of screaming fans. This UK band has been officially labeled as Iron Maiden’s only tribute band and the night of 12th March validated that.

The setlist was dynamic and progressive, as the band opened with ‘Moonchild’. Pure, unadulterated Iron Maiden songs were covered with utmost precision. With Big Dickinson’s theatrics that kept him on a par with Bruce Dickinson in addition to his operatic vocals, and Adrian Muth’s incredible stage presence, the fans seemed to be unnerved by the intermittent pauses due to drummer Clive Blurr’s illness.

Anaadyanta feat. Higher On Maiden at NMIT, Bangalore

Apart from Swifty Harris’ galloping bass strumming, one did not fail to notice his striking resemblance with the Iron Maiden legend, Steve Harris. Guitarists Adriam Muth and Dave Hurry alternated with the lead solos, therefore producing a scintillating effect. Clive Blurr’s speedy single pedal drumming was impeccable despite the short breaks he had to take.

The fans had a whale of a time when the band covered Maiden’s most popular songs that were mostly taken from The Number of the Beast. With everyone screaming out “666, The Number of the Beast!” and going as insane during ‘Transylvania’, nothing could be compared with the audience’s response to the quintessential ‘Fear of the Dark’ and ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’.

Anaadyanta feat. Higher On Maiden at NMIT, Bangalore

As soon as the ‘The Trooper’ had begun, a pit was forming. Occasionally, Swifty Harris and Dave Hurry were playing against each other. The harmonizing guitars and the extended lengthy solos were just as impressive, with no glitches whatsoever. Songs like ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Run to the Hills’ that required a fast tempo bass was done exceptionally well.

Meanwhile, Big Dickinson knelt down to the enthusiastic audience, while Adrian Muth got the crowd roaring with laughter. With people shouting the lyrics out loud, crowd surfing, moshing, jumping to catch Dave Hurry’s plectrums and headbanging, the show was kept alive. The low sound levels and the five minute pauses did not drain their spirits, and in fact, the gig moved some people to tears. While the audience expected the band to cover ‘Dance of Death’, Higher on Maiden ended their performance with ‘Run to the Hills’, which was equally enjoyable. All in all, this was a perfect tribute on Steve Harris’ birthday, considering they played his best songs!

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Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

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There are times during gigs when things appear to go downhill and no one is able to spot them – not the musicians or the technicians or even the sound engineers, and the end result is disappointing. This was NOT one of those gigs.

On 22nd January 2012, 8:00 p.m. onwards it was all hands on deck – what can be described as one of the best recoveries at Blue Frog that I have personally witnessed in the local music scene. Though the overall gig could only be termed as moderately good, it would be wrong for me not to credit the musicians and their crew for their presence of mind and professional approach to the situation.

Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

The show started with Providence opening with ‘Glass Eye Dawn,’ their instrumental track, which also served as the sound check. The sound engineer Akash Sawant was quick to respond as he immediately fine-tuned the audio levels to a perfect blend. The next track, ‘Source Code’, was power packed and now supplemented with the vocals of Sunneith Revankar. Around this track, I began to notice that the bass drum’s volume had been fluctuating as it became softer during the double bass parts. Akash was quick to respond and the problem was taken care of right away. Throughout the lapse, Aaron remained focused and precise behind the drum kit.

‘Watch Them Fall’ was the third track on the set list. Sunneith’s vocals were spot on; as a matter of fact, he had been consistent throughout the show and had not appeared to have encountered any sort of difficulty. The track was well-played and simultaneously had visuals from the famous Xbox game ‘Gears Of War’ on one of the screens above, which proved to be a nice combination. Shezan and Charan’s guitar playing amazed the crowd as they continued to scream and sing along with the track.

Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

The track that followed next was a Sepultura cover called ‘Spit’ which was nicely done. The second cover came immediately introducing a guest vocalist Biposhree Das of the band Albatross. ‘Trooper’ by Iron Maiden was up next. This, in my opinion, was the least impressive track by the band. The start of the track was bad as the guitarists played a few wrong notes in the beginning. The vocals were not impressive either as they seemed to soften up every now and then, sometimes even inaudible. Despite the unappealing start, guitarists Shezan and Charan recovered well.

The next track, ‘Talk Shit, Get Hit’, brought Sunneith back on the microphone. The start of the track again appeared edgy but this time they recovered quickly making it barely noticeable. The track was supplemented with visuals from the famous anime Mobile Suit Gundam which was very much in sync with the music. They finished the set with ‘Prosthetic’, which opened with a nice drum and bass intro.

Out of all the musicians, Sunneith and Srikant were the most consistent and appeared to have encountered no difficulties whatsoever. Shezan gave the crowd something extra special with his solos which kept them screaming with admiration. Charan held his ground and did not give up despite his guitar strap falling off at one point and also after facing a glitch – the kind of problems that usually cause musicians to lose timing for a fraction of a second. But Charan’s timings did not falter nor did he show any drop in performance. Aaron also faced problems such as drumsticks snapping, which he quickly changed and also the breaking of the china-cymbal, which could not be helped. The important thing is that he was determined to deliver and he did.

I have nothing much to say about the crowd because every time I’d glance at them they would either be headbanging or moshing, which was a clear indication that that they were having a great time. The crowd interaction was adequate and nicely handled; though this wasn’t the best show of Providence that I have witnessed. However, this was indeed the first time I had seen them battling the odds and they had emerged victorious.

Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

Zygnema was on stage next and they kept it straightforward with We Came, We Saw, We Conquered. The intro track ‘Phobia’ was played over the PA as a video montage of different locations in Mumbai and footage of the terrorist attacks were shown on the screen. As the intro track played the band members slowly took to the stage. ‘Phobia’ is originally an intro to the track ‘59′ which refers to the 59 minutes of terror that Mumbai had suffered during the terrorist attacks. I’ve been following this band for over half a decade and I can confidently say that this is one of their anthem tracks. It was a good start – the crowd immediately began to sing along and it grew louder as the chorus began. Parts of the track had off-timed drums, which made it sound really good.

The next track ‘Machine-State Hibernation’ was an intensely powerful track that demanded everyone’s attention. Mayank’s drum patterns were crisp and precise and Sidharth’s breakdowns on the guitar were clear and spot on. Ravi’s bass in my opinion was a little softer than it should have been but audible nonetheless. To this music, Jimmy’s vocals were a brilliant mix.

After playing the track ‘Endangered’, the band announced that they were filming the show so as to use the footage in the DVD they plan to launch soon. The next track ‘Scarface’ is a Zygnema classic. They performed it effortlessly and the crowd sang along. Although all the tracks comprised of good breakdowns, I personally liked the breakdowns in ‘Discriminate’.

Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

If fate was to put anyone to test on this night then it surely had to be the guitarist(s). As the track ‘National Disaster’ was being played, Sidharth’s tone sounded slightly odd and he also made a minor mistake while playing the solo. Thankfully, for the rest of the show, Sidharth held his ground and played flawlessly.

‘Theory of Lies and Negation’ followed next, after which they played ‘Shell Broken, Hell Loose’. The track went well and to the crowd’s surprise, Providence’s guitarist and the band’s long-time friend Shezan came on stage and jumped into the crowd. Jimmy followed Shezan’s lead by jumping into the crowd while they played their final track ‘Born of Unity.’

The set ended in high spirits as the crowd repeatedly requested them to play tracks by Pantera. Overall, except for the low bass volume and the minor mishap in the track ‘National Disaster’, Zygnema’s set went very well. If they had faced any more problems apart from the ones I noticed, they were well taken care of, which is a huge bonus to them and the sound engineer Akash. 

Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

This was a very important night for Devoid as it was their first gig with their new bassist Abhishek Kamdar. They began with the track ‘Battle Cry’ which had a deep and heavy bass line in the intro. Bad luck was quick to befall on the guitarist Sanju, as his guitar strap came off and the strings snapped. Before it was too late, Sanju quickly reached for another guitar and continued the track. The second track played was called ‘Possessed’. Shubam was very good with his drum patterns and Arun handled guitars and vocals without any difficulty. Abhishek played some nice bass runs in the track and Sanju gave it the finishing touch with an amazing solo. The track was supported with some blood spatter visuals.

Up next was the track ‘A God’s Lie’ which is titled after their album. This is a very famous track and almost everyone present there knew the lyrics and sang along. I specifically liked the harmonizing guitars of Arun and Sanju. At the end of the track, Arun took a moment to thank the fans for the support they have given over the years.

Metal Night feat. Providence, Zygnema and Devoid at Blue Frog, Mumbai

The music resumed with the track ‘Devoid Of Emotions’, after which they played ‘Hate Cult’. To me, one of the biggest treats was to watch Sanju’s solos. Even though they were played at high speeds, the precision and clarity of notes was very impressive. The next tracks were ‘Black Fortress’ and ‘Beer Song’ – both evidently very familiar to the audience as they sang along with the band. The band closed their set with their latest track called ‘The Invasion’. It was the first time they had played the song live. It wasn’t as well blended as the previous tracks but the crowd enjoyed it nonetheless.

Kudos to Arun and Shubham for holding the fort, and to Abhishek for doing a good job with the tracks even though he barely had the time to learn and practice the songs after having joined the band. Credit also goes to Sanju for keeping his cool and still delivering those intricate guitar solos.

It is worth making a special mention of the sound engineer Akash Sawant for sitting through the entire show attentively and keeping the sound levels at the right decibels, and for having the presence of mind to make corrections where required, intelligently. All in all, there were many reasons and factors that could have made this event a total disaster. However, full points to the bands for preventing anything from going wrong and sending the crowd home happy and satisfied.

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Live Banned at The BFlat Bar, Bangalore

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There is a lot of rock and heavy metal music being played in and out of town, but that is mostly directed towards the hardcore followers of those genres. Live Banned on the other hand, as spoken of by the founders, was formed with the sole purpose of entertaining the masses who are not really restricted with the choice of genres. Expectedly so, the band at its recent gig at The BFlat Bar (23rd December 2011) brought rock closer to the crowd in its most palatable form. They mashed up popular tunes from regional cinema with famous metal riffs, funk overtures, disco influences, and a carefree attitude. And by the time the performance ended, they had encore requests coming from a packed house!

I arrived at the venue at 8:30 p.m. when the sound check was still on. Having never seen the band members sans their outlandish attire, I didn’t quite recognize them at first. But soon, they emerged in a new avatar – the men in regular attire transformed into exhibitionists of a ridiculous sense of dressing for some, and the performers of an entertaining repertoire for many.

The BFlat bar is known to be a venue that hosts a lot of gigs, such a venue not having a PA system of its own to support a gig that just reaches about 3000 watts in sound output, was a surprise for me, if not a shocker. I don’t intend to register any discomfort with this – the hired sound guy and the equipment left us with nothing to complain about.

Live Banned has Amrit on vocals, Dhruv on the lead guitar, Sid on the keys and occasional rhythm guitar, Raveesh on the bass and Dheeru on the drums. The band members, especially Dhruv and Amrit were encouraging participation from the audience, and their enthusiasm was well received and reciprocated. Throughout the evening, there were funny one-liners, small jokes, and hilarious comments in addition to the songs that kept the listeners entertained and involved.

‘Ringamukka Kats’ was the first song for the evening. This mash-up starts with a prudently rehearsed guitar solo, and a carefully refrained but punchy intro that lasts close to three minutes. The pieces sounded familiar, but I am still not able to recall the exact names of the original sources if any. Thereafter, the song took a curious dive into the Tamil hit ‘Nakka Mukka’, the orchestration remained very alternative-rock, highlighted with borrowed riffs from Wolfmother’s ‘Joker and the Thief’. Then there was ‘Appudi Podu’ and what sounded like ‘Dhinka Chika’ thrown in, and this mix immediately got people into the mood.

‘German Rollhouse’ was the next one for the evening. It started with a punk influence, with the infamous Malayalam song ‘Silsila hai Silsila’, then quickly caught Rammstein’s ‘Du Hast’, carrying the same groove forward, without slipping into metal, as the temptation may be. The mix then displayed a slow balladry, almost like a lullaby, but the band quickly woke the listeners up with an abrupt transition to ‘Roadhouse Blues’, and the vocalist delivered the “Roll baby Roll” part with witty vibratos, finishing it with “Kaati Roll”, leaving me chuckling at the cheeky creativity.

The next song ‘Iku Chika’ was the band’s funky take on Ilayaraja’s ‘Unakkum Enakkum Anandham’ (the song which took on international limelight when it was allegedly lifted by The Black Eyed Peas). This mix was made complete with the funky chord-work at the start, followed by an ambient guitar solo, which transitioned to have metal characteristics, making it a little dark but still groovy. I totally savored this song, especially the vibrant alaaps that the vocalist put in, and the way it ended with the popular Mission Impossible tune.

Next was the rollercoaster ‘Girlie Boys’. This is a cleverly crafted mix of pop, hip-hop, and metal, with a Bollywood finale. Starting with funky guitar and drum work, supported by the keyboardist with a tone that may remind you of the 80s pop, the mix took-off with Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t get you out of my head’, and an ongoing riff from No Doubt’s ‘Hella Good’. Carrying the riff forward, the song transitioned to Black Eyed Peas’ ‘My Humps’. Then after a teaser from System of a Down’s ‘Chopsuey’, where “Father! Father!” got spoofed to “Appa! Appa!” the song landed on ‘Milk Shake’ by Kelis. Sailing on the sound set by the keyboards here, the song came back to ‘Chopsuey’, and the vocalist finished a baritone rendition of Luke 23:46 part right up to “angels deserve to die.” Then the groove hastily moved to Britney Spears’ ‘Baby one more time’ and Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’. Quickly, the tune followed up with what sounded like ‘Est affectus, et defectus’ part from Enigma’s ‘Modern Crusaders’, and the song concluded with a power-chords version of Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s ‘Katey nahin kat-tey’

Next up was ‘Dope Mix’, which is a quick fix kind of a mix, featuring Dead or Alive’s ‘You spin me Round (Like a record)’, Don’s ‘Aaj ki Raat’, and Yves Larock’s ‘Rise Up’. It may have got a bit monotonous for me, except that I enjoyed the very ambient guitar solo.

‘Fast Food’ is first of the two originals that the band has composed. It started with the sound of the synth building up the mood, and a slow lead guitar, and an alaap. The lyrics were however funny but sarcastic. The song mocks the culture of putting up a fast as a form of protest. Soon after the entry into the song, I enjoyed the work on the keyboards which was partially reminiscent of the background score of Psycho. The time signatures that the drummer glazed this one with were enjoyable, and also the jazzy work on the bell of the crash ride. Since this is an original, I would have enjoyed more creativity on lead guitars, for the tones if nothing more. Amrit displayed his range on vocals, and when the song ended almost three octaves higher for the vocalist, the audience only realized after a few seconds that the song was over. More cheerful applause!

‘Europe ko Jai se Pyar Ho Gaya’ was up next. It started with the famous tune from Europe’s ‘Final Countdown’, and cleverly incorporated a piece from ‘Baazigar, O! Baazigar’. Then riding on a metallic orchestration, it incorporated one whole verse, the chorus, and the bridge from ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein’. Thereafter, as if approaching of the finale of an opera, with great work at the synthesizer, and perfect guitar solo, the song drove through ‘Raja ko Rani se pyaar ho gaya’, and tapped a bit of Iron Maiden, and concluded with ‘Jai Ho’.

Next was a metal version of ‘Barbie Girl’, and I immediately liked the choice of tone for the keys and the dexterous work thereof. The drummer and the bass guitarist were at their best on this speedy track. The lead guitarist got a mouthful of singing to do on this one, so a minor glitch here and there may just be excused. But I would have really preferred the volume on the backing vocals to be a little milder.

‘If you come today’ as made famous by Dr. Rajkumar, got the Live Banned treatment. ‘Tick Tick Tick’ married Audioslave’s ‘Cochise’, improvised guitar solos, and absurd but hilarious singing.

‘Auto Tune’ is the second original by the band, and despite the lyrics being not very clear, I understood it to be a commentary on the ludicrous behavior by the auto-drivers. The orchestration was dark, keys and the guitars working in great harmony, and the drummer highlighted his supreme comfort with experimental time-signatures, and thunderous rolls.

‘Mission Atyachar’ and ‘Rage in Ranipetti’ were the last two songs for the evening. ‘Mission Atyachar’ is where ‘Emotional Atyachar’ encountered ‘DK Bose’, ‘Mission Impossible’ married ‘Sheela’, ‘Eye of the tiger’ met ‘Munni’, and even applied a bit of “Zandu Balm”. ‘Rage in Ranipetti’ mashed RATM’s ‘Wake Up’ with A.R Rahman’s ‘Pettai Rap’ from the movie Kadhalan.

The crowd demanded an encore, and the band obliged with ‘Ringamukka Kats’. This is where the house totally came down to dance, and almost everyone could be seen moving, swaying, head banging. To sum it all up, Amrit gave an impressively energetic performance with his vocal range, and also his on-stage persona, the outlandish attire, and funny dance moves. Dheeru, with his effected drum sounds, and occasional and clever use of double bass, gave a solid groove, decorated with strange timed sequences, and virtuous software support. Dhruv seems very comfortable with his guitar, even with those leads on what looked like reaching 18th/19th/20th fret. In my opinion, he could get more adventurous with the selection of tones, and those chord progressions which is for the band to determine anyhow when they improvise in their unique style. Raveesh with his bass line is the spine of the sound that the band creates. The measures where he was silent seemed like a lull that needed to end quickly. Sid has a captivating talent with the keyboards (I have always appreciated ambidextrous keyboardists), the tones were psychedelic and the effect, if I were to listen to the keys in isolation, may have just slipped me into a state of trance.

The chemistry between the band members gave the impression that the band has been practicing together for years, while they have not even been together for eight months. Live Banned is great to listen to and fun to watch, especially on a festive evening when you could care a little less about the diminishing boundaries of various genres. The band calls its genre “Awesome”, and that may just give you an insight of how confident this group is with what they are presenting. From my end, it is two thumbs up for them. On the path that they have chosen, they are sure to go far beyond most common sounds, and accomplish their mission of entertaining the common man.

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Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

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A few months ago, IIT Bombay threw the biggest surprise at the nation by revealing their headlining act for LiveWire – Karnivool. The band was already quite famous, and music lovers were hooked on to this alternative/progressive powerhouse almost immediately. A lot of bands across the country had been competing to make it to the finals so they could open for Karnivool and also get the opportunity to represent India at the Great Battle of Bands in Romania.

To start off, none of the bands could give it their best, but they weren’t really to blame. With only ten minutes on the clock, they probably did the best they could under the circumstances. Another thing that affected the performances was the overall sound – the drums were too loud and the bass could barely be heard, at times not at all. Those who have attended LiveWire pro-nite will know that standing in line means that there’s a good chance you’d either miss the competition, or would enter midway or towards the end, which is exactly what happened this year.

When The Hoodwink Circle from Mumbai took to the stage, there was barely a crowd since everyone was making their way through the extensive lines. Their music was very good, save for the aforementioned problems of time and sound. In my opinion, they were the best act and should have played last.

The next band, Turnkey of Kolkatafailed to impress, especially after The Hoodwink Circle had set the bar quite high. With their rap-metal genre, they put on a good show nonetheless. The crowd had moderately increased by then.

The third band Verses, a melodic heavy metal band from Bangalore – put the competition back on the table. The crowd grew considerably, though a lot of people were still stuck in the excruciatingly long lines. Verses played a powerful set to bring it to a close finish.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

All the three bands kept the crowd interaction to moderate. The results were quick to be announced as the crowd clearly wanted to get on with the show and see Karnivool on stage. Verses from Bangalore emerged the winner and were chosen as the band that would go to Romania to represent India at the Great Battle of Bands.

Junkyard Groove is a band with many feathers in their hat. They have in the past, opened for leading international acts such as Iron Maiden, Prodigy and Incubus and Karnivool has now become the latest addition to the list. The sound issue that had earlier plagued performances of all the competing bands had been fixed. Junkyard Groove remained consistent and spot on with their tones and rhythmic patterns. Being exceptionally good at crowd interaction, they had the crowd all pumped up and cheering enthusiastically.

After Junkyard Groove’s performance, the wait lasted a few minutes before Karnivool decided to come on stage; the energy and excitement was infectious as the crowd repeatedly chanted the name of the band.

I have been following this band since 2007. Around that time, not many people in India had heard of them. They had released just one EP and an album. While in New Zealand, I unfortunately missed two of their concerts. However, whenever I heard that Karnivool was going to play, there was immense hype about the show. Four years later, they set foot in India. Since 2007 they have come out with another album Sound Awake that, as opposed to Themata, is much more progressive and technical and also one of the most intelligent set of compositions I have heard.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

So on 18th December 2011 when the band finally took to the stage, all the hype that surrounded them didn’t seem out of place. Having been tagged as one of the best live acts in the world, Karnivool did not fail to deliver.

The open air theater was now packed. As the band began to set up, people started to take guesses as to what the opening track would be. The crowd roared as the band opened their set with the track ‘Goliath’. The sound took some time to get settled, with the levels going up and down, but it wasn’t too noticeable.

The next track was ‘Simple Boy’, which is usually the track the band opens with. The sound had considerably improved but wasn’t quite at its best yet. Mark Hosking began the track on the xylophone over a distorted ambiance effect while Steve Judd joined in on drums along with Jon Stockman on bass with distortion. It is difficult to say which portion was the highlight because each member proved to be uniquely excellent. In this track I’d highlight the bass runs on the intro as well as the drum pattern.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

The next track was ‘Umbra’, which starts off with a smooth bass line and an odd-time drum pattern. By this time, the sound has settled down and was nearly perfect. But the crowd had already lost themselves in the music and it made little difference to them.

They then played the first track from their 2005 album Themata called ‘C.O.T.E’ that begins with an effect on the guitar making a “ripple” sound. As Ian Kenny began the song, everyone started to sing along. The track that followed next was ‘Themata’ one of the most energetic tracks of the album. Andrew Goddard’s guitar work was more than prominent. His stage act along with the others was in sync with the ambiance and the music that they play, making it all seem very easy.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

The track from Sound Awake ‘Set Fire to the Hive’, kicked in with a high paced guitar drum and bass. One of the things in this track that proves that Mark Hosking and Andrew Goddard are amazing guitarists is the variety of sounds that they produce, which is only possible when you know your equipment and the sound you can attain from it extremely well.

‘All I Know’ highlighted a sliding bass line and a guitar delay. Ian Kenny’s vocals were the biggest highlight as the delivery involved singing a major portion of the track in falsetto and being able to generate powerful vocals at the same time.

Tracks from Themata including ‘Fear of The Sky’ that was played earlier in the set and my personal favorite ‘Roquefort’ had most of the crowd singing along with the band.

During the penultimate track, ‘New Day’, vocalist Ian Kenny did not expect the paper bombs to go off. Although he was startled, his voice did not falter and he sustained the note to perfection. That definitely deserved some admiration from anyone who noticed it.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

The closing track ‘Change’ was sung as a farewell to the audience. The band thanked everyone for the support and said “It was a humbling experience to play in India”, after which the band turned their backs to the crowd to pose for a picture to capture the crowd in the background.

The only low point was that the backing vocals were not very clear. Although during the bits when they were audible, the notes and harmonies were spot on.

As the band turned to leave, several fans requested them to play the tracks ‘Shutterspeed’ and ‘Sewn and Silent’ but in vain. Everyone around quoted the gig to be “an experience of a lifetime”. I now regret missing the two Karnivool gigs in New Zealand!

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Girish and The Chronicles at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

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It was a lazy Saturday evening with uncharacteristically empty roads in Bangalore, thanks to an extended holiday week. I had decided to attend the performance of a band that would be playing classic and ’80s rock. A quick check on Facebook about the band’s profile and some of their originals got me quite excited for the performance.

The gig was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. and I was there by 8, not wanting to miss any part of the show. I got the chance to interact with the band’s manager, Ujjwal just before the show started and managed to get some interesting bits of information about the music scene in the North East.

The band came on stage a bit later than the scheduled start. After a brief jam and introduction session, they started off with The Eagles’ ‘New Kid in Town’. There was a small cheer from a section of the crowd as the familiar intro to the song started. Girish’s mellow vocals, although not a faithful reproduction of Glenn Frey’s, perfectly captured the melancholy of the fleeting nature of fame that The Eagles showcased in this song.

Next up was ‘Proud Mary’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, another gem from the stable of classic rock. The band’s version of this song had a slight hard rock edge, understandably so, considering their influences and genre. Suraz set the stage ablaze with the brief but amazing solo; Girish carried off the raspy vocals in the style of John Fogerty quite well, just enough to retain the charm of the original in the signature “Rollin’…” chorus.

The band quickly shifted gears to the all-time Rock n’ Roll classic, ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry. The high-energy song had the people on their feet soon enough and Suraz did complete justice to the legend’s solo.

Our expectations were already sky-high after three back to back perfectly executed classic rock songs but nothing had prepared us for the next one. Nagen and Yogesh started a sonic assault on the audience and soon Suraz and Girish joined in with a rocking riff and a high-pitched scream. The real rock-lovers in the audience were blown away. It was ‘Rock n’ Roll’ by Led Zeppelin! The performance was electrifying and raw, true to the style of Led Zeppelin. Bonzo would have been proud of the drumming. It would have been difficult to say if it was Plant or Girish on the stage if your eyes were closed. Suraz was impeccable. Not many bands dare play Led Zeppelin live but the quartet present in front of us matched the other legendary quartet in every aspect. The drum roll at the end of this song was icing on the cake.

By now, the band had everyone captivated and no one was going anywhere. Perhaps realizing that there is something as too much awesomeness, the band brought down the tempo a bit with another song by The Eagles, ‘Get Over It’. Suraz started off with an ear-melting solo. As the song progressed, it was clear that this was not a replica band. A distinct Judas Priest influence in the riffs and drums could be detected which made this classic even more enjoyable.

I was told earlier that Sebastian Bach of Skid Row was a fan of Girish’s vocal prowess. After this performance, I could understand why – the band performed the super-hit ballad by Skid Row from the 80s, ‘18 and Life’ which had Bach himself on the vocals. Girish had us mesmerized with his vocal range that’s a hallmark of this ballad. You have to listen to it to realize how difficult it can be to sing. Suraz was again at the top with a solo that captured the nostalgia of power ballads from the 80s era.

As the ballad faded out, we were greeted with what is perhaps the most famous riff in the history of rock music. ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple was next in line. Girish had demonstrated an uncanny ability to sound similar to quite a few legendary vocalists by now and this one was no exception. The bassist had a nice slap tone for the sound and it seemed like Suraz would set the fret board on fire with a well-replicated solo.

I had barely recovered from the crescendo that Girish’s voice reached at the end of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and I could already recognize the badass intro sequence from ‘Highway Star’ (Deep Purple again) drifting into my ears. The quartet was blasting out this classic with the same raw intensity as they had displayed with ‘Rock n’ Roll’ by Zeppelin. The fact that no one felt the absence of the organ solo in this song says a lot about the tight and technically-accurate performance. The night just kept getting better.

Taking pity on the audience who were delirious with the mind-numbing performances put forth, the band switched to one of their originals called ‘Angel’. It is a power ballad with a very 80s feel to it, complete with a powerful build-up and a wailing guitar solo in the middle. Some were holding up candles and waving them as they sang along. It might have been as well a scene from a Def Leppard show with a signature power ballad track.

It was time for some old-school progressive rock as the band started with the high energy intro to ‘Rock Bottom’ by UFO. This was just an indicator of the versatility of the band with respect to the genres that they play. Suraz did an excellent job playing the intricate solos that form the major part of the song. This was perhaps the first time I have ever seen an Indian band perform a song from the lesser known yet legendary bands like UFO.

The band quickly progressed from ‘Rock Bottom’ to ‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple. They were turning out to be quite the Deep Purple followers! The drumming was exceptional, to say the least and was reminiscent of Neil Peart’s style in a few places.

After lulling the audience with a bluesy piece, the band decided to take the energy levels in Kyra to another level by playing two back to back AC/DC super-hits, ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Highway to Hell’. Girish’s vocals seemed a bit tired out by the time he reached the latter but then, playing such a long set with demanding vocals like that of Bon Scott can take a toll on anyone.

The band was now taking requests from the audience – along came the perfectly executed ‘Cryin’ by Aerosmith which got everyone in the audience singing along. It was time for some Led Zeppelin again with ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The band outdid themselves in this piece. It reminded me of Led Zeppelin’s performance of the same song in 1975 at Madison Square Garden. The intro to the song was simple captivating. Girish pulled off a Plant-esque stage persona with the latter’s famously generous use of “baby” in most live renditions of their songs. The highlight of the performance though was the solo by Suraz. It wasn’t a faithful reproduction of the original but that made it even the more enjoyable as we got to see his creativity in full flow.

Another request came in. This time it was ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden. Girish did mention something about the band not having practiced this well enough, but it certainly didn’t seem like it when they started playing. A few people were seen headbanging to this heavy metal classic.

Sweet Child of Mine’ was their last song of the night. The song started out a bit slow compared to the original with the band taking a while to build up the tempo, but once they got into the groove it was paradise city for those who stayed back till the end.

Once the band got off stage, I could finally take my eyes off them and take in the reactions of the people around me. Folks who were in there for some good old Rock n’ Roll had got their money’s worth and the incredulous looks on their faces said it all. With bands like Girish and The Chronicles around, we don’t have to worry about good music dying out.

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Axe-tortion at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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I landed up at the Blue Frog last night anticipating some pure guitar wizardry from some of the best musicians on the rock scene. Tonight was yet another edition of Chandresh Kudwa’s long-running and popular guitar-centric initiative called Axe-tortion, where he, along with two other guitarists played individual sets before finally jamming together. On my way there, I made it a point to listen to a few staple favorites by Joe Satriani and Andy Timmons, just to get into the mood.

After the customary ‘ingest-as-much-alcohol-outside-before-entering-an-expensive-place’ was out of the way, a couple of friends and I entered my favorite venue. The first act was already up and featured the new shredder on the local scene, Lokesh Bakshi on stage. He was flanked by Arjun Dhanraj of NerveRek on rhythm guitars, Dusty Ryan on bass, and rocksteady drummer Hamza on well, the drums. The song they were playing had dual solos, double bass, and was certainly very loud. Not to forget Dusty’s Steve Harris pose which would make one wonder if we were indeed at an Iron Maiden tribute gig!

The next song they jumped into had a nice drum intro that moved into a 6/8 groove with Ryan and Lokesh doing a Sheehan/Gilbert trading of licks. It ended with a furious 2/4 beat which would probably have got a mini mosh pit going at a venue like B69. Nothing of the sort happened here, but whatever we saw so far led us to forebode the upcoming ‘jam’ towards the end of the gig. Special mention here for Lokesh’s fingers, that seem to fly faster than Thor’s hammer, and that he extracted a nice cackling tone out of the Fender Strat that he was using.

Paresh Kamath, who was up next, is one talented and good looking dude, which my girlfriend never fails to point out to me. Well I have to agree, with the talented part at least. His guitar shot out a giant fat warm tone, with a minimum layering of effects. Hamza was still on drums and nobody minded his casual switch to an almost progressive funk style. Joining them on stage was the veteran and super attack fingers Crosby Fernandes on bass, although for some reason the bass guitar was sounding a little too wet for my taste.

I was busy marveling at Paresh’s Satch influences and his legato runs when I realized that he was using a Gibson Les Paul. It suddenly struck me that the last jam was going to be an all-out guitar war featuring the Strat, Les Paul and Ibanez!

They next jumped into a song called ‘Nitty Gritty’, which had a very funk staccato intro. Crosby’s bass playing was now shining through and he was a treat to listen to as he seemed to effortlessly complement Hamza’s grooves. Paresh has a great melodic sense in his style of playing. I also loved the way he holds back on shredding all over and makes the high pitch bends the big moments in his solos. He also showed off some very imaginative loop licks in his awesome display of tone and feel.

Chandresh Kudwa is like a freak of nature. I mean what else do you call someone who plays the Ukulele and Guitar, ambidextrously and simultaneously? I guess we could call him a genius too, and although the word is thrown around a lot, it does makes a lot of sense here.

The first song, called ‘G-uke’ was a killer and pretty popular, which goes to show the following this unique project already enjoys. ‘Floating feelings of a rare kind’ followed which pulled the crowd to the front. Good bands always manage to do that. A Samba sounding song called ‘The White Door’ followed, with some tasteful whammy bar playing by Chandresh (Also a great way to show off your giant flashy looking Ben 10 watch!). ‘All I do is this’ had an excellent heavy riff although the song was a little bit boring. The band was still the same with Crosby and Hamza pulling their weight interspeeding great phrasing and tightness! Chandresh’s tone was as usual perfect. Bright yet smooth and his legato shredding never sounded better.

Chandresh then invited the other two ESHs – Paresh and Lokesh back on for the last jam. They attempted one of my favorite songs of all time ‘Little Wing’ which was kind of a let down, with too much flash on a feel song especially when the best known versions are by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Then came the surprise for the night. The band launched into ‘The Trooper’ with a giant crushing 3-part harmony intro by the guitarists. This had to have been Lokesh’s suggestion going by his incredible shredding and the way he managed to transfix his face with this delirious expression, evidence of how much fun he was having. And if that wasn’t surprise enough, the last song they launched into was by Metallica; A thundering version of ‘Enter Sandman’ wreaked havoc on stage with each guitar player trading solos all over the place. At one point Chandresh and Lokesh were playing lap guitars and it was a really funny moment to watch Paresh smoke out a cool cat lick in reply to the twin tornadoes of notes.

A special mention for Hamza and Crosby. Hamza was tireless and hardly ever faulty in his playing and Crosby was like Batman at this gig. He didn’t have any super powers but he still kicked butt. The entire experience was thoroughly enjoyable and I would highly recommend anyone to go watch them the next time they are playing. Axe-tortion is a well conceptualized property that will eventually end up featuring every type of guitar player out there. I cant wait for the next edition.

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Stratisfaction

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In the day and age of death metal, we often find ourselves staring at tattooed guitarists wielding Super-strats loaded with a combination of Emg pickups and the Floyd Rose Bridge, but what in heaven’s name has happened to the good old Strat? If you walk into a guitar store you will notice people toying with a plethora of guitars: The Ibanez’s, The Schechter’s, The Esps seem to be favored by guitarists these days. If you talk about a good old Strat, people frown. Have we forgotten the value of a Stratocaster? From Guitar-God Hendrix to Clapton to Gilmour, everyone has used the Strat. In Clapton’s case he switched from a Les Paul to a Strat!

The Fender Stratocaster has been the single most copied guitar in history. All the Japanese manufacturers came to the spotlight in the 70s because of their ability to make high quality knock-offs while the CBS owned Fender itself was struggling with quality issues. Why do we call a guitar with a double cut away and a dual humbucker combination a ‘Superstrat’? The answer is: its design was stolen from the Strat. These guitars combined the comfort of the Stratocaster with the power of the dual humbucker combination. At that time, people were looking for more power but the single coils were either too weak or too noisy so they pumped it up with humbuckers.

Some of the notable inventions of Leo Fenders magnum opus were the tremolo system, which according to me is still way better than the Floyd Rose locking trems. In my honest opinion, the Floyd Rose is only good at sucking the sweet tone from your guitar! All our modern guitar heroes like Slash, Tom Morello, Kirk Hammett come from a generation of guitar heroes wielding a Strat. The reason people don’t buy Strats these days is probably because they feel it is “not cool”. They don’t have a logical, sonic justification for not using one. Heck, the guys from Iron Maiden use Strats! With modern pickup technology, one can have the power in a single coil package along with the pureness of a clear single coil tone. Doubters must check out the Eric Clapton signature model. With the in build mid- boost circuitry it pumps out a level of gain which eclipses the EMGs of this world by a mile! People think if they own a Jackson RR3 its cool.

For me, the Fender Stratocaster isn’t the single most important instrument in rock history, it is also the coolest one. From the violin-like tone of Eric Johnson’s Strat to the Dreamy echo of Gilmour’s Strat to the Fuzz laden mayhem of Hendrix’s Strat , no other guitar has influenced the destiny of Rock music. From insanely vintage Strats of the 50s to the modern Shred machines such as Yniwe Malmseem’s, the Stratocaster rules the field; not even the great Les Paul manages to match the legend of the Stratocaster.

One often overlooks the curvaceous craftsmanship of a 50s Strat which is still continued in the modern American models. There is no cooler guitar than a completely worn out Strat; remember the little guy from Ireland whom Jimi Hendrix rated as the greatest guitar player on the planet? I’m talking about Rory Gallagher. Coming to modern players, the sight of John Mayer playing his worn out Strat is just iconic and people say wielding a Flying V is cool.

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Interview with Kryptos

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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.

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