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Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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Sahil Makhija once told me “Mumbai is such a fast moving, vibrant city; it has a sort of rhythmic force. I think that’s why we tend to have more metal from sub genres like power groove.” While power groove had pretty much nothing to do with the extreme metal night at The Blue Frog last week, the city did. The Blue Frog has always seemed to me as a sort of a cocoon that nurtures an alternative universe – a different kind of universe every time. On the 19th of May if you entered The Blue Frog, it would remind you of a James Herbert book – the venue looked dark and forlorn, adding to this were two rubber monster-heads on stage looking gory and welcoming at the same time. With a surprising amount of coverage in mainstream media as well as music webzines, this was a highly anticipated gig. Only a city that houses the monotonous drone of a perpetual Monday, can subsequently house a public that is more than ready to release their frustrations in the midst of some musically channeled violence. This is why the Blue Frog Metal Nights are such a hit, and the extreme metal night was no different. Frog was packed with an audience uniformly clad in black band tees looking anxious to devour some extreme metal.

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Death metal band Reptilian Death was opening the gig with the launch of their album Dawn of Consummation and Emergence. Dressed in black gothic priest robes, the line-up sported Ashwin Shriyan , Sahil Makhija, Prateek Rajgopal and Nishith Hegde, heads covered with hoods while Vinay Venkatesh had his face painted black and white. Their set was pretty well-received with moshpits erupting throughout the hour. I’ve heard their single ‘O’ from this album, and was pretty impressed by it; having said that, they didn’t sound as good live. It’s always tough to carry off a new look and people will generally laugh when they see something revolutionary and don’t know what to do of it. Reptilian Death has a great concept and good music, but the live act seemed to fall a bit flat. Vinay Venkatesh, famous for his power packed stage performances with Bhayanak Maut, looked a tad awkward as the frontman – having to act like a conjurer of sorts on a stage with little space can be a difficult task, and the vocalist maestro barely carried it off. Even so, Reptilian Death played a good set winning over the crowd with well crafted songs like ‘Inchoate’, the very explicit ‘Stimulate. Hike. Impel. Tear’ and my personal favourite ‘Emergence The World, Your Playground.’

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Next up was Aditya Mehta’s ‘self titled’ band Solar Deity. Having read a feature about them in Bombay Times that stated “The band is notorious for performing in costume and doing live rituals during concert,” I was pretty excited to see them perform at Blue Frog. Turns out the costume part was true but the rituals began and ended with Mehta drinking (water) from a matka (pot) on the stage. The response to their music was pretty good. There was a good amount of cheering and screaming every time Mehta drank from his pot and there were a few moshes here and there. But Blue Frog was much emptier this time around. This was followed by their song ‘Circling the Moon’. With a fox trot beat that walked the band right into a few gujju-garba jokes, and later a social media showdown between Mehta and the people who cracked said jokes; the live rendition of this song has been the topic of much debate. Their songs ‘Blasphemous Chanting on a Moonless Night’ and ‘Ceremonial Feast at the Black Temple’ were the highlights of their set. The raw thunderous beats in the intro of ‘Ceremonial Feast at the Black Temple’ were evocative of a savage spirit and led to a rush of appreciative horns up. It was a good song to end their set with and I heard many humming the hauntingly melodious riff long after the song had ended.

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The next up was Albatross, and to put it lightly, they owned the night. Some may say it was due to the fact that they had a clever set list with covers of popular songs like ‘Holy Diver’ by Dio and ‘Night Crawler’ by Judas Priest, but it serves well to note that they were exceptionally well done covers. With all their dramatic get ups and on stage rituals Reptilian Death and Solar Deity couldn’t nail the theatrics the way Albatross did. Riju Dasgupta’s moniker materialized, Dr. Hex, could take them all down alone.  Vigneshkumar Venkatraman had some amazing tones in his arsenal and Biprorshee Das’s vocals could be foreboding and releasing at once. The band was a brilliant package. As a hundred odd fists pumped in unison and people screamed and shouted their heads off, you could see this band had just generated a great amount of respect for themselves. They had successfully stirred the frenzy in their audience with the beginning of every song delayed with screams for an encore of the previous one. They made the night worth the hype. It was a pleasure to be present ‘In The Lair of Dr. Hex’ that night.

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The night saw supporters and friends from numerous bands come to witness the onslaught. Some, it turns out, were not allowed entry owing to their age and had to go back. On the whole, The Extreme Metal night at Frog provided the metal community and its fans with what they need most – a platform and an outlet.

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Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

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For all the headbangers in Hyderabad, Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar brought an evening of metal music which made for a perfect Saturday on the 19th of May 2012. Xtreme Sports Bar along with MetamorphiK and Tooth & Nail Productions had the stage set for metal bands from Hyderabad and this time around, there were new bands formed by the coming together of seasoned musicians sharing the platform with one of Hyderabad’s most popular bands and the headliners for the event – Skrypt.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

Four Clover, a group of experienced musicians, who have played for accomplished bands like Sacred Groove and REALMS, came together with the objective to show that music is something that each and every individual can relate to. With progressive influences from bands like Pagan’s Mind, Pain Of Salvation and Hard Rock influences from bands like Blackstone Cherry and Alter Bridge, Four Clover kicked started the show with the groovy ‘Cochise’ by Audioslave. With Vocals by Ashok, Eddie on the guitars, Praveen on the bass and Rohit on the drums their music has progressive and hard rock elements along with some groovy tones. ‘Linoleum’ by Pain Of Salvation followed next and Ashok got the crowd into the groove. Four Clover gave its own touch to Alter Bridge’s ‘Before Tomorrow Comes’ with a bass intro. The entire band pulled the crowd in with Foo Fighters’ ‘My Hero’. The final was their first composition – ‘Dawn of Day’. The clean vocals, classic guitar tones, crazy bass and drums, and the fact that it was Four Clover’s first major gig made it just the right start for the evening.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

Perpetual Void formed in February 2012 is a 5-piece thrash death metal band, the line-up of which includes Swaroop (Ex-Cerebral Assassins) on the drums, Roshan (Ex-Cerebral Assassins) and Chaitanya on the guitars, Kenneth on the bass and vocals by Pranav. They opened with ‘F**king Hostile’ originally by Pantera, which is one of the favourite bands of most heads. The rest of the set list included their original ‘Ministry of Death’, Opeth’s ‘Leper Affinity’, Lamb of God’s ‘Walk with Me in Hell’ and concluded with another original ‘Apostasy’. Their compositions were good with heavy riffs and lot of double bass drumming, and growls that reminded me of Underoath.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

For all the fans of Shock Therapy, Insidious might turn out to be their next favourite since the band was formed by Jay (Shock Therapy), Aniketh (Shock Therapy) and Sumeet (MetamorphiK Productions). With vocals by Rahul(Shock Therapy), Jay and Santhosh (Cadent Slaves)on guitars, Sumeet on bass, and Aniketh on the drums these guys are influenced by bands like Slayer, Testament, Death, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Morbid Angel and Kataklysm. This was Insidious’ debut gig and they played a rather short set with Motorhead’s ‘The Game’, Slayer’s ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and Kataklysm’s ‘Blood in Heaven’. With unusually deep growls, and influences ranging from heavy metal to death metal, their musical style is a mix of various subgenres.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

This gig was the first of its kind for Skrypt especially because this time the lineup featured a few guests. Due to an unfortunate accident in which he fractured his forearms, the current lead guitarist, Joel, was unable to play. However, the show did go on with ex-guitarist of the band Ramya back on the lead. The rest of the lineup had Scenic on vocals, Ravi on the guitars, Abbas on the bass, and Rajiv on the drums, coupled with Alan (Pandora’s Box) as a guest guitarist and Ananth (Ex-Negator) as a guest vocalist.

Artifice’ from their EP Discord was their opening piece that was followed by other originals like ‘Constructing the Absolute’, ‘Anathema’ and ‘Supremacy’ also from their EP Discord. Their compositions are mostly thrash metal with elements of progressive and death metal. Their covers included Gojira’s ‘Clone’, Pantera’s ‘Mouth for War’, Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ and, on popular demand, Pantera’s ‘Cowboys from Hell’. While playing ‘Clone’, the band pulled up a guy onto the stage to headbang with them, who later dived back into the crowd. For ‘Mouth of War’, Alan played the guitars and for ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Cowboys from Hell’, the vocals were handled by both Scenic and Ananth. As always, this was yet another entertaining performance by Skrypt.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

There were quite a few glitches with the sound especially when Insidious played and a few slips here and there with the other bands. However, that did not stop people from enjoying the concert. The crowd went wild head banging, moshing, and diving from the stage into the crowd. All the four bands kept the enthusiasm of the crowd on a high throughout the concert.

Four Clover’s groovy musical style attracted the crowd, moving on to heavier music by Perpetual Void and Insidious and on to Skrypt – the perfect transition for an evening of metal leaving everyone with high spirits and a stiff neck caused by some extreme head banging!

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TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

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It was a pleasant surprise that the second edition of the TrendSlaughter fest was going to be held barely ten months after the first. Unlike a majority of the smaller metal gigs held at Bangalore so far, TSF comes across as an excellently organized one. The billing was great – 4 local and 2 international acts, all chosen to make sure that a lot of different genres, spanning across the spectrum of metal were on the table – they had everything from sludgy doom to thrash to old school death to grind. The stellar line-up consisted of Djinn & Miskatonic, Dhwesha and Gorified providing support to the headliners – Cauchemar, Dying Embrace and Abigail. The organizers, Cyclopean Eye Productions, were not one bit cheeseparing when it came to the nitty-gritties like having nicely printed tickets and posters. Other things like having pick-up points for the tickets, the excellent merchandize stall, starting the gig more or less on time and finishing it on time, were much appreciated as well.

All the bands, with the exception of Djinn & Miskatonic and Gorified, had something for the merchandise section. Dhwesha had a new tape (their very first release) along with a new poster featuring the album art, Dying Embrace also had a new poster and a DVD featuring a few songs from their previous performance at Riff ’em All, Cauchemar managed to bring CDs and patches of their debut album and Abigail had stocked a fair number of albums on both CD and Vinyl.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

The first band on the bill was the unorthodox Djinn & Miskatonic, playing their eerie brand of doom which, while many may not be accustomed to, caught the attention of the slow trickle of people turning up (that and, possibly, the lack of a guitarist).

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

The slow, lumbering elephantine riffs, the droning vocals and massive drumming worked really well. All the four songs they played that night (including the new ‘7-year Itch’) sank in well with the crowd. If only they had added some cool background art, better coordinated lighting to their creepy, muddy doom they would have been a real treat to watch! 

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

Dhwesha took stage right after and ploughed right into their set. Even though the band has had only two prior performances to their credit, they certainly know how to put on a show. There was a marked improvement from their previous gig, notably with respect to audience interaction.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

 

To their usual setlist of ‘Hoy!Sala’, ‘Yuddabhumi’, ‘Ugra Narasimha’ and ‘Dhwesha’ new song additions in ‘Neeney Alu’ and ‘Sattva Bali’ were made. Add to that an excellent cover of Obituary’s ‘Slowly We Rot’ and you’ve got one helluva show on your hands – old school death metal done well!

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

Goregrind veteran band Gorified was next to take stage. Having seen them quite a few times last year they really didn’t have anything new to bring to the table but put on a brutal show for all the gore fiends in attendance nonetheless.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

As is usual with Gorified, violent moshing started right from the opening note of the first song, ‘Engorged the Disfigured’. The fact that Shreyas was missing behind the drum kit didn’t deter Gorified from playing a longer set than usual. They ended their set with an announcement concerning the upcoming Undergrind Fest and stated that Wormrot from Singapore had been confirmed as the main headliners and were to be supported by local talent in Anorectal Ulceration, Bad Taste, the recently reformed Perforated Limb and Gorified themselves. 

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

Cauchemar, the Canadian doom metal band, was the first of the headliners to play. They are probably the first international traditional doom metal act to play here in India. Due to the fact that their drummer wasn’t able to join them and that Annick didn’t play live bass for the band, Ganesh Krishnaswamy (Bevar Sea) and Deepak Raghu (Bevar Sea/Dying Embrace) provided drum and bass support for their sole Asian gig. It was really heartening to see how well the Bevar Sea guys gelled with Annick and Francois, learnt the Cauchemar songs in such a short notice and made the band feel like a cohesive unit.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

Cauchemar’s sound is predominantly rooted in old school doom ethos à la  Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pagan Altar and a ton of other doom legends with Judas Priest-esque interludes and passages in a couple of the songs. Their set consisted of the five songs from their debut EP La Vierge Noire as well as ‘Under the Oak’, a Candlemass cover.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

 

They started off with ‘Magie Rouge’, a slightly melancholic number which with Annick’s vocals (which were in French) sounded magical. The next song, ‘Valse Funebre’, continued in the same vein – it was some quality doom that these folks were playing! ‘Les Ailes de la Mort’ brought an up-tempo swing to set, following which they reverted back to playing slow doom in ‘Les Gardiens de la Terre’. The Candlemass cover came next and the band ended their splendid show with ‘La Voile D’isis’. A performance par excellence, without doubt.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

The legendary Dying Embrace finally took stage to a crowd cheering and applauding thunderously, this being their first show after Riff ’em All in October. They started off their set with the crushing ‘As Eternity Fades’ followed by a chilling performance of ‘The Passing Away.’ In keeping with the dark atmosphere they’d conjured, the next track in their arsenal was ‘Blood Rites’.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

 

Then came the iconic, blood-curdling, hair-raising shriek from Vikram that meant ‘Grotesque Entity’ was on next. This was followed by the much-awaited ‘Dagda – His Time Has Come’, mainly for Jimmy’s disorienting, blistering solos. Just like their previous performance at TrendSlaughter, Vik had a surprise for the fans. This time around the giveaway was a DVD (Carrying the Burden of Doom) of their previous outing (before this, it was a special re-issue of their EP Grotesque).

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

 

They seemed to have wrapped up the set with ‘Spawn of the Depths’, ‘Oremus Diabolum’ and a tribute to their idols Autopsy – a brilliant cover of ‘Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay’. Back for the encore, they had yet another surprise – a new song titled ‘Ascendence of Namtar’, that had the added pressure of living up to DE’s legacy and it didn’t disappoint. It was almost as though the decade, that had passed since they had last written any material, never happened, or didn’t matter. The song was heavy as f**k – some good old school doom metal with Persian/middle-eastern vibes. And, on that high note, they ended their performance of the night. Kudos to Deepak Raghu for playing so well with no break immediately after Cauchemar’s set. 

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

The final band to play that night was Japan’s Abigail. Raw, abrasive, highly energetic thrash is what this three-piece band dished out – Motorhead of the east as some of the people at the gig quite rightly put it. The first half of their set consisted of numbers that leaned towards punk/thrash, while quite a few from the latter half were more black/thrash in nature.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

They put on a charged high-octane performance, interacting well with the crowd, who after a couple of minutes started massive, back-breaking, neck-snapping, frenzied mosh pit- a fitting response for a song titled ‘Satanik Metal F**king Hell’. Their entire set was a raucous, loud thrash attack, what with the aggressive riffing and angry solos that accompanied them, the shrill battle-cries that formed the vocals and drumming that simply sought to bludgeon everything in its path!

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

 

While there was a communication barrier of sorts, the more or less incomprehensible howls of the frontman Yasuyuki were taken by the crowd as a sign to raise hell. They played a massive set of around twelve songs without showing any signs of fatigue or wearing down. The encore, consisting of three songs, was just as lively as the main set. And, for their very last song – ‘Rocking Metal Motherf**kers’, they had Vikram from Dying Embrace and Annick from Cauchemar join them on stage to take on vocal and bass duties respectively and play their hearts out, which was as good an end to the show as one could expect. 

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

Allowing the crowd to hang out and freely interact with the international bands was a good thing to do on the organizer’s part – the fans who purchased merchandize managed to get it autographed and the bands were more than happy to oblige. A fairly large number of posters were distributed to the crowd after all the bands had performed and quite a few people stayed back to either get more autographs or photographs along with the band members.

TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

 

The show ran smoothly with no hiccups, with each of the bands putting forth a great performance. All in all, it was a great showcasing of Bangalore’s Metal underground while introducing bands from around the world to the Indian scene. Attendees indeed got their money’s worth and here’s hoping to more such gigs in the future – kvltest show of the year indeed!

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Interview with Cauchemar

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Cauchemar is a traditional Doom Metal band, formed by Canadian couple Annick Giroux and François Patry. Currently on a worldwide journey, Cauchemar did a one-off show in Bangalore, India as part of the TrendSlaughter Festival. WTS caught up with the travelling doomsters before the gig for a fun-filled chat. Read on to find out fun stories of a band on the road…

WTS: Hello, Welcome to India! Let’s start off with a little bit of history about Cauchemar.

Annick: Thank you! We formed Cauchemar in 2007. Well, I played in a Thrash Metal band called Exterminator.

François: I had just projects for fun, and Cauchemar is the first thing that led to something…

Annick: Yeah, first serious band… It’s the only band I recorded stuff with. So, we formed the band together, as a project.

François: Just the two of us in bedroom doing Metal! (chuckles)

Annick: Yeah, that’s it. It was basically a project in which we wanted to write music that we liked. We both like Heavy Metal and Doom Metal. So, it just came like that. We tried finding members for a long time, but it was hard trying to find the right members. Finally, we found the drummer two hours away from our city and we recorded the songs for our EP in 2010 springtime. We released it on CD and Vinyl via Nuclear War Now! Records. Since then, we played three gigs in Canada and we also did some shows in South America and this is our first show in Asia.

WTS: What do you make of the recent resurgence of retro or traditional-styled Heavy Metal bands? Many bands are opting for the classic Doom sound, why do you think that is happening? 

Annick: Well, it’s always been there, but, as you say, now there are more bands doing it, because although there are lot of people in extreme Metal, the old style of Heavy Metal is the best Metal there is. That, and Doom Metal… because, it’s traditional, it’s timeless. You could listen to it after 20 years and it will still sound fresh and good. But, if you listen to, I don’t know, Black Metal with keyboards, you would say, “Oh it is so nineties!”

François: And, it has always been there, but it goes up and down in popularity. It was really big in the early nineties or so, but the bands are always there.

Annick: There are always reunions of big bands too, like Judas Priest, for example, who reunited – about 5 years ago? and Sabbath. So, people cover them in the magazines and others read about them…

François: People dig a little bit further and find other bands that are close, maybe in sound.

Annick: Yeah, and you know, stuff like technical Death Metal or Metalcore are getting unreal-like, or superficial. So, people want to go back to the roots. Anyway, that is what we think. HEAVY METAL RULES! (flashes horns)

WTS: Since you’ve released just one EP with five songs in 2010, what material do you play live? 

Annick: Oh, we play all the songs and also some covers. Since the time we’re travelling, we wrote seven new songs, actually.

François: But, in South America, and here, we get to play with musicians from these countries. So, the songs that we wrote, we just wrote them together, we will play them again when we play with the members from Canada. For now, we will play the songs from the EP.

Annick: The new songs, we don’t play them live yet, because the drummer has not written his drum parts yet. Like right now, we have Indian backup members, Ganesh and Deepak, and we didn’t write drum parts for the new songs. So, we are going to play the EP as well as a cover.

WTS: So, today’s show will have Ganesh Krishnamurthy and Deepak Raghu of Bevar Sea also playing with you? 

Annick: Yeah, that’s right! They’re really great musicians and it is going to sound awesome.

WTS: How did it feel when Fenriz , the frontman of Darkthrone recommended you as “Band of the Week”? 

Annick: It was a real shock! At first, Fenriz sent me an email, saying, “You should re-record the vocals, drink some beer and really concentrate”. Then a few weeks later, he listened to the album and he got it, you know. He was like, “Oh, I understand now!” and he really enjoyed it. But, I didn’t know that. He put it on “Band of the Week” and sent me this email, “I really like your EP.” It’s like you could say, the vocals are not everyone’s cup of tea or glass of beer (chuckles), but it is something to get used to and once you do, you appreciate it, I guess.

WTS: Female-fronted Doom bands, like Witch Mountain from Portland, Oregon also seem to be coming up. what do you have to say about that?

Annick: Well, I guess, the female voice sounds good with this style of music. There are not many females in Black Metal or Death Metal, because it is a very close-minded scene, right? The female voice doesn’t sound good in Death Metal. There are some females, of course, but it is very hard to get a good voice. And, there are always a lot of guys going, “Women in death metal scene!” (gestures in a macho fashion and chuckles). But in Doom Metal, it is very open-minded. I think the female voice sounds very good. Like, for example, in the 70s there was Coven, and in 80s…

François: Girlschool.

Annick: … yeah, but that’s not Doom Metal.

François: But, people are rediscovering those bands now.

Annick: There are a lot of really obscure bands from the 80s and 90s. It’s always been there, but now those bands are getting more publicity.

WTS: Is it like a novelty factor?

Annick: No, it’s always been there. It is just that instead of a guy, it’s a girl, you know. For me, I don’t see a difference. It sounds good be it a guy or a girl. We didn’t want a girl to sing, actually. I didn’t want to sing for Cauchemar. I just wanted to be the bassist. But, as I said earlier, we couldn’t find any good members. So, I decided to take on the vocals and it just felt right. It could’ve been just him (points at François) singing, it is just how it happened, really.

WTS: How many shows did you play altogether?

Annick: In total? (turns to François) How many shows did we do in South America? Five? (counts) Five, six, seven, eight shows so far. This is our 9th show!

WTS: Did you ever get a chance to share the stage with your Metal heroes?

Annick: All-f**king-right!

François: We played with Pagan Altar in Canada.

Annick: And we played with Vulcain, Inepsy, Midnight, Revelation, Blood Ceremony – we played like really shitloads of good shows. We were really lucky.

WTS: Tell us about your most memorable live experience. How was your South American tour?

Annick: It was really cool, because we went to some places that nobody else goes to. We went to a place called Temuco in Chile – it is in South of Chile – there were like 250 people or something, maybe, and they were so happy that we actually came from Canada.

François: There’s a good Metal scene there, but bands from outside never go there.

Annick: Yeah, they were really delighted. Like, for example, when we played in Peru, the crowd really went wild. (chuckles recollecting the experience) The venue was completely white – there were white walls – and after the show, there were blood stains on the walls!

François: Broken bottles everywhere…

Annick: …and the toilets were broken. There was even a couple f**king during the show! (laughs) It was pretty crazy! The people are so enthusiastic. They ask us for signatures, but on really strange things, like on napkins or arms. It’s pretty funny. Anyway, that was the response so far.

WTS: You have a cookbook – Hellbent for Cooking. Tell us more about that.

Annick: During the beginning of Cauchemar, I had that as a hobby. I asked my favourite bands for their best recipes, like recipes that represented them well, and they came from new countries and stuff like that. So, I compiled the book, I got a hundred recipes. I got the recipes, I cooked the food, I took a picture and I wrote a biography for each recipe. So, it’s like kind of encyclopedia of Metal, but with recipes. That’s Hellbent for Cooking, that’s how I mix Metal and food. So, it is kind of like cook your favourite meal, read the biography, and listen to the band while you are eating.

WTS: The Canadian Metal scene quite underrated – people don’t really know of many bands from Canada. Why is it so?

François: Well, most people know the classic bands like Voivod, Annihilator…

Annick: Well, it is like India. People don’t really know about Indian Metal. People, you know, like to be fed on really popular bands, but it is just underground. Just like our band is underground. If you ask most people in Canada, they don’t know us. But, yeah, there’s a really good history of Metal and a lot of hidden bands, hidden gems. I really know the Metal scene Canada, but I’m discovering new bands all the time. It’s unlimited.

WTS: What are the ideologies, or schools of thought, that you subscribe to which reflect in your lyrics and music? 

François: It’s just our personal philosophy, I guess.

Annick: We really like to write about horror stuff, freedom…

WTS: Horror as in gore horror?

Annick: No, more like Italian horror movies, cemeteries, death… stuff like that. Mostly we like to write stuff that has an interesting atmosphere, you know, magical atmosphere. But, all the songs have a different theme, actually, and so will the new songs as well.

WTS: This is your first time in India, what has been your impression so far?

Annick: We’ve only stayed in Bangalore, and we pretty much stayed with friends. So, we didn’t get to explore too much. We still have a month left in India. So, we will be going to Goa, and then Hampi… after Hampi, we are going to Delhi, Agra, you know, very commercial (winks) and to Varanasi, to see the Death, people dying (laughs). And then we will move on to Nepal.

WTS: Are you playing a show there?

François: No, this one’s our only show in Asia. The next shows we will do are in a European tour with the Canadian members.

Annick: In France, we’re going to play with Children of Doom. We’re going to play about twenty shows in Europe. We will be playing some really big shows too, like Keep It True Festival and Muskelrock Festival and stuff like that.

WTS: One thing from India that you would like to take back with you? 

Annick: Spices! And, maybe, I want to buy a saree – a purple saree. Also, Metal! I want to bring back some Indian Metal. Maybe, we can buy some records. Some recipes, maybe. I learnt to cook a little bit. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

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Interview with George Kollias

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George Kollias is a world renowned and much accomplished drummer from Greece. He is best known as the drummer of the American Death Metal band, Nile. He is also a very sought-after drum teacher and conducts power packed drum clinics all over the world. WTS caught up with him for a tête-à-tête, where he spoke at length about his drumming style and techniques and his inspirations. Read on to find out where India lies in Nile’s and George’s future plans…

WTS: Expression in drumming has to do with dynamics and the idea of ‘playing with feel.’ How do you incorporate this into your drumming style?

George: For death metal, there’s not enough dynamics, you’ve to be very solid and as less dynamic as possible. For other styles of music, of course you need dynamics, you know, it’s a big point of the expression. For example, if you are playing jazz music or folk music, you gotta have lots of dynamics always. For death metal, not so much. It’s a different style, we need more speed and stamina instead of dynamics. And I always try to approach any style I’m playing in the best possible way.

WTS: A lot of drummers want to know why you use one pedal to play blast-beats when there are double bass pedals available.

George: Well, umm, the main reason is, because of some of my favorite drummers when I started playing. Like Pete Sandoval from Morbid Angel, he was doing wonderful blasts. The truth is, where I grew up, in a small town about an hour from Athens, there were no metal drummers. I didn’t actually know two feet blasts, so I had to do one foot blasts. When I learned the easier way, it was too late, because I was too fast already! (laughs)

WTS: We’ve noticed that you use your wrists instead of swiveling the sticks in your fingers when playing quick. Is there any particular reason for approaching speed-drumming this way?

George: Yeah, that’s another reason, you know I was looking upto old school drummers, like Pete Sandoval, Dave Lombardo, Igor Cavalera. I grew up (listening) to these guys, and back in the day everyone was mostly using wrists. So till today, you have these drummers who are using mostly wrists for speed. And its again too late cos, you know, I can go as fast as I can with wrists and there’s no reason to change anything right now. But the main reason again, like the one foot blast, is that I didn’t know the other way! (laughs) I just wanted to play traditional metal.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Have you ever drummed using wrong techniques and incurred injuries because of it?

George: Umm, never. I got few injuries here and there because of playing too much or not warming up. You know, we go on tours so much and I have to warm up everyday and somewhere in the middle of the tour it gets a little bit boring, there is no room to warm up. So, I’m like “You know what, let’s go without warming up.” That’s quite wrong for metal. Yeah, so, I’ve had few minor problems here and there and that’s only because I didn’t warm up.

WTS: So, your advice to prevent any such injuries is to warm up before playing?

George: Yeah, these days I’ve a personal doctor and what he suggests, and which I always do, and I don’t have a single problem since, is to stretch. So, he gave me a couple of stretching exercises and everything works so much better, you know. For death metal, you have to warm up and stretch a little bit, and it’s a different kind of music, you know. If I were playing a jazz gig or something, I would never warm up – it’s just different for metal.

WTS: So, do you play at jazz gigs as well?

George: Not gigs, but I practice, I practice a lot. I actually have a trio, but we don’t play so often and we have no plans for shows. It’s for fun and, you know, to develop a better technique, become a better drummer. That’s basically for fun and for myself.

WTS: You’ve learnt from the great Yannis Stavropoulos. What is it that you can share as the crux of your learning? There are a lot of drummers out there who envy your technique and style!

George: We did some rock drumming and we did some jazz drumming. When I started the lessons with Yannis – it was just a year, you know – when I started the lessons, I was already a well-known drummer here and I was fast to play in any band. So, what he basically did was, open my mind to new drumming techniques, new drumming approaches, different styles- jazz drumming or, you know, funk music and also, he helped me so much in how to become a teacher, how to understand what I’m doing and how to explain how I came up with my own exercises and stuff. He was also a huge part of my DVD. We were watching my exercises and he was giving different names (to them), suggesting different things. So, basically, he’s my older brother right now, he’s my mentor. We always hang out, talk drums. Today this is actually what I need. He always helps me out, man, always.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: About your drum kit – would it be right to say that it’s built for a rather ambidextrous approach?

George: Yeah, yeah, it’s an extreme metal drum kit, a big one. You know what’s interesting – lately I’ve been interested in the smaller drum kits. So, to me when I wanna have fun, I’m usually practicing on my small kit, which is like one tom, one floor tom, right cymbal, high-hat, that’s it. Very very simple. But for metal I’ve to play this big drum set. When you tour, there are too many things to worry about, too many cymbals, we’ve to carry too much of gear all the time. You gonna have atleast two drumsets if you’re going to have some serious practice.

WTS: Can you tell us more about your drumkit?

George: I use three floor toms, that’s two on the right side and one on the left. I use two snares – one 14 inch, my main snare, and one 12 inch snare. Two kicks 22/18. That’s it for drums. It’s all Pearl. I have a Pearl Masters Premium and I’ve my main kit which is Pearl Masterworks, that’s custom made drums. These days I’m expecting my new Pearl Reference Pure. This is the brand new model from Pearl based on the old successful Reference series, but I think the new one is better and more versatile to other styles of music as well. Like I said everything is from Pearl! I play Sabian Cymbals, Evans drumheads, and I play Axis pedals. I also use Extreme headphones and have been playing Vic Firth drumsticks for 22 years or so! (laughs) And right now, right next to me I’ve my new signature drumsticks, which, you know, we’re working on new prototypes at Vic Firth. So, my personal signature drumstick is one the way right now and I think it will be ready in about a month and released. Something, I’m really really proud and really really happy.

WTS: Will you be bringing those to your next show in India?

George: I don’t know if they are gonna be ready, but I got some prototype here. We’ve got 3 different models which I checked and we develop my own signature model, but the stick I was using in the past, and I still use, is the Vic Firth 55A, which, of course, has my signature on. But, I don’t know whether my signature model will be ready by then.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: While looking at the picture of your drumkit, we see a lot of Sabian AAX and HHX series cymbals. What is it about these series that draws you to them?

George: Well, the AAX are studio cymbals. They’re versatile and you can play any style with these cymbals. So, that was my first approach. The HHX series, they are more smooth and dark, (which I use for) more dynamical purposes. Like I said, I use stuff I would use for other gigs as well. So, my drumkit looks metal, but it’s not only for metal. You can play rock music, you can play, not jazz music, but many different styles on it and this is what I do also. Last two months I did some recording sessions for some really weird different bands, like I played for a punk band, I played for a band – they were progressive like Porcupine Tree stuff. So, all the time I was using (the same cymbals) for more sound options and that’s the reason I don’t use AAX metal crashes, because they’re only for metal. So, my crashes are (the ones on which) you can play different styles. Cymbals are never enough, never enough. You can have 50 cymbals and you will need more, that’s for sure.

WTS: Who among the current crop of extreme metal drummers do you follow and admire?

George: Extreme metal drummers? To be honest, nobody. I kinda lost interest for extreme metal drummers, because we do so much, we talk about this so much – I teach extreme metal class and all these clinics all over the world. So, what I really need is different drummers. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean there are many great extreme metal drummers – one is Dave Haley from Psycroptic from Australia. I really like Jade Simonetto from Hate Eternal – this guy’s a monster. Romain Goulon from France – these would be my favorite extreme metal drummers. But, what I really need for my playing is to approach different drummers. For example, the last year I practiced a lot with Benny Greb, Chris Coleman. So, these are the drummers I’m watching and and trying to get into the sounds they do, mostly and not so much about extreme metal drummers anymore.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: You started out playing music at a pretty young age. What got you into music? Was your family into music?

George: No, no, not at all. What happened was I started listening to metal when I was seven. So, it was very natural for me to pick up an instrument a few years later.And what I did was I picked the guitar when I was 10. I still play the guitar, you know, I own three guitars here and I write music all the time. I always wanted to start drumming as well cos, I don’t know, it was cool? I don’t know. I always had the rhythm inside me, I wanted to get involved with drums. But, it was the money issue mostly and I couldn’t get the money to get my first drumkit, which I finally did when I was twelve and from that day I’m just a drummer. The main reason was I wanted to play metal, that’s it. Now there are more, but back in the day I just wanted to play Metallica, Sepultura, Slayer songs, that’s it.

WTS: So, what are your earliest memories of metal?

George: Yeah, it was a guy from Canada. He was a lot older than me and older than my brother. I remember then he had just moved to Greece and, this is a small town, in Korinthos. And, I remember me and my brother were at his home listening to music. He was into metal and we were learning and we were listening to Judas Priest. And we were like, “Oh my God, this is so fucking cool. We gotta follow this style, we gotta listen to this music.” And, next week or so, my brother and I bought AC/DC’s Flick Of The Switch album. That’s pretty much the beginning for me and then Iron Maiden and Metallica and everything.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Having handled drumming duties on three albums so far with Nile, what is it about Nile, as a band, that keeps you going with them?

George: When I joined the band, the band was big enough, but not as big as we are today. To me, it was my favorite extreme metal band. So, to start with, I joined the band because it was my favorite band. That’s it. And why we keep going on? Because we fit together, we communicate very easily, we have fun, we are friends. You know, I think it’s the whole package, it’s what we do, we have the chemistry. I think that’s the most important thing. No matter how great a musician you are, if the chemistry is not there, it doesn’t really work and, thankfully, with Nile I found some good chemistry.

WTS: Is Nile recording any new material right now?

George: Right now, we are working on the new Nile album. We will probably get into the studio around November, December or January. That would be my fourth album with Nile.

WTS: From a drummer’s perspective, what is it that you think forms the primary component in Nile’s music? If someone was asked to drum for Nile, what attributes do you think he/she needs to have?

George: Nile is traditional death metal, so you gotta be able to play all these wonderful blasts. You gotta be able to play double bass drumming to a certain level, to a certain beats per minute. You gotta be able to play ‘cruiser’ extreme metal beats, you know. For example, no matter how fast are your beats, you gotta be able to keep it going, so you gotta have great stamina. There are so many fills, there are so many odd signature meters, you know. In ‘What Can Be Safely Written’, there’s a time signature that’s very weird, like a 30/16 on a breakdown and what I do is I follow the 30/16 and I break it down to groups of 3s. So, there are some rhythmic illusions going on in Nile’s music. So, in a few words, you gotta be able to play fast, you gotta have a good technique. Some drummers are faster, some are more creative, it depends. Nile has a little bit of everything. This why I really like the music.

WTS: Any plans for Nile to come to this part of the world?

George: We already tried three times to get to India and we failed three times. Right now, I’ve managed to come there myself. Everybody in the band is really happy atleast I made it. We actually agreed for a short tour very soon, that would be definitely within the next year – to come and do Singapore and all together, and maybe we will be able to come to India as well. Because, the last time we weren’t able to come to India was because the cost was too much for the band to fly to India – they were asking about $30000, you know. So, that’s too much money, but if we are touring in Singapore – very close to India – then it will cost us 1/3rd the amount to come to India and we can make it, and we will make it. We really want to get there. We have so many fans in India, we get so many mails. You know, this is something we talk about so many times. So, in a way, I’m happy it is happening, in a way atleast, with this drum clinic.

WTS: You started teaching drumming quite early – how has this worked in tandem with touring and gigging?

George: Well, I started teaching drums way before I joined the band. And then I joined Modern Music School and, now I’m drum instructor in Modern Music School in Athens – actually, worldwide, because our school is pretty big, we have like 70-something schools worldwide. So, sometimes we teach in different places. Last week I was in Germany teaching for the professional program of our school. It’s pretty tough with always touring and sometimes my students have to wait. But there is another way, they are lucky to have a touring drummer as a teacher instead of just having a teacher. Because, I tour different parts of the world and I can advise in different aspects and I think they like it even though it’s hard on everybody.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: We see that you’re actively driving learning in metal drumming – what prompted you to make the instructional DVD Intense Metal Drumming?

George: The only reason I did was because of my love for music and for drummers. I wanted to share what I have and this is what I was doing online with my forum, this is what I was doing when I met fans – always talk drums, always share what I have. So, I wanted to be little more professional and little more serious, and release a DVD, which I did, and which, thankfully, went very well. And, right now, actually, I’m getting ready to shoot the new DVD to be out in January 2012.

WTS: Any other activities or ventures that your fans normally don’t know about?

George: These days I’m really busy. I did 4 albums for different bands. Actually, most of them were guest albums, like one song or three songs or whatever. I’ll be doing the new Cerebrum album – it’s a band from Greece, very technical metal. I’m working on the Nile songs and working on my solo project, which I think will be released early next year as well.

WTS: Give us some info about your solo project.

George: I got eight songs so far, everything is metal, black metal, it’s groovy in a way, it’s pretty fast as well. The music is almost ready. I’m working on the lyrics when I’ve the time. I don’t know when I’ll be able to record, but the sure thing is Eric Rutan from Hate Eternal wants to do the mix. So, Eric’s gonna be a big part of this CD. And, I’m gonna have many other guests – guitar players to play the solos. Everything is gonna be me, I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna play everything, I’m gonna write everything, except the guitar solo which I’m gonna leave to some guest guitarists.

WTS: Is this your first trip to India?

George: Yes.

WTS: Do you have any idea about the metal scene here in India?

George: I do have an idea because we have many fans there and I heard about a crazy crowd, the huge metal scene, and I’m very excited and I can’t wait to come there and play for you guys. I think it’s going to be a great clinic.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Give us a bit of info on the drum clinics you do. What can we expect in the drum clinic?

George: Well, I’m gonna be playing Nile songs for sure. It will be kinda like a show. I’ll present a few Nile songs, maybe a new song, let’s see. I’m gonna play some of my songs, maybe a few solos -depends on the time we have and the feedback we have from the crowd. And, of course, I’m gonna share some exercises and tips for the drummers. And, the main thing – and this is actually why we do the clinics – is for the drummers and fans to be able to communicate, come see and talk to you. In general, we’re gonna have a great great time.

WTS: What would be your advice to young budding drummers – the most important message you would like to give?

George: Get a teacher and get serious. That’s it. It is simple because most of the metal drummers are lazy, nobody is going for a teacher. I see with my students. When I was on my forum online everyone was like “Oh I wanna study with George, I wanna study with George.” And when I launch my online lessons I’ve only 20 people. So, yeah, I would like to see serious drummers. No matter where you are, there is always a great teacher. You gotta go there, you gotta pay him, of course. Because, you know, he will spend his time for you. If you wanna do it, do it the right way – find a teacher, open your mind to different styles of music, you know, be a drummer in general – not just blast beats, you know. That would be my message.

WTS: Anything else you would like to say?

George: Well, just looking forward to getting to India. I’m really excited. I’ve talked with many people, I get so many emails. So, I think it’s going to be a crazy day there. I’m really excited to see your beautiful country, and I’m really really looking forward to come there. I’ll be here this time for just one and a half days because there are many clinics before and after the one in India. I wish I had more days, but, unfortunately, I’ve to stay for one and a half days only. But, you know, it’s enough for me. I just wanna say to everyone, try and come for the clinics, meet me there, let’s have some fun, let’s talk all things drums. I’ll do my best to deliver one of the best shows you ever saw.

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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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