Archive for the 'Interview With A Gujarati Vampire' Category
There was no annual interview on MKK last year because there wasn’t anybody in the underground music scene worth talking to, but among the hordes of flatterers, the gathering of cowards and the flocks of sheep, one man stands tall and plays by his own rules. Organizing show after show in Bangalore with little or no support, Dhiraj Simon Santiago brings outstation metal bands to the city and great live music to its metalheads. Here’s Simon speaking out on Mehta Kya Kehta!
Two things became obvious during my last visit to Bangalore: the weather is always great and, contrary to how it may seem to those who are not in bands or organizing teams, your city’s underground scene isn’t united at all. Clearly there is a divide…
Simon: The weather is always almost awesome here. The Bangalore Underground scene has been around since the ’80s and started being serious in the late ’90s. I’ve been part of the scene as an organizer for over a year now, and as an audience for almost 4 years. Compared to most people that’s hardly anything. The reason why I started organizing shows is because of the fact that 2012 had 3 gigs. All played by the same bands. When there is a new kid on the block, there is hostility, and I’ve experienced it here. People bitch about people, and then make up and gang up. Like an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. Opinions are seen as disregard, Facebook wall posts are seen as a fucking challenge. It’s a pathetic state of affairs. And now there are factions too. LOL.
I heard there was pressure on you to postpone the gig. This is something I don’t understand and it sounds very childish.
Simon: Nobody asked me to postpone a gig. Even if that happens, I’m not gonna postpone any gig. It’s a free world, man. Just like when I was told to not do gigs… well, see what happened: I did 6 metal gigs and 2 rock gigs, which involved 40+ bands. I don’t care if I’m premium material or not, all I care about is the stage, where bands come play to an audience.
This is now old news to many of us, but there are people trying to gain control over the whole Bangalore scene. It was shocking at first, and now it’s funny. My questions here are:
a) Why would anybody want to control Bengaluru’s underground metal scene?
Simon: Firstly, trying to control a damn city and its scene is a funny idea. If I hadn’t found ION Bar and Kitchen as a venue, none of this would have happened. And the funniest part is the feedback received is fucking 0% constructive. Instead, people try and tear the place down on Facebook. That’s how funny it gets. Also the property either becomes awesome or is extremely fucked up depending on the organizer. So if anybody is trying to take over Bangalore, that really can’t happen, man. Not today, not fucking ever.
b) How can bands evict key members because of these wannabe tyrants?
Simon: Bro, honestly, that’s for the band to decide. If a band decides a player ain’t worth the presence, then I guess it’s justified. In the end, if people don’t grow balls, they tend to use others’. I have heard instances/rumours of band members being evicted, but haven’t been a witness. Can’t comment on that.
c) When are bands going to tell these people to fuck off? (Not that Bombay metal bands have a spine, but if anybody tries ordering a Mumbai band around, they will be laughed at in the face.)
Simon: Again, that will only happen when bands grow some balls. One of my friends while having a conversation mentioned: “The bands in the scene only write their lyrics based on courage/death/hatred/manly things. But they lack the balls to live it up.” True as fuck if you ask me, except for a few bands. There are instances where one band gets dissed to the extent of their CDs being given away as “bad music”. Next thing, the same people wave the white flag and talk like nothing happened. It’s that pathetic.
I don’t mean to sound like a dick here, but I don’t think there are too many good metal bands around. I can’t think of more than six or seven bands that seem to have an idea of what they’re doing, and I mean six or seven bands from all over India.
Simon: Bro, actually, there are immense number of bands with great talent. One cannot judge a band when they haven’t seen them play. Forget having seen them play, if a band put out a record without playing live, you think it’s going to be great? It’s pathetic the way certain bands, people do it for the money and then say how much they support the “scene”. .
This interview will open a lot of eyes that haven’t seen past the ass-licking that goes on on Facebook all the time. I don’t think even Rocco (the porn star) has performed that much analingus.
Simon: Opening eyes and all I don’t give a fuck about. The ass wipes I don’t care about. I do not claim to be not affected by this bullshit, but I have chosen to ignore it. Hopefully they find another ass to lick when the shit runs out.
Or maybe the ass will go looking for new mouths and tongues. Thanks for your time and these cool answers, Simon!
READ MORE ABOUT THE UNDERGROUND METAL SCENE:
To begin with, this is the greatest first question I’ve ever been asked in any interview. To answer your question, LaVeyan Satanism is the closest I’ve ever come to identifying with a religion…but I’m not a LaVeyan Satanist per se. I’m an atheist, which is essentially the first step to embracing the religion, and I think Anton LaVey…and more recently High Priest Peter Gilmore are two of the most intelligent men I’ve ever come across, and are probably the two smartest religious leaders in the last 100 years. However I draw the line at the silly rituals, which in my opinion defeat the whole purpose of the beautiful philosophy. As I write this, I’m reading ‘The Devil’s Notebook’ by Anton LaVey, which is incredibly funny. The man’s insightful knowledge, contempt for the world in general and more importantly, how the puts the same across happen to be hilarious.
I think another name for LaVeyanism is ‘common sense.’ We’re currently growing up in a generation which is using its mental faculties to make its own decisions; which is questioning the premise of the deities it worships, of the choices it is forced to make by society, etc.. So in a way, we’re growing towards a LaVeyan state unconsciously. One of my favourite teachings from ‘The Satanic Bible’ is the constant pursuit of knowledge, and I strongly urge everyone, especially readers of this blog to check out Mr. LaVey’s writings. If more people read the Satanic Bible, there’ll be fewer wars in the world.
Dinner Is You was traditional heavy metal. How different is the playing style on Kissing Flies and which subgenres of metal will we hear Albatross playing in the future?
The biggest difference to the band’s sound has been courtesy the anything but stable lineup, and the various influences each new musician brings to the table. Vignesh has taken on the mantle of primary songwriter now and his Schuldiner/Akerfeldt influences have taken our songs towards a more death metal direction. Also Nishith Hegde, our new guitarist, is the best lead guitarist in the universe (and all parallel universes), and the stuff he’s played on the album will make you drool from multiple orifices. Added to this is Biprorshee trying new styles vocally…including a very nice screech. Jay’s played some very interesting patterns too on the album(courtesy his prog. metal leanings) and I’ve finally learnt to play the fretless right. Finally Niklas Stalvind from Wolf is the best producer for our sound. After working with him, we can’t work with anyone else. Wait till you hear his vocals on the album also. (/Brag Mode)
In terms of subgenres, Kissing Flies has thrash, progressive, death, black, avant-garde and (a lot of) doom metal influences, all over a heavy metal foundation. We try not to drift too far into metal subgenres we do not enjoy. So if you’re expecting Electronica on the next album, my friend, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Although I hope you had fun on Day 1 of the NH7 Weekender.
Huh, what? – I didn’t go for that shit! Will we see the other members of Albatross in fancy costumes at live shows?
Doesn’t look like it. I’ve raised this topic several times with them. So far, I’ve convinced them to not wear 3/4ths on stage and look like Lamb of God…which is something they’ve thankfully not protested against. One thing I can guarantee you is that you’ll not see Jay in any costumes, or clothes for that matter at our live shows.
I like that you’re releasing EPs instead of forcing full-lengths out. Has there been pressure on you to stretch an idea to put out an album?
I’m glad you think so! To be honest, I don’t see the point of releasing a full length album unless we have a good enough story which spans across 10 odd songs without filler tracks in the middle. You know…people tell me that Albatross should release a full length album all the time because that’s what is essential for an upcoming band like ours. But well, unless it comes naturally you’re being untrue to yourself as artists and being dicks to fans by giving them an inferior product. We also work in conjunction with the other band on the split EP to create a kickass product together. For example, for the Vestal Claret split ie. Kissing Flies, our sound is quite doomy, ominous and plodding…and they’re making their tracks quite progressive in line with our sound.
There are 2 more split CDs coming your way by mid 2013, with 2 other kickass bands. Both of them are quite kickass, and we have a great deal of mutual respect. Old school is taking over the world again. I am a happy man.
Albatross is progressing at a comfortable pace. Is this the lineup that’ll take the band where it needs to go?
I certainly hope so. This is the most committed lineup so far, with the most potential. You know, the biggest enemy to metal bands is well…real life. I’m sure everyone’s got a voice at the back of your mind asking you why you’re spending so much time and money on something you can never make your full-time career. The best you can do is ask this voice to shut up and kiss your ass.
Back in 2007, when Old Monks split up for good, I’d decided to quit music and focus on my career. But I know such an existence just makes me miserable. So Albatross will exist until the day I am not kicked enough to continue. And I’m really fond of the current lineup…as friends, as people and as musicians, and I only hope this dream continues for a long, long time.
I’m enjoying Dinner Is You, waiting for Kissing Flies and looking forward to lots more horror metal from Albatross. All the best!
Thanks for all the help from Day 1 man. Horns up! And let’s do a gig when Solar Deity is ready. The world will be a different place post the gig.
Photos by Prashin Jagger
MUST READ: On The Horror Trail With Albatross
What better way to end 2010 than by having P-Man squat on it? Host of The P-Man Show, bassist of Shaa’ir + Func and Exhumation, and the frontman of Khiladi – Rohit ‘P-Man’ Pereira talks about making breakfast for groupies, having a threesome all by himself and selling his kidney for Vidya Balan!
Want to tell the new world about your Pin Drop Violence days?
I was one of the founding members and played bass and wrote songs for Pin Drop Violence, we kicked ass for some 7 years, played all over the country and one killer gig in Dubai, put out 2 albums and a single and a VCD. And like all other good things, came to an end.
What made you quit meat and alcohol?
I din quit meat, just cut down the red meat. Health reasons. Must lose weight. Alcohol I quit coz I cannot handle the hangovers and I am quite nasty when I am drunk. So for the sake of still having friends, I choose not to drink. Plus I have saved a lotta money : )
How do Shaa’ir + Func tolerate you?
That’s an interesting question. Func aka Randolph and Shaa’ir aka Monica are still teenagers at heart, so the masti is coupled up from there. But I do tick Monica off from time to time with my inappropriate blurting out from the mouth. And I love the name she has given me – Mr. Inappropriate. Coming back to the question, yes, they have tolerated me so far, except this one time at a gig in Kolkata recently, some Bangla channel was doing an interview with S+F, and they made the mistake of having me there too. I was super amused by the host, and here is Monica and Randolph giving serious answers about the music and the scene, and my answers were – “I have come here to eat your food and fuck your women” and “I heart Bengali women who swallow” and other horribleness which made Monica get up and chase me and hit me. I plan to out run her in 2011.
Yes, Khiladi‘s music is all about jumping, headbanging, threesomes, handjobs in the library, partying etc. I jump, headbang, once had a threesome when I used both hands whilst jacking off, yet to get a HJ in the library, not so much partying now. So yeah, I think I have done around 50% of living up to Khiladi‘s name.
Groupies I have banged so far – not many – none actually. I am a shy boy. Please women, if you are reading this, come up and talk to me after a gig, I give good massages and make killer breakfast even.
How can you like a behenji like Vidya Balan? Do you want to be in a sex tape with her?
I want to be in Vidya Balan’s life in any capacity. I’d be the guy who gets her the papers in the morning to read also. I am her biggest fan from Andheri. I love her. I will leave my jaath and sell my one kidney and give her dowry too.
And yes, I want to be in a sex tape with her.
What will you take to keep your trap shut at the next Exhu show?
If the vocalist of the band grows some balls and does more than “So yeah, the next song… yeah… is about… yeah… umm… death… its umm…. among the dead.. yeah…. check it out… I love cocks in my mouth… yeah, mosh guys please…. my rep is at stake….”, I might just only play bass and not fart orally on the mike.
I do not talk like that. Bye, P-Man!
Yes, bitches! What better way to kickstart this section than by cornering Sahil Makhija? From controversies to career plans, the metal icon is letting it loose!! When Count Varathora meets The Demonstealer, you know it’s got to be one bloody face-off!!!
It’s going good, man…been really busy and working hard.
How’s the new Demonic Resurrection album coming along?
The album has me in a killer death lock and I’m loving it. The album is nearing completion. We just got to track vocals and mix it.
I hope you’ve stopped writing those godawful lyrics…
Nope, they are still as bad…
So you’re still singing about sluts? Really, man!
Lol! What band’s lyrics have you been reading? I know lyrics are open to interpretation but really?? Sluts = darkness ?? NOT!
Nope, not at all, am petrified. I have to learn someone else’s music for a change and that is pretty scary especially when it’s Prashant’s OOber complex riffs.
So what exactly the fuck is up with Atmosfear calling you a fuckall producer?
Lol! I don’t know, man…you’ll have to ask them. I went to their myspace and heard my mixes again…they weren’t too bad, man.
Okay, quickly…why should everyone get their music recorded at Demonic Studios?
Because I charge less than a regular studio and I charge per song instead of by the hour, so you have less stress about finishing on time which is better for our health which means you visit the doctor less which means you spend less on medical therefore when you record at Demonic Studios you save on studio costs as well as medical. So it’s a win-win situation.
No, just yours!
And isn’t there a pic of you smiling? It’s good for the business…
Of course, there is…haven’t you seen Workshop?
I’ve been meaning to get the ‘interviews’ section going for quite some time now. Got a killer hitlist ready and have also managed to round up and threaten some of the hapless bastards into doing as I say. Nothing sexual, though…don’t get ideas. Instead, get ready for utter nonsense from the coolest people on the planet as I kill & grill them all the way back to Hell. Ideally, I should be getting interviewed by every rag in the world and making pots of money but what the hell! This is going to be fun.