Being A Hardcore Punk Band In Bombay: The Riot Peddlers

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India almost never saw the words “Hardcore” and “Punk” being used in the same sentence, let alone a clause or phrase. The term “Hardcore” became synonymous with metalcore bands that did not enjoy the Devil Wears Prada or any other metal band that associated themselves with tight pants. Hardcore, for the average Indian metalhead was, put bluntly, an impure form of metal that they found too light. “Punk” in India was an even bigger joke than “Hardcore”. If you knew two chord progressions and your drummer hated playing anything fast or creative, you could form a punk band and state the Ramones as your primary influence. Soon enough, punk rock in India became about not wanting to go school and pseudo-political songs about how politicians are limitlessly greedy and evil (I know, so original and not thought of before). Any previous ideals that Henry Rollins and Ian Macaye spoke about for hours on end were made terribly obsolete as Indian punk band turned to the extreme right and complained against immigration (in a city made of immigrants). During this time, I was your average Indian teenager, hoping to do his post-grad outside India just so that he could be part of a legitimate scene.

 

 

It was around this time that the Riot Peddlers began to appear on Ennui.bomb compilations and show line-ups. I remember my excessively condescending metalhead friend (considerable older) telling me that he saw “my type of folk playing fast and complaining” at some show he was at. I followed this claim by explaining to him my disillusionment with both “Hardcore” and “Punk” music in the country, to which he replied, “I don’t know, one of them has a Mohawk”.

 

 

 

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Soon enough, I discovered the Riot Peddlers for myself. They played old school hardcore punk and consisted mainly of Arun Ravi on guitar and vocals and Ashwin Dutt on drums, whom we remember from the days of Kinky Ski Munkys and Pin Drop Violence. They had more than one bassists, including Frank Pawar, currently of Atmosfear, whose sheer muscle mass was more than the combined weight of other two members plus their equipment combined.

 

 

The music that the Riot Peddlers played was perhaps too stripped down and away from the convention you spotted in and around the city for them too gain an outstanding support. With just a hint of New York Metallic Hardcore, the Riot Peddlers played a raw take on 80’s hardcore, complete with angry D-beats and even angrier guitars. But perhaps the angriest things about the Riot Peddlers were Arun’s vocals and lyrics. The Riot Peddlers were pissed at everything from begging to Bollywood. At the risk of romanticizing too much, the Riot Peddlers became the musical equivalent of that lonely kid at the show, who stood outside when the next band was coming on and told the closest person he could find about how pissed he was about all the bullshit everywhere. If an unsuspecting non-Indian listener stumbles upon the Riot Peddlers, he/she will basically understand what Bombay is all about, cutting out all the preachy, cheesy crap.

 

 

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What the Peddlers were to the scene was another thing. After initially playing a bunch of college fest, they went on to play Control Alt Delete, Independence Rock and make a mark, being the first truly punk band in a scene of musicians who sold their souls to hipsters and corporate backing. Unfortunately, while their impact was substantial, it never enough to stir up a specialized punk scene. However, what the band did do was lay a foundation for musical and lyrical freedom, something musicians in the coming years would unknowingly benefit. At least, this is what the band did for me.

 

 

“We shouted about a few issues. And got back to our day jobs like every other Indian. Nothing much” says drummer Ashwin Dutt, “If you aren’t playing anything close to Green Day or Blink 182, you don’t have an audience. The bigger issue was we were too noisy for the alternative / electro crowd and too mellow for the metalheads. I remember a bassist asking me, ‘How is your comedy band doing? I really like the way you address issues using humour’. That’s the Indian scene for you.”

 

 

Things continued in this sense for the Riot Peddlers in this manner for a while. They played in Delhi twice and played around in Bombay. And suddenly they were gone. Erased from our scene that just wanted to see electro bands do the same thing time and again. Perhaps we’ll look back in the future and throw around a few compliments about how great the Peddlers were. Arun didn’t get enough time cause of work and Ashwin reflects on what happened. “I guess the bigger challenge is to do something about the issues you talk about. Not just sit there playing your guitar and moaning about issues. You can’t change the situation. Everyone is sitting in front of their computers and tweeting and updating status messages. There is no one when it comes to helping someone or being part of movement. I guess punk musicians are pretty shallow” says the man who only appears scary till you actually speak to him, “And that’s the reason I resigned from playing punk. Or at least the Peddlers.”

 

 

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– Vrishank Menon

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Gravecrusher – Morbid Black Oath (2014)

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Gravecrusher are a band that obviously pulls their influence from the old school of death metal. Head-melting solos are abundant and crushing rhythms drive their riffs with neck-snapping vigor. The Bolt Thrower influence is just as prominent as their Swedish death metal roots (though the latter isn’t present to the point of including the more annoying tropes of that vein of music).

 

The song writing and riffs are all there and are done with great precision and craftsmanship but the one thing that isn’t very “old school” about their approach is how they chose to record. I am one of those people that absolutely believe that production plays a vital role and establishing the sound and aesthetic of a death metal band and this just comes across too cleaned up and processed.

 

The only complaint that I really have is the production; the guitars lack the layering that they need to make this music effective and the drums are have too much treble, which doesn’t exactly help beef up their sound. That all being said that is my ONLY complaint. Everything else is done in a way that comes across as convincingly genuine death metal made by people whole love this music.

 

 

Listen to the album here

 

– Jerrod Preston

Grammy Winning Effort Interview

While India has been the breeding of ground of some of the most outrageous metal acts of our time, it has sorely lacked bands that played hardcore punk. The closest Bombay saw was the first Scribe EP and later on, the first and only Riot Peddlers. So when Grammy Winning Effort, a band not heard of much before and even more, with a peculiar name for an independent band, came down to this years Control Alt Delete fest, Mumbai was blown away by new sounds so heavy that even most staple of metalheads could not deny. A big fuck-you to all the hipster metal elitist that swarm the scene. I recently caught up with the Dayus and Shashvat of the Grammy Winning Effort:

 

 

 

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– Hello dudes at Grammy Winning Effort! How’s it going?

 

Dayus and Shashwat: As good as good can be.

 

 

 

– Please introduce and tell us about yourselves and the current line up

 

The line up as of now is

Dayus: vocals

Shashvat: Guitar

Jaidev: Guitar

Doodie: Bass

Suyash: Drums

 

Dayus: Well we’ve all got a bunch of different things going on with our lives, but when we meet up the main thing we like to do is play drinking games and just hang out. We don’t actually spend loads of time in the jam room or anything. A lot of good ideas that have anything to do with our music usually come up when the bunch of us are piss drunk.

 

 

 

– India is a little lost on the concept of Hardcore music – how did you guys get into the music and decide to make it as well?

 

Shashvat: I was more into metal first, I used to listen to a bit of hardcore influenced metal, then dayus introduced me to everytime I die, from there I just started listening to loads of hardcore and post hardcore. Its just more raw and simple. And adaptable, u can mix a lot of styles together when writing, and its more groovy.

 

Dayus: How I got into hardcore is this: Metal started to get real cheesy, real fast. And I was going through a bit of a reckless phase of my life. And I remember how none of those clean, well composed metalcore bands weren’t doing it for me anymore. One of my friends was visiting from New York and he introduced me to Maylene and the sons of Disaster. And I immediately thought to myself “This is the new sound. This is the direction I want to head in”. The band getting into hardcore was: I met our old drummer Shanty at a house party and I played him some stuff by Every Time I Die and asked if he wanted to start making some stuff like that with me. He initially said he didn’t like it, but after listening to a few more tracks at home he was into it. Shashvat was immediately on board and to our surprise Jaidev wanted in too (he usually doesn’t play for heavy bands). Doodie joined the band in 2011 and since then it’s been us pretty much all in the direction of composing Hardcore and Post-Hardcore stuff.

 

 

 

– So far, you guys have put out a number of demos but no official releases – What’s the scene with that?

 

D: Till now things have been pretty up and down with the Delhi scene and the scene for music in India. There have been a few little breaks with the bands in between. The most part of a full length album is recorded. We just have to finish up the drums and vocals then sit down to mix it. Not sure how long it’ll take for everything to be done but we’re looking to have it ready for November.

 

 

 

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– How is Delhi’s extreme music scene?

 

D: As of now it’s shit. Everything is dead. And honestly it hurts to see that a city which was once owned by kids in black tees is now completely taken over by the electronic scene. We have nothing against electronic music, in fact almost all of us listen to loads of other stuff on our own. But to see that many metal/rock fans just disappear from a city because a few gigs stopped isn’t cool. Another reason why we were so stoked to hear about the initiative from Cntrl Alt Dlt.

 

 

 

– How does the crowd receive the music in Delhi? You guys played at Mumbai and how would you say it is in comparison?

 

S: We haven’t played to a huge crowd in delhi, and we have mostly been on the bill for shows that have many other non heavy bands, so no wild crowds. The CAD crowd was wild as hell!

 

D: The crowd here takes some coaxing to come out and to start moving. Heavy gigs haven’t been a popular thing around here in Delhi for a while, so it takes a little time for them to get back into the groove of it. But once they do it can be a really good show.

 

 

 

– At CAD, I saw your bassist use a far out looking bass guitar – what’s that all about?

 

D: He played an electric contra bass. He had just gotten it and insisted on using it for Grammy. So he brought it to the jam pad and it sounded massive. It definitely adds a much grungier tone to the rhythm section. Especially since he runs that thing through a sans amp for extra gain. Pretty unorthodox, but that’s why we like it

 

 

 

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– Are you guys looking forward to playing The New Wave festival in Goa?

 

D: Hell’s bells yes. This is exactly what we’ve wanted from day 1. An initiative to bring back live shows in a big way. After seeing what CAD can do with the last gig in Mumbai this is gonna be amaze-balls. And we’re all for the cause. It’s gonna be one of the most diverse crowds we’ve played for yet, and that is going to be one hell of an experience. And the after parties with all the metal/rock/hardcore/indie kids by the beach, who doesn’t want that?

 

 

 

– What other bands are you guys into from India?

 

D: There are lots of bands here in India that we all draw inspiration from. Especially since we all grew up here listening to these bands. But when it comes to our biggest influence only one name comes to mind. Parikrama. They are by far and large our favorite band out here. And we’re even releasing our own version of Tears of the Wizard!

 

 

 

– What would you say is the problem with today’s scene?

 

S: Lack of investment (money as well as interest) in the arts, more so with music, more so with ‘western’ music. No venues interested, the public not supporting the bands they like. A few of them do, but no where close to the numbers needed.

 

D: Exactly that. Everyone listens to music, but at the same time there’s this huge double standard when it comes to people trying to make a living as a musician. There’s no way to make a solid living as a musician unless you ‘sell out’ in some way. Making jingles, shit Bollywood music or some crap like that. And that’s just sad. People don’t realize that this scene (or any for that matter) would be nothing without them. And they are what decide the rise and fall of genres, the change in tide of the music industry. Not some big-wig record label in the sky. Go out. Support your local music scene. Make a difference.

 

 

 

– Do you guys see a future for Hardcore bands in India?

 

S: Well, hardcore is not really treated as its own thing, it goes under metal over here, and as of now, if you want to make any money then no, if you want to just have fun playing music and destroying venues then maybe, if venues let you destroy them on a regular basis and enough people come out for shows.

 

D: Original Hardcore is more of a cult genre and all about standing your ground as an individual or rebelling against the way the world is spiraling out of control due to ignorance in the government. It’s not that often that you’ll find a band that plays straight up Hardcore for the tone of it. It mostly translates to Post-Hardcore or Metalcore for bands that want to incorporate that vibe into their overall sound. Sadly though there’s loads of bands out here doing the latter when India really needs the former. India is very far away from the HxC community but it needs it a hell of a lot right now. So I hope to see a Hardcore community develop here, but like we said earlier – nothing can happen without support from the audience.

 

 

 

– Any plans on touring soon?

 

D: As soon as our album is released and the New Wave festival is done we plan to do some travelling and gigs around India over the winter definitely. We’re piecing together some plans for gigs in a bunch of different, less travelled cities. So if you’d like to see us tear down your local bar/pub give us a shout and we’ll bring the fight to you.

 

 

 

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Grammy Winning Effort on Facebook

Grammy Winning Effort on Soundcloud

– Vrishank Menon

Wormrot Interview

So my new cohort and guest writer, 14 year old Hammad Hazard from Canada (via Pakistan) decided to interview Wormrot for Eternal Abhorrence. Awesome kid. He has a nice chat with their vocalist about the Singaporean scene, punk/metal, being married, their upcoming album and the death of their legendary goat. Pretty sure these kings of the contemporary era of Grindcore don’t need any introduction anyway!

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– Hails from Pakistan! would you like to introduce yourself and your role in the band?

 

Sup dude? Arif here vocals for the band Wormrot from Singapore.

 

 

– So you guys have an album in the making, so what can fans expect from the new Wormrot?

 

Yes we do. Although it won’t be so soon as we are pretty hectic with our day jobs and military service. Things are getting a little slow now due to i just got married in may this year. Hence we’re pretty slow at the moment. We do not wish to explain how the album is gonna be. We never did for the past albums. Just a little more pissed off than any of the other albums.

 

 

– As a grindcore band, do you have more influences toward metal or punk ?

 

There’s a reasonable mixture of both. Certains songs are way more metal than the other or way more punk than the rest. So it’s all good. As long we are not totally out from the grindcore roots, that’s totally fine with me.

 

 

– How was it being a grindcore band in Singapore? Did you guys have a grindcore/crust/powerviolence scene there?

 

Being a grindcore band in Singapore is pretty much whatever. haha. But we do get amazing support from friends over here. There are barely shows these days. Not as active as back in the day. Everyone including us are busy with personal commitments. Working 9-5 like robots. I’m not sure if the rest of the grindcore bands in Singapore are still active. There were quite a few back then but now it’s pretty much boils down to 2 or 3 including us. There’s a few crust bands in the DIY scene thats for sure. But i just couldn’t keep up with gigs and shows these days due to my weirdass day job schedule.

 

 

– What inspires you to write down such peaceful and happy lyrics to songs like Destruct the Bastards?

 

Haha.. I can’t really explain how i did it but we as a band has faced tons of social issues. Especially me for some reason maybe perhaps i’m ultra picky on selecting friends. Assholes are everywhere in this world. So they keep contributing to my “journal”. Every album is being treated like a mini diary. Good times and bad times.

 

 

 

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– Most of the lyrics of band seem to be very political, what are the political and religious beliefs of the band?

 

Hmmm not really. Maybe it is your own interpretation that lead you to think it’s base on religion. But trust me, that is not the case. I couldn’t care less. Like i mentioned before, personal social issues, good and bad times while we’re on tour and probably my military experience over the years. Not too much of a political. I do not wish to write about something has already been said gazillion of times and the world are still fucked a decade later. No hidden messages to save the world through our songs. Just straight forward “FUCK YOU” in your face. haha.

 

 

– How do you guys record songs that are just a few seconds and what happens if a song is too long?

 

Believe it or not, shorter songs ae way harder to compose. haha. The 3 of us are very anal when it comes to detailing and perfecting layouts and patterns of a song. It might take the whole one rehearsal session to complete a 1 or 2 minute song. Whenever it feels right to stop, we will stop. Even if its at 10 second mark. We hate repeated copy and paste song writing. It bore us to shits.

 

 

– Piracy is a big problem for musicians nowadays and many big bands out there are suffering from it, how does is affect you guys?

 

Nah. It doesn’t affect us. We’re not metallica or whoever. Big bands with millions in their bank account are suffering from a little percentage due to downloading is just fucken stupid. Greedy bastards needs to wake the fuckup because they forgot they had NOTHING when they started out. And now, after earning millions and still bitching about people downloading, needs to shut the fuck up and wake the fuck up. These days it’s no longer about music and it’s always beenabout business when it comes to the fuckers “SUFFERING FROM PIRACY” bullshit.

 

 

– Last year many of us were stricken by the news of the demise of Biquette the Grind Goat, how did it feel to lose one of your biggest fans?

 

HA! Yeah Biqquette was adorable. Too bad she died. But we had an amazing time playing infront of her. That was WEIRD as hell. But cute nonetheless. We love animals. And to experience Biquette existence is a whole another level. She had a great run with bands performing at the venue. The people there are ultra friendly. I’m sure she lived an awesome life. Other goats should be jealous.

 

 

 

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– So, you recently got married, congratulations on that, does that mean wormrot is now gonna write love songs?

 

Hey thanks dude! Nah, Wormrot are forever a pissed off band. We are at our weakest when it comes to our better halfs family and close friends. We’re like any other human being in this world. We do have emotions just that a specific wrath only for the music in the band.

 

 

– Wormrot has played in many countries countries and also in the Obscene Extreme Fest, how was it to move from a small audience in Singapore to a very large audience in the Obscene Extreme fest?

 

It was terrifying to be honest. I recalled doing our first ever tour back in 2009 in Europe. We were clueless and still learning and observing different life style. A culture shock from every single thing. Amongs all of that the crowd has always been supporting since day 1. We are trully blessed. Seems like we did something good perhaps and decided to progress and leearn more right after.

 

 

– Thanks for your time and I hope you guys come play in Pakistan someday, do you have any last words for the fans?

 

No worries and i apologise for taking too long with this interview. Pretty hectic month personally for me. Yeah dude hopefully we’ll be able to start touring again like the old times. We are working hard for the new record now won’t be to soon as we would like to make it at our own time, own target. Keep in touch!

 

 

 

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