Djinn & Miskatonic Interview

Bangalore is no stranger to Doom Metal, as those who remain involved with the South Asian scene may know. Djinn & Miskatonic are one of Bangalore’s premier exporters of riffy Doom Metal – despite the fact that they started as a bass-and-drums Drone style act. Despite the success of that style, they added another guitarist and released their debut album “Forever in the Realm” on Transcending Obscurity India, which was much appreciated by Doom-mongers in India and beyond. With the band working on a split with Black Metal band Solar Deity as well as another full length, I figured it would be an interesting time to catch up with founder and bass player Jayaprakash – who apart swinging the hammer of doom, is also a published author and runs an animal shelter. Read on.

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– Hey there, JP. Hope all’s going smoothly.


It’s okay. I live in interesting times, as the ancient Chinese curse stipulates.



– In terms of creative output, how was 2014 for you?


It was quite a good year. We got Djinn back together after a short-lived disbandment, did a couple of gigs and now have a second album coming together. My first chapbook of short stories, ‘Weird Tales Of A Bangalorean’ was published and sold out. My stories appeared in a few good anthologies and magazines.



– Aditya from Solar Deity mentioned he would be doing a split with D&M. How’d that come across, and when can we expect new material?


More or less at random. Sriram, our guitarist, and I talk about doing splits with all kinds of bands and we liked the idea of going outside genre lines and doing a split with Solar Deity, whose music we like quite a bit. I’ve always liked the more, well, depressive kind of black metal. Aditya liked the idea too and I think he will be recording soon. I am not sure exactly when we will put this out, we need to re-learn and re-arrange an older song of ours called ‘Flight Of Sand’ for this split.



– On the previous record, the band’s sound was generally of a free-flowing structure, plodding along at standard doom tempos but not afraid to kick up the speed here and there, with some unexpected nods to Death and Black Metal apart from the usual 70s proto-metal and doom fare. To what do you credit the curious songwriting style?


Gautham Khandige, our singer, says I have an ‘anything goes’ approach to songwriting. Personally, I just get a bit bored playing one mood and style straight through a song. While I enjoy consciously retro bands, I don’t see any point in pretending the 80s and 90s didn’t happen, and it’s fun seeing how you can branch into thrash, or death, or black influenced passages and still keep it doomy. On the new album, though, there’s a general increase in baseline tempos and more 80s metal and epic metal influences. So I think the key to Djinn is a doomy core with other metallic textures thrown in. Really, it all goes back to Iommi who pioneered the turn-on-a-dime style of songwriting.



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– You’re also a published author. What are your main writing influences – apart from H.P. Lovecraft, of course.


Peter Ackroyd, in novels like the amazing Hawkmoor and The House Of Doctor Dee plays on the idea of old cities being palimpsests, where sometimes older times peep through the cracks and become part of their own future. That’s been hugely inspirational for my series of Bangalore tales. Robert Aickman is a writer I struggle with – I am probably immensely influenced by his beautifully written, haunting and subtle tales of unease, yet I feel there is something dry, sterile in his style that I want to rebel against. But is there, or is it just the urge to ‘kill the father’? I don’t know. Other important influences are Vilas Sarang, Naiyer Masud, Thomas Ligotti, Italo Calvino, JL Borges, Angela Carter and many more.



– Do you feel that your interests in writing stories and making music converge, or do you prefer to keep them seperate?


There is a parallel. I favour dark themes and moods in both music and fiction. I write gloomy weird fiction and I play doom metal. HP Lovecraft is beloved by weird fiction fans and metalheads alike. I think it dovetails quite well. I may even base a song on one of my stories some day, and in fact some of my stories allude directly to music.



– Tell us about your animal shelter that you run with your wife. When did you initiate it, and how has it fared thus far? Is there much of a scope for animal rights activism in India?


It’s been a series of ups and downs. Currently more downs than ups. But we will keep at it.

India has a vast need for everything. I focus on animal welfare, but there’s poverty, environmental destruction, a host of social evils…you could spend a lifetime listing what’s wrong. I choose to focus on one cause, because you can’t do everything, and the plight of stray and abandoned animals in our cities strikes a repsonsive chord. My work is more in practical rescue and rehabilitiation than activism per se, though I do try to spread awareness. I think it’s the urban middle class who are the biggest problem. They are divorced from nature, high on consumerism, and want to live in a sanitised, branded and shrink-wrapped world. The joke is that they’re living in a bubble and it isn’t going to last forever.




– Back to your band. You started it as a drum-and-bass only sound, adding guitarist Sriram a year later. Do you foresee any more lineup additions?


I was really content with the drums and bass sound, it sounded way heavy as it was if I may say so. But it’s hard getting that kind of amplification going on the bass out here unless you have some seriously large cabs to go through. It also limited our appeal a lot – people who would have objectively enjoyed our riffs and arrangements tended to be unable to see beyond the ‘lack’ of a guitar. But I can’t say this worried us a lot. However, I was starting to want to draft a guitarist just to have more sonic options and Sriram happened at the right time. We’ve currently added a second live guitarist, Mushaf Nazeer, to replicate some of the dual guitar layers Sriram put down during the sessions for our upcoming second album. I’d like to add a cellist some time, or failing that a keyboard player.



– Barring the upcoming split, what’s in store for the future?


We’ve almost wrapped up our second album, which will be called ‘Even Gods Must Die’ I hope to have it out by March/April. We are planning another split with Dormant Inferno and a few other Indian doom bands.



– Thanks for your time. Hope you have a good year.


Thanks for asking! And a great year to you too.



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Morbidity Interview

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– Hey there. Hope all is good with Morbidity.


Yes, hello, everything is indeed well with Morbidity, getting ready to play alongside Defiled and other bands in metal barbarism



-“Revealed from Ashes” – your debut full length album was released by Memento Mori in July, and was much hailed by the death metal fanatics. Can you give us some insight into the recording process?


We recorded the album at Sonic Occult Studios thanks to MaamarHaque. The recording started off with providing the midi versions of each song so that a basic outline could be made of the riff progressions and sections. This made things easier for the drummer to record. After that we recorded the riff and bass sections and finally adding the solos and vocals. The mixing after that took quite a while with quite a few sessions needed to fine tune things and fix a few minor mistakes. The whole process took almost a year.



– How did the release with Memento Mori come across – are you planning on doing more releases with the label in the future?


Memento Mori is a great label! And the best part of this label is, they promote both old and new bands. We are really glad that we worked with such great label. The support was immense! We will be really happy to work with Memento Mori again in the forthcoming releases.



– Lyrically there is an obsession with the occult and other dark themes in the songs. Are these lyrical influences derived from your surroundings or any specific literature?


It’s more of an acquired taste, the lyricist is obsessed with these things and we just encourage him to let his imagination run wild.



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– There has been a bit of an upsurge in Old School Death Metal in our South Asian subcontinent over the recent few years, with Morbidity being one of the bands to be spreading this style – to what do you credit this sudden interest in old school stuff?


The interest was never sudden. We were always into the old stuff with very few new bands providing us with any promising metal. And when we saw all the trash being played throughout the supposedly “metal” scene before us, we knew it was up to the chosen few of us to enlighten the masses about what real metal is all about.



– A lot of credit needs to be given to Primitive Invocation for propagating old school values in Bangladesh with their live shows. What has your past experience been performing at their shows and what are you expecting from the upcoming Metal Barbarism featuring Defiled?


Primitive Invocation will always have our gratitude for giving us tons of support. The shows were always great with true metal headliners from around the world.



– Does Morbidity play outside Dhaka often? What is the usual reaction from the audiences?


We have yet to experience a show outside Dhaka. We had a few offers to go to India for a few performances but could never follow through with them.



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– Are the members involved with any sideprojects currently?


One of our guitarists Azerate is the lead guitarist for Nuclear Winter, although it wouldn’t be fair to call it his side project as it’s as big a band as Morbidity and just as important for him.



– Your favorite EP’s/Demos/Albums from this year?


This year had so many great releases. Here are some of the albums worth mentioning.
Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall
Vanhelgd – Relics OfSulphur Salvation
MorbusChron – Sweven
Rude – Soul Recall
Swallowed – Lunarterial
Lvcifyre – Svn Eater



– Thanks for your time. Hope to catch you live some day.


The honour was ours. Cheers.



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Imperial Savagery – Imperial Savagery

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Imperial Savagery; the Satanic Death Metal cruelty from Chicago, Illinois have recently come up with their first self-titled full length in one year after their declaration of existence. United States have always been the Eden of Death Metal blessed by the bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Incantation, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Master, Autopsy and what not! Following the path of the ancestors, Imperial Savagery have shown how promising they are.


The album has got 10 different tracks with a total duration of 26:28. Vocal Brice Dalzell did a great job I must say. He has got a very powerful screaming voice that made the songs real sick. Guitarist Tom Flanagan had come up with some vile riffs that totally reminds me the playing of legend like Trey Azagthoth. Throughout the album Tom kept declaring his supremacy with his savage distortion. The bassist Pat Clancy was really supportive with Tom. His powerful and strong output made the songs alive. Garrett Scanlan did a catastrophic job with drums. His devastating blasts made the songs real fast and steady. I cannot remember last when I heard such terrific drumming. All I can say is, Imperial Savagery have produced one of the vilest death metal violence in recent memory.


To conclude I would to say this record is worth collecting. I wouldn’t wonder if this album becomes a Death Metal classic in few years.


Score: 80/100



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– Asif Abrar

Defiled Interview



– Hey lads, hope everything is great at your end!


Happy New Year to all! We’ve just been so busy to prepare for the upcoming tour.
But we’re all fine !!



– You guys are embarking on a tour of South Asia – hitting up Bangladesh, Nepal and India. What are you expecting?


Very very excited our first tour for South Asia !!
We’re expecting to meet diehard metalheads at the show.
Let’s share a great time with us!



– You play at Metal Barbarism II on the 14th of January, how did you get in touch with Primitive Invocation for the gig?


Underground metal scene is a small world and we have many common friends. So it’s very easy for having a connection.



– It seems that Defiled has always enjoyed touring all sorts of places.. you played in North Korea in 1997, what was that like?


You got wrong information ! We have played in South Korea in 1997 and not in North Korea yet. Someday we’ll try to head to North Korea as well.
We believe metal music is borderless. Yes, Korea has a quite good underground metal scene.

– We had to wait 8 years for a new Defiled record, between “Divination” and “In Crisis” – when can we expect another new Defiled release?


Very good question ! Our new album “Towards Inevitable Ruin” will be coming soon !!



– Yusuke is currently the only remaining original member. Is it safe to say he does most of the songwriting or do other members have their intake as well?


I write all music for Defiled. Then I do arrangements with my band mates because Defiled is a real band.



– Are any of the band members involved in any side projects?


All of us concentrate for Defiled only. We’re not interested in doing side projects.



– It can be said that the society of Japan is different from other places – where does the seed of anger come from which spawned bands like yourself?


We just play music for a fun. That’s all. As for our lyrics, we deal with dark subjects due to consistency with our music.



– Any bands from Metal Barbarism II that you are looking forward to playing with?


We’re looking forwards to share stages with all of bands at Metal Barbarism !!!
All of them play true metal with true heart! That’s very important !



– Thanks for your time! Hope you have a great tour.


Thanks for the interview. We’re very looking forwards to play in your country!
See you soon, sisters and brothers in Asian metal!!



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