Weed..politics…metal…offense and all. Here’s an outerview of the members of Albatross (Anuraag, Sunny, Dipesh, Avaya and Diwas).
First question, tell us what the band is currently up to.
The band is up to what it is always up to. Swimming. Football. Weed. And of course… headbanging at Dipesh’s place. We’re working on songs for our soon-to-be recorded and released demo album. We’re taking our time with the songwriting process so that the end product will be something all of us will be happy with. When we hit the studio, we need to be sure that we’re producing the heaviest and meanest sounds possible. In short, we want to make this album every bit as hard-hitting and aggressive as we’re planning to. Things are moving slowly, but we’re happy with the work we’ve done so far. And are looking to make the new songs even better.
All of them: HARDCORE!!!
Okay great. So tell us what motivates you guys to write these sorts of songs?
Hmmmm… motivation. There’s so much we could say, but then this would turn into a porno horror movie so we’ll just stick to the basics. One of the major themes in all our songs is the frustration that comes from living in Nepal. Nepal is awesome and one of the best places in the world, but it has been so screwed over by the people here that it sucks. There were days when you could just walk around in Thamel smoking a joint, and no one said anything to you. Nepal was a place of peace and tranquility. Sure there weren’t any notable guitar shops or shopping centres around, but at least you could walk around for half an hour without some cop coming up to you and harassing you just because you have long hair or an earring.
Dipesh: Nepali cops suck. I think all of us are united in our hatred of cops. Stupid, uneducated, ball-less, cocksucking motherfuckers. Then you have your Maoists. Another sickening group of uneducated shits with too much power in their hands. They’re like children with guns. They make us sick with their unjustified claim of ‘fighting for freedom’. What a bunch of insane hypocrites! Then there are the people who have it so much worse than us. People who have lost whole families to the war of politics. It is enough to make you wonder what went wrong here. All of these changes have affected us and changed our lives, for the worse. We try to make our songs reflect all of this.
Diwas: And of course, there’s the government. There is a game being played in Nepal. And of course, we are the pawns. We try to write through personal experience. There’s no technique or special skill involved. All that is just pretentious crap. We just pick up our instruments, play what we feel… inspired what we feel. Oh yes, almost forgot: WEED!
Let’s keep this weed thing aside. Just how do you guys go about composing any song? Any theory?
Mostly it’s an on-the-spot thing. Of course, we’ll have some basic riff planned out, which we’ll jam over. And then we usually play by ear and see where the song goes. For some songs, it’s just been like an explosion.
Sunny: ‘Payback’s a Bitch’, happened in two days. We worked out all the music in one day, and then we jammed with Anuraag and the song came together almost instantly.
Avaya: And then sometimes, we’ve had to come back and rewrite and edit and make changes so the song sounds better. With ‘Break Your Face’ we changed the whole structure of the verse after we’d been playing that song for nearly a month. There’s no rules at all. We just go by ear, time, day and moment. There are some songs that we’re planning to do on the basis of just the title that we’ve come up with. Now, we’ll try and make music that will live up to how each of us feels to the lyrics. We have lot of riffs in mind, and are looking for the right lyrics to fit the song. It’s always an impromptu process.
Tell us about the recording of these 2 songs. And will u guys will ever do ‘Broke17′ and ‘Hellskitchen’ with Anuraag on vocals?
Dipesh: Recording our first two songs was great. Of course, we were really young then, and we didn’t have a lot of experience, but it went great and we came through it all feeling very happy about ourselves and our band.
Sunny: I remember that when we recorded ‘Broke 17′, the music scene in Nepal was so different. The only things people listened to were Hotel California and Sweet Child O’ Mine and it felt good to play something different and original. How we got the chance to record ‘Broke 17′ is pretty exciting as well. We had been jamming at Bamboo’s Club in Thamel when we performed ‘Broke 17′. Little did we know, Iman Shah (who owns the Sacred Soundz Studio) was also in the audience, and after the show, he came up to us and asked us if we wanted to record the song for free.
Dipesh: Who would have said ‘no’? Sacred Soundz was great. The studio was really cool, and Iman Shah is one hell of a guy!
Sunny: That man is made for music. He would give us all sorts of suggestions and even go through to let us know what they sounded like, so we could choose for ourselves.
Avaya: And very encouraging. He used to cheer us on and always let us know when we sounded great, and when we sounded bad. Except that with him behind the table, we hardly ever sounded bad.
And then, recording ‘hellskitchen’ was another different experience. The song was composed just three days before we entered the studio. We had a new vocalist, and our music style had somewhat changed. So we had a different approach to this track than the funky vibe we felt on ‘Broke 17′. We wanted a darker, heavier feel to it, but little did we know what Studio 2000 had in store for us.
Dipesh, Sunny and Avaya: STUDIO 2000 SUCKS!!!
As for doing these songs with Anuraag, we haven’t really thought about that.
Now time for a little history… there have been 3 vocalists for the band. How will you compare each three with another ?
( Anurag be silent. ) Nitesh was our first vocalist and he was a lot of fun to work with. The great thing about him was his devotion to the band and the hard work that he put into it. He had great showmanship and rapped really well. Avaya: We’d been friends for a really long time, so jamming with him felt really comfortable and we all gelled together very well. However, we wanted to go beyond funk, and that’s we decided to have Sirish Dali sing for us after a few sessions with him.
Sirish was our second vocalist, and what can we say… Dali [Sirish] could SING. But he had to go to the US. What to do? What more can be said.
Anuraag is our latest vocalist, and he’s still around. He has great showmanship as well, and is really full of power. We’re having fun jamming with him and his offensive lyrics. Hahaha.
Anuraag: Um… er…
And yeah, anything you wanna say about the current issue of “cover songs” ?
The current ‘issue’ of cover songs is funny and really uncalled for. People say that it’s trendy to play covers and that makes us all go “what the fuck?”.
Anuraag: Playing covers is good clean fun. Of course, a band can’t survive on covers alone, but to diss a band because they play covers is the stupidest shit I have ever heard of.
Dipesh: Playing covers allows you to experiment and find your voice, and until you do, may you play covers. To hell with what the audience thinks.
Diwas: There are so many covers I still want to do. After a hard day spent wracking your brains and your fingers for new sounds and new notes, it feels good to relax with some good old covers.
Sunny: People were saying shit about us because we played a lot of covers and only a few people had any intelligent ideas. Most of it was just outrageous bullshit. We’re working on originals now, and it’s not even because of what those dickhead idiot motherfuckers said about us. We finally know what musical direction we want to take, and experiment with. And we would like to record an album before any other changes come up in the band’s lineup.
So fuck all those people who say shit about us. It takes balls to get up on a stage and play. So while we have the balls, we’ll just play whatever the fuck we want.
All of them: HARDCORE!!!
For me, the current line up is the best till now. You guys have anything further to say about it?
Well, we have had lots of time to play together and get a feel for our ranges and capabilities. We think that it is this fact that has brought about this musical tightness in the band. We believe we have always had great lineups that have always suited the band’s collective interest and musical vision. We just have a lot of time to play together right now.
What sort of influences do you guys share?
All of them: HARDCORE!!! Hahahaha.
We’ve really started getting into metal these days. We always liked thrash, but we never planned on taking Albatross down that brutal road of metal. These days, our influences have gone totally metal. Some of our favorite bands would be Corrosion of Conformity, Soulfly, Sepultura, Slayer and of course PAN-fucking-TERA. And then again, we also like Korn, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and all those great Seattle-based grunge bands. (You will be missed Layne!)
Anuraag: And then there’s Scary Spice. Man, she was a chick with balls. I wish she was still alive.
Sunny: She’s dead?
Diwas: We really like Aqua too.
Sunny: Aqua’s riffs!
Avaya: Aqua, Vengaboys… Good bands with awesome music.
Diwas: Someone should give them an award.
Avaya: Everyone should have at least one Vengaboys album.
Dipesh: Vengaboys have kickass drum patterns!
Anuraag: So tell me what you want what you really really want…
Sunny: What the fuck?
Ahem ahem ahem. Ok craps aside, how strongly are you guys influenced by Metal?
We eat metal, sleep metal and breathe metal.
All of them: But we smoke only marijuana.
Enough of WEED ! Alrite a tough question now, most of the early metal fans “disgust” the word nu-metal. They whine and complain about all these nu-metal bands destroying the real metal. I think this allegation is full of shit. Is metal that weak ? What do you think about this issue?
Metal isn’t that weak! STRONGER THAN ALL!!! A true metal fan doesn’t give a fuck about nu metal because nothing can break metal. Metal has been established, and nothing can change that. Nu metal is just a new form of music. You can either like it, or you can hate it, but it has nothing to do with metal. We like Korn, but we listen to them as Korn, and don’t try to label them with any genres. They’re one of a kind, and every single member in that band kicks ass. Then again, we fucking love Pantera and every single member in that band kicks ass as well. There’s no connection. Nu metal isn’t ruining metal! You just play what you want to play and fuck everything else.
Avaya: I wish people would get over nu metal and move on. So we guess that allegation is definitely full of shit.
How hard is it to be in a band..to stick around and survive?
Well, we’ve been around for over three years now. We don’t think it’s a question of surviving. It’s a question of whether you want to be in a band or not. We don’t think of ourselves as professionals or people on a mission. That’s shit. We’re just friends who love playing music together. It’s been great fun so far, and we know that we’ve got lots more to look forard to. If you like it, you’ll “survive”. If you’re not having fun, then you probably won’t.
Which has been your favourite gig till now, the one you guys will never forget?
Favorite gig? We don’t really have a favorite gig. We put equal efforts into all our practices, for all our gigs. Sometimes we’ve had great audiences, sometimes we’ve had assholes. But we’ve always had fun at all our concerts. There have been good performances and bad performances. But up to now, no favorites.
Ok, talking about nepali bands..which other bands do you guys like?
There are a lot of great Nepali bands. This whole new underground music scene in Nepal is great.
Anuraag: Proves that not all Nepalis sing about how their mayalus fucked them up by not replying to their letters.
We really like X-Mantra, Monkey Temple, 5th Grade Dropout (Rajesh Hamal Must Die !), Nastik and Looza. We have a lot of respect for Refused 13 and would really like to see them play live some day. It’s great that we’re all able to do this. Concerts happening, people headbanging… Hopefully, some day, we’ll all be able to push music up to a whole new level and give Nepali underground acts the attention they deserve.
Sunny: But we really don’t like the attitude that some Nepali bands have.
Dipesh: 1974 AD!
Sunny: It’s not about the music they play either. It’s their attitude.
Diwas: They act like they’re the fucking Black Sabbath of Nepali rock.
Avaya: We have had our set cut short for 1974 AD so many times. They actually sent the organizers to tell us to get off the stage.
Sunny: You should respect other bands. Even if you don’t like what they play. If you don’t like it, you can always leave.
Dipesh: But shove those useless crticisms about mommafucking and which guitarist sucks what, up your ass.
Hmm..I am sure they did that on Electric Circus gig… atti jhare act …and guys don’t forget to watch their latest video haha .. alrite, last question. How do u feel about the present situation in Nepal?
The present situation in Nepal is a mass of conflicting issues and problems. We all know that these problems are the result of a history of bad government and disorder. Most people follow half-formed ideals and believe in flawed concepts, and then there are those that would sell us all to make a profit, or build a new house. There are those that burn tires for no reason at all, and those that don red bandanas and blow up school buses because some asshole told him to do so. The same asshole who keeps his own family in another country, safe from the clutches of the very same disease he has infected the minds of the poor and stupid with. Maybe all this could have been averted if we had woken up to the evils of a corrupted government and a falsely worshipped monarchy, but we’ll never know now… will we?