ANTIM GRAHAN performed their first ever outdoor concert with popular
mainstream bands on the International Music Day concert on Saturday, June 21,
2008 at Durbar Marg, Kathmandu.
Here’s an interview based on an online-chat with the vocalist of the band –
What was the anticipation for this International Music Day gig, since it was going to be the band’s first outdoor performance?
Parash: Well, when they – Sunit dai (LOOZA: guitarist) and some other guys – approached us for the gig, I was a bit skeptic since I thought it was going to be an all out mainstream gig with all the live and track-singing artists joining in. But they told me that it was a pure music gig with only live bands. So we decided to play and anticipation thus was huge since it was the biggest stage that we ever played on. So we were very excited about the gig, but did not think we would have much of appreciation.
So how did the gig go after all?
Parash: The gig was good. They decreased our sound level for some reason but nevertheless it was fun.
Parash: Yeah they did. They thought we were too loud.
Hahaha. Were you sort of overwhelmed when the crowd – half of the apparently non-metal heads – chanted “once more” after you finished your set?
Parash: Hehehe, yeah we were surprised. I thought we were going to be stoned out of the stage when we saw the crowd full of different types of people. But “once more” was kind of weird, really.
What was your set on the gig?
Parash: We did four songs, three from the new album (In thy Ambience of
Malevolence) and one from first album (Forever Winter).Winter Blossom ov Ceremonial Grief, With vengeance I bleed, 300 and Forever Winter.
No covers this time, right?
Is it “no more covers” from now on or what? So no more “Hallowed be thy Name”?
Parash: Yeah no more covers. We did “Hallowed be thy name” our album, so that can be an exception.
Why not play covers? Are they not fun anymore?
Parash: The time we take to learn and perform a cover song, we can prepare our own. Why bloody waste time while you have the ability to make your own song.
Okay, you have a new guitarist in the line up now, tell us something about him? And why add a second guitarist?
Parash: The new guitarist, Yudhir Gautam, is just a kid, just finished his SLC.
There’s no such big reason for adding a second guitarist since we don’t use any hi-fi lead solos and all but just felt like Pankaj (guitarist) needed some cover up because some new riffs sounded not very good without the rhythm guitar. The new guitarist, he is very dedicated and he’s got some talent too. So we hope we’ll get the best out of him sooner or later.
Was it any different playing the other underground/non-mainstream gigs and today’s gig? In terms of sound.. crowd.. satisfaction etc.
Parash: See, when it comes to crowd, underground gigs are million times better. There is no comparison of sounds, which would just be stupid. And about satisfaction, I prefer underground gigs rather than gigs like these to be playing in a larger context. The whole ambience is different when you play in an underground gig. Maybe sounds will not be as good as today’s anytime sooner but still, the small scaled underground gigs are way too satisfying.
In today’s gig, the sound system and stage was good. Few cheers always help but I don’t think we will ever be playing those sorts of gigs anymore.
Why so? It’s good for the band, the publicity and all, isn’t it?
Parash: Well, as far as I’m concerned, for love or for hate, people do know us in the underground scene better and we are an underground band. So we really do not want in some place where out of 100, only 5 people have idea of what we are playing. And, we are better off without any publicity where people have no idea or no interest what we are. And it really felt really odd at today’s gig.
So, any best and worst moments in today’s gig?
Parash: The best part was – we were part of a very good music fest with all good musicians and arrangements. Bad thing was being like an alien bunch playing out alien stuffs except for few.
How about the sound output? Why is it usually so bad?
Parash says: Well I don’t know really about this one but blaming sound people or the system itself is not very justifiable. Even the musicians are to be blamed for the sound mishaps.
Ok, change of topic now. Some comments are floating in the ktmROCKS forum like “Antim Grahan hasn’t grown in terms of music”, “the new album is hardly black metal” and so on. Any comments on those?
Parash: All I can say is we are trying to keep on playing and make the music in more professional manner if you can say that, and yeah we do have loads have criticism. But all I can say is we are trying and learning. If people think we are not growing up, then I guess its time for us to try even harder to make some good music.
Any significant changes that you’ve tried in your newer albums?
Parash: See to be very honest, we are trying to get out of all melody kind of thing you know. I mean as we progress we are trying to go more into the whole “black metal” thing, in the extremeness that is. Just trying to get a bit more extreme step by step. I know we have a long long way to go.. but eventually, maybe we will one day. So whole shifting process may not be liked by some of our older fans.
But you still have retained the “melodic” elements in the songs, haven’t you? And you even have female vocalists doing melodic backing vocals?
Parash says: Yeah, that’s what I mean to say… we will have this melody part.. meaning that we want to have our melodies and all but not into the extent that we had before and, trying to get more extreme. I’m sorry if my words didn’t come out right.
What do you mean when you said about getting extreme? What kind of extreme metal music could be expected…although this is too vague a question to be touched?
Parash: Talking about expectations, we would like to get our music as extreme as Arkhon Infaustus or Cryptosy (I’m just talking about extremeness). I mean one will always desire for that level of extremeness… but for now all I can say, when we do our future albums, at least we would be trying to make our music more heavier than our previous albums, which just does not mean all brutal drumming and extreme guitaring but getting the level and quality of music better than our previous effort.
And how does that put you closer to the Black metal thing?
Parash: Antim Grahan is NOT a black metal band by definition. I mean yes, we are a band which is related to black metal, the sub genre you may call but I wouldn’t call Antim Grahan as a real pure black metal band. The whole thing is really about getting into the ambience and music, so we are learning and trying to make our music what you may call black metal or anything which is as closer to it as possible.
Okay, so are you guys thinking about the fourth album or is it too early?
Parash: Yeah we are planning for a new one now… just planning a theme for it… but not just yet. It’s a bit early.
Can you illustrate a little about the band’s practice session.. practice rooms and such ?
Parash: Umm.. about practice sessions, we start off with all our completed songs and try to be more tighter.. and then when it is done, we go through with any new songs that are yet to be completed… and that’s basically how we do our sessions, new songs are focused more at times if it doesn’t sound good enough.
About our practice room, we have our practice room inside the premises of
Moroccan Embassy in Thamel. So it is quite a nice place and we are lucky as we have a nice place to jam, coz I know, not having a decent practice room is one of the main problems our metal bands face.
Ok some personal questions then. What really inspires you to sing and write lyrics?
Parash: Well I’m quite obsessed with the whole dark forests, pathways in between.. Angels and dark palaces… you can say basically a fairytale of some sort. So every time I sit down to write something it just begins with this! And thus a song is created, writing wise.
Let me rephrase that, I’m not quite obsessed but I’m very obsessed indeed with
the stuffs I mentioned above
Hahaha. What else inspires you?
Parash: To be very honest, gore and more gore is perfect too. Just that I can’t make songs out of it since my band mates are against the gore lyrics. They think it’s not going to fit into since we play anything but gore metal or anything of that sort.
Any particular band/music you are listening these days?
Parash: Arkhon Infaustus, Origin, Dying Fetus and Cannibal Corpse. Dark funeral and some battle metal bands are spinning too. Would it be gay if I say I’m listening to older Cradle of Filth too? Like Vampire and Dusk kinda old era Cradle of Filth.
Can you share some of your experiences of seeing foreign bands live during your stay in Cyprus?
Parash: I’ll be totally honest with you – apart from few bands (and I mean less then a handful) they suck ass!! If they were to stand off against out metal bands here, they just would be fucking grind to ashes! And oh the fact – local bands there own stuffs original and more expensive then what we have in recording studio, Nepali bands here play with “khiya lageko strings” and less equipment and still they kick ass anytime given. Bands here are much much much more superior and prove the fact equipments are nothing, but talent is.
Do you think the crowd here has changed in this span of 3-4 years since AG started performing?
Parash: For us it has changed… we have a larger following now.. hehehehehe. Ok that was selfish but I see loads of young faces in the crowd… so I’m guessing it has grown than when it was like before 3 years.
Chat-interview with Parash Shakya (vocalist of Antim Grahan), done online by
Umes Shrestha, Dipesh Gautam, Gagan Atreya and Ayush Maskey)
Featured on the 6th issue of ktmROCKS EMag