KUNJAN JOSHI (ex-E.Quals and ex-Vhumi) is currently the bassist for Boston, MA based band Soul Annihilation. Kunjan was recently endorsed by Blakhart guitars and this happens to be a massive news for us people in ktmROCKS. We are all happy for Kunjan and wanted to know how this happened and rest of the stuffs.
Here’s an interview done by Pranjal Ghimire with this amazingly talented bassist.
Greetings from ktmROCKS, Kunjan! Before we begin, congratulations on being endorsed by BLAKHART guitars! You now join the ranks of the likes of Mike Flores (Origin) and Jack Owen (ex-Cannibal Corpse, Deicide). It must be a great feeling.
Thank You ktmROCKS! I wouldn’t call it joining their ranks but it sure does feel good when somebody appreciates your hard work. It is an honor to be a part of the Blakhart family and being associated with such great musicians.
Tell us more about the endorsement deal. How did it all happen? What model do you endorse?
I was looking for a custom guitar shop when I came across Blakhart Guitars. Initially it started with talks of making a custom guitar. Eventually we talked about an endorsement, and they were interested in me. I use a custom fretless Ash 5.
Let’s talk about your band Soul Annihilation now. For those who don’t know, please provide a brief introduction of the band.
Soul Annihilation is a Death/Black metal band. Musically we are hell bent on combining the brutality of death metal with the grim atmosphere of black metal while incorporating some thrash elements. Some of our already written lyrics have been very traditional for Black or Death metal in their anti-christian or just brutal nature. But we are now taking the theme in a slightly different direction. A lot of the newer themes deal with psychological issues and existential dilemmas, especially regarding the inevitability of death.
How did you guys get together? Also tell us how do you guys go along composing songs?
Originally the project was started under the name Clisthert. Sean McDonough (Guitars/Vocals) recorded the album with Anthony Lusk-Simone (Pathogenic) whom he had met through Adam Boudreau of the black metal project Adversarian.
Sean then started jamming and later performing with Mike whom he met through returntothepit (Local website for metalheads). While it was a two piece band, Sanket Lama (Killizm) recommended me this band and we arranged an audition and then I got in. After few months Mike left the band and then we contacted Anthony to play for the band again and thus we have this current line-up. We are trying to bring a second Guitarist, Adam Kluza with us to Nepal as well. Sean had previously been in a black metal band with him based out of Ware, Massachusetts.
As far as composition goes, Sean is the one who comes up with the title riff and then the rest of the song revolves around it. He usually tries to go for structures which have a chaotic start and ends resolutely or the opposite, while sometimes the song starts with a theme, strays from it and catches up again towards the end. There is usually a theme that the song grows from. Usually the guitars are written first, the philosophical concept and the lyrics are written or edited later to match the general vibe of the song.
Tell us more about the music you play with Soul Annihilation. What are your primary influences?
Soul Annihilation is a combination of both Death and Black metal. There is already a lot of blackened death metal, especially from Poland, but Soul Annihilation is combining the two genres in a way that we have not heard other bands doing before.
The musical influence on the guitar is influenced by Swedish Black Metal and Death Metal. Some of these influences include Dissection, Dark Funeral, Naglfar, Marduk, Necrophobic, Nominon, Tribulation, Bloodbath, and Watain. We are also influenced by some American Death Metal bands such as Origin, Vital Remains, Nile, and Morbid Angel. Some other influences include The Chasm (Mexico), Destroyer 666 (Australia), Ketzer (Germany), Azarath (Poland), Mayhem and Thorns (Norway).
How often do you guys play live? How are the gigs there?
We were playing live quite frequently with our old drummer. Since his departure we have not played any shows with the new line-up because we are working on new material. We are scheduled to play two shows in June and will likely play a few others before we come to Nepal.
The Gigs in Massachusetts are usually a small crowd, but all the fans are extremely dedicated. People come to the shows because they like metal and it feels amazing when they understand what you’re playing.
You must have familiarized yourself with the underground metal scene in Boston by now. How different is it from the scene here in Kathmandu?
I don’t see much difference in the metal scene here in Boston and in Kathmandu. I think the feeling of being on stage and playing your music in front of fellow metalheads is pretty much the same everywhere you perform. Like I mentioned earlier, the people who go to metal shows here are extremely dedicated and this reminds me of similar experiences I’ve had while performing in Nepal. When I remember being on stage back home, first thing that comes to my mind is the ever energetic and supportive Nepalese metalheads. It’s quite amazing how the energy circulates between the people in the crowd and the band on stage.
You have been a prominent member in popular Nepali metal bands such as E.Quals and Vhumi. You’ve also been a session player for Antim Grahan. Are there any fond memories of those days you’d want to share with us?
As a teenager I was influenced a lot by foreign bands but it was the bands in the local scene like Ugra Karma, Cruentus, Antim Grahan, and Vhumi that influenced me to form a band of my own.
My friend Surya Pun (Antim Grahan) and I used to jam in my room with him drumming on a table using pencils as drumsticks and me playing a guitar connected to an old stereo which we would turn all the way up and that was our first distortion. As we progressed, we were fortunate to get into established bands. He became the drummer for Antim Grahan and I started playing in Vhumi. If only one of us had gotten into a band, the experience would have been a lot different.
Later with E.Quals the chance to compete in the international stage and getting to know more about the music scene abroad gave me a whole new perspective on the international metal scene, bands, and musicians as well.
What, besides playing in a band, do you do in the US? How hard is it for a musician like you there?
Well honestly speaking, after playing with different bands all these years, I’ve come to learn that being a musician is not easy. I never expected it to be. It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, passion, and determination.
Besides playing in a band I’m studying music right now. I’m trying to focus more on the band and most importantly broaden my musical schema. Other than that, Sanket and I are writing songs for our long due goregrind project. Hopefully we will come up with an EP by the end of this year. I also travel a lot and do so whenever possible.
What are your future plans?
In the near future we’re planning on recording a new album, work on a new video and perhaps look for a Label that fits our style. We’ll be playing several shows here in the States before we head to Nepal. We are already booked for several shows and we will shoot a video there as well. After Nepal we have some shows in England.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans here in Nepal?
Above all, I would like to thank each and every one who has accepted our music and supported us as a band. We are touring Nepal starting this September and we will be playing several shows there.
To listen to our music and know all the tour dates, follow us