They’re gruesome, they’re malignant and they are hard as a sledgehammer blow upon your face. And Sangharsha are undoubtedly one of the best kvlt hardcore bands out there! With their first full-length (and the fourth release) scheduled to come out this April, I hereby present to you a brief talk with the band’s axeman, the wonderful Kshitiz Moktan.
Hey man, thanks for sparing some time for this interview! I was wondering why we always end up talking in English, contrary to one of your song-titles, “Nepali Bol Ya Mor”!
Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to speak in my wonderful articulated English although I would have preferred you to ask all these questions in Nepali which would have been totally rad!
Lemme jump over straight to the point that everyone is keen on hearing about – the new Sangharsha album. You just released a sweet teaser some days ago and we’ve known it’ll be out in April. You would want to share something about the release?
Oh yes the teaser! Well, it was just a small clip of the shit we did on our way to the studio. The so called album is an amalgamation of all the emotions that we have felt during the course of this life from love, hope, elation to fear, rage and aggression and hate. The album has four songs (titled Sunna, Aperture, Prasanna and Karma, three of which are in English this time) and each song deals with the four basic elements of life – air, earth, fire and water. All of these elements and emotions had to come up in the album to give a complete sound which it carries through from the start to the end.
How was your experience in the studio?
The recording was done in Developing Nations Studio in Baltimore, MD with Kevin Bernsten. If you do not know who Kevin Bernsten is, he is the proud owner and engineer of the studio which is completely DIY run. He is the man for extreme music in the East Coast with bands like Magrudergrind, Mutilation Rites to Pulling Teeth recording there frequently. He also plays guitar and sings in Triac, a grind-PV-noise band.
The recording process was the best experience we had in terms of the sound and the feeling we wanted on the record. It was also an experience that we got to learn in terms of recording from the tone setting to the technical side of things. We wanted to record all analog through the tape but due to the short time we had, it was almost impossible for us as you gotta be shit tight to do that because there is no room for error. But the guitars were recorded through the analog board and I will leave it on you to find the difference. One thing that was considerably noticeable was the fact that Kevin did not use any clicks or tempo mapping for the recording which he told us is not his style. That is what separates the tracks from this one to the previous ones, the rawness and the filthiness of the record.
It is only going to get longer if I keep telling you what experiences we had, it was so overwhelming that it has made us hungrier to write some more material and record it in July/August. This time it will be a double LP in the veins of classic albums such as Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”.
Sounds wicked!!! Well, Sangharsha has always been experimenting with its sound, putting in elements of sludge and powerviolence in usual hardcore manifestations. What is in the offering this time around, musically?
Can you feel a big truck full of handgrenades guzzling down the Ring Road area to crush all human beings in its sight? Yes the sound is similar to that this time around musically. I will again leave it up to you to decide what type of sound we are coming out this time when you hear the record.
And I hear that some monster has taken over your line-up, as a drummer, who is also credited to have single-handedly formulated some form of devastating mosh?
Oh yes, we have to talk about the lord of all monsters and beasts, XDipeshXMoteX, the Torpedo Solti. His antics are legendary in the underground scene of Nepal – just ask Umes, Vishal or any old veterans of the scene, they will relive those horrific tales of violence and hate. By the way he recently changed his birthname to XDipeshXMoteX because he has recently turned into a straight edge. He has graced us with his unholy hands to lay the wrath upon this record. And he did invent a style of mosh that was unheard in the hardcore scene, it is called the Torpedo mosh where his hands are coming from up to the bottom of the ground with a power that swaps everyone aside with the sheer gravity of the force of the impact.
It is wonderful to learn that you guys are performing in ‘This is Hardcore’ this summer, arguably the biggest and the best hardcore festival in the world. Tell us something about this.
‘This is Hardcore’ fest has been a dream that has become a reality in a span of two years. The fest is completely amazing with tickets selling out in twenty-four hours. It is all about the genuinity of Joe Hardcore who has done so much for the Philly scene and hardcore that the lineup gets crazier every year. We are just humbled and lucky enough to live this experience in August.
And by the way, should we still wait a long time to see you guys play in Nepal? C’mon, we’re so starving to devour your malignant bestowment!
Nope we are coming there soon. Next year for sure!
Lemme get back the time a bit. How did you end up in the States in the first place, and then forming an all-Nepali hardcore band there?
The vision of an American Dream landed me here personally which has been broken and reassembled in the time that I have been here. The all Nepali hardcore band was obviously from the roots that we came through in this country which nobody can take away from us. Besides we are totally bad at speaking and writing English which you will find in the record that is coming out.
How’s the response from the local fans there? Aren’t they fucked up for not being able to understand what you’re singing about?
The response has been great when we have performed in the limited times that we have performed here. It is basically due to the medium of music that we play no matter what you sing or what your color of skin is. There is something about that connects in the hardcore scene which is strong as ever and it is why you see kids on top of each other singing along, flying off the stage and moshing. It is the genuine love of music and the volumes of individual freedom that it speaks of that connects everybody in the show.
Going personal, how much has hardcore/punk influenced you personally in whatever you think and do?
It has made me the person that I am today, a living being with a better sense of what is going in around us. My point of view of life has changed drastically where individual freedom and the promotion of a better life with the help of each other have been enhanced. If we can help off of each other and sustain the rest of our lives without any political or corporate figure influencing us, how cool it would be? Think about it.
So what bands/albums are you listening to lately?
As of right now I am listening constantly to a Nepali grind-powerviolence-holy terror hardcore band called XKali-GulaX. They have a demo out (which will be out to the public soon) and it will blow the fuck out of your ears.
Talking about your one-song EP “Bidroh” (2010), didn’t it acquire any political threat upon the band due to its controversial political satirical nature?
Oh yes we were threatened that we would be in the category of ‘des nikala’ individuals but fuck them we are already Americans now so we can speak whatever we want to and it is the right of every individual in this planet to voice what they want, be it political or whatever.
So at last, anything you wanna say to the fans, friends and foes of Sangharsha?
Just a big shout out to all our friends and families, whoever knows us. Special thanks to you too for interviewing me. And lastly I want to personally thank all the folks for inspiring us to create more music.
Lastly, hardcore or lok dohori?
Lok Hardcore, a new genre that is coming up in the next Sangharsha album.
- INTERVIEWED BY SAMYAM SHRESTHA