Bay of Bengal in Kathmandu Valley
Severe Dementia, a death metal band from Bangladesh, is headlining the event, Ides of March, organized by ktmROCKS on Saturday. Formed in January 2007, the current lineup of the band consists of Saimum Hasan Nahian on guitars, Ahmed Shawki on vocal, Raef al Hasan (Rafa) on drums, Hythum Morales on guitars, and Kawser Ahmed Pervez on bass.
The band has already released their EP called “Epitaph of Plassey” in a split album, “Rise of the Eastern Blood,” in 2007. They also toured India the same year and became the first ever underground band of Bangladesh to perform outside their country.
The Week caught up with the four members of Severe Dementia to talk about their band and the underground music scene:
How has the underground band evolved in Bangladesh?
Hythum: You can always say it’s growing but it’s different how it’s been evolving in Bangladesh and other parts of South Asia. The influence is growing but there are very few gigs for the bands to perform.
Nahian: In Bangladesh, Rafa’s first band Dripping Gore formed in 2002 can be termed as the initiators of Death Metal music. I was heavily influenced by that band to form a band of my own. I’ve seen them as a fan, and they were the most fast-paced band at the time.
Rafa: There was already a scene in Heavy Metal but Extreme Metal bands were still lacking. Dripping Gore replaced that void in Bangladesh. It was the beginning to defy the conventional style of covering popular mainstream bands and was always out of the box. But there were very few people in the audience actually enjoying the music.
Shawki: Though they didn’t continue as a band, it was successful in influencing people like us. And I think, after Dripping Gore, we’re the ones continuing the genre of music they had started.
How would you like to see the scene change in your country?
Nahian: One basic problem in our country is that we don’t have venues for underground gigs to take place. We have many good open air venues for mainstream but very less for underground music scene. Another problem is that we lack organizers solely dedicated to underground music scene, like ktmROCKS in Nepal.
Rafa: I believe that maybe it’s because of the fewer number of extreme metal bands. If the number of underground bands increases, there will be more following.
You toured India in 2007. How do you recollect your experience of touring outside your country for the first time?
Nahian: It was a great experience. We headlined two gigs in India and it was there we released our EP, “Epitaph of Plassey.” It was good to see the audience excited about our album and they were buying it. It was a crazy experience of performing in front of 400-500 head bangers.
Rafa: We were the first band to tour outside of our country but we hadn’t planned in achieving anything as such. We did our work, we did the shows and it was only after the show we found out that people loved banging their heads to our music. That was a huge confidence booster for the band.
So what are your feelings about headlining Ides of March in Nepal?
Nahian: I did some research from the ktmROCKS photographs and they showed a pretty good picture of the scene going on here. So I would say that my expectations are pretty high from the Nepali crowd.
Shawki: I did a bit of my research, too, and I’m looking forward to the gig. I have a feeling that we’re going to have an amazing experience.
Hythum: This is my first in Nepal. And I didn’t get into research because I like to be taken by surprise.
Have you followed the Nepali underground music scene?
Nahian: I’ve downloaded all the songs of Antim Grahan. Other bands I have yet to discover.
Rafa: Actually, I’m not here just to perform. I’m here to watch the entire gig, to know the Nepali underground scene.
What inspires your lyrics and compositions?
Rafa: For the EP, it was Nahian’s idea. He came up with the songs that described the Battle of Plassey when the Bengal Nawab lost to the British. The design of the album was theme-based. And since then, we kind of found the track to composing songs with similar ideas.
Nahian: Our later songs are basically inspired by death, torture and mythology. We’ve been exploring Sumerian mythology in our latest compositions.
Hythum: Our lyrics and composition are like creating a movie but through music.
After releasing an EP, touring India and now in Nepal, what are your future ventures?
Nahian: We’re working on a full-length album which we plan to release this year. We have already released a single from that album.
By: ASMITA MANANDHAR / Republica
Interview on The Week, Republica on 2012-03-30