Thursday 24th April 2014,
Nepal Underground :: The Underground Revolution

Antim Grahan Interview in “A Dead Spot of Light” e-magazine, Germany

Nepal Underground December 24, 2011 Interviews Comments

Nepali Black Metal band Antim Grahan was recently interviewed in 16th release of “A Dead Spot of Light” e-magazine of Germany. The e-mag consists of interviews of various bands from all across the world and reviews.  In this interview band share their past experience and plans for their next album .Here is the interview of Antim Grahan originally from “A Dead Spot of Light”.

Hello … I hope you are fine… how are times in Nepal?
Greetings. I’m doing absolutely fine, thank you and things back here isn’t so bad.

Why don’t you lay out some of the band’s history? Who started it? When was it started? And why had it been started at all?
We first started playing as kids around the end of 2002. It was me [Parash Shakya, vocalist; note from the editor],
my brother Pankaj (Guitarist) and Niraj (Keyboards) who were in the founding lineup of the band along with few
good friends.  I think it all just started for the heck of jamming as we had the rush of this new found “metal” music.
But slowly we got into it seriously.

How difficult has it been, or still is, to find musicians, who would be willing or to have the proper skill to fill
the ranks of your band? Are all band members from Nepal?
- It was always difficult I guess. When we started, I guess it was bit easier back then as we were just trying to get
into the groove without much perception of what we  actually would end up doing. But now I definitely believe it
is/was quite hard to find someone who could actually meet the bars set by the band. But I guess I’m quite fortunate
to have the best of the musicians in the scene in our band.  And yes, all of them are full bred Nepalese.

Why don’t you describe the place you live a bit? What is the culture and the music like? How does the town you live in look like?
I think, to the most parts of world, Nepal is quite synonym to snow clad mountains, forests and terrains and all the things from fantasy land. And it is true as well. Unfortunately, I myself haven’t yet been to those parts of the country as it lies quite far from where we actually live. We live in the capital, Kathmandu and I think it is  like most of the cities in the world. But within it, we do have some heritage sites which tourists love to visit. Old cities, palaces, and temples are among the many things that you can venture into, if you are here sometime. The music however is quite different as the most part of the country indulge their ear buds into traditional folk music and then followed by various mainstream music genres. “Metal” sadly still remains a scarce breed.

‘Antim Grahan’, does it have some sort of special meaning behind it? What language has it been taken from?
Antim Grahan roughly translates into “ The last day on earth before Armageddon” in Nepali or at least  that’s what
we like to portray it as.

Speaking of language. Why are the lyrics in English and not in your native tongue; ignoring ‘Pashu Samrajya’ from ‘The Ruin of Immortals’ for a moment? From your perspective, how does music sung in Nepalese differ from one performed in English? Is there a chance to hear music with such a ‘touch’ in the
future?
Well to be very honest, it is very, very difficult to write down lyrics in Nepali in the same descriptive manner that we
can express ourselves in English.  It was just a matter of being comfortable about your writing I suppose. Singing
wise there is not much of a difference though. And yes, we are planning our new album in full Nepali, so you can
have all the traditional “touch” that you want.

Again a bit of history: What made you start this band and what had your reasons been for playing such an ‘extreme kind of music’? Why black metal? What does this genre offer you that you are unable to express otherwise?
Like I said earlier, the band started with light jams with friends with similar taste in music. It was rare for us to get
any albums of extreme metal bands back then and suddenly there were few shops where we actually found some
good cassettes. The new found sound was glorious to us as the likes of Deicide, Cradle of Filth, Lord Belial among
few others and we wanted to play and sound like them. But as we got more into such music, we were always more
drawn towards the chaos, ambience and darkness of Black Metal.
Our music/lyrics are based most of the times in the fantasy, medieval themes, dark forests, depression and sorrow
among other things and I believe the right expression of such elements came out well with what we were playing.

In order to get a bit of an overview in terms of your discography, why don’t you describe succinctly the style you play on each of your recordings?

Forever Winter (2004)
This was more of a melodic metal album with very slight elements of black metal.

Tales from the Darkened Woods (2005)
This was us getting more into the symphonic black metal arena.

In Thy Ambience Ov Malevolence (2008)
With this album we started playing more of black metal and more aggressive then what we usually write.

The Ruin Of Immortals (2009)
By this album, we wanted to play as extreme as it would get. We incorporated black metal with the
elements of death metal and    grindcore.

Putrefaction Eternity (2010)
This is by far one of the most extreme music we have played or anyone from our local underground for that
matter. It still continues to get mixed reactions as it was meant to be an experimentation album. Very less of
black metal and more of brutal death/grindcore elements.

The band was founded in 2004 and the first release had seen the light of day in the same year. How long did it take you to get the songs done and from today’s perspective, are you still able to enjoy them?
It took us about a week or less to get a song done and ready back then. The perspective, definition and standard of music from then till now has definitely changed in a big way but yeah people still love our old songs and we do play
them live still, so it is still fun.

If you have to name some sources of inspiration what bands would these be? Has this changed over the years? Are there albums which played and continue to be precious to you for one reason or another and that have accompanied you over all the years that Antim Grahan is active?
- The inspiration for us has to be bands like Satyricon, Emperor, Cradle of Filth (old, until dusk era), Marduk,
Gorgoroth, Naragaroth, Shape of Despair, Immortal, Dark Funeral and so
on.  We do tend to listen to albums like Satyricon  – Dark medieval
times/Nemesis Divina, Gorgoroth – Pentagram/ under  the sign of hell,
Immortal – Sons of Northern Darkness/ At the heart of winter, Emperor -
IX Equilibrium along with some other bands like Deathspell Omega,
Alcest, Nortt are spinning around.

‘The Ruin of Immortals’ seems to mark a step into a more
aggressive and more death metal influenced era. Why did you
choose to proceed on this path?
Cradle of Filth – a major influence for the first recordings – started as a grindcore band and moved towards a black metal (inspired) one, while you seem to take the opposite direction.
Haha. Well we certainly didn’t follow that suit like that. But I guess we just
wanted to do something different rather than being a genre whore. The
Ruin of Immortals and even more Putrefaction Eternity has death/grind
elements but that doesn’t mean we are now a death/grind band. And for
the new album, we do go back to Black Metal.

It seems natural to ask, whether you have found your style already? Where do you see the band heading towards? Will it be more of the death metal and less of the keyboards, or is there a chance that you move back towards the early days of Antim Grahan?
Like aforementioned, we definitely aren’t heading towards being a death metal band. We are still very much a black
metal band we will definitely go back to black metal roots. Maybe  not as melo as early Antim Grahan, but definitely
black metal.

Did this shift had an impact on the song-writing? Was it easier to write tracks for the latest outputs than the early ones? It would be interesting to know, whether the change in direction had an impact on how the music was composed? Are those responsible for it in the early days also continue to do so now?
It certainly was a challenge for most of us since we tried something completely different.  From guitars to vocals to
drums and everything, it was a different dimension all together. Music writing was very tough at times but I guess
this did help the guys a lot for they got acquainted in doing something which was out of their comfort zone.
Efficiency and output did certainly improve.  In the end, it was all about trying to do something different than your
usual stuffs and more or less we are glad we did this for a change.

It seems natural to ask, whether you have found your style already? Where do you see the band heading towards? Will it be more of the death metal and less of the keyboards, or is there a chance that you move back towards the early days of Antim Grahan?
Like aforementioned, we definitely aren’t heading towards being a death metal band. We are still very much a black
metal band we will definitely go back to black metal roots. Maybe  not as melo as early Antim Grahan, but definitely
black metal.

Did this shift had an impact on the song-writing? Was it easier to write tracks for the latest outputs than the early ones? It would be interesting to know, whether the change in direction had an impact on how the
music was composed? Are those responsible for it in the early days also continue to do so now?
It certainly was a challenge for most of us since we tried something completely different.  From guitars to vocals to drums and everything, it was a different dimension all together. Music writing was very tough at times but I guess
this did help the guys a lot for they got acquainted in doing something which was out of their comfort zone. Efficiency and output did certainly improve.  In the end, it was all about trying to do something different than your
usual stuffs and more or less we are glad we did this for a change.

Also the way you deal with the lyrics have changed: chorus/verse on the early, some story like thing now. Do you still try to focus on the rhythms and the dynamics or is the expressing on your latest recordings more in a free style in which you do not bother yourself with a too strict timing any more?
For the last two records that we have done, we tried to vary vocal patterns from what we usually did before and the whole music and lyric concept was different too. I have done almost all the lyrics/concept writing for the band but for the new album which we are now working on, however might be slightly different since the lyrics and concept is being done by someone else. And it will be different. The specifics of the differentiation would come once we are
through with it.

How did your fan base respond to the change in style? What about the feedback on your music from a broader and more general perspective?
It was a mixed reaction and it was fair I think because the whole lot of fans that we have are used to the melodic stuffs that we usually write and it was sort of a rude awakening to have all the melodies almost vanished and just
extreme music coming through. I think they preferred melodic version of us more.  But there were also many who actually appreciated the effort. All in all, as a musician, the change was important and most of them did agree.

What are your reasons for using an inverted cross in the ‘logo’ on your first recordings, while the latest ones do not seem to have it any more? Does Christianity play a role in your sociocultural hemisphere or was it merely used as a, because black metal bands ‘need’ to have this sort of thing? Furthermore, judging from the pictures there seems to be some level of indecision whether corpse paint is still appropriate.
No, Christianity or any other religion was never an issue as such. The one with the inverted cross was our old logo and we just wanted to put it as against all religion in general and like you’ve said, it is an extreme cliché in the black
metal bands, so i guess it was even more easier to generalize. And the theme and lyrics were likewise. But now our perspective has changed from once arrogant young revolting minds and hence the new logo. We just want to have
fun with all those corpse paint and fake blood stuffs, nothing to do what early black metal bands did.

Why do you use Western films as a source for inspiration – 300? What about local mythology and history?
Would such aspects not add an additional fascination to your band?
We write about majority of our songs in fantasies and stories and myths as such. It really doesn’t matter if it’s local
or foreign as long as we think that it’s interesting. And the song 300 represents the events of that final war, not the
movie but of the actual event.  But we did use the movie cut out just because it was more definitive that way for the
start.

Something I tend to ask bands from small scene in general is the impact local culture has on their music. Why is there the tendency to follow the Western trend of crafting music and a general lack of reference to the band’s own cultural sphere? Why do your albums  have no traditional Nepalese instruments for instance?
I do agree with your statement. Almost all the bands (including us) have major western influence on our playing. But I think this happens because firstly we are playing a borrowed music. Hence the major chunk of influences from the
west is very apparent. And secondly, when we talk about traditional musical instrument here, it takes a whole lot of time before you finally get to a level of maturity or at least somewhere near it to actually infuse such elements in
black metal, a borrowed music from the western worlds, and make it sound like something original.
We have used a traditional flute for our 2nd album Tales From the Darkened Woods and our new album will see the induction of our local instruments.

For the last two records that we have done, we tried to vary vocal patterns from what we usually did before and the whole music and lyric concept was different too. I have done almost all the lyrics/concept writing for the band but for the new album which we are now working on, however might be slightly different since the lyrics and concept is being done by someone else. And it will be different. The specifics of the differentiation would come once we are
through with it.

How did your fan base respond to the change in style? What about the feedback on your music from a broader and more general perspective?
It was a mixed reaction and it was fair I think because the whole lot of fans that we have are used to the melodic stuffs that we usually write and it was sort of a rude awakening to have all the melodies almost vanished and just
extreme music coming through. I think they preferred melodic version of us more.  But there were also many who actually appreciated the effort. All in all, as a musician, the change was important and most of them did agree.

What about live concerts? Did you have had a chance to play on stage already? How large have the crowds been and have you been able to play outside of your home country as well?
Yes. We have been around for as long as around 8 years now and we have managed many live gigs. And we do
have gigs all round the year, so it isn’t a problem really. In fact we have one of the best metal scenes in the whole of
south Asia.
We recently played in Deccan Rock Fest in India where bands like Innerguilt, Funeral In Heaven, Nervercell played
and was headlined by Polish death metal juggernaut DECAPITATED. We also had the honor to share the stage with
the mighty VADER here in Kathmandu recently.  The crowds here that turn up vary from 600 to 4000.

2010 has seen the release of ‘Putrefaction Eternity’ and is it possible to write a bit about a future release already? Do you have some plans regarding a new output?
We are working on the new album as we speak. This album would be in full Nepali and with traditional instruments.
We go back to Black Metal roots with this new project.

Why is your music not found on a Western label? Why have you not done a split with a band from ‘some country’ so far?
We released our 4th album “The Ruin of Immortals” from a Japanese independent label, Asian Rock Rising. And our
5th album “Putrefaction Eternity” has been looked after in the US by GORE-KHA Records. We actually had some
talks with few labels but things somehow phased out. But we are working on few good ones and things should be
fine soon enough. We might also do a split with our very good friends “Funeral In Heaven” from Sri Lanka.

Do you have beer in Nepal? If not, what would be a good booze from your region?
Of course we have all kinds of liquors here. But I think local booze (rakshi) should do the trick.

Does the Nepalese cuisine have hot and spicy dishes? Or how would you describe your local gastronomy?
Lets just keep it this way, if you aren’t a person who can intake some serious spices, you might just die hungry in
Nepal. It’s spicy, salty, chilly all the way.

Where can someone buy your music from? Is there a distro or label that carries the stuff?
Nothing as specific as such but you can always contact the band itself or just email the local underground  music
label KtmRecords/KtmRocks for any additional info/ cd’s/ merchandises(if a band has one)
What would be the best way to get in touch with you?

http://www.facebook.com/parash.shakya

http://www.facebook.com/grahan.antim

Or our local label
www.facebook.com/ktmrocks.page
These should do it.

Originally taken from “A Dead Spot of light 16″, download PDF from here. Source page

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Comments

  1. Inverted Cross says:

    haha !!!!!!
    This is certainly not a true black metal band!!
    Shitt!! What a Embarasing Interview!!