Thursday, November 21, 2013

INTERVIEW: Interview with ALBATROSS (Indian classic / power-metal band)

ALBATROSS boys in Australia with Mr Collin Brophy (who helped to set up this interview - cheers!)
1 Jack Frost: Hi mate, we are very honoured that you will do interview with us. First of all, tell us the history of your band and your current line-up?
Ans: Likewise, Jack. The band Albatross started as my solo project back in the year 2007-8, when I was with another band called Workshop. So while I did a couple of tracks, centered around putting music to stories I wrote, with a different bunch of musicians in every track. My fellow Workshop guitarist Rajarshi was interested in this project, and said 'let's release an album out of this'.  Biprorshee (vocals) and Jay (drums) were two musicians I'd encountered on the local circuit quite frequently; and I was in awe of their musical talent. I asked them to come on board, and the blueprints of Albatross were forged out of this alliance. After various lineup changes, Vigneshkumar (guitars) became a permanent feature of the band, after completely acing his auditions. He came along with a different set of influences, from the kind of music that the rest of us were into...and we evolved from a heavy metal to the current 'horror' sound of Albatross. The last lineup change was when Shrikant quit, and we were left in the lurch hunting for a new lead guitarist. And along comes the finest guitarist I've come across. 16 year old Nishith Hegde, who completely left our jaws on the floor with his musical prowess. This has been the lineup of Albatross for the past 2 years, and I'm honoured to be part of it.

2 Tell us more about your experience touring Australia with legendary band Hobbs' Angel of Death?
Ans: A small correction there. We played 3 dates. In Melbourne, we supported legendary melodic metal band, Vanishing Point; and were joined on stage by Crimsonfire and Alaskan Thunder. Hobbs' Angel of Death headlined the Sydney show, and there was a kickass thrash/death metal bill there as well. In Wollongong, the show was headlined by the phenomenal Darker Half, and the other support bands were Rampage and Sylvain. Andy Dowling from the melodic metal band Lord, and head of Dominus Entertainment, put together this tour.

The experience? Incredible. I don't think Australia was prepared for our sound, and it was really flattering to see everyone who attended the shows digging our music. We've made some great fans and friends down under, and as a huge fan of metal music, it was great to catch some incredible metal bands (and be paid for it, haha). We definitely want to come back again, and hopefully play dates in Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane as well!

3 How was the Hobbs' show live? I have never seen them play but I love the legendary 1988 debut album which makes Slayer sound like Bon Jovi hahahaha
Ans: I think Peter Hobbs is one of the world's last remaining rockstars. It's great to meet a musician, who's also a fantastic character, something I attempt to do with the Dr. Hex persona as well. Their set was blistering thrash, and I had a sore neck from headbanging immediately after our set, still operating on India time haha. The band was very sweet, and I'll wear my Hobbs tshirt with pride.

4 What are your album plans?
Ans: We have recently been signed to Transcending Obscurity Records- India; and will be releasing a full length album entitled 'Fear From the Skies' in 2014. The music we've written far surpasses anything we've ever done. It's still Albatross, but the songwriting is a lot more mature and adventurous at the same time. We've already played 2 songs from the album 'In the Lair of Dr. Hex' and 'Children of the Cloud' live, and the response has been fabulous. The album is divided into 3 parts- two horror stories comprising 3 songs each; and one song called 'The Silence' based on novelist Jeff Vandermeer's collection of novellas called 'City of Saints and Madmen'. 

5 Who are your music influences?
Ans: Mine would be King Diamond, Hell, Wolf, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Queensryche, Helloween, Candlemass, Obituary, Metallica, Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Iced Earth, etc.

6 Why did you choose a traditional style of metal instead of something more update and trendy such as deathcore or metalcore or even death-metal?
Ans: Probably because there were enough bands playing those styles in Mumbai at the time. I'm also a huge fan of metal, and it sucked that I couldn't attend local gigs and enjoy the kind of music I liked most. Also, Abigail from King Diamond had a HUGE influence on me; and as a lyricist I was compelled to make a band where the lyrics keep one hooked from song 1 to song 2 of the album, and so on. I really enjoy old school death metal for the record, and play it with my other band Primitiv.

7 What are your goals for the band and what places do you hope to tour in future?
Ans: My ultimate ambition for the band is to be in a position where we can quit our jobs, and do this full time. Haha, we'd love to tour whichever part of the world wants to get us down; and are currently doing a mini India tour. There are so many places in India we've not visited yet...including major cities like Delhi and Kolkata, so that's definitely on the cards. We'd LOVE to come back to Australia, and maybe visit NZ too, while we're at it haha. And we should be in Europe, probably by 2015. That just leaves North and South America, South East Asia, Japan and Russia, all places we'd love to visit. I think we can safely skip Antarctica, for the next 2 years at least. 

8 Tell us about the metal scene in India now such as what city has the biggest scenes and what genres are biggest in which cities?
Ans: Mumbai is a modern metal hub, and Bangalore is India's old school metal capital. Other than these 2 cities, nowhere is the genre divide so evident; and shows happen frequently in Hyderabad, Pune, Nasik, Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi (or at least there used to be shows there, until some time back), Chennai and Jaipur. The odd show might happen in other cities, but not too frequently.

9 Have you any problems playing metal in India with government people or religious people?
Ans: Nah, metal is too small in India for them to take notice. There have been shows cancelled because of political issues in certain parts of India, but such incidents are few and far between.

10 What songs have you covered? and what songs might you do cover versions of in the future?
Ans: So far, we've covered Motorhead's 'God Was Never on your Side', Dio's 'Holy Diver' Judas Priest's 'Night Crawler', Megadeth's 'Tornado of Souls' and Wolf's 'Voodoo'. We're playing a show called 'Thrashfest' in Mumbai, in early 2013, so we might do another special cover for that one; since we're not really a thrash metal band. But right now, the focus is on writing more original music.  

11 Ok, tell us your favourite: Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?
Ans: I love both bands equally, and this is the most unfair question in the world [Jack: hahahaha, we are unfair sometimes!]

12 Helloween or Scorpions?
Ans: Helloween, because the Kiske era destroys most music ever written

13 Exodus or Slayer?
Ans: Slayer's vocals and drums, with Exodus' guitarists? Is that a valid option? [Jack: Yeah, why not, we are just having fun here.]

14 Bonded by Blood or Reign in Blood?
Ans: I haven't heard either album in some time, so I'll just go with Reign in Blood, since I listen to more Slayer than Exodus. 

15 Ok, we will do death-metal; Cannibal Corpse or Deicide?
Ans: I don't really listen to either band too much, but Deicide simply because they have cooler themes and song titles.

16 Lastly what message have you got for our awesome readers in Indonesia?
Ans: Albatross shall, hopefully, see you very soon. Global Metal has unveiled the Indonesian scene to the whole world, and we'd be privileged to bring our brand of metal to you. Just beware. That sound you hear, it came from behind you. And it sounds dangerous...

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