1. 10 years too late to ask this question, but please tell Sledge’s new fans about early days of Sledge, how did you guys come up with the name Sledge?
Anjani: SLEDGE’s metal journey started off in May 2000 gigging around Hyderabad. The gig which brought us into prominence was Deathfest 2001 in Mumbai playing with the stellar metal bands of that time & Castrol Garage Rock – a competition at a national level which we won. That really put us in the national limelight. There’s no massive funda behind the name SLEDGE.. Just that it sounds simple, aggressive and hits you hard!
2. Please introduce the current line up. (Full names)
Nitin Rajan- Vocals
Shadrach Prabhu – Lead Guitar
Anjani – Bass
Suman – Drums
Avinash – Guitar
3. Tell us about the making of VanQuish , How different it is from your debut album?
Prabhu: Desert of Souls was our first experience in terms of song writing and production as well and that reflects on the album, VanQuish was a different experience, we took our time for the song writing and production, the approach of music is very different. We incorporated lot of carnatic scales into the riffs, We wanted it to be aggressive without losing the groove element in our songs.
4. Who writes lyrics for SLedge? What is the theme behind ‘the album Vanquish?
Avin: We have been working on some original material since 2007 & have been slowly integrating them on our live shows. But most the tracks on VanQuish were composed last year when our guitarist Prabhu hit the proverbial sweet spot and came up with more than 10 tracks which were just ready to go! Later the we all joined in to thrash it out into a complete album and most of the lyrics and aggression was towards the mindless terror attacks which were rampant last year – especially the seige of Mumbai. VanQuish – the title track exhorts you not take violence lying down – preparedness and alacrity is a must. dont move on without fixing the malaise. Theatre of war deals with how certain regions in the world is forever war torn – as if they embrace violence and resent peace.
5. Your new songs are much heavier and darker, how have you guys evolved since the debut album? What bands have influenced your music?
Anjani: Much has changed since the debut album back in 2005. The production values, the equipments, song writing etc was totally different than today. The band has gigged a lot, spent a lot of time jamming together over the years and it reflects in VanQuish. Prabhu who has composed most of songs has taken the more classic thrash metal riffing approach fused with Indian rhythm patterns (you will notice if you closely listen) besides this album has Nitin (ex vocalist of Morticide) who brings in his own intensity and aggression to the songs. Influences range from mostly your old school metallers Slayer,Death,Kreator, Deicide, Pantera,Napalm Death, Sepultura and Obituary.
6. On what record label Vanquish is being released? How can fans buy this album?
Anjani:We are trying to work some deals .. we will update you once something works. As of now all you need to do is send us an email to email@example.com
and we will get it couriered to your address.
7. Going back in time, Sledge released ‘Desert of Souls’ on Times Music, which is one the first for a thrash/Death metal band in India (to release album on a mainstream records), How did that happen?
Anjani:The record deal was part of the reward for winning the National Competition ”Castrol Garage Rock” in 2004 done by 360 Degrees and Time Music. On its way to winning the National Title for Best Band at the final leg of Castrol Garage Rock in Mumbai we also won Best Vocalist, Best Guitarist, Best Drummer and Best Bassist. The deal was totally new for a mainstream label like times as they had never signed on a metal band before. Honestly speaking its better to have control of your album and do it yourself or with an underground label which understands metal.
8. Sledge put Hyderabad on the Metal Map in India and elsewhere, tell us about the current scene, has the scene in Hyderabad evolved since Sledge first started?
Anjani:Being the First Metal band in Hyderabad was really a rough road just jammed for a year without gigs as there were hardly any takers for metal in the
city then .
Right now the scene is awesome there are good number of promising bands in Hyderabad and there are good number of gigs happening. The crowd is also very supportive the numbers may not be as big as other metros but in terms of energy levels Hyderabad kicks ass.
9. How do you guys manage to jam with your vocalist based in Mumbai and the rest of the guys in Hyderabad?
Anjani: That’s the most difficult part for us and that’s the reason we are limiting our gigs and playing very few. Technology has been of great help we have been constantly sharing raw compositions over for most of last year for VanQuish and he shows up for jams before the gigs! ;- ) It is simpler as he is the vocalist and can do his parts out there in Mumbai while the band jams up regularly sans the vocalist. But this year we will be playing lot more gigs than what we have done in the last two years.
10. Let’s talk about live shows, any up coming gigs? what is ‘SLEDGE’s set list?
Anjani: September end should be the official launch gig and then we are planning to cover at least the metros in coming few months. Our set list will comprise mostly tracks from VanQuish which we haven’t played live yet and a few from the first album.
11. Which is the best/worst ‘Sledge’ gig ever? Any particular (sweet/bad/funny) memories? (share funny anecdotes)
Nitin:One of our best and memorable gig was in 2007 when we played in Singapore (Gashaus) with a killer set of bands which included Arbitary Element, Predatory amongst others. It was great to see metalheads abroad headbang to our originals! Quite a rush and also realized metal fans, gigs, venues etc all are quite the same the world over! Underground, full of energy & everyone is so passionate about metal! It reminded me of good ol Razz Rhino days in Mumbai.
Anjani:IIT Delhi in the year 2002 was another memorable one .. well that the the first time we saw a crowd of 5000 before that we never performed for more than 200 people and winning the runners up was a great moment.
Independence Rock 2005 the initial gig that never happened at Gateway was quite an experience. It was the 20th edition of I rock and the venue was the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai. The vibe was amazing – it was like being part of history – soundchecking at the Gateway! And all the multitudes of musicians who had converged there and fans were shocked when the gig wasn’t allowed by the cops who refused the final permission after citing security excuses! We were so fuckin livid! And so was the crowd! Somehow a riot was averted! Later the postponed gig which was held at Chitrakoot grounds was kickass where we played to a crowd of 6000 odd rabid Mumbai metalheads! It was manic!
12. With two albums to its name Sledge is ‘veterans of the metal industry in India’, what advice would you like to give to budding metal heads who like to start a metal band?
Anjani: Nah too early to tag us veterans!
But word out from us to all: Nothing much keep it simple be at it jam, record, gig repeat!
Nitin: From my experience of jamming with 20odd musicians in a single band i would say stick together guys! Once you have a steady line-up be at it. It’s too easy to give up!
13. An interview is not complete without thank you notes, any one Sledge would like to thank for the support (emotional or financial)
All folks at home, every single fan who has been to our gigs, all ex-Sledge members! guys at Rudra, all the amazing bands we have ever played with & everyone in the metal & rock fraternity – on the net, organizing gigs,managing bands et al for keeping the scene alive.
And Santhosh kudos to you too mate was amazed to see the links and dope on so many Indian bands out here when i first stumbled on this site. Keep it going bro!
13. Last words…
I remember my conversation (read troll on Orkut) with Chiranjeeb Daulaguphu, (Dark Horizon’s Manager) that the band was from Haflong Assam and not Half-Long . I stand corrected, Dark Horizon is a upcoming Alt funk Rock band (with a pinch of reggae) from Haflong Assam. In October 2009 Dark Horizon released their debut EP titled ‘STAR’ which is available as FREE download on gimmesound.com. I caught up with Vishal and Biju Rajiyung for this interview.
- Picture by Chiranjeeb Daulaguphu
IRMP3 – Hi guys, Thanks for the interview, what’s the latest in Dark Horizon camp?
Vishal – Well, just returned from Delhi after headlining Tarang 09, which is an Annual Cultural Fest of Lady Shri Ram College & 7 Sisters Winter Rock Festival. We guys really enjoyed the shows there. It was really a nice experience. We have 2 more shows coming up in Bangalore in Dec/Jan. So stay connected with us at Faceboook for full updates.
IRMP3 -Tell us about the Band name, how did you guys come up with the name?
Vishal – We started as a school band in the 2003.After couple of months jamming together we decided to take part in a local gig. It was then that we realized that we were lacking a name “the band’s name”. To perform in the gig we just needed a name and so we have decided to name our band as Dark Horizon which came from a book named “Lost Horizon” by English writer James Hilton.[J]
IRMP3 - Introduce the band members please
Vishal – well the band members basically are:-
Picture by Chiranjeeb Daulaguphu
Rainjong Lepcha- Vocals
Vishal Rajiyung- Guitars
Biju Rajiyung- Guitars, Backing Vocals
Monesh Naiding- Bass, Backing Vocals
Tapan Sinha- Drums
IRMP3 - Tell us about the genre of music you play, what bands influenced your music?
Vishal - Well, the genre we play is a blend of funk, reggae and blues with a touch of alternative rock. Our influence ranges from every thing between gazals to extreme metal! Some of them we would like to mention are Bob Marley, Jimmy Hendrix, Dream Theatre, Iron Maiden, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Santana, The Darkness, Incubus, Queen, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Dio, Eagles, Eric Johnson, Michael Jackson, Ugly Kid Joe, Slipknot, Frank Gamble, RATM, Extreme and many more… We are great fans of some Indian Bands like Indus Creed, Agni, Motherjane, Moksha, Orange Street, Soulmate, Cadanza, Demonic Resurrection, Zero, etc.
IRMP3 -Tell us about your debut EP STAR, How the response or criticism has been?
Vishal – Well, the response till date is good. The genre that we preferred is being accepted by people infact more than what we expected. After releasing our EP on 9th October 2009 people have downloaded our music more than we expected.
Biju – Criticism is a part of our life. There are some criticisms that we have to accept it. Some of the fans were like “Dark Horizon were better with the heavier stuff”. Hope they will accept our music soon.
IRMP3 - Tell us about the making of STAR, and why you guys chose to give it as a free download?
Vishal - Experimenting with different genres trying to bring improvisation and innovation it took quite a long time to create a music that we can claim as Dark Horizon’s originals. We spent quite a long time in the studios recording our debut EP Star. We wanted to spread our music as much as possible to every part of the globe. So the easiest way for us is to make the EP available for every one by leaving it as a free download from GIMMESOUND.COM
IRMP3 - You guys come from Haflong/Guwahati Assam, how is the music scene in your city?
Vishal - Yes, all of us are from Haflong Assam except our vocalist (Rainjong). He is from Darjeeling. The music scenario in our city (Guwahati) is pretty fine and is in its initial state to be called as Rock City. All kind of genres is accepted by the crowd but the rock lovers are as usually the minority. The best place for a rock concert in north east is Shillong.
IRMP3 - You guys recently headlined in Delhi, as a rising band coming from North East part of India, how’s the journey so far? Too many hurdles to cross?
Vishal – Well, being quite an old band we came across lots of difficulties and obstacles. So far our journey is quite good as you know being from the North East part of India, we are lucky enough to headlined 2 gigs in Delhi back to back.
Biju - As we all know that the music scenario in India is lacking far behind comparing to other parts of the world. So the difficulties and obstacles are a common part for every bands, so do for us.
IRMP3 - What are your rehearsals like? You guys jam often?
Vishal - Basically we guys are inclined towards individual practices. We don’t jam often. It’s hard to find a good jam pad in Guwahati unlike other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore…etc which are well equipped and plenty of jam pads are available there. So we guys hardly jam for a couple of weeks or a week before any shows/gigs coming up.
IRMP3 -Who writes the music for Dark Horizon? What are lyrical themes you cover lyrically?
Vishal - Well, all the members put their equal efforts in creating music for Dark Horizon. Lyrics are written by our vocalist, Rainjong. Thematically, our music is based on against Drugs, Corruption and Social Evils.
IRMP3 - Plenty of gigs this year, any special “Dark Horizon” moment to share?
Vishal – Well there are lots of funny and hard moments that we came across. One of the moments I’ll like to mention is that our bassist, Monesh slept and started rolling on the stage after the last song was over in the recent Delhi show at 7 Sisters Winter Rock Fest. We all thought that he fainted from the smell of the smoke which was placed beside him.
IRMP3 - What is the future of DH like? Do you have ‘plans’?
Vishal – By the grace of God the past have gone well and hopping to see the future better than before. We are planning to produce more quality music for the people to like and listen and to spread the music as much as possible. Planning to record an album and hope to finish the album by the summer of 2010.
- Picture by Chirajeeb Daulaguphu
IRMP3 – Any final shoutouts or Thank you notes?
Vishal – Thanks to everyone who have supported Dark Horizon. Thanks to God, family and friends.
And Santhosh kudos to you for doing such a wonderful job in helping Indian Bands. Keep it going bro.
IRMP3 - And the famous last words are?
Vishal - Those who are new to Dark Horizon, to know us better they can simply follow us on Myspace . Reverbnation, Facebook, Twitter and Gimmesound (Click here to download debut EP for free)
And at last, keep rocking and keep supporting us and original music.
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