India’s pioneering Black Metal act, 1833 AD is on the verge of releasing their first full-length studio album, "My Dark Symphony". The band has gained huge numbers of followers, and garnered accolades from musicians and critics alike, since it’s formation in 2004. The Delhi based quartet comprises of Nishant Varghese on vocals and guitars, Rahul Mehalwal on guitars, Sushmit Mazumdar on bass and Raghav Sehgal on drums.
And 2012 proves to be huge for them – right from their move from underground to the music stores, and playing in Bangalore Open Air alongside Iced Earth and Kreator. In this interview, 1833 AD speaks about their upcoming album, the Black Metal scene in India, the journey of the band and the massive BOA. Read on!
IMR: Hello 1833 AD, thank you very much for the interview. So how are you guys doing? So many lined-up, you guys must be really busy. Isn't it?
1833 AD: Our pleasure. After a slow start to the year we finally have things moving along. Apart from the album and merchandise coming out, we have shows lined up in Delhi, Bangalore and Nepal as of now. More cities would be added as part of the album tour but it’s too soon to talk about that.
IMR: How has the journey of 1833 AD been, since the inception in the year 2006?
1833 AD: The journey has been long, tiring, testing and rewarding. We have progressed and learned a lot over the years. We are overjoyed to finally release our debut album this summer.
IMR: You guys have been labeled as the "Pioneers of Indian Black Metal", how does it feel? Is it a blessing or a burden?
1833 AD: It feels great, no doubts about that. It is of course a blessing to be at this place where we can take pride in this fact and we strive to live up to this honour.
IMR: You are trained in Carnatic music. Does that come in the way of 1833 AD’s genre, or does it help in composing? (for Nishant Abraham Varghese)
1833 AD: Other than my breathing techniques it hasn’t done much for me. I keep them totally separate so there is no question of it coming in the way or helping in composing. If I wake up and do my Riyaaz today I might wake up and cover a Dark Funeral song tomorrow. I love that I can touch such extremes, gives me a personal high(...laughs).
IMR: The teaser to your upcoming debut album, My Dark Symphony, got quite a number of hits. So, you have expectations rising. What has this album got to offer for the fans?
1833 AD: Yes, we are very happy with how that went. We do not want to spoil it for you guys by giving out even the slightest detail. It has taken months for us to come up with the whole package that exists today and we would like you all to experience it first hand without spoilers.
IMR: What are the lyrical themes on your upcoming material dealing with? Any new horizons explored with time?
1833 AD: Many themes are explored like existence and predominance of evil, tales of lust, malice, waning of faith, etc. Again, it’s better you experience it once you have the album.
IMR: Wasn’t this album long due? Are you guys looking at an International release, considering the fact that you have listeners in Nepal, Sri Lanka and parts of South-East Asia?
1833 AD: Oh yes! But there is more to releasing an album than writing the songs. Factors we cannot help. So it takes time and we’re glad that it finally turned out the way it did. We cannot comment on an international release at this point of time.
IMR: One thing I am really exquisite to know about is, where did the ideas for your new logo and album artwork come from (really appreciable)?
1833 AD: Based on the direction we were taking we had a rough concept of what we wanted it to be like but the credit of course goes to Reuben from Visual Amnesia who brought our vision to life.
IMR: As mentioned on your FaceBook page, you guys are currently "looking for a label" so what kind of label are you guys eventually looking to sign with?
1833 AD: We definitely plan to sign up with an international label but again, too soon to comment on that.
IMR: The scene in India is mostly ruled by core/djent bands. And sadly, we have few takers for Black Metal, and fewer guys playing Black Metal. What would you attribute this to?
1833 AD: Speaking strictly of Metal, youngsters obviously take a liking to aggressive forms of music especially those that are moshpit friendly. Black Metal is not something that everyone would enjoy. It is more than just aggression, most times, not even that. It is a very emotional form of music which I feel is an acquired taste and doesn’t just happen overnight.
IMR: Lots of ups and downs in the scene – the passing away of Mr. Amit Saigal, Mumbai coming up with Black Metal Krieg – anything you guys planning to do for the BM scene?
1833 AD: That definitely was the worst news for everyone in the Indian music scene. Mr. Saigal’s contribution has been immense and almost all bands in this country owe a part of their success to him. Many bands, including us, got their first gig thanks to this great man. We will miss him deeply.
Black Metal Krieg is a great initiative and we hope it picks up and becomes a nationwide event in coming years. We at our end can only try to spread the music as far and wide as we can. It will be a slow process and with more bands coming up, we are positive that Black Metal will pick up in India, in the next 5 years.
IMR: Black Metal is not just a form of music, it’s a philosophy, a lifestyle, an art – comments?
1833 AD: Agree. Black Metal is a very diverse form of art which has so much more going on than just the music. Each artist has a different approach to it. It is amazing how vast Black Metal is and how many directions you can take with this genre. It is a great experience both as a musician and as a listener.
IMR: You guys never make use of "corpse paint" onstage during your live performances which many of the BM bands do to have a good visual impact, why? Any plans to incorporate any "traditional" make-up in future?
1833 AD: Not really. Perhaps bands that do it are able to relate to the whole concept of using corpse paint. We do not and it is pathetic that you would do something you don’t believe in.
IMR: DSBM is one neglected Metal genre. Does 1833 AD plan to tread those grounds in the future?
1833 AD: It is almost as if you were secretly present at our band meetings (...laughs). Well not exactly but we do have something planned but that is only next year. We did however include few DSBM worthy parts into this album but the tempo might work against it. Nishant, especially has great interest in the sub-genre and is always trying to add such parts into our songs.
IMR: Upcoming Black Metal bands in India look up to you guys. Any tips or advice for them?
1833 AD: Stay true to your beliefs and just make music. Don’t worry about the stereotypical behaviour expected out of you.
IMR: We’re all looking forward to Bangalore Open Air. Aren’t you guys excited? What’s going to be on offer for the followers there?
1833 AD: Of course! We are looking forward to playing in Bangalore again especially along with these great names! We would be playing a lot of new songs and our album and merch would be on sale. See you there!
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