Not many must be aware about Axl Hazarika. Well he’s an Industrial/Avant-Garde/ Experimental musician from Guwahati, Assam and one of the pioneers of the genre in the North-Eastern region. Recently he released his second studio album ELEKTROKORE 1, which is in fact the first Industrial album coming out the region.
Also with Ryan Hazarika he released the first animated short film from the region. Earlier he was also associated with ELEKTROKORE. We catch up with him to talk about himself, Industrial music, his album and many more!
IMR: Hello Axl, how are you doing? From a ‘core’ member of ELEKTROKORE(the band) to releasing the first Industrial album of Assam ELKTROKORE 1 you have travelled a long distance. How would you summarize your musical journey so far?
Axl Hazarika: Greetings, I'm doing good. Well till now I have been releasing my songs in the name of ELEKTROKORE. I actually consider it as a project rather than a band. Over the years many of my close buddies joined me and jammed around with my compositions.
But, not to compromise on the quality of the compositions, I never allowed anyone to intervene in my songwriting/composing process. I like to do it solely.
Overall, the journey has been satisfactory.
IMR: For those who haven’t heard much of Axl Hazarika, can you please tell us in brief about you and you’re music?
Axl Hazarika: I hail from Guwahati, Assam. And I like to create 'noises'! I hope my noises get to the ears. Apart from that, nothing much to say.
IMR: As they say “Industrial music for Industrial people”, what inspires you to Industrial music? Also it is one of the least tried genres in the country although it was introduced in the early 1970’s, what do you think may be the reason?
Axl Hazarika: My fondness for Experimental music is the main point that draws me towards Industrial music. Also it gives the composer maximum scope for experimentation.
Not only in India, but all over the world the purist of all the genres have never welcomed Industrial music as such even though it contains all the elements of Pop, Rock, Electronica, Metal, etc. And I personally feel Industrial music which emerged from Germany played the most important part in the expansion of Experimental music.
IMR: Now let’s talk about your album. It is almost a week old now. How’s the response so far, both from the fans and the critics?
Axl Hazarika: I don’t expect much of success of this album since I am well aware of the number of Experimental music aficionados. But I am happy with the fact that for the first time the common mass of Assam got introduced to this kind of Experimental music and it seems they have welcomed it.
My album hasn’t been reviewed yet. So I can’t say about the views of the critics.
IMR: Your first album was released in 2008 and now in 2012 the second one is released. 4 years is a long time. What kept you busy so long and do you think all those years brought any change in you as a musician? If yes, how?
Axl Hazarika: After the release of my first album in 2008 I’ve been releasing only singles. Apart from music, I kept myself busy with various aspects of life.
Ofcourse, changes are bound to come with time. Hope I’ve improved my composition skills.
IMR: Songs from your previous album ELEKTOKORE were mostly in Assamese and lyrically based on themes like illegal immigration and terrorist activities etc. Whereas in ELEKTROKORE 1 apart from the fact that the songs are written in English one can see a major difference in songwriting as well. Is there any particular reason for the change or was it a random thing?
Axl Hazarika: I always lay more emphasis on the subject of a song. A single song is enough to convey your message on a particular topic. No need to repeat it. At present there is less insurgency in Assam & Assam is developing so I think it would be foolish to go on writing on the same subjects again & again.
I have already released songs in Assamese, Sanskrit, Bengali, English, Pali & Hindi. And I am a keen learner who tries to explore different things, the lesser known facts and newer topics.
IMR: The album was dedicated to Late. Mr Amit Saigal. I don’t have to ask you the reason why, but in those days when you were growing up as a kid, what impact does those pages of RSJ had on you?
Axl Hazarika: RSJ has been one of the important names among all music journals featuring Independent and Rock scene in India and south Asia. It was started in those days when we had no internet and it was the only source of 'Rock' news in our hands. In my place, Guwahati, the magazine was sold in hardly one or two bookstores at that time and we could only get the issues around
a month or so later. We literally had to struggle to get a copy because the limited editions in their stock used to get over in less than a week. It was one magazine that interested not only me but for sure all the Rock music lovers. And ofcourse the posters with every copy added more to it. The Articles, Reviews, News on latest releases, every page had inspired me in one
way or the other.
IMR: You were accompanied by Ryan Hazarika (on bass) and Keng Bhattacharya (on vocals) in the album. How is it like working with them and who else would you like to work with in your future projects?
Axl Hazarika: We are more like a family. We grew up together and we shall always be together in this journey of musical creativity.
And because I dream big, so much have I always wanted to work with people like M.J.Keenan & Simon Posford. Hope I’ll make it some day.
IMR: Tell us about HUM BADAL GAYE, the song has been in the news for all the right reasons. Also, tell us about the short movie that has been released recently.
Axl Hazarika: Yes it’s up in the news in Assam. Being the first ever animated film from the region, that can be expected. It’s already a hit in Assam. People have welcomed this new concept with open arms. And the mere fact that it was in Hindi instead of English or any other regional languages was instrumental in connecting directly with the common people of North-East India.
IMR: An album released recently, and then a short animated movie and your first Hindi song. What else Axl Hazarika has in store next?
Axl Hazarika: Another new experiment because repeating the same things becomes boring.
IMR: A common question asked to all the musicians/bands especially from the North Eastern region. There are always issues being raised that the bands/musicians from the region don’t get enough exposure. What’s your take on this? And what are your favourite bands/musicians from the region?
Axl Hazarika: Gone are those days. In today’s 3G world it’s baseless to say that we don’t get enough exposure. No one will come and take our music to the world. We have to do it by our ownself. And there are genuine music supporters & promoters all over who will definitely help spread our work to a wider range.
But first & foremost, the compositions have to be of top notch quality with unique sound. Currently, artists like SOULMATE & Papon are creating a buzz in the International arena. It’s only because they have their own sound.
I don’t dislike any music from our region as I appreciate all kinds of musical forms.
IMR: So, that’s the end of the interview. Thanks for your time and wish you all the success with your album. Anything you want to say to our readers?
Axl Hazarika: Thanks to the entire team of IndianMusicRevolution for showing interest in my ‘noises’. And to all the readers, try to be more creative in your own department.
Joi Aai Axom
Chitraranjan Gogoi is a 24 yrs old, Electronics and Communication engineer by degree and a Graphics and Web designer by profession from Assam. Currently residing in New Delhi, he loves to travel and learn about different traditions, cultures, food and most important "music".
Musically a very much Classic/Rock 'N' Roll guy but currently in love with bands like THURISAZ, ANATHEMA and GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT. Also a "die hard" Manchester United fan.
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