Indian Music Revolution Interview

My band was interviewed by a website called Indian Music Revolution some time ago. Just thought I'd put this up here.

IMR: Hello "STON'D”! It's a real pleasure talking to you guys. What would you say, if I ask you to start this interview by presenting the band to our readers? When and how did "STON'D" get together?

Ston'd is a metal band hailing from Bangalore. Its story starts in the summer of 2005 when Anoop (bass) and Abijith (vocals) met Aditya (guitars) for the first time in a mutual friend's jam room. No one had a clear idea about what they wanted their band to sound like. There was a huge difference in influences ranging from Lamb of God to Korn to the Scorpions. Nothing really came out of that first meeting. Aditya got an offer from another band. Abijith went on to do vocals for a nu-metal act. However, after a couple of months, and a couple of chance meetings with the future guitarists of Ston'd, the band was finally formed at the end of 2006. The original line up consisted of Abijith on vocals, Hitesh and Sudhir on guitars, Anoop on bass and Karthik on drums. Debuting in the “Unwind Underground” gig/competition, and after about seven shows, the band saw a line up change with Aditya, who had met Abijith and Anoop during the conceptual stage of the band, replacing Hitesh on guitars.

IMR :Personally, I would like to ask you guys, what are the goals that you guys have set for the recent years to come(I think everybody is a student, am I right)?

Our goal, from the very beginning of the band, was to emerge with a new sound, yet maintain that heavy, aggressive, in your face kind of punch to the music. We think we have reached that. If you look at the metal scene today, most bands have your typical semi-growl type vocals and very rarely do they experiment musically either. We think we have burst that bubble. Our vocals have more of a grind core feel, interspersed with penetrating screeches rather than an almost exact impersonation of major international bands. We’ve also always wanted to play originals more than covers because, let’s face it; it’s a lot more fun when your audience moshes to your own music. Having more or less achieved these goals, our main aim is to reach out to a greater audience now; and maybe a full length album.

IMR: Your music has quite a fiercest touch to it. How much important role does your musical influence play in bringing up your music to perfection? List down the same?

All of us in the band listen to a whole range of music from the Scorpions to Jason Becker to Good Charlotte and Cannibal Corpse; to more mainstream metal bands like Lamb of God, Mastodon, Textures, etc. there are a lot of different bands that we listen to. Having said that, we try not to let these bands influence our music directly. As we mentioned earlier, the band always wanted a different sound and the emphasis was always on originals than covers. So while we do listen to these bands, we hope we don’t sound like them like most other mainstream metal bands in India do.

IMR: What made you choose your band to be named as "STON'D", what does that signify? What’s the most memorable moment for you in the history of the band?

When we started this band, we just wanted to relax, have fun and get stoned on music. Even today, there are times when we just hang out in our Jam Room. That’s the basic idea behind how the name came about. So if you are looking for a deep, introspective meaning behind the band name here, you’re not going to find it. Because all said and done we play this music to let loose, and have fun. The most memorable moment in the history of the band is probably playing in shows like IIT Chennai’s Saarang ’08 where the band placed second, and Manipal Institue of Technology’s Revels ’06. Both these places had a fantastic crowd response.

IMR: Do you have any E.P, Releases etc coming up in recent times to watch out for?

We already have a 3 song EP out called Disaster Area. This EP was recorded completely in our little studio set up at home with no professional help. You can check out to hear the songs. Be sure to watch out for a full length album by the end of this year!
If you are interested in doing low budget recording contact

IMR: How do you describe the music of "STON'D"? And, what are the grounds in which you lag as a metal band and would like to overcome?

Like we mentioned before, the aim of this band was to create a new sound. What we have achieved is a heavy, aggressive sound interspersed with moments of melody. We have a lot of double bass work, quite a lot of riffing, and our bassist provides a pretty solid bass line. Our vocals have a hint of grind core/death metal influence, mixed with piercing screeches. We think it’s mostly the area of consistency in which we lag. We have had awesome shows, but on the flip side, we’ve sometimes disappointed ourselves by not delivering up to the mark. And you can blame the sound guys, and the equipment or whatever, but we take it as a sign that we have got to push ourselves harder. We look forward to having a blistering set every time we get on stage.

IMR: Could you let our readers know in short about the songwriting mechanism for "STON'D”? Any writers or other artists/bands that influence you lyrically? What kind of listeners do you think that your music targets?

A song usually begins with either one of our guitarists bringing in half a riff, or a whole riff, half a song, or sometime a whole song into the Jam Room and work begins from there. One thing which sets us apart from most bands is probably the fact that the vocals are put over the riff as the drums are being laid out. So by the end of the riff, we already know how the completed product or that particular part of the song is going to sound. Then we decide if we need to tweak the arrangement or structure of the song. The lyrics, leads and overdubs are usually put down after everything else is finished.
Our lyrical writing style is mainly influenced by Death, and Tool. We’re also influenced by a host of movies like Charlie Wilson’s War, American History X, A Mighty Heart, Schindler’s List, Blood Diamond, etc. Some of the writers that have influenced us in the past are Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal), Marianne Pearl (A Mighty Heart), William Blake (The Red Dragon, and the Woman Clothed in Sun). The fucked up political clime in India and abroad, and human suffering as a result of the same, play a major part in the messages behind our lyrics.

IMR: You guys are from "Bangalore"(Karnataka). What is the underground scene like up there is it supportive? Is there any place you've particularly enjoyed or enjoyed playing? Share any one of your memorable gig experiences.

You can’t really call us an underground band but yes, a metal fan would enjoy our music the most. The scene in Bangalore is amazing. The bands and the audience are awesome. After all, it is the Metal Mecca of India :P. The scene here has been extremely supportive of us. We have always welcomed criticism, suggestions, and a couple of death threats (Laughs). But yes, the audience here has always been good to us.
We always enjoy Bangalore gigs. But apart from that IIT Chennai and Manipal Institute of Technology were great shows. What we enjoyed most there was the audience: they were extremely responsive.
One of the most memorable gig experiences for the band was this weekend back in November 2007. It was insane and fun, and very surreal. We got to personally meet Sepultura, and because they were a major influence of us initially, this was a big deal; bigger than it would have been otherwise. We also played three shows in two days, one of which was in an all girls’ school! And the next day we played the Bangalore Finals of Campus Rock Idols where we played one of our tightest sets ever in front of a huge crowd. So that weekend was probably the most fun we have had together us a band.

IMR: How important do you feel, is it for underground bands to have appearance on music related website? What do you think plays the biggest role in getting your music heard, who would you like to give the credits for the same?

Like we said before you can’t really label us an underground band, but we are not everyone’s cup of tea either. We think it is vitally important that metal bands in India have enough exposure to the public, apart from the small number of people constituting the metal audience that is there in India. Websites, such as you, are an excellent way of breaking the barrier preventing metal bands from reaching a wider range of audiences. We hope that this extends to the radio, and even maybe television. Maybe this will lead to an indigenous metal label being born. Unless this happens, it will be very difficult for members of a metal band to make their living through music in India.
Our friends and audience have played the biggest role in getting us heard. There have been so many people who have helped us sell CDs and who have supported us from the very beginning. We would like to thank our friends from the Jam Room, Abandoned Agony, Theorized, Corrode, Spitfire, Audiophile, Venator. Also the organizers of Sunday Jam, a free music festival held monthly in Bangalore, and everyone else who has come out and supported us.

IMR: Where do you picture yourself and the band in the coming years? Do you guys have a gut feeling that, you will cross into mainstream flavor because you do possess some of those elements?

We know that whatever happens, we will continue playing as long as we enjoy our music. We just want to push ourselves to keep sounding better. And it really doesn’t matter if we move into the mainstream or not. This band was conceived to have fun and make good music and that’s what we intend to do, come hell or high water. If we do cross over into the mainstream, it will only be with us playing the kind of music we love. We do not want to cater to whatever the trend in metal is. We just want to sound good and heavy.

IMR: How do you feel, when people do not recognize your hard work behind your music just because you are an underground band, is it frustrating?
(Laughs) An incident comes to mind. This was the first show with our new line up. We were playing a show where an RJ and a bassist of a well known Indian band were on the judge’s panel. After the set, the RJ asked us (quote) “What’s all the violence about?” And we also heard the other judge say that “Growling turns me off”. Back then, yes, it irritated us and frustrated us. But we think we have matured since then. If people don’t recognize the work that goes behind this band then, well, there is nothing much one can do about it. And even if heavy metal has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned by the masses in India, it sure as hell isn’t going to stop us from playing this kind of music.