Today, I get the privilege of speaking to Nitin Rajan, the founder of Domination- Death Fest, one of the earliest Extreme Metal festivals in India. Nitin, now talks about his bands Primitiv, his journey as an organizer/promoter and lots more in this in-depth interview!
MJM. Hello Nitin! How are you doing?
Nitin- Hello Aumkar! I am good. Thank you!
MJM. You started Domination – The Deathfest back in 2000 with your bandmates from Morticide. How was it conceptualized?
Nitin- In those days you had more rock bands than metal. “Rock Shows” would be the norm and rarely would metal bands get a chance to play at these events. All of us at Morticide and our ‘metal clan’ felt that it was high time extreme metal had a festival of its own in India. Just metal bands and nothing else. So, we began the first edition with all guts and no glory.
MJM. You will be playing at the 7th edition of this Deathfest at Hyderabad along with many other extreme metal acts from the country. Tell us more about the gig.
Nitin- Not many know that the 2nd (2001) and the 4th (2003) editions had a Pune and Bangalore leg too besides Bombay. So it has always been our endeavor to take the festival to newer cities. I have an old connection with Hyderabad, having done vocals for Sledge for a decent amount of time and I always wanted to get Deathfest to Hyderabad. You have to see the crowd there to realize the passion for metal. So last year we got Deathfest to Hyderabad and are returning this year with an even better lineup. Bands from 4 different cities playing together and catering to almost all the sub genres of extreme metal! I am immensely grateful to my co-conspirators Riju Dasgupta & Philip Baiju for putting together the seventh edition where we see Demonic Resurrection & Threinody returning to the fest after 15 years. They both played at the inaugural edition in 2000 at the legendary Razz Rhino lawns. We also have Purgation from Kolkata, Grossty from Bangalore, Wired Anxiety from Bombay and an All Stars Hyderabad Metal Legion which should be fun.
MJM. How and when was Primitiv formed? How did you guys meet?
Nitin- We all knew each other from the scene. It started off with the Riju (Albatross) & Rajarshi (Hellwind) wanting to form a band older than old school.
It later evolved into the current lineup after the three of us started writing songs from Raj’s pad in Powai, Bombay with Pushkar Joshi (Ex- Blood Meridian) and Kiron Kumar (Hellwind) completing the lineup. Somewhere all of us wanted to jam together and start a project.
MJM. Primitiv has played many live shows across the country such as Steel will rule, The Grand Mammoth festival, Metal at the tavern II, etc. Tell us about your most memorable experience while playing live with Primitiv.
Nitin- The first Grand Mammoth Fest was quite epic. Mad crowd turnout at Marine Centre Vashi. But one of our most memorable set was at Steel Will Rule – Jaipur. Great weather, amazing food, had a great time hanging out with the boys from Winter Gate and what a sick reception on stage! Raj and KK were in their elements ‘with good help from their friends’ and we pulled off a blinder.
MJM. You have released two singles so far, ‘Taurus’ and ‘Lords of Primitiv’. Any plans on releasing an EP or an album?
Nitin- Yes. We have 6 diverse originals which take the stories from the Primitiv universe forward and are waiting to unleash two of these at Deathfest Hyderabad. If all goes well we will have an EP/Album out before the year ends.
MJM. I have seen you live three or four times now and I must say your live performances are very powerful and crushing. Also, I consider you as one of the best death metal vocalists in the country. Who are your personal influences?
Nitin- Thanks man. We have a good breed of extreme metal vocalists in the country now. I have always tried to go 100% on stage. Nothing less.
As for influences Chris Barnes from the old Corpse era, the energy of Philip Anselmo & the diabolic throw of John Tardy from Obituary. Never tried to ape them but the way they went about their craft was/is unmatched. Vintage!
MJM. ‘Other bands are old school. We are Primitiv’ is an in-your-face statement. I heard both the singles you guys have released and they remind me of great death metal bands like Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Hail of bullets, etc. How will you describe your sound with respect to the above statement?
Nitin- The credit for the ‘in-your-face’ statement goes to the evil doctor – Riju Dasgupta. The man has an amazing way with words. Effortless too.
Our sound to be very honest is an amalgamation of all our diverse influences. We all listen to very different kind of music and not necessarily only death metal. And the brief is to just keep it extremely simple yet intense. But i am very pleased to hear that our sound is akin to such legendary acts.
MJM. Where do you see yourself 4-5 years down the line?
Nitin- Haha! This is such a job interview question. Hopefully still making and playing metal music as a band. Playing more uncharted territories (for us) & kicking ass on stage each and every time.
MJM. What do you think of the Mumbai metal scene and also about Indian metal scene in general?
Nitin- I am a product of the Bombay metal scene and extremely proud of it. We have all the sub-genres over here and we have survived against all odds. It is a manic city which owns your soul. Indian metal is really coming up with newer cities organizing underground concerts and calling bands over. The only way for metal to flourish. Long way up but we are on course.
MJM. Finally, any last words for your fans?
Nitin- Thank you for listening to our music, coming out for our shows and buying our merchandise. It means a hell of a lot to us. And don’t just stay old school, stay Primitiv.
MJM.. Thanks a lot for speaking with us!
Nitin- Many thanks for this session Aumkar. More power to endeavors like Metaljesus Magazine – it goes a long way in spreading the gospel of metal.
More Primitiv– https://soundcloud.com/primitivindia
Aumkar Lele (Metaljesus Magazine)