THE DOWN TRODDENCE is one of Kerala’s better known Metal bands. A band that plays a fusion of Folk Metal with lots of Groove Elements, with their lyrical themes that revolve around Mythological content, social and political issues. The band is all set to play at The Grand Mammoth Festival in Mumbai, this March 26th, 2017. We are speaking with the band’s bassist Nezer about what’s cooking in The Down Troddence camp, the new album, TGMF and the upcoming shows. Excerpts:
MJM. First of all, how does it feel to be back after a gap? We missed you!
Nezer: We missed you too. Wouldn’t technically call it coming back till we put out our next album. Ganesh is still expected to return by march, 2018. But we really missed playing live and its important to play live to keep the morale of the band in check. So we roped in Manu Krishnan as a sessions drummer to play TGMF. We have been rehearsing with him. Hope it goes well on 26th.
MJM. How do you classify your band? Many call your band genre to be grove metal/thrash/folk and even Vedic metal.
Nezer: All of us have given up the categorising business long back. We just make music which resonates a good energy within us now which is fresh for us. Tags are the least important of our concerns right now.
MJM. What is the main influence behind the song Shiva and the crazy video?
Nezer: This was way back in 2010. We just wanted to compose a good song which said something significant, for us. And we were really into the folk traditions of our land and the stories it told us. So we converged two of those stories into one song which became Shiva. The video was just a random burst of “lets do this. its now or never” situation amongst the band. And we acted on that drive and materialised the video.
“If more people feel that way, more successful a band will be according to us.”
MJM. What does it feels like to look back from where you guys started?
Nezer: It was a crazy journey for us. Many peaks and Valleys. I think more than anything else, the whole journey has been a humbling experience. It keeps us grounded and rooted at the same time makes us aspire for more. When we look back, it was testimony that we followed our heart and felt alive at each step of the way.
MJM. Many Indian bands after reaching the level where you guys are and you know when they tend to ‘raise their collars’. How focused are you towards the future?
Nezer: We don’t consider ourselves to have hit any ‘level’ to raise our collars to say the least. Its easy to get stuff into your head when some level of success finds you. But we have learnt that it is a crime to rest on ones laurels. At this point in time, we are committed and focused to creating more music which excites us and lead our way to the second album.
The Down Troddence – Shiva
MJM. What is success to you?
Nezer: Music marketing “gurus” will blurt out a number of performance indicators for a band to be deemed as successful. Like album sales, social media impressions, number of live shows, demographics covered yadiyada. But at the core of all those peripheral number games, If someone gets moved inside listening to the music you present and genuinely feels the chill at the back of the spine and touches the soul in some way, that is true success. If more people feel that way, more successful a band will be according to us.
MJM. How long did it take you to understand your band’s sound?
Nezer: To say that we have figured out our sound is to some extent arrogant. We feel there is no answer to a band’s sound. Most of the us reconcile with some combination of sounds and musical direction as “the sound”. While the true fun is in the process of exploration and continuous seeking. If we settle for a definite sound, that will be passe’ before you know it. We are constantly seeking.
“We will try and play a new song too.”
MJM. Is TDT is going to continue its path down this music genre? Or switch to experimentation?
Nezer: That is time’s doing. We were always about experimentation. That’s what gave us our current sound. We will continue exploring whatever the song and the theme demands.
MJM. The album, “How are you? We are fine thank you” has set up the bar very high. Are you guys very careful about the next album?
Nezer: In many ways, yes. We tend to judge the motifs and passages more than how we used to back then. We think that’s an integral part of growth. On the other hand, if I were to use an analogy, we are still making random brush strokes on the canvas. So not too careful that way. We are more careful of things not sounding the same than making it sound similar to the existing sound frame.
MJM. I have read it somewhere that you guys are going to bring in some old instruments which could be used in metal. How does the study go on? Is it the time for the fans to be exposed to a different style?
Nezer: Like I said, experimentation is what drives the sound forward. We’ve been collecting a lot of new sounds and instruments and hopefully incorporate that tastefully into our music. And yes, listeners deserve something fresh. And listeners include us too.
The Down Troddence – Nagavalli ( Lyric Video By Riaz Hassan )
MJM. How are you prepared for the show TGMF? Is there going to be any surprise? Any new songs?
Nezer: Depends upon how the rehearsals will unfold. Most likely, it will be our existing playlist. But if things go well, we will try and play a new song too.
MJM. You guys have performed in many cities. What makes them different to you?
Nezer: All of them are unique and different in many ways. Every city has something which really captures its essence. Mumbai with the coast, food and people, Pune with its chilled out vibes, Delhi with all the history and the extreme weather, Chennai with all that tamil-coffee-dosa vibe, Hyderabad with its savoury Biryani. But one thing is constant. The love and warmth we have received from our supporters. That makes us want to come back for more.
MJM. TDT is going to share stage with great bands in TGMF. How do you feel? Any message for the readers?
Nezer: We are really excited to be back in Mumbai sharing stage along with some slamming bands in the country. Mumbai is one of our most beloved cities ever, without a question. Keep supporting good music and the makers. That’s about it.
MJM. Finally, what is the plan in future?
Nezer: ALBUM 2. GIGS. Taking things to the next level.
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Aatish Gade (Metaljesus Magazine)