ALBATROSS   HEAVY POWER METAL FROM INDIA Band Questions answer by “DR. HEX” DASGUPTA    
Please introduce yourself and the band members briefly? My name is Dr. Hex, and I play bass and write lyrics for Albatross. The current lineup consists of Biprorshee Das on vocals, Jay Thacker on drums, Vigneshkumar Venkatraman on lead/rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Purujit Srivastava on lead/rhythm guitar, who is our newest member. We’ve been around for almost a decade and have had various lineup changes during this period.   What does the band name mean and how do you get it? Albatross is a seabird that was prominently featured in the poem- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Coleridge. It is considered to be an ill omen, and because of the storytelling nature of the poem, and the Iron Maiden song based on the name, we felt it would be an apt name. My brother, Rono Dasgupta, suggested the name when the band was still in its initial stages. Where and how was the band founded? It began as a solo project of mine, and the idea was to recruit different musicians for every song. I soon realised how difficult this was, and called upon two old friends in Biprorshee and Jay to start a full time lineup. Vigneshkumar came on board, after our founding member Rajarshi Bhattacharya quit and Purujit joined not long ago, when our long-standing guitarist Nishith Hegde quit, owing to other commitments. How did you come to your name Dr Hex? Every Albatross album is a concept release, where we provide a musical soundtrack to horror stories. One of my personal favourite albums is Operation Mindcrime by the band Queensryche. Dr. X is the villain of the said piece and Dr. Hex is a tribute to the album and the character. My onstage getup was created to differentiate us from other bands, and also to set me apart from my previous character, because I was part of a comedy band. Have you played in other bands before? Absolutely. I was in a band called Old Monks, which was a bluesy rock n‘ roll act between 2004-2007 and another called Workshop from 2007-2011, which was a comedy metal act. I also play in a band called Primitiv now, a death-doom metal band.   Was it hard to find suitable band members who fit musically and humanely with the band? Thankfully not. Jay, Bipro and I have been part of the band from the beginning and Vignesh came on board soon after. Over the years, we’ve grown to become good friends and the fact that we’ve stayed together so long has made it easier to cope with any lineup changes. I’m also friends with all of the old members and as talented as each one of them is, every time they’ve decided to step away, someone new and hungry has stepped up.   What are the lyrics about and who of you is writing them ? Every album tells a different story. Dinner is You was about the Kuru Disease, a laughing disease that affects cannibals in three parts. Kissing Flies was a Lovecraft-esque look at a haunted town, that is rotting at its core and hence, terrorized by flies. Fear From The Skies consisted of two stories, the first about an amusement park with a ride that reaches the heavens and the second about a mad scientist called Doctor Hex and his corrupt political ambitions. Jay came up with the amusement park storyline, but I write all the lyrics.   Which bands inspired you and how would you describe your music to someone who has never heard a sound from you? I was inspired by King Diamond, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Iced Earth and other bands on these lines, but every member comes in with his own influences and we sound like none of our idols. Our music is eccentric and ecletic, mixing heavy and power metal influences with some progressive elements thrown in. We sound like nothing you’ve ever heard. Or ever will hear.   Why should people listen to our music? Like a good storybook or a film, we promise to transport you to a terrifying world for a little while and make you forget about the drab and dreary world around you.   Fear from the Skies your debut album is from 2015. How long did it take to work on the album and who helped you with the production? Fear from the Skies was our first ever full length release. This is an album that took us almost two years to write. We recorded the album in Mindmap Studios in Mumbai, mixed by Ashwin Shriyan and mastered by Daniel Kenneth Rego. It was released on Transcending Obscurity Records by Kunal Choksi, the label owner. We poured our heart and soul into the release and thankfully, it was received well.   What's your favorite song on the album and why? In The Lair of Dr. Hex. There’s just something surreal about that song, even when we’re playing it live. Both Vignesh and Nishith wrote parts of it, and each soloes on the other’s part, making it such a unique and magical piece that I feel proud of the song every time I listen to it. Even the crowd stands transfixed every time we play the song.   You've been under contract with Transcending Obscurity India. How is the cooperation and how satisfied are you with the label? We’re no longer with the label. Kunal remains a friend and he was fantastic during our association with him. We’re signed to a new label for a limited release and I’m very excited about it. Transcending Obscurity helped us a great deal during the album launch, especially when it comes to the packaging aspect. Kunal and Moni made every CD look absolutely gorgeous.   Are you already working on new songs and how does the planning for a new album look like? We are! It’s going to be a special release, a split with another band. Our new songs are a lot more melodic now that Vignesh has taken over the reins as the primary songwriter and we’re also a lot older than when we wrote our earlier material. I’m obsessed with choruses now, and we’re going to be putting in the extra effort to make every chorus sound massive.   Why do you think it is hard for an Indian band to succeed in Europe or America? I think it’s becoming more and more difficult for a heavy metal band to succeed anywhere in the world. Indian bands have to spend a fortune to even get to Europe or America for a tour. It’s often not financially feasible. Many bands from India have challenged this notion and are touring Europe extensively, but even they will admit that this can be a taxing affair. In our case, we’re all older and real life and responsibilities can catch up with you at our age. Purujit for instance, lives in a different city and coordinating practice sessions with him can be a pain too. We make do with what we can!   What was your first concert as a fan? And what memory do you have of it? A band called EqLipse was playing at a country club that my parents were members of. They were okay, playing covers of classics like Hotel California and Stairway to Heaven. I have the foggiest memory of the concert. It was not until I’d attend a real gig later, that I understood that they weren’t very good.   What were your live highlights and with which bands did you play? I don’t think Albatross can top the experience of playing in Melbourne, before a receptive crowd. It was our first international show and we made many new friends.   Which band would you like to play live with and why? Haha, maybe a few songs with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen?   Is it difficult for you to organize concerts in india or are there many clubs in your area? There are good times and there are down times. Currently, there is a dearth of good venues in Bombay or Mumbai, where I currently reside. My friends internationally tell me there’s been a deline in concert venues in most parts of the world. But it’s cyclical, so a new venue will always come up.   With what do you earn your money except with the music? I earn no money through music. I am a freelance content/copy writer specialising in professional wrestling. You can read my articles at www.sportskeeda.com/profile/riju-dasgupta   How important are social media for you as a band? As important as the music, unfortunately, in today’s day and age. It’s the only way to reach out to the audience, to invite them for shows or to even link them to the music.   What would you (her) want to achieve with the band? My goals keep changing, but I’d like to take the music around the world and keep making music that inspires the five of us, as long as we can.   What do you think about the India Metal scene in general? It’s fantastic. I’ve seen it grow over the last fifteen years, and there are so many bands, playing so many styles now. I’m proud of how far they’ve come.   Maybe you can recommend some bands from your area? Some of the bigger Indian bands are Demonic Resurrection, Undying Inc., Bhayanak Maut, Kryptos, Gutslit, Godless, Inner Sanctum, Systemhouse 33, Sceptre,   etc. Some new bands that are making waves are Dirge, Mustang, Amorphia, Machete, Djinn and Miskatonic, Against Evil, Speedtrip, Antarkrit, etc.   PERSONAL QUESTIONS !   Where did you grow up and how was your childhood? Unlike most of the metal community, I got along really well with my parents and brother so my childhood was actually quite pleasant. I was a voracious reader as a child, and that inspired my love for fantasy and fiction. I was born in a town called Kalyani in West Bengal, on the East coast of India, but our family moved to Thane, which is an hour away from the city of Mumbai/Bombay when I was 7 years old. I was always the teacher’s pet in school, and yes, have now realized that my younger days were extremely non metal.   How was your school time you were rather the good student or the break clown ? I was never an extraordinary student, but I always scored good marks, except when my parents asked me to pursue a degree in Science. So, I sucked in academics for 2 years, in what is known as Junior College here. I discovered the art of jokes that will make you tear your hair out as a kid, and made that a part of my repertoire since. I even worked as a humour writer for a music channel in India, between 2007-9.   How did your parents react when you started making metal music? did they support you and how do you feel about your music today? I think they were happy to see me pick up a guitar, but alarmed when they saw how seriously I would take this vocation. But yes, they’ve been incredibly supportive despite that. They never compliment me to my face, but I’ve heard them talk to relatives about how passionate I am about music. I am thrilled to have done whatever I have in the music world, and I feel blessed that there’s an audience that pays to hear the music that I’ve made with my friends. I know people who would have killed to have performed in front of an audience just once! To have been able to do so for 15 years is truly a gift.   Would you be successful in making music as a musician? I guess that depends on how you define success? No, I haven’t been commercially successful in making music as a musician.   Are you someone who loves the hustle and bustle of the big city? or rather looking for peace and relaxation in nature? Hustle and bustle of a big city. I feel relaxed in shopping malls. The silence of small towns scare me. That’s why every horror story of mine happens in small towns.   Do you actively practice sports or are you more of a passive spectator? I’m a sports journalist with no athletic ability.   When it comes to your physical well you can cook or let you cook for you Nope. Cannot cook at all.   What does your environment tell you about your passion for metal (friends / family / colleagues) ? A lot of them don’t like my music or metal music in general. A lot of the others do. It’s like like it is with others, I suppose.   How do you see the problem with the haters on the internet who have to announce their mental garbage in anonymity always and everywhere? One of the first things I learned is that if you’re in a band, you need to have thick skin. You cannot let anything get to you. Facebook is a garbage dump anyway, and I’ve thankfully not stepped into the human cesspool known as Instagram yet. I don’t let anything on the internet get to me, and I wish others did the same.   What do you think about the internet in general? a blessing or a curse? I like everything about the internet, except for the fact that piracy has killed the music industry.   What would you personally like to do in your life? Be associated with music and wrestling as long as I can, and not grow up. India: Home   Austria: Would love to visit someday   Haji Ali Dargah: A beautiful landmark   Bombay: Love everything about it   Taj Mahal: My band Primitiv recently played at a city called Aurangabad, which has a miniature copy of the Taj Mahal. As beautiful as the original is, this also looked super cool. I was way too young when I saw the original.   Vindalho: Only if it’s pork and spicy, served with paav buns.   Masala Chai: I’m lactose intolerant, so not a fan.   Movie or Series: Seinfeld and Westworld   Cricket: Only scripted sports interest me.   King Diamond or Iced Earth: As much as I love Iced Earth, King Diamond is the greatest band in history.   Iron Maiden or Judas Priest: Iron Maiden, but I love Judas Priest too.   Family: Everything   Your top 10 all time album faves King Diamond- Abigail Rainbow- Stranger in Us All Judas Priest- Painkiller Mercyful Fate- In The Shadows Manilla Road- The Deluge Iced Earth- Horror Show Wolf- Ravenous Queensryche- Operation Mindcrime Queen- Queen II Manowar- Sign of the Hammer   The closing word is yours? Thank you for speaking to me and allowing me to spread my music. Thank you to everyone who’s ever attended my concerts or bought a CD. You guys are special. Horns up and stay heavy, metalheads!
© 2019 by Haschi`s Metal Corner
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