Aniket: So Starting off tell us about how Slain started off…give us a history lesson..

How did you guys meet..the band members???

Naresh: After his 2nd PU results, Judah knew he was destined to a life of music. He started this affair with his energetic brother Freddy(who plays the drums). They both practically had music in their blood, and having lived under the same roof for so many years they could read each others minds! I had played bass for a metal band in college and soon after we stopped performing, I heard Judah was starting this initiative and needed a bass player. We just met up and things clicked, we started jamming and composing material soon after.

Manek: Through college Bryden was my partner in crime and guitaring- we played in the St. Josephs band Shamans for a year- and both moved eventually to join the rest of the guys in Slain, as if fate had it all planned. There were quite a few lineup changes and difficult gigs during that whole process, but it all worked out fine. Dillu, Jonathan, our budding keyboardist, was again a common friend- who Judah had been trying to convince to join Slain for several years then I believe, haha! But it was not until he saw all us charming lads that he actually joined the band for good. It took a decent couple of months before we stabilized and started gigging quite alot in and around Bangalore- but once it really started, we just ran for it and didn’t look back!

Aniket: Well You guys opened for (Iron)Maiden ….How did it feel???

Naresh: Maiden was quite an experience- it was rather overwhelming to play on the same stage as musicians who we’ve grown up listening to and learning from.The event ofcourse was in India though, so we had our fair share of issues that day, with timings, with sound, but we just having so much fun there was hardly scope to complain Our show went off well, then there were a bunch of great acts like Kryptos, Cyanide Serenity and Parikrama… and Maiden brought the day to a dramatic end with a tight, loud, heavily inspiring set!

Manek: I think the biggest disappointment for me was having to wear those sponsor t-shirts, we were playing because of a competition the previous night, and the sponsors were picky that we wear their branding. Which really just shot down all the pretty glam dressing I had planned for the day!

Aniket: Tell us about your jam sessions.. whose the joker??

Manek: We practice in a small cozy under-ventilated room directly below the church near Judah’s house. We practice opposite a all cozy under-ventilated chaat/bajji shop. It’s really the best of both worlds. Our practices are on an average more than 5 hours long and often go well into the next morning.

Of course the amount of that time that can actually be counted as ‘practicing’, as per the dictionary definition of the word, is rather quite a small percentage. Before we start there’s a pre-practice round of junk food, its a sacred ritual and must not be overlooked under any circumstances. Then we head to the jam room, tune up our instruments perfectly, and mentally prepare ourselves for a productive session. It’s hardly planned but sooner or later Freddy, the joker of the band to answer your question, will imitate random, stupid mannerisms of famous celebrities and we’ll all burst out into fits of hysteric laughter, and there’s no stopping us once we start- wise cracks, rude remarks, farm-animal noises, you name it. That’s part of the reason we don’t allow the public to visit our jam room: can’t risk making complete fools of ourselves and tarnish our rocker image.

Naresh: And that continues until approximately an hour or so before we had planned to disperse, when one random band member suddenly gets very serious and starts screaming at everyone else for taking things so lightly! Judah holds the record, Manek comes in a close second place.

Once we’re in the mood for some rocking music though, nothing distracts us- playing through our songs, jamming on some favourite covers or new songs one of us learned- it goes on and on, and generally is quite satisfying. Especially since the reward for a good practice is running across the street and stuffing our faces with oily fatty hardly-hygienic foods, that would probably be the death of us some day soon

Aniket: Would you date a fan???

Manek: but only if she idolizes Slain and worships the very ground I walk on.

Naresh: Pardon him, I think the roadside food we stuffed ourselves with last jam session is taking it’s toll. To be honest, it hardly matters if someone’s a fan or not, I mean it’s great that people like our music but really there’s more than that when it cometo our relationships with people, we’re definitely more picky when it comes to dates/girlfriends- being friendly with tonnes of people is all fine but it’s only worth going that extra mile for someone you can connect with on a bunch of levels. So date a fan? Yes. Date her because she’s a fan? No.

Aniket: Does being in a rock band live up to the hype??

(Naresh and Manek both in discordant harmony: NNOOOOOOO!!!?&^@#!)

Manek: The trouble is, in India it’s hard enough surviving as a rock musician, and while there’s quite a big market for this kind of music, the sad part is there are only a handful of people/companies/institutions willing to invest in putting up a quality concert. So from the band’s point of view, the pay isn’t great, and quite often organizers don’t know what a band really does so you have to put up with alot of misinformed people, that could get irritating. Most people have a certain glamourized image associated with being a rock star, but atleast in India, the reality is far from that, it’s not all one big comfy party.But it’s not all bad either, we’ve had some swell times, you get loads of free rides and delicious food now and then, and ofcourse, there’s the thrill of going crazy performing infront of thousands of screaming rock fans. Yea, that’s definitely a plus point.

Aniket: What inspires the song writing process???

Naresh: Inspiration comes from everywhere. On certain days, something as simple as a truck horn could inspire a smash single
On other days, even watching back-to-back Whitesnake concerts won’t help get the creative juices flowing. But lately it’s been quite experimental, with Freddy laying a groove down, something he was working on maybe the previous night- or a riff that Bryden just picked off the top of his head- or a chord that Dillu invented by pressing all the keys he could find simultaneously. It always starts somewhere simple. If it sounds like something with potential, we start off immediately- each excitedly throwing in their own musical ideas and inspirations, Judah’s what you would call our producer- though there are so many options and ideas, it’s great to have someone to really shape the music, he gives a certain direction and flow to the song structures. It’s a brilliant beautiful experience for all of us really, because the end result is you have our songs that each sound so different and varied but still somehow have that connecting factor of Slain.

Aniket:What do you think of the Indian Rock music scene???

Manek: If we were to assume the rock scene in India started approximately 20 years ago, with bands like Parikrama and Indus Creed opening the doors to a whole new type of music this country was only beginning to accept, then I’d say we’ve come a long way. Those bands obviously did something special, but it wasn’t until maybe 10 years back that original music in India really started getting a loyal support. Till then it was almost taken for granted that a musician was required to play plenty of popular covers to please their audience, who were a mass of starved rock-enthusiasts who had mostly only seen large concert festivals of their favourite international groups on television. That changed because of two things: International bands frequenting India, and local bands getting their act together.

Naresh: It’s heartening to see so much activity in the music scene these days, with larger event companies and several of the IIT’s across India pulling down high-quality international acts, the concert-culture is slowly growing. What’s even better is that Indian bands in every genre areworking towards being as good as those International acts. Musicians are working so hard to get their quality up, whether its recording or equipment or live performances, or stage antics or what not- we’re growing as a community, learning from each other- I think it’s just a matter of time before Indian bands really make their mark on the global rock scene.

Aniket: How do you deal with the fan following..especially the girls….

Naresh: I think we really do make an effort to talk to each fan of the band(yes, the males as well), get to know them a bit- we firmly believe that personal interaction makes the band so much more ‘real’ for fans. It gives the feeling that we’re all the same, behind our under-polished guitars and silver studded belts, we’re also just regular guys going through the same life each of them do. The whole connection between the band and our audience is far more personal that way, whether we’re on-stage or off. I think that’s brilliant.

Manek: Call me crazy but, by the tone of your questions, it seems you’re under the impression we have some massive uncontrollable female fan following, this major kvlt of women chasing after us just all the time, around the clock!

As a matter of fact, yes, we do

Aniket: How did your parents and family react to you guys being in a rock band??

Manek: Oh we have the best families in the world, and even though we’ve messed up a lot of things at college(hint hint Bryden) being too involved in the band, they still give us that support. I think it’s because they see how much we love what we’re doing, and while they’re indeed worried about our individual futures, they’re just real chilled-out open-minded people, and we’re truly grateful.

Naresh: Ofcourse that doesn’t mean we get away with anything, our parents really give us a piece of their minds now and then, there’s alot to be learned about time management. Guess each person has their responsibilities and as long as they manage to balance all the spheres of their life, nothing in the world can stop them from getting what they want.

Aniket: Where do you see slain in the coming years???

Manek: At the rate it’s going with the amount of delays and excuses we find not to do any work, I think 2 years from now we’ll still be trying to release the same album we’ve been planning for the past 2 years

Naresh: Hopefully not! If everything goes as ideally as we have it imagined in our heads, we should be flying from country to country played packed arena’s every other day, and lounging in our personal
tour bus where we’ll watch repeat telecasts of ourselves acting pretty receiving the Grammys.

Realistically though, we’re currently looking out for sponsors and labels who really want to push this kind of music, I think once we start building our crew and have the right sort of financial backing, things should go pretty smoothly.

Aniket: What exactly are your feelings about the kinda music slain plays??

Manek: Our music? We love it! And so should you! 😀

There’s a lot of pressure of musicians these days to write something that your audience will like or accept. Somehow we’ve stumbled upon just the right sound for us, and luckily… luckily it’s worked miracles and gotten us this far. We don’t think of what we want to sound like, just trusting your intuition is good enough most times, and certainly more fun. It’s a great feeling to just follow what you think sounds absolutely rocking- if you put enough passion into it, no doubt there’ll be people all over who think it’s absolutely rocking as well.

Naresh: Though admittedly we often have such a hard time playing it, there’s something very convincingly simple about our music, it seems to appeal to quite a variety of people from wildly different backgrounds, and we’re glad for that. Also, strangely there aren’t alot of Power Metal bands in India, such a fascinating sub-genre! Either way, we love what we’re doing and we ain’t gonna stop doing it any time soon- though the flavours we add to our music may vary drastically- there’s definitely always gonna be something Slain about it!

Aniket:Local College Crowd or International Arena?

Manek: I don’t want to choose one over the other see they both have their own advantages and… no that’s all rubbish, international arena for sure, with all our college friends front row! 😀 But it’s fascinating, to see how different environments can change the mood and the general emotion of the show. At events like Rock Ethos or Rock n India, you’re concentrating on the magnitude of it, this vast open space to rock out in, a wild energy takes over you and everything seems larger than life.

Naresh: In a college fest, or for that matter, any smaller scale show- you feel all this tension packed into one place, the energy is on par with any major festival but it’s condensed to fit the hall/basketball court- and so everything much more sensitive- its less mad, but more sincere. You can actually take time to look each person in the eye individually and tell them a story, as I said before, it’s all about connecting with your audience on a personal level.

Aniket: Jon Bon Jovi or Iron Maiden??

Manek: Bon Jovi

Naresh: Iron Maiden. Though there’s an unwritten rule against using the exact same chord progression in every single song from every single album, and Iron Maiden seem to have conveniently ignored that. But heck, they’re Iron Maiden.

Aniket:What about the new album??

Manek: Our debut full-length album Here and Beyond will feature 12 tracks that we’ve worked on over and over, spent hours on in the studio, hours rewriting things, shifting parts around, experimenting with new sections, all to make it sound just right. Each song has taken a sort of journey of its own, starting off as an idea and slowly maturing and evolving as the band gets comfortable with it- we’re really happy with the outcome! Each of those 12 songs have their own styles, their own stories, their own character- while the heavily melodic symphonic elements have remained a constant. We’re hoping this album can give people a solid idea of where Slain is heading musically.

Naresh: While you’re waiting though, you can support the band by downloading our 4-track EP for free at
www.gimmesound.com/slain

Aniket: Words of advice for people who dream of making it as big in rock????

Naresh: We’re really touched when people come to us, when musicians come to us and say that they were inspired from our performance- there are a lot of compliments that an entertainer can get but knowing that you’ve inspired someone out there to find their own musical path, that’s something amazing, and quite an honor.

Manek: Practice hard, and keep trying new things with your music. Don’t worry about pressure to ‘find your unique sound’, that’s an endless gradual process- just listen to your heart and most certainly your ears, you’ll most definitely get what you want from your instrument… I mean, eventually.

Thanks so much, Judah and Freddy and Dillu and Bryden all send their love!

  • sagar

    i love slain