Whenever attention is directed towards the Americas, we usually as metalheads think of USA, Canada and to an extent Brazil. But it's the countries in between the northern and southern ends of the vast continent that we tend to forget about. Bordering the USA, Mexico has a vibrant metal history with a plethora of bands coming and going, with perhaps Brujeria being the most internationally-recognised bands to emerge. But like all scenes, the hive of activity resides on the streets i.e. the underground. One such band Doxa MX (originally called Doxa) knows all about this and as they prepare to release their latest album in 4 years, GMA spoke to Manuel Rojas (Vocals / Lead Guitars) to understand what makes this scene tick, what the bands plans are, challenges within the scene and a taster of what torta ahogadas is like.
"It (C3 stage) is in a street filled with bars and restaurants to which you can go before and after seeing some great international bands."
For those who have not heard of Doxa MX, could you give us a brief history of the band? Were you in bands previously?
"The band started in 2012 with my friend Erick (Doxa's bass player until this day) and I, one day in college we decided to form a metal band, I had been playing guitar and working on my harsh vocals for a few years up to that point and he was already a very talented multi-instrumentalist. After that we recruited the rest of the group and after a couple of line-up changes, we had a stable formation. We started playing regularly in the local circuit and managed to record and digitally self-release our debut album in 2014.
In early 2015, we had to put the project on a forced hiatus due to various personal problems that needed attention at the time, until late 2017 when we reformed with a new line-up (with Erick and I as the original members), an updated name and logo (in order to avoid confusion with other bands with very similar names), as well as an updated cover for our first album. Currently we are getting ready for our second LP and playing a few warm-up shows before returning to the live setting with full force."
You play a blend of Heavy and Melodic Death Metal, who or what gave you the inspirations to play such music?
"Honestly, that tag doesn't apply 100% to us, but it is the closest I could think of regarding our sound, as well as "Experimental Death Metal". We chose it because, well, we had to have one tag associated with our music and we play Death Metal-based music, while our biggest influences are Heavy Metal giants like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, although we like to seek and gather influences from everywhere inside and outside the metal realm. We basically do what we like, without worrying about sounding a certain way in order to fit a certain mold, to me that is just limiting your creativity, and I don't want to do that, besides, it would become boring for us after a short while to play straightforward death metal, thrash, or whatever style all the time."
It has been 4 years since your debut album 'Aniquilación', will you be releasing a new one very soon?
"Yes! We are almost done with the composition process (I would say around 90% done) and hope to record it and release it sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. It's about time!"
You sing in Spanish, would you consider singing in English to expand out into the wider metal scene?
"It is something we are not completely against, but I as the lyricist, decided to write the lyrics in Spanish because it seems like a more honest approach, as well as a more distinctive one. Basically I asked myself "Where is this band from?", "What language is spoken here?" however, we are all bilingual to different degrees and don't rule out making entire albums in English in the future, it depends on what feels right at the moment."
What is it like being a Mexican Metal band? What challenges do you guys face these days?
"Basically there are two kinds of challenges: economic challenges and scene-related challenges. Regarding the economy, Mexico is one of the countries with less average vacation days a year and more average hours worked per week, so there are lots of times it becomes really hard to find the time to focus properly on a project like this, due to the fact that we all have jobs and bills to pay, and we are young and... well, everyone knows that it is really hard for our generation to come by these days all around the world and here is a bit more rough, I think. Also the costs are an issue, it takes a really high percentage of one's pay if you wish to book a studio, buy a new amplifier or get a new microphone here, basically because salaries are way lower that those in the U.S. or Europe, among other places; and the cost of them is even higher than in those countries, so it is a considerably bigger sacrifice.
Scene wise, I have read comments stating that it is very similar in most places, in the sense that here there are very few venues for local metal bands and many of those require you to sell a lot of overpriced tickets and / or bring your own amps, microphones, P.A. and everything, and even those who don't do such things usually never pay, not even with a few beers. It is easy to say "well, just don't accept it" but without that we simply wouldn't play a lot. Also, one huge problem is that most big opportunities (I would say around 95% of them) of opening to big bands, playing big festivals and so on, are only either for a couple of bands who are family members and friends of people organizing the gigs, people who can give favours to the promoters or simply pay-to-play scenarios."
For metalheads visiting Guadalajara, what sights / attractions would you recommend seeing? Are there any customs that tourists should be aware of (so not to cause offence)?
"I would recommend to them to eat some Torta Ahogadas (a delicious meal only available in this state [Jalisco]), some good tacos and basically spend all day eating, because Mexican cuisine is one of our biggest prides and is recognised as one of the best in the world. You can also check ahead which gigs are going to be happening in the city those days, there's a venue, the C3 stage, that every month has really good metal shows and it is in a street filled with bars and restaurants to which you can go before and after seeing some great international bands.
Tourists should take the precautions of planning their activities well, because it is very easy to get lost due to the fact that our traffic signals are very bad and, in many places, non-existent, so, if you bring your car, try to stay on the highways most of the time to avoid getting terribly lost. Also, avoid the yellow cabs, they are not reliable nor safe at all, just take Uber everywhere, it is cheaper anyway."
What plans do you have for the year ahead?
"We are currently working on our second album, which is our main focus for these year. We'll also play a few shows here and there."
Are there any greetings or thank you's you wish to send out?
"To all the people reading this, please keep on supporting Global Metal Apocalypse."
BAND: EXILED SANITY
MUSICIAN: DEEPTAROOP BASU
GENRE: PROG / EXPERIMENTAL METAL
1. How long has Exiled Sanity been going and how did the band form?
The band has been around 6 -7 months (formed in 2011) I was playing for another blackened death Metal band which i left, so these guys who have been playing under a similar name, but they left soon and asked me to play, so i checked them out. It was initially like a class, where I was guiding them how to focus on a new sound, then about 6-7 months ago we started playing officially and we released 2 self-produced original compositions 'Twisted Route to Salvation', and 'Redesigning Humans'!
2. How big has the Indian metal scene become and who are the most notable bands?
India has been doing alright, but not that great, because I want to see Indian bands go on world tours, there are numerous great talented bands such as Scribe and Undying Inc. But I guess some negotiations are to be done with international gig organisers and tour coordinators, for making not only the old bands which are big already outside India but also emerging bands like ours and our buddy bands such as What Escapes Me or Yonsample from Kolkata
3. Are there any problems playing Metal in India and what is the media press like?
Yeah Metal is still considered taboo here in a lot of places; people tend to think it's a bunch of crazy guys, banging their heads like they have gone bad to music, where the words are not understandable. The press and media level is getting better as there are a few online websites coming up but there is metal being talked about in the daily newspapers, only reviews of international acts are presented sometimes, that's about it.
4. Do you feel with bands like Demonic Resurrection getting signed to Candlelight, that this has opened the gateway for Indian Metal to be globally recognised?
Yeah Demonic Resurrection has been in the circuit for over a decade now and the band has helped in spreading Indian metal to a certain extent as it's the only band which has a fair amount of international gig experiences and a few tours.
5. Out of the metal genres, is Black Metal shunned upon in India due to religion?
I have doubts because I haven't yet come across any black metal bands from India who are doing it spiritually, I mean if you are comparing black metal bands from Norway, then India is very far behind. I guess the music needs to be spread and understood more because the concepts are deep and everyone cannot change their lifestyle due to these kinds of music, only feeling this kind of music to a great extent will encourage the person to play black metal religiously.
6. Does Exiled Sanity have any plans for 2012?
Yeah we are planning to release our self produced EP, we will be coming out with a new song probably end of January or in the 1st week of February, the EP would be in the late end of mid 2012 hopefully before 21st December 2012.
7. Finally do you have any tips for musicians looking to improve skills and/or get into a band? What do you have to say to the global metal scene?
Ahh.. II have always wanted to play an instrument so as to channel my emotions, I play heavy music so as to get my aggression out of me as its immature to act randomly when you are angry so music is the best way to channel emotions, therefore I would like everyone in this world to play an instrument because it helps you take out whatever you are feeling and music does a lot of things to you. Which beginners will get to know better as they start learning music and the global metal scene is doing good, new bands with newer sounds are coming up, and music is evolving; now people have more choice of listening to whatever kind of music they want to listen to.