"We rely on each other’s support and our own local crowds rather than seek approval from labels or people in Europe / the USA."
Readers will know how much GMA cherishes metal bands from all over the world and so our latest interrogation is with Cambodian Thrashers Nightmare A.D. (actually the band has 5 members originally from Singapore, The Philippines, New Zealand, Canada & The USA; basically the United Nations of metal). Back in April they released a cover of the Iggy Pop song 'Gimme Danger' and prior to that released their 2nd EP "Phantoms Of Our Ruin" back in 2018... it was going to come this interrogation and so it did, don't worry they are all fine, we were kind to these guys.
For those who have not heard of Nightmare A.D., could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"Nightmare A.D. was formed in 2014 by Mia (guitars / vocals), 3 months after she arrived in Phnom Penh. Her flatmate Kandhi (guitars) joined the band and he convinced Todd (drums) and Gem (bass) to join the band as well. Nightmare A.D. originally started off as a Misfits cover band but soon evolved to a Thrash Metal / Crossover entity playing original music. The band currently comprises of Mia (guitars / vocals), Todd (drums), Genesis (bass), Jon (keys) and Ollie (guitars).
The band name Nightmare A.D. symbolises the current times we live in: a living nightmare of disinformation, crooked politics, looming threat of civil/global war, climate change, rising right-wing authoritarian governments and viral plagues that might just wipe us all out in the near future.
How did you all get into metal music and what do your parents think of your music?
"Generally speaking, all of us got into Metal music mainly from hanging out with friends / family members who exposed us to heavy music and we did our own research from there. All of us are from different countries (Mia – Singapore, Todd – New Zealand, Genesis – The Philippines, Jon – USA and Ollie – Canada) so there are many variables that affect how our parents thought about the music (some positive some not) and how we got into this form of music."
You brought out your debut EP 'Corruptors' as a digital download, what was the reception like and did you have people outside Cambodia check it out?
"We originally released ‘Corruptors’ as a Pro CD-R under the local label Yab Moung Records, then as a digital download on Bandcamp and then released on pro-tape with exclusive artwork and bonus tracks under Toxic Death Records (China). We have had great responses and support from people around the world (including you Rhys!) and it certainly makes us want to continue performing and record new material."
Mia, female musicians are often subjected to sexist or misogynistic remarks, is this something you've experienced in your time as a musician?
"Definitely. I feel that after a show, the crowd (mostly male) will end up talking to my bandmates rather than me. I get a few transphobic / transmisogynistic reactions at times but it generally doesn’t bother me. Most people tend to be okay but there are some who are definite f***wits."
Do you feel at times that the metal scenes in your part of Asia are often ignored or not looked upon by metalheads in Europe and the USA?
"Well the metal scene in Southeast Asia has always been quite self-contained in a way that is sustainable. We rely on each other’s support and our own local crowds rather than seek approval from labels or people in Europe / the USA. Most Asian bands are generally ignored by most metalheads who are outside of Asia. However, that being said, there is a small market for Asian Metal in Europe / the USA. There are a handful of Asian bands have actually made their names known on the global stage (Chthonic, Impiety, Wormrot, Sigh, Defiled, Rudra, Demonic Resurrection, etc) which isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. I do feel that we have to work harder to get our names out there compared to bands in Europe / the USA."
What challenges do Cambodian Metal bands face these days alongside with what COVID-19 has brought? What is the public perception of metal?
"Well, finding venues to play at is difficult. We do still have the support of two venues which are willing to host Metal shows but with COVID-19 looming in the background, shows have been cancelled until further notice. There is a small crowd of about 100 people in this city who turn up regularly for Metal shows, so that is pretty cool. Most Cambodian people find it either noisy or intriguing. The older generation definitely find it noisy and will complain if the music’s too loud."
For metalheads visiting Phnom Penh, what sights / attractions could you recommend? Any good bars / venues?
"I recommend seeing Wat Phnom (temple on a hill), the Tonle Sap river, walking the grounds around the Royal Palace, visiting S21 Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.
I recommend visiting and buying from: Yab Moung Record Store (https://yabmoung.com) which is partially funded by an NGO and D.I.Y. run (all proceeds go to helping impoverished and disadvantaged Cambodian Youth) and Metal Your Day (https://metalyourday.com/) which is a Metal-inspired art collective.
For bars and venues I recommend: Cloud (http://www.facebook.com/cloudcambodia) which is an arts venue with live music and bar, Zeppelin Café (https://www.facebook.com/zeppelinPP) that is a bar and café playing mostly Rock and Metal on vinyl and Oscar’s On The Corner (https://www.facebook.com/OscarsontheCorner) that has house bands and guest bands playing Rock and Metal music
Do you have any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to friends, family, fans etc?
"We want to thank all our families, friends and fans around the world for all your love and support and we hope to see you soon! Stay safe and be well."