Interview by GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon
GMA has always tried to sift out raw talent from the most exotic corners of the world. One really has to go on an expedition and look out for such bands who are nowhere near to be discovered by the Metal world. Nepal is one country with raw local talent and some really dedicated concert organizers. They not only have a small Metal scene in the hills, but also they have big Metal Fests every year where they have brought bands like Napalm Death, Behemoth, Decapitated, Vader, Nervecell, Arsames, etc along with big names from the neighboring countries.
We shine the light today on a four piece Thrash Metal band from the depths of Nepal, called Bidroha (which means 'rebel or retaliation' in English). Bidroha self-released their debut album “Suffer Till Death” last year and have toured Hong Kong in January this year. These chaps are quite popular in the local scene due to their Thrashy stage performance, which had earned them a place on the same bill with Decapitated and Nervecell at Nepfest IV last year in the capital city Kathmandu. Apart from that, they have a split release with Argentine Heavy / Thrash band Insignia. I spoke with Bidroha’s front-man / rhythm guitarist Saurab Sainju about his band and the local scene. Here is an excerpt of how the conversation went….
Apocalyptic hails brother Saurab! Your band just released its debut full length album “Suffer Till Death” last year. How is the band doing right now?
Saurab: Hail GMA. After the release, we have been refurnishing ourselves for the album tours which started from January 26, 2014 in Hong Kong. Originally Amar Sakya who was the drummer of Bidroha, due to his personal reasons was unable to continue the album tour for an uncertain period of time. Therefore Bidroha found a new session drummer Akash who joined our overseas tour at that point. Also Bisal our bassist went abroad and I, myself have recovered from a broken hand and we are inactive due to that. Listen to Bidroha’s promo demo from their album Suffer Till Death here.
Please tell us what were the directions and motivational factors that started Bidroha?
Saurab: Bidroha came into existence after Zantu and I disbanded our previous band and as always I wanted to start and play the Thrash Metal genre since the initiation phase of my Metal music interest. As the Thrash Metal genre should not be fading away from the scene, I felt why not revive it back again. So Zantu agreed with my suggested theme and joined me, afterwards we found Amar as a drummer and Saugat as the bassist. Saugat decided to continue his further studies and left the band. Then Bsal joined the band and this is how Bidroha was born!
Bidroha’s album “Suffer Till Death” came out in November last year. What kind of response are you getting from the fans?
Saurab: Till now the responses and album reviews from our fans and supporters are all positive! A dream doesn't become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work. This is what we believe.
Bidroha toured Hong Kong at the very beginning of this year. Would you care to tell us about the whole experience? How was the show and what kind of reaction did you get there from the crowd?
Saurab: Well, the experience was awesome. It was one of our most memorable tours ever. We had two shows, 26th and 28th January, and the first show was in ‘Backstage’, which was good. Although we were drunk and got carried away with it, the show was good. The second gig was in Yak and Yeti Restaurant. The crowd there was mostly non metalheads, we played two rock songs and jammed through it. We are thankful to those who came to support us, taking out their time from their busy schedules, and one thing was sure, even though many of them were not metal heads, they really supported us from their hearts. Yeah and not to forget, I went hiking with the NRN (Non-residential Nepalese) guy who brought us in Hong Kong after my band mates left for Nepal. I forgot to mention that I was overwhelmed with their support by buying our T-shirts and CD's.
That’s great to hear. Will you tell us who Bidroha is inspired by?
Saurab: Well, we all have our own tastes in music. But when it comes to Bidroha, our music is mainly inspired by Thrash metal legends like Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, Kreator, Destruction etc.
Alright. Lets get to a different topic. As much as I have heard, there are loads of Metal bands in Nepal but Bidroha is pretty much the only Thrash Metal band over there. Can you tell us what can be the reason behind that? Also please tell our readers about the Nepalese Metal scene, as in the bands, musicians, gigs everything.
Saurab: Yeah, we are the only old school Thrash band here in Nepal at the moment. The reason behind this is that Thrash is an old genre which was alive in 80's era and it's dead now. So, now it's 2014 and new genres are emerging and taking over the old ones and people listen to their choices of course. Here in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu, the scene has been developing for the past 3 years. It's progressing more with the proper sound, stage, amount of crowd etc. It only lacks the proper quality of crowd who are truly Metalheads and also we don't have venues for the indoor and outdoor gigs. There are always showstoppers (police) in almost every concert. Outside of the valley, there are only places like Hetauda and Pokhara, knowingly the most happening places for their Metal Scenes at the present.
As for the bands, there are more new bands coming into the scene. Some stick to the music and some leave the scene with no hopes and play other genres. Basically, when we talk about underground bands, each bands or musicians, there are very few bands that get paid and most of the bands they can't even think of surviving only by playing and depending on their music career. Some of the bands may want to continue playing; it is because a true musician never wants to give up his passion.
What do you think of the sites posting underground Extreme Metal materials? Listen to Adhipatya Ho Danav Ko by Bidroha here.
Saurab: It depends on the sites. For example, there are lots of Facebook pages that are supporting and posting underground stuff but a lot of the pages in someway, just want to get more likes on their pages and even post the wrong information about the bands. If any site is giving wrong information about any band, those sites must be stopped and those who truly collect authentic information about the bands and update their pages or sites are definitely supporting the scene.
Nepal has been visited by some major Death Metal acts like Vader, Nepalm Death, Decapitated, Behemoth etc. Which Thrash bands would you like to see in Nepal in the future?
Saurab: I would love to see the German Thrash bands in Nepal.
Coming to a different topic, having a devastated economy in Nepal, how much does this affect the musicians and organizers who put on shows? How much are the quality instruments available in Nepal?
Saurab: First of all, it's hard to find proper indoor or outdoor venues for Metal gigs in Nepal. I must say, you have to be lucky enough to find a proper venue, and then organizers have to pay a high amount towards the venue charge. Besides that there are our show stoppers (police) who would stop the show without any reason or notice. As for musicians, they don't get paid most of the time and its mostly the musicians who invest their money from their own pockets. Most of the headlining bands end up not playing in the shows because of the police’s invasion. A lot of the people who come to the show, would either ask for free passes or they would ask for over 50% discount to get in. This way our shows ultimately face a heavy loss. To answer your second question, if you can pay well, then best quality instruments are available.
So what are you guys planning on for the next year? Anymore overseas tours?
Saurab: We had plans to have the album tour in Nepal, India and Hong Kong but the tour was in Hong Kong only. Unfortunately, it's getting late for the tour due to the problems we have. Now we have found a new bassist and Amar is back. Let's hope we can still do this tour. If not, then we will do some gigs excluding album tours and will be taking a rest for months to continue our normal life like studies, jobs and will be back again.
Thank you so much for your time Saurab. Really appreciate it! Any final words for Bidroha fans?
Saurab: Well, first of all thanks for having me on board. Thanks to all the supporters, fans who have been supporting us from the begining till now. We have released our debut album "Suffer Till Death" and if you haven't grabbed on it yet, go grab it now. Your feedback would be appreciated a lot. Lastly, Thank you very much for appreciating our work. Thrash'em all \,,/