Technical metal band Escher’s Knot is one of the few pillars that lay the foundation for a rising metal scene in Chennai. Despite being largely restricted to pub gigs, the band has created quite a stir, emerging as one of the promising young finds of 2009.
Escher’s Knot consists of Abijith (Ston’d) on vocals, Anshuman (ex-IIIrd Sovereign) on guitars, Madhav (Theorized) on bass and Manu (Blood And Iron) on drums. Despite having been formed only 5 months ago, the band has had considerable success come their way including being the winners of Unwind Center’s Underground Battle Of The Bands, grabbing all individual prizes, and making it to the Mood Indigo South Finals. The band was in Bangalore recently to compete for the opening slot at Deccan Rock 2009, a prize they narrowly missed by just 3 points. Headbangers India spoke to them about the metal scene in Chennai and their future plans, among other things. Read on…
HB: Most people don’t associate Chennai with a strong metal scene. Abijith and Madhav are both previously from Bangalore bands. Was it hard to set up a band in Chennai?
Madhav: Well, the whole idea of forming a band was started by Abijith and Anshuman who are classmates at SAE and also share similar influences. I don’t think it was that hard for them to start off, as they were definitely looking for experienced people. They began looking for a drummer to jam with, and after auditioning drummers from the few known metal bands here, Manu was just perfect. Chunky (guitarist, Carnage) was on bass, after a month or two he left the band and I was asked to play, just after I moved to Chennai.
Abijith: Anshuman and I met in class. We had similar tastes and started off writing songs. So, we had material in hand but weren’t able to meet the right people. There was a lack of jam-rooms as well, which is still a bitch! It actually took us over 2 months to find a proper drummer! Then, with just a week of jamming we finished 2 songs and played our first gig, at Alliance Francaise on World Music Day.
HB: The drummer Manu also plays for Blood & Iron and Carnage. Is this a reflection of the lack of metal musicians in Chennai?
Anshuman: Well, you could say that, but isn’t that happening almost everywhere now? I am from Delhi and bands there are managing in a similar fashion. Good drummers are hard to find in India, but after the recent international acts, more kids are getting into metal. Two years down the line, the scene will change for good.
Abijith: There are only 4 metal bands here as of now, most of the bands play rock and funk. There were some good metal bands here before, like Fall Of Reason and Blood Covenant. The scene is pretty bad now, but pub gigs are fun to play. Every pub gig sees a growth in the crowd. Hats off to Nicky (Unseen Underground) for that one!
HB: The band’s name has an obvious mathematical reference to it. Could you throw some light on your lyrical and musical themes?
Abijith: Well you can’t really say mathematical. Basically, the vocals, riffs and drums are straight with a little twist ha-ha… Simplexicity, can I say? I don’t really know what the hell that means. Escher was an illusionist and his work inspired us. ‘Break The Ci(Y)pher’ is about one being stuck in a state of cipher, a code where he thinks reality is an illusion which he is going through, so he’s trying to break the code of life and come out of it! The other songs are also based on abstract thoughts, and the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know?” while ‘Up For Nothing’ is about a child’s innocence.
Madhav: If you know what the Knot is all about, have a close look at our song structures and you could somehow relate them. It just suits the kind of music we play and it’s a unique name as well. All four of us have different influences, but as a band, we are inspired by Floyd, Meshuggah, Tool, Opeth, Textures, and Decapitated to name a few.
HB: Four-piece bands are often tighter and face less sound problems on stage. Is that the intension behind not adding a second guitarist?
Anshuman: It is true that 4-piece bands sound tighter and have fewer things to worry about, but that again varies from band to band. I can name hundreds of 4-piece bands that aren’t tight and face sound issues. I think Escher’s are ok with the one guitar assault. However, we are definitely on the hunt for a guitarist because I think a second guitar can add a lot of depth and dimension to the sound.
HB: Playing at Deccan Rock would have been huge for you. How disappointed are you that you couldn’t make it?
Madhav: Indeed! It would’ve been huge, unfortunately we had some sound issues during prelims with the vocals and guitar levels fluctuating. Nothing disappointing as such, we had a great time at Legends Of Rock, but Eccentric Pendulum whooped everyone’s ass that day, they totally deserved that slot.
Abijith: They should have had a consolation spot for us as well ha-ha.
HB: You have been around only for 5 months, but isn’t it time for an EP to come out? You have 4 own compositions, enough for an EP isn’t it?
Anshuman: Ha-ha, we knew this was coming. Let me tell you, we would like to be the laziest band in Chennai. We are thinking about coming out directly with an album, but we are still in the thinking stage.
Madhav: We are just waiting for the right time to start working on it. It should be out early next year.
Abijith: Any kind of donation is most welcome, from food to money. We are a poor band.
HB: Abijith, I spoke to Sudhir (guitarist, Ston’d) recently about the possibility of a Ston’d reunion. What are the chances of that happening?
Abijith: Everyone’s busy doing their own stuff lately. Hopefully things fall into place and we’d be back in action. If it does happen, it’ll be post March only.
HB: Madhav, you also sing for the Bangalore thrashers Theorized. How difficult is it to concentrate on two bands in different cities? Does it affect your dedication to either band?
Madhav: Not really, Theorized jams mostly on weekends, and weekends I’m in Bangalore. I just hope the shows don’t clash. But that day isn’t too far <curses>. And no, dedication to either band isn’t affected at all. Completely into music right now, fuck accounts and shit heh.
HB: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Abijith: This interview was awesome and Krishna did not force us to say that.
Visit http://www.myspace.com/eschersknot to listen to their single ‘Break The Ci(Y)pher’.