Feathers of Jatinga (October 2011)
It’s the coming together of two superpowers in the metal fraternity, resulting in sheer brilliance. Introducing Feathers of Jatinga, our Featured Band this October, with Vedant Kaushik (Former Vocalist of IIIrd Sovereign and current Shades Of Retribution) and Vishal J. Singh (Amogh Symphony, Acrophase, Robots Pulling Levers). Read about their music, their debut album and more, in this exclusive interview with Ankit from Headbangers India.
HBI: Feathers of Jatinga, greetings from Headbangers India. How goes it?
FOJ: Hey fellas! Greetings from Jatinga….
HBI: How did this collaboration come about? Was it Vishal listening to Shades of Retribution, or Vedant listening to Amogh Symphony?
Vedant : It was always there for the two of us, as we started off together in our ventures,the first one being Infinite Ashes. We were, are and always will be family and provided the fact that we are from the same hometown, Duliajan (Assam) it was definitely in line for us.
Vishal : We are writing songs together since 2001-2003. But we never got the chance to produce and play those songs before. After 7 years, finally we are back to what we had left years ago. To be very honest, I am more proud of this project than Amogh Symphony. I am glad we started again and things are happening in a very good way. I was looking for pure soul songwriting with an atmosphere. Finally it’s happening.
HBI: Feathers of Jatinga. The story behind the name? And any specific reason why you chose to keep it?
Vedant : Well… Feathers of Jatinga was a song we wrote and composed together for Infinite Ashes, but never had the chance to record and play it live. So, we brought those thoughts and moments together to put it into the perfect timeframe which now officially is Feathers of Jatinga for you. The reason for the name is, it sounds very mystic and haunting, perfectly blends with the sound of our music, adds the perfect backdrop for the North-Eastern winter and to top it all, Jatinga is a small village in the North Cachar Hills district in Assam which is widely known in the world for the mass suicide of migratory birds during the winter and which is still a mystery to the world….So, to put it in simple words, the name is just perfect….
HBI: The samples that we’ve heard have been likened to the new Katatonia. What do you think of that comparision?
Vishal : Katatonia, Sentenced and My Dying Bride hugely inspired us initially and fortunately, people actually listen to our songs without forceful attention and thoughts like “Oh, that section is weird and technical. I think they are trying to catch some attention”. I did that in Amogh Symphony. From what I have noticed so far is every metal band has a Geographical sound which is purely natural and nobody can run away from it after years of songwriting. The geographical relationship and the climate of a place really matters a lot when you write and compose a song. I would say Mumbai’s stressed out mechanical life and mood swing nature inspired me to write Amogh Symphony. My last vacation trip to hometown in Upper Assam inspired us to write music that we named Feathers of Jatinga. Katatonia, Sentence and MDB inspired us a lot with their Swedish, Finnish and British Geographical sound because the nature of their music gave us a direction to think and their music was a a tangent of thought. It’s like two tangents intersected each other at a point and Feathers happens to be that point. You know, the winter in Upper Assam is just too beautiful.
HBI: Were there any artists/people/events that influenced the shaping of the band’s sound?
Vedant : No artists as such…people, it has to be our fathers whom both of us lost when we were young and of course, different phases of time we grew up in or with the evolvement of our individual personalities.
Vishal : I think it’s the change that’s happening to my way of thinking as a musician and person from the last 2 years. My songwriting ideas are evolving and I feel proud to say that Feathers symbolizes my thoughts these days. I think I am going back to my roots. I think FOJ was possible only with Vedant because we are not only family friends but also we share a lot of common things in our lives. So everything is natural. We have a great understanding as we are brothers.
HBI: Tell us about the composition/recording process for the band.
Vedant : Vishal comes up with the melody and the pattern of the songs, mails it to me with the arrangement sheet, I write the lyrics and the vocal melodies, record my vocals in Guwahati at Lucid Recess Studios (thanks to Siddarth Barooa from Lucid Recess), mail it to Vishal who finally does all the overall layering, mixing and mastering.
HBI: Is this going to be a studio project exclusively, or do you guys have any intentions of playing live?
Vedant : We are in talking terms to a couple of sessions musicians who could probably fit in our style and yes we definitely want to go live, just waiting for the perfect time.
Vishal : I think there shouldn’t be a problem to find members for this project. So yeah, we are just trying to finish this album. Still polishing up the track arrangements here and there. We both are excited about it.
HBI: Being the awesome musicians that you are, could you tell us about your gear?
Vedant: For me, it’s my Sennheiser Evolution e835 S,a great mic with the dynamics I want and Vishal uses Ibanez Guitars, Steinberg DAW and softwares, M-Audio and Edirol Audio Interfaces and so on.
HBI: Vishal, almost all of your work till this point in various projects/side projects has been mainly instrumental, where you’ve let the music tell your tale. Any reason for the change?
Vishal : Well yes. I think I wanted to explore more. Instrumental music is great as long as your ideas as a composer are evolving to make a track sound interesting and attention puller. Not saying that technical and experimental music are not fun but it’s too much when you do it all instrumental. Robots Pulling Levers is again an instrumental project with lots of shred in it. So I think Feathers of Jatinga is not just a change but this is what I like to write with a songwriter like Vedant. It may sound awkward but this is true. The excitement I am having with FOJ is 10 times more than the excitement I had while writing/releasing Amogh Symphony albums. So I think that’s a good thing. At least the good point of being underrated is that you don’t get the pressure of writing music on people’s and media’s demand. I am glad that whatever small fan support I am having from everywhere, they appreciate me as a composer of different styles. So I do have this positive hope that those who like to hear a good song rather than an Instrumental technical metal song’s weird nature, they will understand.
HBI: What do the band members do when not making/playing music?
Vedant : I handle my family business and Vishal probably works with his clients for jingles,ads,documentaries,producing bands…
Vishal : I produce bands and artists, music composition and arrangement for short films and commercials and collaborations with all kinds of projects.
HBI: Your thoughts on the metal scene in the North East, and it’s relation to the overall scene in India?
Vedant: I really feel that the scene has come a long way in North-East with more gigs on a frequent manner. Some really good bands from overseas playing here in recent times is a very good example of that David Koch from Rocka Rolla events is really working hard in every possible manner to upgrade the scene and bands such as Silver Tears going to Seoul,South Korea for their promotional gig after winning the Asian Beats Contest, Dark Carnage coming up with their very well received EP Abominate.Annihilate. Then we got bands such as Doorstep Casket,Rectified Spirit,Agnostic,Sunday Mourning who look very promising as well. As for relating it to the overall scene,we are proud of it and soon these developments will make inroads nationwide as well.
Vishal : Well, I have few things to say. You know, it’s not just about metal scene but the overall music scene in NE is going pretty good I think. The overall music scene in India is going up. It’s just that the NE media have yet to learn more about promotions and I am sure that it’s just a matter of time. There is a huge geographical and cultural difference between NE youth and the rest of the country. I think miscommunication is the biggest problem. I have realized that when I saw some incredibly amazing bands performing in IIT Alcheringa during judgement. If a band is unknown but they write good music, it’s everyone’s duty to help promoting their music. A band first learns how to write good music,then they learn how to promote their music. But either way, I would mention the fact that no matter how underrated you are, if your music is good, it will reach to the ears of selective but good listeners. Like what Sahil had told me once – “Quality matters more than Quantity”. Everyone is trying hard to make the overall Indian Music Scene better. In short, such questions create differences.
HBI: Both of you have other bands you play in. What’s going on with Shades of Retribution, Robots Pulling Levers, Amogh Symphony etc?
Vedant: We just supported NervoChaos from Brazil on their India tour and played at the Metal Mayhem III at the Blues,Guwahati.Next,we play in Shillong with Indus Creed on Oct.22nd. Apart from that,we are working on new materials for the 2nd album to be released in 2012. We are done with 2 songs and are on the verge of recording the 3rd track. Also,we have collaborated with Andy Nesbitt from Wolves of Anson (Ontario,Canada) in the vocal section in one of the songs of the album. The album will be co-produced by Siddharth Barooa (Lucid Recess) and Vishal…So,stay put in this section…
Vishal : It may sound strange but I am seriously overloaded with too many studio projects at the moment. I think Multi-Tasking is not a good idea all the time. I am looking forward to finish up Robots Pulling Levers by the end of this year. I am so glad Mark understands me very well because he is a session musician himself. The RPL album is coming up incredibly good. I will put the release date soon. About Amogh Symphony, It’s slightly on a break because I am planning to come up with a Tutorial/Biography DVD that will include all AS songs, videos, instructions etc. Also, there will be detailed clips about composing and arranging of different types of songs. It will take some time but I am really excited about it. So I think we may not release any new material as of now. I am focusing towards Feathers and it’s coming up nice.
HBI: There have been quite a few other musicians being featured on Feathers of Jatinga tracks, who aren’t really full time members of the band, and we see that happening to a lot of new independent artists. Do you think this internet collaboration thing is going to make person-to-person jamming(I just made that up) obsolete? Or would you call this a realization of John Lennon’s ‘imagine’ from the musical perspective?
Vedant : Not at all,it’s a very convenient medium to work with different artists with different flavours and then,binding these flavours together and bringing out a new flavour altogether…From the musical perspective,as music is an universal language John Lennon’s “Imagine” brings the conviction and is perfectly justified that music can bind cultures together. The world is a small place and we are from the same tribe.
Vishal : A very good point. I think internet collaboration gives a freedom to work with people with whom you share similar ideas and a good understanding in songwriting. It really helps to do things in your music which aren’t possible with some musicians in your local circuit due to differences in ideas, ego clash etc. Collaborations help to develop your musicality. It also helps to spread your music to different regions across the globe. A person to person jamming is something that you share only with those who understands your depth so well. I am thankful to Jim Richman, Mark Hawkins and Luke Jaeger who helped me a lot to spread my music. They taught me things that really helped me to develop my writing.
HBI: Thank you for your time, any last words you’d like to add? Inspirational advice, demotivational posters, your choice.
Vedant : Be dedicated,honest and sincere with whatever you do and keep it real! It was really great to share our thoughts and perceptions…Cheers!
Vishal : Thanks for this interview, Ankit. It’s great to be featured on your site. I would say – always follow your heart and never limit yourself as a musician.