Interview with Mallika Sundaramurthy (Abnormality)
Abnormality is a brutal death band from Boston,United States. What’s so special about this particular American band? Well the vocalist is a female and half Indian, but that’s not all,these guys have been tearing apart venues for quite sometime now. Here we talk to the frontwoman Mallika herself as she gives us all the insight.
HB: First of all, tell us about Abnormality, the story behind the band and the music.
Mallika: Abnormality began in late 2005. It was founded by me, our drummer Jay, and our old guitarist Mike. We all played in different bands before Abnormality, and hail from the New England, US metal Scene. At the time Abnormality first formed, Jay and Mike were also in a band called Teratism which broke up shortly. Jeremy soon joined the group as a second guitarist. We went through a number of bass players before finding Josh over a year ago. Mike left the band in 2009 and was replaced by Ben. We have two releases, a demo from 2007, and the new 3 song EP, The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion.
HB: What got you into extreme metal? How does it feel to stand out in a crowd that follow the culture of popular music?
Mallika: It’s hard to pinpoint one or two things that got me into extreme metal. It was a progression. As a youth I was drawn to heavy music and groups that associated themselves apart from the mainstream. I started with rock and hard rock, then radio metal, then discovered some death metal and keep along that path of heavy and intense music.
HB: You’re an Indian, how does fronting an American extreme metal band make you feel? What are the pros and cons of it?
Mallika: Well, I’m actually only half-Indian, and I have spent my whole life in the States. My father is from Chennai and my mother is from here. I feel like I’m both Indian and American, and probably more “American” than anything.Fronting a band in here is awesome! There are so many sick bands to play with and awesome die hard fans to play to. I know that we have it good here, and I feel very lucky to be able to play with bands like Immolation, Malignancy, Incantation, Dying Fetus… etc. Some pros of being in America is having many good show opportunities (including world renown fests like MDF) and many talented bands to play with. The pros of being half Indian is feeling like a part of the global metal scene, and getting some attention from Indian metal fans. I really hope we are able to play a show in India sometime!
HB: As a vocalist, who is it that you draw influence from/look up to?
Mallika: I draw musical influence from bands and vocalists that I love, male and female. Some bands are Disgorge, Deeds of Flesh, Suffocation, Decapitated, and Gorgasm. Some of my favorite vocalists are Matti Way, Danny Nelson, Jason Keyser, and Lenzig Leal.
HB: A cliched question – Which is the best show you’ve had? And where was it?
Mallika: I’ve had a lot of favorite shows. I guess the one that sticks out the most to me was a death metal festival we played last year in Rochester, NY called Day of Death Fest with Abdicate, Tentacles, Her Virgin Womb, Sexcrement, Human Filleted, and more. We were happy with how we played, the other bands tore it up, and the crowd energy was amazing! The whole crowd was moving, either headbanging, moshing or stage diving. I love to see that kind of response.
HB: Having watched a few videos of Abnormality, I tell you, you’ve got some pretty intense shit going on up there. What does it take to deliver that kind of performance as a vocalist?
Mallika: Thanks! Well, I think the number one obvious thing is to practice. Some important things are learning to sing sustainably and knowing how to control your breath. Staying fit helps a lot when you’re jumping all over the stage, to not get out of breath. Also, you really have to believe in the music that you’re playing.
HB: How would you, as a vocalist, comment on the statement “being a Metal musician is all about the attitude?”
Mallika: That sounds about right. I think that also applies to being an underground metal fan. Metal makes a statement. It’s about rebelling against the mainstream. It’s about being shocking. It’s about the energy, and being as loud as possible.
HB: Another cliche – What’s the best part about being a vocalist?
Mallika: The best part about being a vocalist is being able to go crazy on stage. It’s fun to shock people, and it’s a great form of expression. If I’m stressed out or pissed off about something, playing a show makes me feel a lot better.
HB: Lots of people tell us lots of stuff that happens backstage, anything (funny or otherwise) you would wanna share with us?
Mallika: I don’t think we do too much different backstage as on stage. We goof around and give each other crap.
HB: Lastly, anything you wanna say to the Indian metal fans, this is your space!
Mallika: Thanks for reading this interview and please check out Abnormality. Keep supporting your local metal scene and underground music. Horns up!
Abnormality have their EP out now, titled The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion, do check it out. We wish Mallika and the rest of the band all the very best and hope to catch Abnormality in India soon!