Shashank Bhatnagar (February 2011)
Our Featured Artist for February is none other than one of the most br00tal vocalists Indian metal has ever seen- Shashank Bhatnagar from Undying Inc. Read on as he talks about the band’s latest album, tips on maintaining a voice like that and more. Exclusively on Headbangers India!
HB: Thanks for this interview Shashank. How’ve you been? What’s been keeping you busy of late?
Shashank: Been doing really well, Thank you!
Talking about being busy, i am a vocalist for an extreme metal band, which demands daily practice & a physical fitness routine. Also, i am an Entrepreneur with a business setup in Haridwar, & to mention, I also just opened up a brand new place known as the “UNDRGRND cafe” in New Delhi to promote indian bands in terms of branding/CD distribution/merchandise exclusively. I would be needing your help & support in this, so cheers to that \,,/
HB: The latest album, i.e. ‘Aggressive World Dynasty’ has been getting rave reviews from everywhere. How does it feel? How long did the band work on the album, do you think the hard work has paid off?
Shashank: Feels great, and it took us almost 2 years to get it done the way we wanted it to be, Relentless, Unforgiving & Brutal.
For us, it was all the f***** worth it could’ve ever been, we were already in our “happy zone” as soon as we finished off tracking for all the songs. We knew exactly what was coming after that! We’re extremely proud of this album \,,/
HB: Tell us a little about how you got into metal, and what made you choose to become a vocalist. Do you also play any instrument?
Shashank: Been a music freak since I was 9 years old. Heard my first English song when i was almost 11, my first metal song was “Neon Nights” by Black Sabbath (thanks to my elder brother). Never looked back since.
I always wanted to be a vocalist. The only issues holding me back all my life was “Stage Fright” & “coyness”. Believe it or NOT!!!
I used to be a good “tabla” player from Jhansi when i was 10 years old (was supposed to represent U.P. in a state competition, but i never turned up for the finals cause of stage fright… :P). I gave up the instrument & stopped thinking about taking up any other, cause i knew i’ll just waste my time. I’ll never be able to perform it in front of an audience ever! Believe it or NOT 2!!! 😛
HB: Maintaining a voice like that must be quite a task. Share with us (and all the aspiring growlers around the country) about how you maintain that voice, if you have any practice regimes, any tips to share on how you keep the growl healthy.
Shashank: My car is my practice room for me. I just sing/growl/scream/screech/squeal whatever the hell I want, in my car with my windows up. Also, i practice when I workout in my room, my neighbors don’t care anymore. Practice is important, doesn’t matter where you do it.
Tips: Stop being a clone! You’ll just end up sounding like one. Be True and honest to yourself and find your own voice.
Also, Physical fitness is extremely important, if you want your voice to last just like your body.
I don’t smoke or “smoke up”; I do drink occasionally but never before a show. Be good to your body, and it’ll give you a super human performance.
HB: What does Shashank do when he’s not invading the stage with Undying Inc.?
Shashank: I am a proud entrepreneur. With a business setup in Haridwar & now in New Delhi!
I love listening to music almost all the time, working out, travelling, movies, meet up people I love & care about…
HB: Musically, who would you say are your biggest influences? Any bands or vocalists in particular that you look up to?
Shashank: I wouldn’t be vocalist if it wasn’t for Tom Araya & Philip Anselmo!
Also love Steve Perry, Bruce Dickinson, Chris Cornell, Sebastian Bach, Eric Martin, Jon Howard, Adrian Westin, Blackie Lawless, Paul Baloff, Bobby Blitz, Lou Koller, Björn Strid, David Draiman, Sully Erna and many more… this list might never end!
I am what I am because of bands like SLAYER, PANTERA, Meshuggah, Black Sabbath, Dio, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Carcass, Voivod, Overkill, Judas Priest, Journey and many more…
HB: Any favourite Indian bands that have impressed you? Are there any newer guys who you think have the potential of being Indian metal’s next big thing?
Shashank: Bhayanak Maut and Scribe are my all time favourites. Also Sky Harbor (earlier Hydrodjent), Amogh Symphony, Lucid Recess, Artillerie, Phobia, IIIrd Sovereign, Them Clones, The Circus, Demonic Resurrection, Shaair + Func, Noiseware, Zygnema, Inner Sanctum, Advaita, Something Relevant…
HB: Have you ever tried clean vocals? Are we going to hear any singing anytime from your end?
Shashank: I have sung 4 corporate jingles in 3 years of my events career. My mom was a self taught Indian classical singer, so I’ve learned a lot from her. I also tried learning western classical from a friend Rajiv (ex-Nakshatra), who happens to be one of the best opera/western classical singers around. But couldn’t continue, because I was losing my unclean vocals. There came a time when i couldn’t pull off our own (UI’s) songs, it was extremely frustrating and traumatizing as an experience. I had to pull back after 3 months of training.
HB: Undying Inc., as a stage act, is brilliant. You guys have so much energy and so much power on stage that will make anyone in the audience want to headbang. And a major contributor to the band’s stage presence is you. Keeping that in mind, do you think the concept of “stage presence” is necessary for a metal band?
Shashank: Thank You! But this point is completely over-rated and idiotic!
There is NO CONCEPT as “STAGE ACT” that exists for Undying Inc!
You are what your Music is, and if that’s the case, it will show!
There is no way you need to practice for what comes naturally to you. People who believe in a “concept” of stage ACT are just trying too hard to be something they are NOT! & That S*** is as lame as going out on a date with your own cousin!
HB: Ha ha! And moving on… Any particularly memorable gigs that you remember and that you’d like to mention?
Shashank: Great Indian Rock 2008/2009/2010, Opening for Textures in Bangalore, Opening for Meshuggah in Hamsadhwani @G.I.R. 2010, all “The Mezz” gigs, & many more… \,,/
HB: Lastly… any words of inspiration you’d like to give your fans and critics out there?
Shashank: Thanks for all the support and love through the years. Like Biz once said “If you like our music, you are a part of us”. Stay Brutal… Stay Undying… and Most of all Represent Yourselves! \,,/ Cheers \,,/
HB: Thanks so much for the interview, and wishing you all the best with the band. Cheers \m/