Sledge (Sep 09)

  • Interview by: Vilasini Muralidhar
  • Date: September 8, 2009

Our featured band for this month, the thrash metal-lers from Andhra Pradesh, Sledge. Headbangers India caught up with the band for an exclusive interview. Read on.

HB: Your new album is finally out. Tell us a little about ‘Vanquish’- the theme of the album, what metal style have you concentrated on…?

Suman: We have been working on vanquish for most of the end of 2008 & early 2009. Been plotting and planning an album for a while now. VanQuish was a different experience, we took our time for the song writing and production, the approach of music is very different. We incorporated lot of carnatic scales into the riffs; we wanted it to be aggressive without losing the groove element in our songs. You can loosely fit our music in the thrash metal genre though it has a lot of other elements to it. Most of the lyrics and aggression is towards the mindless terror attacks which were rampant last year – especially the siege of Mumbai. VanQuish – the title track exhorts you not take violence lying down – preparedness and alacrity is a must. Don’t move on without fixing the malaise.

HB: You’ve been working on this new release for almost an entire year. How was the entire process? Any unforgettable incidents of note?

Suman: We had a number of new tracks which we were playing live since 2007 which are not there on VanQuish as Prabhu in a sudden streak of hyper productivity 😉 and came up with more than 10 guitar tracks which were just ready to go! Later we all joined in to thrash it out into a complete album. But that was just half the battle as we ourselves have produced the whole album. The sound recording and mixing process was mainly handled by Prabhu’s – his earlier studio experience for definitely helped. Anjani in the recording process has mastered most of the skills on the job and that is a huge plus for us for future albums. So you can say that since much of the production was done inhouse we will be much more on the ball in the next effort.

HB: Do you think the band’s approach to recording and music in general has changed from the last time you made an album? Has experience made you all better musicians?

Anjani: Much has changed since the debut album back in 2005. The production values, the equipments, song writing etc was totally different than today. The band has gigged a lot, spent a lot of time jamming together over the years and it reflects in VanQuish. Prabhu who has composed most of songs has taken the more classic thrash metal riffing approach fused with Indian rhythm patterns (you will notice if you closely listen) besides this album has Nitin (ex vocalist of Morticide) who brings in his own intensity and aggression to the songs. Influences range from mostly your old school metallers Slayer,Death,Kreator, Deicide, Pantera,Napalm Death, Sepultura and Obituary.

HB: What are your promotion and touring plans for the coming months?

Anjani: We are trying to work some deals.. We will update you once something works. As of now all you need to do is send us an email to [email protected]

And we will get it couriered to your address. We are looking at gigging towards the end of September. So watch out all you metalheads we will hit your city soon! (Also all organizers J)

HB: Giving albums away for free download seems to be the current rage in the Indian music industry. Do you have any similar plans?

Anjani: We have already put up one of our tracks for free download online & also four of our tracks from VanQuish can be heard on our myspace page http://myspace.com/sledgeindia & yes we will be sharing some more select songs soon.

HB: Going back to when you formed Sledge- apparently you all started jamming in a haunted school. What was the significance of this?

Suman: J The perennial issue of finding a jam pad! Back in the days the ‘haunted school’ was an abandoned huge ass school property which was owned by our earlier guitarist Karna’s family. People believed it to be haunted and so it was abandoned. But for us it was exciting to jam in such an open space & we didn’t encounter an ghosts over there am sure the decibel levels would have scared them away! J Things are way better now with our own studio cum jam room at Anjani’s (bassist) house.

HB: Rarely do bands stick on for long in India, where music is often compromised for something else like higher education or family commitments. What is it about Sledge that you’d say made you guys stick together through all that?

Anjani: The core members Anjani, Prabhu and Suman have stayed strong over the years. Though we have had our share of members floating in and out which I guess is inevitable considering music isn’t a full time career option for most. Besides we have also had our periods of hibernation due similar reasons of departure of band mates and the subsequent looking for replacements. Our vocalist Nitin is based in Mumbai and we have to juggle with jams and recording as travel and time is an issue. But the commitment is totally there cause end of the day we like our music hard and heavy. It is simpler as he is the vocalist and can do his parts out there in Mumbai while the rest of the band jams up over here in Hyderabad. But this year we will be playing lot more gigs than what we have done in the last two years.

We have stuck it out primarily because nothing beats the high of making your own music, getting on stage, playing your tracks getting crowds to headbang, mosh and connecting with the crowd. And yes getting out our album

HB: Sledge has quite a few very successful shows to its credit. Any memorable gigs or incidents that you’d like to recall?

Nitin: One of our best and memorable gig was in 2007 when we played in Singapore (Gashaus) with a killer set of bands which included Arbitary Element, Predatory amongst others. It was great to see metalheads abroad headbang to our originals! Quite a rush and also realized metal fans, gigs, venues etc all are quite the same the world over! Underground, full of energy & everyone is so passionate about metal! It reminded me of good ol Razz Rhino days in Mumbai.

Anjani: IIT Delhi in the year 2002 was another memorable one  .. well that the the first time we saw a crowd of 5000 before that we never performed for more than 200 people and winning the runners up was a great moment.

Nitin: Independence Rock 2005 the initial gig that never happened at Gateway was quite an experience. It was the 20th edition of I rock and the venue was the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai. The vibe was amazing – it was like being part of history – soundchecking at the Gateway! And all the multitudes of musicians who had converged there and fans were shocked when the gig wasn’t allowed by the cops who refused the final permission after citing security excuses! We were so fuckin livid! And so was the crowd! Somehow a riot was averted! Later the postponed gig which was held at Chitrakoot grounds was kickass where we played to a crowd of 6000 odd rabid Mumbai metalheads! It was manic!

HB: What is the band’s practice schedule like? How often do you jam and how do you juggle other responsibilities with music?

Anjani: The band jams regularly without our vocalist as is based in Mumbai like I said earlier at least once a week but I admit there are times when every member or most members are tied up & we can’t jam. Technology has been of great help we have been constantly sharing raw compositions over for most of last year for VanQuish and Nitin does show up for jams before the gigs! ;- ) it’s mostly weekends and holidays when we do jam and otherwise every member is working on the tracks constantly

HB: Lastly, does Sledge have any words of inspiration for fans and fellow metalheads across the country?

Anjani: Word out from us to all: Nothing much keep it simple be at it jam, record, gig repeat!

Once you have a steady line-up I would say stick together guys! It’s too easy to give up!