Viresh Qazi (Metakix)
Our featured artist for this month is Viresh Qazi- a member from one of the country’s earliest commercially acclaimed thrash metal bands- Metakix. In this exclusive interview, he talks about experiences with band, life after Metakix, and his music in general. More, only on Headbangers India.
HB: Hey Viresh, what’s up? How’re you doing?
Viresh: Hey. Am doing fine.
HB: 10 years, 2 albums, gigs all over the country, loads of fans and associations with major bands and musicians. Metakix had it going pretty good for them. Then the band broke up. What happened?
Viresh: I can’t speak for others but I guess I was not inspired enough and the circumstances at that time led us to finding our own directions in life.
HB: When Metakix started playing music more than a decade ago, the music scene in India was pretty much non-existent, right? How hard was it as a thrash metal band to get gigs, play shows and release albums?
Viresh: It was hard. I remember playing gigs to 5 people in the crowd and still having a blast. The music related to kids who were like us and felt the same way living in Mumbai and going through the diversity in cultures and way of life who felt rebellious and don’t give a dam what you think kind of attitude! Metal came to us very naturally and we all took it further in our own way with ‘Connect & Inspire’.
HB: It’s been quite a while since Metakix broke up. Any chance of a reunion gig or tour?
Viresh: It’s been more than 2 years since we played our last gig at Marine Centre, Navi Mumbai in Dec’07. I would love to but there’s nothing on the cards as of now.
HB: Any particular experience of yours with the band or as a musician that you’d like to share with us?
Viresh: We always had a blast especially on the road during our South India tours. Those were the days we were stoned and drunk out of our heads most of the time. Nothing that I can remember right now.
HB: So what have you been doing now then? Playing for a new band or looking to form/join a new one?
Viresh: Since I didn’t want to play metal without the band at that point of time I started to explore other forms of music and ways to express myself. I played with some friends in Delhi in a band called Radius, which was a Jazz influenced rock band. We did a tour across Mumbai and Delhi in 2008 and it was a totally new creative experience for me and got to learn a lot from that experience. Well right now I am looking for musicians who have good creative experience and are willing to share ideas in writing new songs with me.
HB: Tell us more about your influences. Musical and otherwise.
Viresh: I grew up listening to all sorts of contemporary music and immediately fell in love with rock & metal as a kid. Bands like Led Zep, Metallica, Pantera, Sepultura, Maiden, Ozzy, Megadeth, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, were the main reason I wanted to play guitar in a band. That’s when I joined my first band as a kid in Delhi called Swastika with school buddies Saurabh on guitar (Parikrama) and Ashu on Vox. It all started as fun & became so serious and important part of our lives before we knew it as we were growing up. Current Artist Influences – Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Scott Henderson, Miles, Scofield, NIN, Tool, Massive Attack, John Mayer, R.D Burman, etc.
HB: From your several years of playing and touring, I’m sure you have loads of experiences and advice on how to succeed in the Indian music industry. Any tips you’d like to give other bands and musicians?
Viresh: Don’t try to get into music ‘coz it makes you look cool or is something to do with getting girls to hook up. It’s not as fancy as it looks on stage. Being on road is as hard and demanding as much fun it is. Indian Music industry has always overshadowed the underground music scene, which has led to bands never heard of in the mainstream industry. DIY is one way of doing it but not the only way. In the end it all boils down to your own music & your attitude towards it. I remember giving an interview for PETA while we were headlining a gig in IIT Rourkee where I said ‘as an artist in music you are not successful if only your music is good but if also when the majority of population has heard it’. Talking about India, If your mom, dad, uncle, aunt & college professor hate the songs you have written then that’s the first sign you should know that the songs are good and you are on the right track.
HB: What are your views about people saying that the best riffs are taken?
Viresh: A lot of people tell me that all the great riff’s & tunes have already been done by Black Sabbath & Led Zeppelin and whatever is created now is an improvised version of that which is already being done. I agree and disagree at the same time with it coz I have heard so many riff’s which sound completely new and hard to find the roots even if it might have be improvised from the past. The point is who the fuck cares about it as long as it’s coming from your soul and you can headbang to it.
HB: This is your space. Say anything here.
If you look at the history of successful artists they all have written songs about whats going on around them or where they are coming from or something in life, which inspired them. I feel it’s very important in any creative field to feel inspired or anything, which makes your adrenaline blood rush like a jet engine through your brains. That’s why they say that the creative space requires the musician to be crazy enough and always crossing the boundaries of normal behavior or anything which inspires you enough to express yourself in the most creative form as possible. So if you are living a normal or regular life with 9 to 5 job and have no motivation or excitement in your life there are very less chance of you being able to express yourself in the most creative form as possible. So you cant really ‘Rock On’ if you are a cheesy actor, director, or part time musician cum actor or if you are not crazy enough to live up to it. We all have/had 9 to 5 jobs and we all hated it as much as we loved to jam as loud as we could.