Nepalese heavy music scene has a passionate little community and just like many other places around Asia where the scene may not be that large with a huge populace of fan support and bands, a lot of the shows are a mixed genre bill. I think in my experience, most scenes start like this until the community is large enough to start splintering off. For those of us who have experience in larger scenes, it is these early days that we miss most. There is something super idealistic about shows that have punk, metal, crust, hardcore bands all on the same bill sharing the stage and building a community together regardless of aesthetic or musical style.
Our buddies in Nepalese hardcore band Jugaa recently announced that they were getting back together for a special show. So I quickly hit up Vishal of Jugaa with some questions about life in Nepal that he kindly took time out to answer.
Hey buddy – tell us about your experience playing at Nepal Deathfest yesterday?
NDF2016 really was something else. First off, we played a lot better than we thought we would hahaha. The reaction too was something we weren’t expecting. There was a bunch of young kids who had come all the way from Dharan (which is quite a while away) who made our set all the more special. And then the day ended with Sete Star Sept from Japan who were CRAZY!!
In terms of impact on the nepalese scene from an event like this, what are your thoughts and maybe overall hopes of a band that was able to participate in something like this?
Well, this was only our second show so we got to take our sound to a bigger audience. We’re pretty much the only band in Nepal playing sludge right now, so we stood out as well, I suppose. Playing NDF was an honour for sure.
Tell me about the Jugaa show coming up?
Nothing much to say about the show really. Our vocalist is back from Germany for a month so we decided to play a one-off reunion. Co-incidentally, our friends UgraKarma too were looking to play an EP release show. So, with these massive powercuts (we’ve been dealing with 16 hour power cuts daily) coupled with the fuel shortage in Nepal, we decided to put these events together. Besides, we hadn’t played together in a long time.
What’s up with these crazy power cuts? 16 hours is a massive impact on daily life!
Well, officially it’s thirteen. But then there are a lot of unsheduled powercuts too. Long story short, we have a terribly government. Add red tape and other bureaucratic hurdles, and this is what it all leads to.
What do hospitals and other areas of dire need of electricity do? Generators like in Pakistan?
Generators, yes. But then, for the past 5 months or so, there’s been an acute fuel shortage due to a blockade, which came about due to Nepal’s controversial new constitution that’s extremely unfair to minorities (another long story). There’s a huge black market now with petrol selling for almost thrice its normal rate. Things are pretty crazy.
Insane…and the people are powerless to do anything about this?
Pretty much. It’s insanely frustrating. But then again, we in the capital are a lot better off than people in the villages who lost their houses and belongings to the earthquake last year. It’s been a bitter winter, and the government hasn’t even provided them with shelter. People have been living in makeshift tents made of tarpaulin sheets and many have died due to the cold. Hell man, there were reports of corrupt politicians, police, and army men selling, or taking away for their personal use, blankets and tents that were donated to the earthquake victims. So, with all this going on, these powercuts are perfectly manageable.
All this stuff just boggles the mind especially because in this region governments pretend to be such pious religious observers. We have the Malaysian prime minister trying to pull a fast one over Malaysians with his insane corruption. So when governments of countries in our region try to steal money from their own people it comes off as especially heinous.
Exactly. Here, more than religion, politicians play the ultranationalist card. Lay the blame on “external forces” when you’re everything that’s wrong with the country.
So the show coming up is both a show for you guys Jugaa because your vocalist is back and UrgKarma as they celebrate the release of their record. Anything you can tell us about the show itself? Type of venue? Expected crowd that would probably show up? General info for people outside of Nepal so they have an idea what a local metal/hardcore show is like.
When we were putting together the lineup for the show, I wanted our old friends Binaash and UgraKarma to be there, along with three of my favourite newer local bands – Squirt Guns, Zombie X Incest, and Nude Terror. Fortunately, they could all make it. We grew up on hardcore, punk, and metal, and this bill is a representation of that, I suppose. Since its a mixed bill, Im expecting a mess of metal folks and punks. We got a good deal at this small but awesome venue called Reggae; Ive wanted to put on a show there for a while so it worked out well. Currently, death metal and grindcore are big, and theres a small punk scene that has been around for more than a decade and a half now. Theres not much of a hardcore scene though. Metalcore definitely has the most number of followers. But the heavy music scene is still small and the bills on most shows are mixed.
Sounds rad! Any last words?
Yes. Come to the show, it’s gonna be a party! And thank you for the support, Riz, once again.
Show information can be found at this FB event page! https://www.facebook.com/events/751363878341616/