INTERVIEW/PREMIERE | India’s Death By Fungi & Shepherd speak to us about new split record
When one considers “hardcore” in Asia Southeast Asian scenes such as Indonesia and Singapore would rightfully jump right to mind. Both these scenes, as well as the Philippines, Malaysia and of course Japan, all have decades of hardcore-punk development and breeding under their belts and so it should come as no surprise that these countries have left a strong mark on worldwide hardcore.
Lesser known scenes are places that actually deserve more attention in a way to continue to help encourage these scenes to put in the time they need to foster their homegrown bands and communities. One place in particular has been increasingly a place we’re interested in – India. India has already established itself as a hotbed of metal with stellar acts such as Demonstealer, Gutslit, Plague Throat and so many others coming out taking the world by storm. What is more hidden amongst the world of Indian music is punk and hardcore.
Today we get to sit down with two pretty incredible Indian bands to talk about just that. India’s Death by Fungi and Shepherd have come together to release a split record and have taken the time to speak to us about their experiences. Both bands have also kindly allowed us to premiere a couple tracks off the split. Huge thanks to Vrishank (Death by Fungi) and Deepak (Shepherd) for taking the time.
What’s up guys! Congrats on this split that’s about to hit the shelves. For most of the world – hardcore seems pretty much non-existent in South Asia. Any thoughts to why that is?
D: Thanks! Yeah well I haven’t really heard any good bands from India at least.
V: In the last two years, I’ve seen a significant increase in hardcore and punk music in India but still, it’s not enough for us to be proud of and say there’s an active scene. You would think that the grimy South Asia would have more punk rock but it just doesn’t. Honestly, I have no idea why. The only thing I actively do is help and support newer punk and hardcore bands so that more people do it. Some rad bands coming out of India are False Flag, Punk On Toast, Pacifist, Mutiny in March.
Yeah I mean, here in Hong Kong it’s a very similar situation where the sound of the more raw straight ahead punk/hardcore sound doesn’t appeal to people. Metal on the other hand is fully embraced. I just think it’s interesting that in certain pockets of the world that the raw punk – hardcore sound is more fully accepted than metal. Was wondering if you think that could be a factor at play in India?
V: Something I’ve seen, especially in Bombay with all the gentrification, the DIY attitude that was very prominent in the scene has disappeared and there are fewer venues to play. Well, Indians listens to some REALLY grimy death metal like gutslit and stuff so I don’t even know if it’s a sonic thing. Modern hardcore is SO metallic that I don’t even think it should be a problem for metalheads to dig it. I honestly think that musicians in India are more interested in appealing to a present audience and don’t really want to cultivate their own sound and audience. I meet so many people who say they wanted to form a hardcore or punk band but think there isn’t enough interest.
D: There’s a stronger metal scene because there’s just a history of hard rock and heavy metal being played in pubs and venues in Bangalore at least.
Oh that’s true…metal in most places certainly has a longer history and thus a stronger foothold. So let’s talk about this split! How did this idea come together?
D: Damn it’s been so long I can’t even remember.
V: Deepak just messaged me after our in dearth of EP came out, asking if we would be down to do a split record and we all loved SHEPHERD so we thought why not. Splits are also cool for refining your sound, they allow you to explore sonic elements you wouldn’t think of otherwise.
Oh – so this conversation started last year?!
V: Yes dude. We started recording a little later but didn’t really finish until December, then it was off for mixing and mastering. It took much longer than we expected but it’s been in the pipelines for a while now! I’m just happy to get this out!
D: Same here. It took us way longer than we expected to get everything done. But very very happy and proud of what both of our bands have done here.
All the tracks on this are unreleased correct? Because this split is being released pretty close to both your own releases.
V: Uh yeah, it’s all unreleased. One SHEPHERD song was streamed pretty recently!
D: Yeah we did release a live album of material from the last album and a couple of covers of alice in chains and kyuss. We did a limited edition CD-R. We really just kind of wanted to retire that material or at least putout something that reflects that certain point in our career. That album (stereolithic riffalocalypse) was written sometime in 2012 and we released it in 2015. So we really wanted to inject something really fresh and potent into our new live set. These bunch of songs just came out of that frustration.
Oh wow…yeah when songs are that old they feel dated. As any band knows, bands are always looking forward. Whatever material they’re working on at that moment is usually their best work hahaha…so I understand the sentiment. So what formats is this coming out on? Who is releasing it?
V: Besides digital, we’re doing a tape release with Inspirus Records!
Is their a record release show in the works? Any touring around the country to support the release?
D: We have a couple of shows lined up but working on making it into a mini tour.
V: We have two dates lined-up with both our bands. Lets see if we can make it a tour haha.
Awesome! Any parting words to the world of hardcore about your bands or your scene in India?
D: First of all, thanks for taking your time and doing this.
V: We’re just excited to release these songs! Thanks for doing this!
Go check out the tracks down below! Get more info from each band at the following links:
Death By Fungi: https://www.facebook.com/deathbyfungi