Interview by Hassan Amin
‘We announced the gig officially from our Facebook page on 13th December which is Chuck’s death anniversary..but we started circulating our xeroxed flyers in September, not only in Dhaka but other cities too where metal exists. The pictures of the flyers were uploaded by people as well as they xeroxed more flyers themselves and gave to other people and that is how it spread more. This is something totally new that has happened here, the whole idea of DIY flyers.Done for the first time’
1. Hey, hope all of you at BMA are doing well! Can you introduce yourself as well as BMA to the readers?
Nabil: Hey Hassan, thank you for having me on Metalbase. I am Nabil Rahman from Bangladesh Metal Alliance. BMA is known for putting up yearly Metal gigs with quality Metal bands from all over Bangladesh. BMA comprises of three organizers. My other two partners at BMA are Muktadir Anzan(who’s also one of the founders of BMA) and Mujtaba Nurul Hamim. So far we have 4 successful gigs under our belts. Now we are ready with our next gig.
2. So we found out that Bangladesh Metal Alliance is holding a Death tribute gig, featuring ‘supergroups’ comprised of local musicians.. would you elaborate further on that?
Nabil: Yes, you’re right. The gig is called “Scream Bloody Death”. A total of 21 amazing musicians from different bands of the scene are taking part in this tribute. The musicians are divided into 4 super groups and 17 songs from all 7 albums of Death will be staged in this gig. I think it is going to be pretty interesting for the audience to see all their favourite musicians playing together and pay homage to one of the most influential Metal bands ever. In fact, I have been in touch with Eric Greif(manager of Death, Perseverance Holdings LTD)since June. He is quite appreciative of the gig.
The idea of supergroups actually was suggested to us by Showmik Das. He had some plans to do a project like this of his own. Basically we thought of a Death tribute show in last year Spetember. But we did not commence with it as we thought it would not be a proper tribute show if we put it up in the typical “each band covers one or two Death songs” format. When Showmik suggested us this supergroup idea, it seemed very challenging to us. We started planning things farther and talked with the musicians. Things started rolling and here we are now. By the time this interview gets published, I think we will have the details about the tracklist and the musicians on our pages.
3. The main question in my mind is, why put on a tribute gig to a band, as opposed to having a regular show with local bands?
Nabil: Firstly, tribute shows are not something new in Bangladesh. We have had Iron Maiden, Metallica, Dio, The Beatles etc tribute shows in the past, in big scales. So why not do something like that in Extreme Metal too? We are aware that there is a big number of new kids pumping into the scene and we feel its the right time to preach some quality music to them. Why chose Death? Because we have thousands of fans of this band in Bangladesh. Death is such a genre defining band of which there can’t be a “best of” album. You just can not choose their one album over another. Each album has its own significance.
4. To me it’s a testament to how much the metal scene in Dhaka has grown, over the last few years, that you’re able to pull something like this gig off now. Would you (or the sponsors) agree with that?
Nabil: It is true that the scene in Dhaka started to take different directions after 2011, perhaps to a more extreme direction. We have a more concentrated Metal scene right now. Bands are focusing more on originals and promoting themselves however they can. Many bands are getting accolades worldwide. I can proudly say that we have a kickass Thrash Metal scene over here with bands like Powersurge, Gene-Split, Mirrorblaze, Sacrilege, Surtur, Dissector, Invictus, Thrash, Enmachined, Nuclear Winter, Exalter and so on. There are sick Death Metal bands like Severe Dementia, Homicide, Orator, Warhound, Morbidity and vicious Black Metal entities like Jahiliyyah, Abominable Carnivore, Eternal Armageddon, Nafarmaan, Barzak, Serpent Spells. Its a very packed scene. There are different organizers who have been organizing quality gigs, merchandize companies are putting out great merchandizes of local and foreign bands. With the emergence of more scenes in Bangladesh, bands are touring a lot within the country. Also not to forget, more bands are touring outside Bangladesh now. On the other hand, international bands like Impiety, Defiled, Funerus have toured here. I agree with you to that extent. However, it does not mean that we did not have quality gigs before nor does it mean we did not have great bands before. Its that hardly anybody ever bothered to communicate with other scenes in the neighboring countries back then. The Dhaka scene dates back to the late 80’s and Heavy Metal music in Bengal was initiated by bands like Waves, Rockstrata, Warfaze, Aces back at that time. The growth you have been seeing for the last few years is only the natural succession of the movement that was started back in the 80’s. Its for the lack of proper documentation and promotion that people outside Bangladesh were not aware of this scene untill now. I actually see it as a massive change that our bands now think of going beyond the borders. They have tours, releases from western independent labels and what not.
5. What are the primary challenges when it comes to hosting a gig in Bangladesh, and what advice would you give to other developing scenes in the region?
Nabil: Lack of proper venues,time constraints, lack of sponsors are some of the obstacles that every organizer has to go through. Sometimes people seem reluctant to go to gigs if they don’t see their favourite headliners/bands in the bill. This is where people can change their mentality a bit and support the newer bands.
My advice would be to form communities where listeners would be properly guided. Listeners are the back bone of any scene. Without them there would be nobody to appreciate the local bands, no turn out in the gigs. Its very important to have audience with good taste and atleast minimal knowledge of the music. So share your music with others, share your thoughts with eachother, read zines/blogs, watch documentaries, buy your local bands’ releases/merch etc. This is how scenes are built.
6. With the rise of paralel scenes in Sylhet, Khulna, Chittagong, do you feel that the days of Dhaka-dominance are gone?
Nabil: I am very much appreciative of what the organizers and bands are doing there and I honestly would love to see the Dhaka-dominance coming to an end for all the good reasons. But its going to take some time for that to happen. The scenes in Sylhet, Khulna, Chittagong are still in their early, development stages. The bands outside Dhaka are no less in quality. There are some amazing bands out there. For example, Grimorium Verum, Abaddon, Void from Khulna, Psychotron and Necrolepsy from Sylhet, Power Of Ground and Ionic Bond from Chittagong. There were some Death Metal Bands in Rajshahi too, which are dormant right now. I feel there is space for improvements when it comes to lives, by that I mean the sound management. Its vital for any band. Like I mentioned earlier, it is very important to have a strong listener base. So I reckon that should be worked upon too.
7. What’s next for BMA after this show?
Nabil: Well, we already have planned up a few things for the next show after Scream bloody Death. I think we will announce it soon. Like our past gigs, we will feature some new talents. We want to touch down other Metal hubs of Bangladesh too. BMA is also thinking about launching a website. Lets see how things roll in 2016.
8. Thanks for your time! Anything you’d like to sign off with?
Nabil: Thank you for supporting us mate. Yes, I would lke to take this opportunity to thank Saquib Ahmad for being a wonderful friend to us. His support to BMA has been unequaled, since the beginning. Also our heartfelt gratitudes to those lads who helped us circulating our hand-drawn flyers for this show. Too many names to mention. You know who you are haha.