Text by Prabin Maharjan
Photo by Satyan Shrestha
Last month, worshippers of metal music displayed frenzied rhapsodies of accolades to DICTATED, as the brutal death metal band from Kampen, The Netherlands, performed around various venues of Nepal, upturning mindnumbing atmosphere to worth recalling metal moments. Not to let go the chance of knowing their takes on Nepali metal music community, India & Nepal tour and the band’s short outline, we secured ourselves fortunate enough to hold a short on-spot interview with the band who was ready at a peak to perform during ‘Break the Wall’ concert in Kathmandu.
We understand that evaluating a music scene requires time; nevertheless, how did you find the present Nepali metal music scene?
We’ve listened to various Nepali metal bands and they sound incredible. In these few weeks, we talked with a lot of people, after which, we found everyone being highly dedicated not only to keep the metal scene running but also to push it to the next level. These people are amazingly designing and implementing strategies for promotion and upgradation of Nepali metal music. Everyone is so true on that.
Was it the band’s first choice to tour across Nepal?
We always knew about Nepal and wanted to be here at some point of time. Two years ago, Extreme Underground Society contacted us and proposed us for the tour. First, we had a bit hesitation and weren’t sure if we actually wanted to tour in Nepal. We started exchanging emails and messages back and forth, and eventually,we made up our mind.
There are good bands in Nepal but signing with foreign labels seems beyond the bounds of possibility, what should the musicians do to have a record deal with international labels?
Start with good music of course. Send all your songs to record labels but be careful because there are lot of people who just want to make money and do nothing for the band. Besides, a band must be able to provide an evidence of having larger fan base; thus, nearly popular bands should properly use social media that serves as reference. Importantly, do something different, and try to stand out in the crowd. We have even sent candies to record labels so that they could treat their taste buds while listening to our songs.
For Nepalese people, a female playing guitar in a band is bizarre; how has been the crowd’s response towards DICTATED in this regard?
People usually get surprised after watching us perform, and most mistake us as a girl band. But by the end of a song, audience let their hair down with banging their heads and mosh pits. Other times, people presumes them being our girlfriends and we consider it as ‘cute responses’.
Tell us about metal music scene in Netherlands.
In Netherlands, the death metal music scene that started from the early 90s, is like a fifty-fifty composition when it comes to calculate the number of musicians and fans. As there are lots of venues, metal shows happen two to three times a week, and watching gigs is not that special because people can miss a show today and watch another tomorrow, may be somewhere in their neighborhoods. The Dutch metal scene already have had its ups and downs. In the past, it got quieter but now, it’s getting back again.
What is the common subject of your songs?
We mostly write about a situation where an individual (a protagonist representing somebody or a group) agrees for contempt of principles to overcome something. For instance, the song ‘The Deceived’ is about the survivors of a plane crash and their stories on how they had to eat flesh of deceased in order to survive.
Any suggestion to metal musicians?
Yes. Although metal is loud, songwriting skill is very important and a metal musician should add a little structure in the noise. A metal musician shouldn’t be ashamed to draw inspiration from pop music if felt needed.
Formed by Sonja in Utrecht, Holland, DICTATED (formerly known as Stone Squad) is a brutal death metal band comprising of York Keijzer on vocals, Sonja Schuringa on guitar, Yessica Otten on guitar, Koen Verstralen on bass and Frank Schilperoort on (session) drums. The band’s latest album ‘The Deceived’ was released in 2014, and at present, is working for their next album with Metal Blade Records, which is assumed to be released in the beginning of the winter.