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Interview - Samron Jude (Sceptre)

Interview with Samron Jude from Sceptre
by V.Srikar at 13 June 2014, 7:14 PM

SCEPTRE is a 4-piece Metal outfit that has been in the Indian Metal scene for around 14 years now. SCEPTRE are proud winners of IRock 2003 and have performed at numerous metal gigs across India and their music has influenced thousands of fans across the globe. After the launch of their debut album “Now or Never” in 2008 and a couple of line-up changes later, 2013 saw the band’s new album “Age of Calamity” – which had darker riffs and heavier vocals, coupled with high-voltage drumming and bass. SCEPTRE comprises of Gilroy Fernandes (Guitars), Aniket Waghmode (Drums), Samron Jude  (Vocals) and Janus Sayal (Bass). SCEPTRE played here in Bangalore on 25th May along 11 other bands, headlined by SUIDAKRA. So the next day V.Srikar caught up with the vocalist Samron Jude to have a chat to speak about music and more.

Hello Samron, so how was the gig for you guys yesterday? Your first thoughts?

It was pretty crazy. This is probably, I felt at least best gig for us this year, because it’s a new city, different crowd, people really liked us and you know, we have been playing in Bombay all this year, so play in a different city, to different people- reacting to your music differently, was really really refreshing! For me it was the best show so far this year.

So how many gigs have you guys played so far this year in 2014?

2014, we have done- it’s been 3 gigs in the span of one month already, i.e., this month. I think we have done about 4 gigs this year.

So tell us about the band a bit. I find that there have been quite a few line-up changes in the last few years. Tell us how you ended up with Sceptre.

So basically the band, I joined Sceptre just about 4 and half years back and it was very different because the band had a different sound initially. When I joined, the vocals were very different than what it was before, because I play for SYSTEMHOUSE 33, that’s Experimental Thrash, so we experiment a lot with our music and lot of death elements and stuff. So with SCEPTRE, its pure Thrash. So for me to adjust and for the guys to adjust with me was little difficult and it took some time and that’s why it took us 4 and half years with one album, but it’s been solid and I enjoyed playing with the guys. Gilroy is the best metal guitar player in India, in my eyes. If you watch him closely you will not doubt it. He is crazy, his technique and he is definitely the best . The way he composes and all is amazing. So for me, I really enjoy my time and just looking forward for playing more . When it comes to the band,  even after many line-up changes, somehow the crowd always loves us when we are on stage at any time, wherever. I have never seen a bad gig ever. The crowd just love it.

So was releasing a full length album after so many line-up changes and so many problems a big risk?

Ya, we were jamming. I think SCEPTRE is the only band, probably in Bombay at least, we use to jam twice a week when we wrote the album for like 3 years straight. Now we have cut down, once a week. We take a lot of time to write our songs. You can see that by the construction of the songs you know, even the lyrics what we have written. There’s a lot of meaning in the songs and it’s not just, you know, when you read the lyrics, you will understand, there’s a message, there’s some sense in it. (Chuckles) In India, it’s kind of strange and rare, but we make sure that we don’t go by what everybody does, you know, we just do our own thing and we have taken our own time to write the songs, but ………. you know, we get into the songs, the meaning of the songs, that’s why it’s taken so much time and it was a good process. We really loved it.

So your take about this lyrical content of “women empowerment” and “rape” and other socially related subjects? So was it there even before you came into the band or it evolved from there? And who is the man behind the lyrics in your latest album “Age of Calamity” and how could you relate to the lyrics?

Ya, so SCEPTRE has always been a band that goes out with a message. You know there was this song called “Charred”. Have you heard that song? (I say no!) So that song is about people who smoke, you know, that they will be charred to death eventually. So there are lyrics about depression and all that about why people get into smoking ciggerates. So you know, so no one in the band smokes, so it’s like there was a message in the first album. Aniket steps up and he also writes. I have written most of the songs on “Age of Calamity” and each song has a powerful message.

“Wrath of God” is one of my favourites, when I wrote it, I pondered about these turbulent times we live in and how the evil acts people commit is beckoning God’s wrath. Then there’s “7 Seals”, which I’ve taken from the book of Revelations from the Holy Bible and is about the inevitable things to come. The other tracks I’ve written are – “Fatal Delay”, which is about the human race’s reckless attitude towards life and the resultant death,  “Lake of the Traitor”, which is about disobedience and bad deeds which leads to  burning in hell (which is the lake of fire) and “Prophecy Deceit” is about the widespread lies people spread in the guise of truth, making people fools. Aniket wrote “Parasites of the state” and co-wrote with me Age of Calamity and Lest we forget.

So your take on Mumbai metal scene and what do you thing has been the most promising band of all?
I been have around 12 years in the metal scene and I have seen so many metal bands. I have seen bands come up, bands go down, bands coming back, its definitely growing we can say that, but it’s the people’s mentality.

That culture is still not yet in, and I don’t blame the people, its people who attend who should tell their friends, because that’s how the scene will evolve. That’s how it will get better, that’s the main goal right? It’s about supporting the bands, then there will be more bands and then there will be better bands and when there are better bands they will go outside the country and they will tell other people that India has good music as well, music which is born in another country .

When it comes to Bombay, it is compared to New York and San Francisco, musically it’s pretty far, there’s only Blue Frog and Hard Rock Café here, but that’s just cover dominated. Like for Hard Rock Café in US, they have MARILYN MANSON performing there, but in Indian, its predominanatly cover bands in the spotlight, that has to change.

The whole main aim for Hard rock Café to promote talent and bands that have original music is still something that has to happen on a larger scale. So Blue Frog is actually the only place where independent bands have a platform for new music. People who come to Bombay, like tourists and travellers, they don’t know where to go and that’s why they don’t go. For gigs, they only go to Blue Frog 
 (I enquire more about the venue Blue Frog)

Blue Frog is a very good venue. It’s actually the best venue in Bombay. Bands get a chance to play there and Metal bands are playing more often. Different genres can be seen, different days of the week. I mean there’s nothing that can touch that place, so far. They pay bands unlike other venues. They should open one in Bangalore. They do it right man. They are definitely on international standards. They people who run that place have been to places abroad and know how to do it right and that’s why they are doing the right thing. I don’t know about the others and I shouldn’t comment, but it’s definitely much better. We just played at Blue Frog, it was amazing, even though the turn out wasn’t that great. Just playing there at that venue is amazing. Good sound, they really understand, you know, the value of a band, its dedication of years of efforts put in. It’s not just ‘arey college band form kiya’ and stuff you know and it’s a good thing. So Blue Frog is amazing.

Do you think Indian Bands fail when it comes to marketing their music?

Yeah, they do, because there are lack of marketers for bands, like you’re doing an interview right now. I mean, you have come all the way. Its hard work. People think that there’s no future, there’s no money or whatever reason it is. They don’t do that and there were hardly any websites supporting metal few years back. Bands, their job is to make the music and the marketing needs to be done by websites, or agencies or booking agents or whatever, managers like Salman, with the bands he manages. That’s what you need. You need more people like that, otherwise it’s just a struggle for a band, like you know, we have been struggling, and if we had a manager we would have been doing a SUIDAKRA kind of tour in all the 6 cities, because we want to do that, why not? If a band from Germany can come and do it here, why not a band from India? It’s about money, but it’s more about marketing and music itself. Now you heard our album when it was released and you heard us play, and it’s a different feel you know. There are so many people who probably will hear us, then get our album, so many things change you know.

How did the deal with Transcending Obscurity happen? Did you guys know Kunal before you made the deal?

No, I actually met Kunal at a SYSTEMHOUSE 33 gig. He wanted to get us signed for Scpetre. He really like us and he is one guy who really supports, he understands what bands go through, you know, in a way, and he is doing this 24-7, you know. We can’t even count 5 people in our country who are doing this 24-7, who are supporting bands, who are writing about bands. He got us the interview with Atlantic, that’s a big website. Then Chelsea Clinton tweeted about us and we sold so many albums that night .It makes a difference when someone talks about you and then makes you think ‘oh! You are important’, you know, otherwise people don’t even have the time to look into you. But Kunal, that’s where I met him and he got to know that I was part of Sceptre. Everyone knows SCEPTRE as we have been around for 16 years now. So he has been very instrumental and I want to really thank him for whatever he has done. He has really making a difference to the bands, whether he knows it or not, but he really is making a huge difference. He is posting interviews, he is having gigs. His gigs are always full, because he knows how to market his gigs. It’s not just about telling people “this gig here and please come”. You know how people in India are, you need to give them what they want and give them what they need. If you just tell them “Rs.600 entry, just come for the gig”, unless there are like 12 or 15 bands, you may not get like 300 people. You should come for the next gig he organizes in Bombay, its always insane!

I hope so

Ya ya, you should.

In one of the Interviews in January, Aniket mentioned that you guys are working on new material. So how far has it come and when can we expect the release?

So, last night we played a new song “Pagan Breed”. Ya, so basically I’m in a hurry to release the album because I feel that the more material you put out, the more reason people have to check you out, the more reason people have to come to your shows. For me it’s a hurry, so ASAP. The guys are going to work out in this rains. I will be out of town, so we’re going to work on it together, so when some music is done, I’m going to put down the lyrics then, and I really want it to be done by September because, I don’t like huge gaps like, one and half and two years is fine, but not more than that because, in a scene like ours, you need to keep getting more music out, because consistency matters you know, in my point of view. It’s not a struggle for us to write new songs, you know, so that’s why I’m always in a hurry to write new material, it keeps me going as well. I don’t like huge gaps. After playing the same songs, I feel a little monotonous, so that’s why we played a new song last night and the older songs as well. So that says it all.

Ankit seems to be the only constant member of the band right from its inception. So how difficult has it been for the band to stay active with all the line-up changes?

It’s been really tough because……… Aniket has been the only founding member and he is the only one who knows everything about Sceptre. So that’s why he has been doing all the interviews and he is very passionate about Sceptre. He just wants the band to get out there and make it big, you know. He is one guy who is on it all the time and is one of the most important guys in SCEPTRE. So that’s great!

From what I understand after reading about Sceptre is that you joined the band in 2009/10 after the band auditioned for a vocalist, after the original vocalist Timir left. So tell us about that process and that experience.

Oh Yeah! That’s a good question actually. So I,………….. Auditioned for 6 months and there were other vocalists doing the auditions as well, and I was not told. 6 months I was jamming every week, doing all the songs, doing it at the best I could. I was not being told. It took them 6 months for them to tell me because Timir is a very influential guy in the Bombay metal scene, so to fill in his shoes was like, you know, they had some expectations that I had to meet and deliver too, I knew there were other vocalists auditioning as well. I actually quit my job, because I realized that I will be joining a band that will be doing a lot more than just other bands what they are doing. So I thought I should quit and I quit my job and started focusing on music.

So is Timir active right now?

I really don’t know what he has been up to, because I have because with our stuff, you know, so I’m really not sure.

From what I understand from one of the interviews that I read of Aniket is that, Sceptre moved towards a slightly core-ish sound with the new album. Is it because of your addition to the band or any other reason?

…….. There are more reasons actually. Its Thrash metal yeah, but they listen to that kind of music. So Gilroy, Aniket, Janus all listen to that kind of music. Actually I don’t listen to that kind of music. I listen to it, but very few bands. But the others listen to lot more of that genre like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and bands like that.

So it comes naturally?

They listen to that kind of music, so they like it you know. So they wanted those kind of vocals. So they are cool, actually happy, happier rather.

You’re the vocalist of SYSTEMHOUSE 33 and PARATRA as well. Frankly, I haven’t been able to listen to both the bands so far, but from I read, SYSTEMHOUSE 33 has released a full length last year. Tell us about your journey with those 2 bands?

Very nice question again. So SYSTEMHOUSE 33 was formed in 2003 in Nagpur, that’s the centre of India. It’s a place where music is almost dead, there is no music there. Only in Engineering colleges, where metal fests happen and that’s all and no metal bands were playing at that time and we were the only band that were playing Pantera, Metallica and stuff like that. So people were like “wow, this is good”, so that’s how we started off, then we moved to Bombay. We did Discernment (EP) in 2006 we did “Join the System”, 2008 , then we new had a live album out which was “Thrive live” (2011) and 2013 we had “Depths of Despair”. So that’s 4 albums, so since we are from Nagpur, it has been difficult to fit in Bombay, there are so many metal bands in Bombay. Every year there are like 10 new metal bands forming. It’s been really tough, but we have struck. So our sound engineer is same sound engineer for ZYGNEMA, and now our Bassist is  also now in ZYGNEMA. We have got very good sound in “Depths of Despair” thanks to Akash Sawant  . It’s been a very long journey, it’s been 11 long years and we are finally getting more serious about it and we’re going to release a new album this year. We are going to have some music videos as well which we feel is very important right now because when I watched music videos I was like “wow man wow!!” You should realise it before, better later than never and we are going to do that, because without that, we go live and we got a great gig and its awesome and they forget about it and there has to be and that’s the reason with SYSTEMHOUSE 33. We are putting out more videos and lots of pictures and that helps a lot, its documented, so when you go back, people know that and what you have done in the past, otherwise you wouldn’t know how we sound and people have to wait until they see us live, so that makes a big difference.

 So we are going to do that with PARATRA. It’s an experimental band and I play guitars for that band. I am a guitar player actually, I have been playing for around 13 years and I have a rare collection of guitars as well, like which is one on my hand (Shows his guitar tattoo). So I love Dimebag Darrell’s guitars basically and I have a lot of his collection and some limited editions as well. So that’s what I do at PARATRA, I play guitars and sing as well. Now we are going to be releasing our new album, and we have a sitar player. So it’s very Indie, experimental, we play whatever we feel like playing, it’s very open, anyone can listen to that kind of music, be it an 80-year-old lady or a 18 year old girl can listen to it as well. It’s not restricted, it’s not metal, where you have to be into it to listen to it, but with Paratra we are doing everything differently and its an Indian sound with the sitar player. I personally felt that I should be doing something which speaks about India, because I’m Indian. And I just felt that, so that’s why we formed the band, I have been jamming with our sitar player for around 4 years now and we had our debut album “Accumbus”  released in 2013 and we will have another album released this year. With the 1st album, we just took a car, went to Goa with our sitar player and jammed and recorded and we came back. So it was very different. This album is little different, Akash is going to be the sound engineer. So we know what to do now, because jamming with the sitar player was really crazy. So we jammed, jammed, jammed, and it’s been 4 years of jamming and then we recorded something. We even played a gig at Blue FROG recently with Paratra., was great!

So did you have an idea what the music will be before you even played?

No, that’s what I’m saying. When we played, it was new, but now we know it how it should be. So this album is going to be crazy and we are going to make sure everyone hears it, you know. So that we go out there and let people listen to it and the album is going to be released this year after the rains.

So was there any pressure on you individually to release 3 full length albums in the same year? So were you able to balance all the 3?

Yeah I was able to, because I wasn’t gigging every day or we jam every day.. Whatever time I have spent the year before that and last year has just been amazing and tonight I’m going to go back and start working on some stuff, on the record from tomorrow again as we are working on the album now, so that’s what we love doing every day. We have changed the way we work on music now, we play like 15 songs and then we choose the best 10 songs that should fit in the album. It’s not about “paanch gaane kardeye, che gaane kardeye, acha”, we start seeing how it sounds and we analyse it and see if its making a lot of difference. Big bands around the world do that and there’s a reason they do that for, you know. Probably in India, its not a common practise, because there’s lesser resources and everyone doesn’t have time, because they got jobs and stuff, so everybody can’t do that. Some bands do 8 songs and put all of that 8 songs in the album and then later there is this one song which you are not really happy about and you don’t really like, but it’s still there on the album. I don’t want to be in that state ever in the future. So if it is something there where my creativity is involved, it has to be the best and nothing lesser than that, so we have started to focus on that now and if you love it only then people are going to love it. You don’t expect people to like your songs which you don’t like. It’s never going to happen. It’s fooling yourself. So that’s why we are recording, even with Paratra and SYSTEMHOUSE 33, with Sceptre we are going to do in the rains, but with the 1st two bands, we have already started recording, we started working on riffs and writing lyrics, because we want to give a message to the people through our music, that’s the medium that we want want to use to give our message to the people and you know, there’s work every day. You go out at night, there’s work every day. So as I have my own studio and as I got married last year, I rented a house now which is a 2 BHK, 1 room is just a music room, so I spend most of my time there.

Reminds me of Sahil (The Demonstealer)

Ya, but yeah Sahil does that. Very close to that.

(I chuckle) Me: So do you have a day job?

So I own a company which is an Ad Network called “Mediastinct”, so that was formed about 2 and half years back, once I quit my job me and my wife started a company called “iDiscern Media”, and then I went on to collaborate with one of my friends and then we formed this media company which deals with Search, display, mobile and video advertising. So that’s what I do in the day and that’s my day job. We keep travelling a lot because of that, so we get the music out as well. We have offers to play abroad as well, which we are going to start taking up this year or probably next, but nothing is confirmed yet and all is in talks, but with SYSTEMHOUSE 33 it’s definitely going to happen soon.

What are future plans of 2014?

We are probably going to start writing mostly in the rains, when there are no gigs happening. With SYSTEMHOUSE 33 we have already written a lot of material for the next album and we did a music video last December, so that’s coming out along with 2 more music videos and with PARATRA we have already 6 songs and we are going to write 6 more songs, and probably after the rains, a lot of material.

What’s your personal music tastes and what’s on your playlist lately?

Oh Yeah right! When I travelled here to Bangalore, I got DevilDriver, Suicide Silence and Machine Head’s last album. And I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and not like restricted as such, and I also listen to experimental music and right now I am listening to these bands. I like Suicide Silence a lot, their last album was pretty killer. DevilDriver is one of my favourite bands, its groovy, its thrash and they are very live.

So yesterday you guys sounded live almost the same as your studio album. So was it intentional or does it come naturally?

That’s natural. We work the songs out so well. When we go to the studio, we are just done with the song. It’s all done within one hour. We go prepared to the studio unlike most other bands. They do cut paste and stuff, which we don’t do. We do the whole song, and this is how it’s going to sound live as well. Lot of bands make their sound through computer, it’s the easy way out. People don’t have time, probably they do it. It’s a matter of choice. You can sit in your house and make music that sounds crazy, but if you cannot play that live, its downhill from there, but bands are doing it. But if you can play live, then nothing like it. You should be able to deliver that. It’s become so easy now you know, Drum Loops are available, guitars and vocals can be done through these softwares. So the band members just go and play that live and most bands do that. We don’t do that, we are different, because we already had SYSTEMHOUSE 33 album and I could have done it all by myself if I had to do it that way and same with Sceptre. And lot of so called ‘big bands’ in India are doing that, but it doesn’t come out live that, but for us we play it, we jam it and then play it live. So the time we spend on jamming is more than in the studio, because when we go to the studio we know what to do and we are ready with our parts. So the studio time is much lesser, and my house which is the studio right now, we record everything that we jam in the computer, so if you jam something good and if you like, you can take it home, I give it to everyone a copy in mp3, so they keep listening to it and see if they get new ideas. It’s a process, it’s a better creative process and it makes a huge difference.

So with regard to both your metal bands, is it more about the technicality or more about the feel?

It’s more about the feel you know. I used to play for different kinds of bands. I used to play guitars when I grew up. Those bands were rock and roll, blues and jazz and stuff you know, you can’t play that kind of music if theirs is no feel. It’s a fail if there is no feel. It’s not very technical. It’s about how you bend that note. It’s all about passion and soul, and in metal, it’s probably its ok, it’s not that important, but if you do that in metal and play some good stuff, you are going to blow everyone’s head off, you know that, bands like PANTERA did that. Dimebag use to play the guitar, his solos are all blues, but its heavy metal, no one things that way, it’s amazing to put it into metal. So it’s about how the song sounds. The feel is the main part of the song. So when we play a song live in a concert, and you come back home and listen to the song, it just changes the way you listen to the song, you get that ‘wow’ feel.

So do you think any Indian band get both technicality and the feel right?

See, there are many killer Indian bands. There are so many Indian bands, but with the crowd in India, its slower, its takes time to  consume, it’s a little slower, it’s not about if you have a gig and the crowd is crazy, but if the same band goes to another city, they don’t get the same response. So only when the show is sold, everyone is going to love it, like yesterday, most of them liked our songs. Some Death metal bands have just technicality and that’s fine, you can’t ask them to put your feel into that. You may not like, but it doesn’t mean others will not like it. It’s about tastes, influences and other factors and for us it’s this.

So do you have technique to growl?

I just sing/ it’s like a scream, it’s like a shout out. I just try to incorporate whatever I feel sounds good in all the songs, because its sounds fresher, and not monotonous and you can still understand what I’m still saying. That’s the main thing, people need to understand what I’m saying, and that’s when I’m happy.

Sceptre recently did a “Tribute to Metallica” gig, so how was that experience? Was it just about playing few covers?

Samron: We did that gig at Hard Rock Café. Metallica is a very big influence to Sceptre. I wasn’t that much into Metallica until I say them live in Bangalore. I really loved it. I loved their old albums, we did that because we had a gig at Blue Frog and we were getting this gig. It was good money. (Both laugh) And the band needs money to survive and that’s how we could come here, and may be if we didn’t do that we would not be here and Metallica is like, nothing to do, everyone knows the songs. Gilroy knows every riff of every song. These guys have been playing for 15-20 years. Apart from that they are playing more shows. For some it might be a problem and they may worry, you just have to know it. I can’t tell you “In one week you are playing 18 Metallica songs and you just have to learn it”, and nobody will be able to do that, unless they are into it 24-7. It was good fun. In the end we played our own songs that was good fun. People actually got up from their chairs and were like “wow, why didn’t you play this before!!” I think we are the only metal band probably that Hard Rock Café has hired to play.

Yeah, they are very commercial in India.

Yeah, fully commercial in India, I don’t like that. But hope that changes.

So has there been any band in recent times that has really impressed you and blown your mind?

BEAR, I like BEAR. You listen to it. That’s very similar to what SYSTEMHOUSE 33 is going to do. I really like it a lot, not all of it, but some parts, they had some really good chops and I love GOJIRA, and I’m going to see them live soon. …….. and other bands like SUICIDE SILENCE and DEVILDRIVER. I keep listening to that only.

What’s with the tattoos? (I point out to his guitar tattoo) Does each tattoo have a story or meaning?

yeah they do, the guitar is of DIMEBAG’s guitar. I’m a guitarist basically, so whenever I look at this I feel like playing a guitar. I actually miss playing the guitar when I’m out, I miss playing the guitar now. (Shows me the 33 tattoo) So this is SYSTEMHOUSE 33 ka tattoo, the oldest one, and (shows me 2 lined tattoo – “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27”) this is the words of Jesus. It’s inspiring to me these words. People worry so much “Arey yeah kya hora hai, arey who kya hora ha hai, are who hora hai”, you cannot do anything. You cannot add one hour to your life by worrying so much, so what’s the point, just don’t worry, some things are not in your control, many things are not in your control. (Shows me another tattoo). This is “Let not your heart be troubled. John 14:1”. In this age of stress and trouble, the world tells you so many things like “oh, so if you are playing in 3 bands, so if you are in a company or you are doing this”, you can’t be chilled out man, and you got all these things to worry, right? You got to worry?

That’s bullshit!! You can’t worry, nothing is in your control anyways. There are few things in your control, but not 100% right? So, I realised that pretty early, so everybody knows, so there’s nothing to keep you reminding you about it. So, no man, you shouldn’t worry, just relax if things don’t go your way, so that’s why I made these tattoos of Jesus words. So it’s not that I’m religious as such, these are powerful words, I keep reminding myself, especially if you are into metal, you can’t worry, then you are not a Metalhead then, at least for me, I feel, Metalheads are not worried about how they are going to reach home or something like that. I mean they still do, but that’s only in that moment. Just enjoy your life. You are alive, many people are not even fortunate to even walk on this earth, so that’s it a big thing, people don’t even think about all this, because they are in their own world, living every day, who your surrounded by makes a big difference to who you are, hums are very social species, they get very influenced by others. I rather stay away from that, because that’s a killer in a way, doesn’t let you be yourself in many ways and then you don’t do many things that you can do. Like probably I would not be laying in 3 bands and I would just be playing in one band, or 2 bands, but I’m not going to play in more bands than 3, I can’t handle more than that. (Both laugh). There’s no time for it actually, there are just 7 days a week, so it’s not easy to work and stuff. So tattoos are just for inspiration. So I got most of them in Texas. I have only 1 tattoo artist and her name is Paloma, so she is a crazy tattoo artist and so I just go to her, her ink and her colour is good, she is my friend’s friend. So when I went to Texas University to meet Vinnie Paul and to hang out with Dimebag’s friends and PANTERA’s neighbour, so I spent a lot of time in Texas actually. I met Vinnie Paul as well. He has a SCPETRE’s album as well as the SYSTEMHOUSE 33 album.

Cool, So have you listened to the HELLYEAH’s albums?

Yeah, but I’m not that kind of music actually, it’s ok, its Vinnie Paul. But in live they are crazy, but I don’t like the album as such. But live, Vinnie Paul playing, he slamming the kit, anything sounds good when they play. But lot of friends I have met there, who have grown up with both the brothers and their neighbour. I had good time, I just wanted to get that feel, how does it feel, coming from such a place, very common to what I live through you know, because I am from Nagpur, in Texas nobody listens to metal, I mean nowadays they do, but metal is not in the streets, it’s not like the Bay Area or the LA scene, where metal is there, but in Texas it’s just country music, and then PANTERA comes from there and it’s just too big and still music from there is very glam, I went for some concerts, like for 10 bands played, Dimebag’s friend Bryan took me for a gig.

So is SYSTEMHOUSE 33 still based in Nagpur?

No, we shifted to Mumbai, can’t play metal in Nagpur man, it’s not possible, and it’s very tough actually. Our drummer is still in Nagpur, but he keeps travelling. He just re-joined 4-5 shows back, and he is just crazy, one of the best drummers in the country, check him out in the videos.

So do you listen to the newer albums anything that has been released in 2013, 2014?

Actually, I have all the albums that I buy from all the bands that I see live. It’s all there in my shelf, but I have to start listening to them, not got the time. We are working so much on music ourselves and DEVILDRIVER and stuff I got 1 year back and I thought “Acha chalo, now I will listen to them, jobi karida hai, abi tak suna nahi hai”, so that’s the reason now my timetable is changing. I will be moving to other albums. I have bought around 50 albums from states, and even in India I have bought from a few local bands, but there’s no time to listen to music, because there’s no time. You are making music, the time you should be listening to music, so only time I get is when I’m going to sleep, so in 1-2 songs I’m done, asleep, dead to the world. So that’s the only time that I listen to songs.Hahaha.

So do you go back to Texas often, or how is it?

I have been there 3 times in the past 2 years, so I will be going again in this year. This time we are trying to promote SYSTEMHOUSE 33, and I am going to get inked again. We are mainly waiting for our album release.

Regarding both SCEPTRE and SYSTEMHOUSE 33, before 2013 I didn’t listen to any of your music, so you guys came out suddenly with new albums with each band, and everyone got to know about you suddenly, so did you feel that. So did you realise that more number of people know your bands especially with the album releases and do you think both are quality releases and do you think people know you just because you released them?

………. Personally I feel the SCEPTRE’s production could have been much better. But with SYSTEMHOUSE 33 I’m more than happy with the production, when you listen to it, you will realise, the sound engineer is fabulous who we are now working with and we are going to work with him only and you got to know the sound engineer, and he should know you as well. That communication can’t have any lag, so the new SCEPTRE production is also really crazy, we will make sure we do that, and definitely the music has made the difference, so people got to know us because of our new material, and that’s how people will get to know that our band exists. People don’t want the old stuff, music gets old with time, there’s so much music happening, and at the end of the day with all the music you have, you got to have a deadly seat list when you go out there to play, so that everyone gets blown, so that when they go back they listen to your music.

So when you play with bands like SUIDAKRA, is it to meet their standards or just play your own thing?

No, we have our own standards you know, SUIDAKRA is a 20 year old band with a lot of experience, playing across the world and they have a big crew, that’s management. They have around 3-4 cameramen, that’s what a band needs. If you can get that, you will be positive, and will be in another level mentally, so the show is just secondary after that.

“Age of calamity” seems to have 2 different album cover arts, Aniket actually spoke about it in one of the interviews and said that the band wasn’t happy with the first art and then the 2nd came into picture, tell us more about it.

Ok, so what happened was that, so we spent 3 years on the album, so we were really in a hurry to get the album out, so the artwork didn’t come out the way we wanted to, so Kunal Choksi suggested to us that we need to get a better artwork, because people when they buy the album, they want to buy an album that looks good, right? If it doesn’t look good, why would I buy it? So he suggested that, he even got us the artist to do it for us, so basically he did everything for us. So that’s why we mentioned his name and Transcending Obscurity behind in the cd in artwork as well. So Transcending Obscurity is distributing the album too for us. Everyone makes mistakes, but you learn from it, and that’s more important.

So is it different people behind different artwork for all the 3 bands?

So Marija is from Serbia, so she is international artist, so when you see the SYSTEMHOUSE 33 artwork you will realise, it’s full, it’s fully hand painted. We were very lucky to have her.

So does it depend on the music on whom you choose?

Marija, we have chosen her because she understands us, she knows us for like 10-11 years. She listens to our songs and then makes the artwork, she gets into it. She even bought a gun for one of our artwork. She said that the gun had to be like this, she even bought the gun from her own money and the put the gun there, you see the artwork you will know what I’m talking about. It’s a proper artwork, it’s so big. It was done in oil paint, then she took a picture and then sent it to us. When you open the album, you will know it, tell me about it ah?!

I will, I will. And coming back to SCPETRE’s music, for me Thrash is more riff based Thrash, but With Sceptre it was more like WARBRINGER type of Thrash, so where does that come from?

Yeah that’s what I’m talking about, so the guys in the band listen to a lot of different kinds of music. The drummer has a lot of Thrash influence, and other guys, Gilroy is crazy, and he can play anything. It’s probably, his influences are coming out in the form of his riffs and even Janus listens to a lot of different kinds of bands like WHITECHAPEL, SUICIDE SILENCE, and DECAPITATED. I like DECAPITATED BTW, and they are listening to these bands all day, especially while travelling.

So are all the band members married?

Yes all are married, I’m the only one without kids. (Laughs)

So how difficult does it become to keep jamming and making music?

It becomes difficult because the priorities change. Everything has to go through a timeslot. It can’t be done just like that. With SYSTEMHOUSE 33 we can just work on our songs right now, there’s no problem, but when you’re married with kids, priorities are different. When you are married probably you got to go home and take care of your kids, I guess it takes a lot more and I respect that and that’s how we manage to schedule stuff.

So when do you work on your music, so it in on weekends?

I work every day. I come back at 7oclock from work and I sit at 8oclock with my guitar and play it till 10oclock in the night, and probably sometimes if I’m in the mood I play it till 2am. So I have a studio, so I play drums, I play all the instruments, so I get an idea, then I edit, I keep mixing stuff, so we keep recording over the week, so I keep listening to the jam and what we made. So I realize man, there’s no shortcuts you know, to make good music, if there was then anybody could do it, any Tom Dick and Harry could do it, and now the competition is right up there man, everyone has the best amps , best equipment. It all ends up in how much time you are putting up in your creativity, if you can do that, even people with talent have to work hard now, it’s not like before anymore. You have to go through all the drill. It’s tough, and it’s good, that’s how better talent will come out, that’s how better sounding bands will come out right? Competition brings that. If there’s no competition then, whatever you have heard is the best, and whatever you do is the best, and with our culture, in India, metal shows are hardly anything.

I was in LA, DESTRUCTION you know DESTRUCTION, (I nod my head affirmatively), Thrash band is playing just few places from ANIMALS AS LEADERS is playing few meters away. It’s so different man.

Yeah I’m aware of the LA scene as I keep track through one of my friend’s posts.


Yeah Andrew Bansal.

I met him in LA. I went with him to the show. I spent with him for 2 days and spoke him about a few things and he is super crazy man. He goes to 290 shows in a year. Amazing dude.

What’s your main source of lyrical influences?

See, we write different stuff for different bands. For SYSTEMHOUSE 33 we discuss what to write, we decided the theme of the album of “Depths of despair”, you know, even the band had a really tough times, when we moved to Bombay, there were no gigs, no one was helping us, we couldn’t survive, but we still wrote the album. It took us 2 and half years to write the album. Daniel came back from Australia, he was making lots of money there, but when he came here for the band, the salary he got for his real job was 5 times lesser, and you got to survive in your own country. You’re the same, but because of your country, you’re not getting paid, you’re not getting gigs, people are not helping you.

So what’s the theme for the next Sceptre album?

So ‘Pagan Breed’ is something that I want to put about our breed- Pagan, and their breed (Both laugh). Paganism is like crazy you know, we are all educated people you know, and we still do the same thing. This is going nowhere, and all the Indians who are smart are leaving the country, they are not here.

So do you have any message for your fans?

Ya, we really want to come and play in as many cities in India as possible and if any organizer wants to get us for both the bands, please do get us. The music has to go out, that’s our main aim right now and for the fans, people who listen to this kind of music, they should just support us so that we can do this for longer and we definitely want to take this a long way and not temporary. It’s a part of us and it’s a priority, so the more support we get, the better for us and more we can do it in a much better way. That’s all I want to say for people who like our music.

So thank you very much for the interview.

Hey, Thank you man, you have come all the way. I really appreciate your time man.


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Edited 10 August 2022

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