THE DOWN TRODDENCE is a Kannur-based Metal band comprised of Munz (Vocals), Ganesh (Drums), Sushin (Keys), Varun (Lead Guitar) Rinoy (Rhythm Guitar) and Nezer (Bass). They stormed into the Metal scene in "God's Own Country" with their (killer of a) debut single - DEATH VANITY, and followed through with a series tight gigs to meet the match. The band is now working on a studio album and a music video in an effort to set a higher notch for themselves. I have Munz, who handles vocal duties for the band, with me - sharing the ups and downs of the story so far.
IMR: Hey Munz, glad to hear that you guys are releasing a music video. Congratulations, you sure have left us wanting for more in the SHIVA teaser video that is being circulated on Youtube. How has the journey been so far?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Oh yeah! Our debut music video - I can’t really believe it completely! Well, the video work is almost done. As of now, it’s pretty good, with the sincere help from Saju K. Salam on Direction, Jayesh Mohan and Clint Soman on Cinematography. The shoot was really a learning curve and lots of fun. It was shot in the vicinity of my home. But we had to work hard as the location was sort of a jungle area.
IMR: What is the Metal scene in Kannur, Kerala? Was it difficult to pick up from where you all had started from? Did that have any influence on the band's name?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Kannur Metal scene? Hmmm, there's not much of a Metal scene in Kannur as of now because, people haven’t started getting out of Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber yet, so Metal is still noise here. We have never played a 'Metal Gig' in our home town. Yeah, so its pretty difficult for a band to sustain in a place like Kannur. But we are surviving somehow and we do have quite a good number of followers here.
And yeah, the name THE DOWN TRODDENCE is definitely influenced by Kannur -its culture, art and politics. But it has nothing to do with the Metal scene here. THE DOWN TRODDENCE is the voice of those people who are no longer in fear of their lord's supremacy and domination, of people who are so confident enough to hit back if beaten! The name originated out of our political and social outlook. It is thus, because we wish to speak from the very bottom of the society.
IMR: Your audiences have been getting a wide spectrum of music from you, with every track you play. You guys have covered the likes of EVERGREEN, ELUVEITIE, SIX FEET UNDER and LAMB OF GOD already beside your original compositions. What genre would you place the brand THE DOWN TRODDENCE into? And what sort of music does the band generally listen to?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Each of our members are influenced by a wide spectrum of music. We love all kinds of music...and we
listen to all kinds of music because after all, it is music!
Ganesh is playing in an Experimental/Metalcore band called PURPLE BLOOD, Sushin and Varun are also members of a Pop band called AUG 25 and THE DOWN TRODDENCE, as a band, has been highly influenced by Thrash and Psychedelic but then, there’s Post-Thrash, Melodic Death and Progressive Metal as well. If asked to put THE DOWN TRODDENCE's sound to a specific genre, it would be hard for us. It is a lot easier for us to say that we just play Metal!
IMR: Despite the fact that you guys haven't released an album yet, THE DOWN TRODDENCE has managed to market itself into the Metal scene quite successfully. What according to you, is the reason behind this success? Would you credit it to Facebook and the likes of Social Media? Do you connect with your fans often on these platforms?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Oh no, it’s too early to tell that THE DOWN TRODDENCE has managed to market itself into the Metal scene successfully. I mean, how many in the Metal scene actually know that TDT exists? And if even if they did know, how many have heard our demos? But yes, I have to admit that social networking media is of great help when it comes to sharing music and they are very good platforms for our “Adiyaalans”(“Downtrodden” friends) to catch up and discuss music and other relevant issues.
IMR: Playing a great gig and producing a great album are entirely different processes. Right from your very first single, DEATH VANITY to the Vedic/Folk Metal intro, ORTNIAVIS, you guys have sounded tight on all your recorded material. What sort of effort does TDT put into the mixing and mastering of the music produced?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Varun, Sushin and Nezer are the care-takers of the band’s recording and mixing processes. Right from the start, we have always strived to do neat work within our production restrictions. The tracks that we haven’t released yet are recorded at home but we believe we have been able to create an satisfactory sound out of it. We do spend considerable time on mixing and mastering and yeah, this time our latest single is being mixed by Rex Vijayan of AVIAL. We are very excited and immensely honored!
IMR: For anyone who's been following you, it is quite obvious there is someone very creative behind the artwork of the band. Will the same theme of art follow in all your future projects as well?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): We dont know because the truth is, till date we haven’t taken the art work of our band so seriously. It’s me who take care of that department. But yes, we sure do have some ideas for our future work.
IMR: I heard samples of temple bells, chants of mantras (in Sanskrit?) etc. in the music. Besides the conventional instruments , what else has the band incorporated into creating its niche 'TDT sound'?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): The ORTNIAVIS chants that you are talking about is in a tribal Malayalam dialect and yeah, the lyrics to SHIVA lyrics are in Sanskrit. To be honest, we love to use variety of live instruments in our music but we are forced to take samples due to financial limitations. Still, we have included the 'Shankh', 'Mani', 'Cheeni Kuzhal' and instruments of the like in our upcoming release, SHIVA! And on our other tracks , we have used some native tribal instruments. We wish to experiment with a lot more in the future.
IMR: What names do you want to see THE DOWN TRODDENCE collaborate with, in the days to come?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): We would love to collaborate with other musicians and be in the forefront of the Metal scene. We have already featured my father in ORTNIAVIS. But hey, seriously we have plans. We’ll let you know about it soon.
IMR: The SHIVA teaser video has been tempting enough, when will the full-length video be released?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): We are planning to release it in the mid of may. We hope to get good response for our hardwork.
IMR: What does TDT have in store for itself in the near-future? A full-length studio album maybe?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Yes, we have already started the work on our debut album. We are determined to release it as soon as possible, overcoming all the hurdles in our way. Some tracks are cooked well enough to be served!
IMR: I hear you guys are Avial-Heads! Having set a very high benchmark for all bands on sound production values, has AVIAL been a big influence for TDT? Any chances of a future collaboration?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Oh yes! For us, AVIAL is and will always be an influence and inspiration. It maybe due to the similarities in the political perspective or maybe the sound of the band. It could also be the creativity, although we are a world apart from them. Yes, we are Avial-Heads! About collabrating with AVIAL, we haven’t started dreaming that "BIG" yet but who knows. We are seriously planning a tribute cover side-project under the title- 'We are Avial Heads'!
IMR: Are there any other bands from India who have inspired you like this?
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Hmm...we have quite a long list. But to name a few exclusively- AVIAL, MOTHERJANE, PSEUTOPIA, SCRIBE, AMOGH SYMPHONY and JOINT FAMILY.
IMR: Thanks for taking time off for talking to IndianMusicRevolution, Munz! Good luck on your upcoming projects, we're all looking forward to hearing new music from TDT soon!
Munz(THE DOWN TRODDENCE): Thank you so much for the interview. To all “Adiyaalans”, we have some good news from the TDT camp. We’ll let you know about it soon. Keep supporting!
Join THE DOWN TRODDENCE at:FaceBook and Reverbnation.
Check out the recently released teaser for the upcoming official music video for the single SHIVA below!
Arjun David Alexander is a law student at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi who constantly dreams about doing 'something else'. All genres from Psychedelic Rock to Dubstep & Electronic catch his fancy. He is a die-hard fan of Porcupine Tree, Tool and A Perfect Circle. Always on the lookout for something new to listen to. Drop in a word!