Nephelium is an extreme metal band from Toronto that is currently releasing a new full-length. Watch for a tour and video in 2012. Check out this exclusive interview conducted between Revolution Music‘s Destrukto and Nephelium drummer/cofounder Alan Madhavan.
1. First off, thanks for answering my questions. Nephelium is originally from the United Arab Emirates and now resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Do you think living in Canada has helped or hurt your band?
As I mentioned in a previous interview, we wanted to spread out music across the globe and relocating to Canada definitely aided us and continues to in doing so. The audience in this part of the world is always hungry; not just for metal but for diversity. Along with that hunger, the support and encouragement from friends, family and most importantly, fans has pushed us up. Through all the years, the soulful machine we call Nephelium today stands at the strongest it’s ever been.
2. How do you think the band has grown since your first demo Archaic Malevolent Sorcery Demo 2002 to your new Coils of Entropy full-length?
2002 was a fervent year for us. As with all first time or new things in life, excitement is at its zenith and so were we. We worked diligently, day and night on that record and what puts a smile on my face is that we worked just as hard on our EP, “Ignite the Wrath of Silence” and our full length, “Coils of Entropy”. That excitement and passion never died. Amongst other things, what did evolve was our sound, our appreciation for other genres of music and our writing style. Taking on various side projects and sessions through the years, we have learned to listen to and understand all kinds of music and musicians not only as bands, quartets, quintets or ensembles but as instrumentalists. With such added knowledge, our musical understanding for one another in this band has helped us create what we have today.
3. You have a wide variety of influences in your metal. Is this due to originating from overseas or do you naturally prefer diverse music?
As teenagers, we all went through that stage of wanting to stay “true” or not wanting to “sell out” or be called “lame” because you didn’t listen to brutal death metal exclusively. Having said that, the first few weeks of formal music education was an eye-opener. I am thankful that we all at an early age were taught how to learn from and appreciate various styles of music. I was personally subjected to a lot if Indian classical music, contemporary jazz and a TON of ballads… (That’s right, my parents were “lame”) :D. I cannot begin to describe how much I’ve sponged up from my childhood as a musician. Anything different, I’m in!
4. Besides the new album, what else can we expect from Nephelium in the new year? (ie video, tour, etc.)
2012 is going to be a crazy busy year for us. It’s funny you use tours and videos as examples in your question as they are both in the works. Work on a new record in the traditional Nephelium vein of unconventional technicality and blistering brutality will also be taking shape sometime in the summer/fall if all goes according to plan.
5. What is your favourite live show memory to date?
Sharing the stage with Skinless was an absolute honor and more importantly, an all around good time! We definitely had a rush of adrenaline and pure energy as it was our fist ever Canadian show. Unquestionably a show we will never forget.
6. What is the favourite city or venue that you have ever played in?
The Metal Bar in Toronto, which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore, was a very accommodating venue. There was room for gear, enough room on stage, room for a pit, a substantial bar and a lounge area for those maggots (Slipknot rulez by the way…) that were burnt out!
7. What do you think of the newer crop of metal bands that have started since Nephelium formed?
There are some incredibly talented musicians out there. Divine Heresy did a great job on “Bleed the Fifth”, The Faceless did some insane work on “Akeldama” and “Planetary Duality”, Blood Red Throne CRUSHED it with “Souls of Damnation”, the list could go on and on… I’m amazed at how many underground bands have drawn ideas from different cultures and ethnicities lately too.
8. What music have you been listening to lately? Any good bands you think people should check out?
Along with the above mentioned, I’ve been listening to Lazarus A.D. (Sic American thrash metal), Circus Maximus, Frank Zappa, Live, Blink 182, Opeth, Zakir Hussain, Dream Theater (Mangini is unreal…), Deicide, Cannibal Corpse…I’ll be here till tomorrow if this continues…:D. Definitely check out Dream Theater’s new record “A Dramatic Turn of Events” and Circus Maximus’s “Isolate” – That right there is a musical orgasm!
9. What is the secret to staying as brutal as possible while still being original and diverse?
Incorporating and integrating different styles of music in metal is an art on its own and an interesting one at that if done correctly. There are several technical aspects to making things “work” when writing. For example, transitions – bridging two riffs or an intense melodic section together with an intense rhythm section is the utmost important to me. A transition can make or break a phrase of a song or sometimes, the entire piece. There are various rhythmic and harmonic tools such as metric modulation and several other forms of modulation respectively that make it possible.
10. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard of your band?
It’s crunchy, bright and powerful. For the lack of a better word, it has a “bite” to it. From the subtle color of 6 inch splash cymbals and bells to the devastating wall of sound our re-amped guitars produce, everything is crystal clear and in your face!
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- Free Compilation Feat. Tracks From NEPHELIUM, BEYOND CREATION, NEXORTUS & FRAGILE EXISTENCE (thenewreview.net)