In a tête-à-tête with Anu Prabhakar, award-winning Bangalore-based six-member band, The Down Troddence, talks about how they fuse Kerala folk elements in their music and why their work represents the common man’s angst
The Down Troddence, a group of youngsters who aim to comment on existent social and political systems in the society, swept as many as eight honours at the Rolling Stone Metal Awards 2014 last month for their debut album How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You.
Sushin Shyam, Ganesh Radhakrishnan, Munz, Advaith Mohan, Varun Raj and (top) Nezer Ahemed are members of The Down Troddence
Excerpts from an interview:
Q. How and when was your band formed?
A. Nezer Ahemed (bass guitarist): In 2007, Varun Raj (lead guitarist) and Munz (vocalist) had a project, Ultimaytum, which evolved into a full-fledged band in 2010. We unanimously named it as The Down Troddence, as every member could connect with the state of being downtrodden and helpless in front of the whole socio-economic and political system of the country.
Q. What has your debut album, How Are You? We are Fine, Thank You, been influenced by the most?
A. Nezer: We are noted for the unique blend of conventional Thrash and Groove Metal with a large dose of traditional Kerala folk music elements and art forms such as Theyyam, in particular. The band also incorporates a lot of traditional folk sounds and instruments in the form of ambient layers in our music. Rhythm structures used in the songs, too, are primarily inspired by folk music.
Q. What do you hope to convey through your music? What’s the thought behind your album’s title?
A. Nezer: If you look at the album cover art, it represents the ‘downtrodden’ — that is, everyday women and men. It’s a class battle, disguised and camouflaged under the illusion of freedom. The album title encompasses the feeling of the oppressed when the authority structure asks, ‘How are you?’ and we, out of resigned helplessness, reply, ‘We are fine, Thank you’. We have always pretended that we’re fine and most likely always will, unless the paradigm shifts and there is a huge change in our mindset.
Q. What next for The Down Troddence?
A. Ganesh Radhakrishnan (drummer): We are trying to tour as much as possible across India to promote our album. Some exciting gigs are also in the pipeline.