A View from the Outside
A Norwegian Metal head’s notes on India
Looking from the outside, it seems as if there are some good things happening in India already, especially the collaboration with Wacken Open Air. Getting renowned bands from all across the world is always a good way of creating publicity around arrangements, while you’re also able to showcase your local scene. Maybe India will be Asia’s hub for metal in the future
First of all, I wouldn’t only look to Norway, but I’ll mention some things that are going well here.
Underground music has gained acknowledgement due to hard working bands that have also managed to get attention internationally. The government and other funding agents didn’t come first. They started taking the scene seriously after black metal became our biggest musical export! Underground genres have always been driven by a DIY spirit, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship. If you don’t have a venue, you’ll make one. The same goes with festivals, magazines, and so on.
My Indian friends who have been in Norway have addressed the issues of lacking infrastructure in the Indian scene, as in venues, festivals and music business, among other things. Also, touring Europe is geographically, logistically, and culturally different from touring Asia. Almost all the countries in Europe are within driving distance, which means you could bring your own gear for the whole tour. Culturally, metal is quite big in many European countries.
When a scene or a movement is young, it always takes a lot of time and effort in order to be taken seriously by the fans, by the venues, the music business and also the government. The government’s cultural institutions usually have a more willing attitude towards folk and classical expressions, than pop cultural expressions. I can’t speak for India, but at least that’s what we have seen in Norway. Moreover, as the metal scene has grown to what it is, people start to realize that this kind of music is also worth promoting and exporting.
As you read this, there’s a Norwegian band singing solely in Norwegian on a headline tour in the U.S. This band is called Kvelertak. They are a bunch really hard working gentlemen who have managed who make a catchy blend of punk, rock ‘n’ roll and black metal, which seem to have hit a nerve all over the world, basically. They have also been granted money from the government along with other funding agents, but as a result of hard work. You should definitely check them out. As long as your music is good, you don’t have to sing in English in order to become an international band. I guess there are metal bands in singing in i.e. Hindi, but I’m looking forward to the day I’ll read about them in Kerrang! or Metal Hammer.
I don’t know if it already exists in India, but music conferences like South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX, I believe has been an inspiration to a lot of local music conferences around the world. It’s a place for established artists as well as small indie acts, and a place for people in the music business to meet. Norwegian bands and delegates go there every year.
At home, we have the annual by:larm, which is a conference where they gather people from both the domestic and international music business. The bands on the bill are mostly Norwegian, but the amount of international bands is increasing every year.
Martin Sivertsen, is the guitarist of Oslo-based metal band Benea Reach.