“Find what is yours.” In conversation with Shubhodeep Dey of Acid Pit

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When it comes to metal music, the things that come to one’s mind are headbanging, loud music and basically people going berserk. But it’s so much more than that. In a freewheeling conversation, Shubhodeep Dey of Acid Pit talks about his journey as a metal musician, the future of metal music in India and so much more. The current band members include Himanshu Singh on the drums, Gaurav Dabral on vocals, Ishaan Vajpai on the guitar, Abhiruk Patowary on the bass and Shubhodeep Dey on the guitar and clean vocals.

Q) How did your musical journey begin?

A) Ah, you know what my mother wanted me to be a doctor initially. Then when I was around five-six years old, I was made to sing a few bhajans for my school event. My mother and my sister were also music enthusiasts. In the fourth standard, I got into western music. I wanted to play the drums, but my mother did not agree. Interestingly, a spare guitar was lying in my house and I decided to give it a shot. I also learned the drums at my friend’s place and in school. I realized that I really enjoyed playing the guitar as well.

I started commercially doing music in 10th standard. Incidentally, during the summer vacations, I was looking for an internship. I was a regular visitor to the OnStage music shop in CR Park and eventually managed to get a job as a salesperson there. Since I had an interest in playing both the drums and guitar, I also learned to read manuals and do some repair work. I made contacts there as well. I also met a person, through whom I got into teaching music. I taught at a childcare center and a coaching center. Since then, there was no looking back and I have been actively part of the music scene.

Q) Which are some the bands/artists that inspired you?

A) Some of the bands/artists that were part of my childhood include Boney M, Abba, George Michael, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd. I used to have quite a lot of CD’s on which tracks of artists like George Michael, Sean Paul and Linkin Park were present, among others.

Q) How did Acid Pit start?

A) Acid Pit just happened for me.  Eventually, I got in touch with some people in my colony who were into music. I got in touch with Gaurav, our lead vocalist. He asked me to come to a jam and get my guitar.  Acid Pit started in 2011, and after some time Acid Pit died down as some people went on to pursue their own careers. We tried and failed twice resurrecting Acid Pit. In 2015, Himanshu joined our band as a drummer. Prakhar our bassist, Himanshu (on the drums) , Gaurav (on vocals)  and I finally had a successful jam. Prakhar too left after some time. I called in my friend Ishaan to play the bass for us.

At the end of 2015, Abhiruk Patowary joined on the bass. Ishaan shifted to the guitar. We played at various colleges and won in some places. The year 2016 was relatively good for us, as we got gigs at Anti- Social and Out Of The Box cafe. We also performed at the Dhatu Drishya metal gig series. Rachit Mehra, our organizer was instrumental in helping us to get more gigs.

Q) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your journey as a musician?

A) Well, being part of a band comes with its pros and cons. Distances and timings have been a barrier for us many times. Bandmates leave in between for career purposes or other reasons and then it’s difficult for us to find another band member. Also, lack of professionalism is another major issue that many bands face.

Q) Do you think that the audience for this genre of music is growing?

A) I would say yes, but the ratio has not increased that much. For instance, the Wacken Open Air festival is the hub of heavy metal festivals in Wacken, Germany. It is quite popular and more and more people every year visit this place. But at the same time, heavy metal music is still discouraged by many parents. In order for the metal scene to thrive, it is crucial that local acts are supported first, then only international acts will follow. When Acid Pit started very few people turned up, but now we have a considerable number of audience who thoroughly enjoys what we have to perform. Also, the sponsors for metal gigs are considerably less. Artists face lack of funds and with the label culture dying down they have to rely completely on themselves for production and publicity.

But I still feel that the metal scene is growing in India, although slowly. We get more gigs that we did before and certainly, the audience has also been increasing steadily.

Q) What advice would you give to budding musicians who want to succeed in the metal scene?

A) Don’t crib or complain. Keep trying as hard as you can. Work your ass off. In this day and age to succeed, you need to have that “X” factor. Find what is yours. Focus on the production process as production is everything.  In case you are making a music video, choose your video location and audio carefully that fits with what kind of music you want to put out. I feel that bands these days are losing their original sound, which shouldn’t happen at any cost. Try to get as many gigs as possible. Don’t settle and always keep trying to do new stuff in terms of your music.

Issues like depression and anxiety are common among artists. To overcome these, one must not lose hope and always keep trying.