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Special Interview – Getting to know Eclipse

Eclipse are a heavy metal band from Guwahati, India. They are criminally underrated despite the recent release of their full length debut titled ‘Clandestine Resurrection’. Prior to this, they were a part of the 65-band Transcending Obscurity label sampler and are expected to release their upcoming album via the same entity. For now, let’s delve into the creation of ‘Clandestine Resurrection’ and learn more about the band.

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Transcending Obscurity (Moni): You guys have been around since 2004. So, what took you so long to release your debut full length album only this year, in 2016?

Eclipse: Yes, the band was formed in 2004, but this isn’t the first release. The first EP titled ‘A Mouthful of Moonlight’ was released in 2008. We took more time to come up with our second release due to various other preoccupations of the members. We were in and out of the circuit from 2010 till 2013. Our band lineup also went through some changes. In 2013 we came up with the current lineup and immediately started working on this album called ‘Clandestine Resurrection’.  It took us more than a year’s time to complete the recording, mixing and mastering the album since we wanted a new heavier sound of the band.

TO: Your music falls in the classic heavy metal genre. How did you guys figure out that this kind of music is the type for you?

Eclipse: If you listen to our previous album ‘A Mouthful of Moonlight’ you will see that the genre was experimental and it contained different shades of rock music. The two most popular songs, well accepted and acclaimed by the fans were Virgins of Heaven and Hell and Obsessed by the Devil’s Spirit which were of heavy metal genre. We always loved heavy metal with influences of Manowar, Black Sabbath, Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden etc., and with the new line up having strong keyboards and tight drums, we also started exploring elements of power metal and tried to infuse them into our sound. This was perfect for figuring out that our sound for the new release will be classic metal.

Keys

TO: As we know, the band is from Guwahati, the gateway to the northeast of India. Do you have good facilities available there for the recording of your music? Your album sounds quite clear and strong, reminiscent of the recent Rectified Spirit release.

Eclipse: There are many good musicians, recordists, and sound engineers that have come out from this part of India but we won’t say that the recording facilities out here are at par with those of the cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi etc. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by our own lead guitar player, Sumit Baruah, at his own studio in Guwahati, The Soundzone Studio, which is one of the biggest and the best studios in North East India. We have two experienced sound engineers in Sumit (Guitar) and Rakesh (Keyboards) who are part of the band lineup and that gave us an added advantage while generating the desired sound, which is crisp and clear. Guwahati has to go quite some extra miles to attain the international standards in sound recording. Sumit at his “The Soundzone Studio” is working to achieve that goal.

TO: What do you think about other genres and sub-genres of heavy metal? Do you think you will be incorporating some of the more modern or varied metal influences into your music in the future? Albatross have been blending different genres of heavy metal, for example.

Eclipse: We like listening to heavy metal in most of its forms. Recently we are exploring the “new wave of traditional heavy metal” through bands such as Air Raid, Avantasia, Enforcer etc. Currently, India is seeing lots of good death metal, grindcore, and black metal bands in various genres and sub-genres. Since we have a voice that is clean, we want to explore more in the realms of classic heavy metal, progressive metal, and power metal in the future.Yes, we have heard Albatross and their album ‘Fear from the Skies’, and we feel the output is great.

 

TO: There’s a heavy metal movement taking place in the country in recent times with mostly Transcending Obscurity-affiliated bands such as Albatross, Against Evil, Gypsy, and even Rectified Spirit from your city uplifting the genre. What do you make of it?

Eclipse: This is a good sign for metal evolution in India cause the same thing is happening simultaneously in the West. Transcending Obscurity is equally instrumental in fostering this spirit which we love so much. We, Eclipse, support this change and intend to carry this movement forward in our own style.

TO: Any plans of touring to this side of the country? We’re sure you must be quite tempted to do so. Is there any specific city where you think you must absolutely perform? If so, why?

Eclipse: Certainly we do have plans. We really want our music to be heard across the country. We are trying to get in touch with the event managers of various cities, Mumbai and Bangalore in particular. This is because we feel that our genre will be well-accepted by the metal heads there. If anything works out we will surely tour.

TO: Can you share with us some of your memorable experiences? How was it when you had just started? Did you guys get enough support from your family and friends? Were there any occurrences of choosing between conventional career options and your passion?

vocalsEclipse: We must say there are many memorable experiences with the band both on and off the stage. It is difficult to remember anything in particular. We have been here in the North East Circuit for a very long time and toured lots of places to perform. Mrinmoy Ed Singha (Drums) is the greatest foodie we ever came across; he is also the lover boy of the band. Sumit (Guitar) can speak a lot (about anything) once he is high. Rakesh is a silent killer. Each band member has his own special trait. We have always enjoyed our outings as a band to the fullest. One of the best places to perform in the Guwahati city is Café Hendrix. All musicians love this place because of their hospitality. We have been playing with this lineup for a long time and so the understanding in the band is superb on stage. We enjoy each other’s parts and love the time on stage together. We feel it is very important to gel offstage for a tight sound onstage.

North East is a place where music is treated with great respect and, thus, we had enough support of our families to pursue music but only as a hobby initially. During the initial days we lacked good guitars (imported ones were rare to find in Guwahati those days) and gadgets. We experimented a lot with bad quality guitars, instruments, and processors; however, I guess we learnt about sound that way and learnt it very well. Finding a place to practice was always a big issue. There were no jam pads. The neighbor’s used to shout at us for making something, which seemed as noise to them.

We won the Runners-up award at IIT Ghy in 2006, awards at Guwahati Medical College in 2006, and Assam Engineering College 2006. As and when shows started to pour in, we started to take the band very seriously. We had to balance music and academics a lot. In 2010,after graduation, we had to part ways for some time as  in the scenario it wasn’t possible to make a living entirely out of a rock band. Sumit (Guitar) went to pursue his MBA, Kundal (Vocal) went to work for a corporate, Rahul (Bass) did his Law. We did jam whenever we met. Also, we did a few shows in between. However, the affinity was always there for making music and after 3 years, in 2013, we got a chance to come back together, re-unite and take the band forward. Since then we have not looked back! Now we plan to make it BIG into the National Circuit and try to make our Music heard to the masses.

TO: How are your family lives like? Are you tempted to get into music full-time? Do you face constant nagging and disapproval from your family for your unconditional love towards music?

Eclipse: All of us are from different backgrounds but, we are of the same our age group. Sumit (Guitar) comes from a family of musicians. He did his MBA and worked in Bangalore and then eventually decided to quit and work at his own studio “The Soundzone Studio”, which was started by his father as a full-time Music Arranger, Session Guitarist cum Entrepreneur. Rakesh (Keys) knew he would take up music as his profession. He too works as a full-time music arranger and a session musician. Mrinmoy Edward Singha (Drums) works at a reputed Convent School as an Administrative Manager. He is a seasoned musician coming from a family of rich musical background. Kundal (Vocal) is an Engineer by profession and works for a corporate but still finds time for the band and Rahul (Bass) is a State Govt. Sales Tax Dept. employee with strong affinity towards the band and it goals. Family pressure is always there for everyone but thankfully is never a hurdle. A lot of balancing act needs to be done for sure. Eclipse is our heart and soul, and our families do understand that.

TO: “A Mouthful of Moonlight” was quite a hit in the northeast, especially the track – Dry Rose, which has more of a classic rock feel. However, the recent album ‘Clandestine Resurrection’ has an equal mix of classic metal and power metal. What’s next in the store for your audience? Is there anything new that they can expect from your upcoming project?

Eclipse: Yes. Every time we do something we try to do it differently. We are a classic metal band and will always promote classic metal in it various forms. As we look forward from here, we are looking to infuse more power metal, progressive and psychedelic elements in our future projects. Hence, it means the audience can expect lot of new music and surprises from us in the years to come.

TO: You are part of the 65-band label sampler put together by Transcending Obscurity. Now that we know that your next album will be put out via the entity, when can we expect the next release? Is it going to be another full-length album or an EP?

Eclipse: We are proud to be a part of the 65 band label sampler put together by Transcending Obscurity and we thank the entity for the same. We are already planning for our next or 3rd album. Song writing ideas have started flowing. It is going to be a full-length album for sure, and you can expect the release tentatively by April 2017.

EclipseBandcamp

TO: We really admire the artwork of all your albums. Could you please elaborate on the idea, creativity, and inspiration behind them?

Eclipse: Artwork ideas are always from the artist of the band Rahul Kaushik (Bass). The recent album ‘Clandestine Resurrection’ is about the resurrection of the band after brief pause since 2010. The artwork implies a dead man resurrecting from his own grave with the wings of an angel to fly high in the limitless sky. Same is the mindset of the band.

TO: Use of synthesizers and keyboards is not customary with the bands playing in this style these days. What made you make it an important element of your music?

Eclipse: Keyboards have always been an important element in the music of Eclipse since its formation. We love classic rock bands such as Deep Purple, Rainbow, Pink Floyd and the likes. Rakesh Baro (Keys) was included in the band lineup to add melody and beauty to our music. Rakesh Baro has a diverse musical background and his ideas played a major role in composing songs of this album. The keys add depth and character to our music which makes it unique.

We put special emphasis on the lyrics. Without a meaning you cannot shape a song.

TO: Your songs have very meaningful lyrics, quite touching I must admit. What entails the entire song-writing process? How do you find your inspiration? How do you know which subject to write on?

Eclipse: We put special emphasis on the lyrics. Without a meaning you cannot shape a song. A singer needs to feel the lyrics to justify his singing skills and emote accordingly. Also, there is difference in poetry and lyrics. The song lyrics have been contributed mainly by Sumit (Guitar), Kundal (Vocals), and Rahul (Bass) though ideas from all were taken. The whole album is on the theme of resurrection as we have already said earlier and that itself is the inspiration. Mrinmoy Edward (Drums) helped a lot in the harmony parts since he had great experience of Choir Singing. Mostly the subject is decided first which is followed by the basic riff, song structure, and finally the lyrics. Few other songs are on personal experiences/feelings.

TO: Do you think, even remotely, that your music will lose relevance in the light of an increasing amount of extreme metal music (without clean vocals)? What are your measures to keep your audience engaged?

Eclipse: No we don’t think (even remotely) that our music will lose relevance! No matter how much extreme metal music is done, classic metal will always have its audience. As wise man says “Old is Gold”! Certainly change is a necessary evil and as we already mentioned we are always working out new ideas to keep our audience interested.

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TO: How strong do you think your band members bond? On the scale of 1 to 5?

Eclipse: Would rate it 5. That’s the strength of the band. Off stage environment affects the way a band performs on stage. We are a bunch of booze and food-loving friends. We meet to eat, booze, and hang out more than we practice. In a place like India there are only a handful of bands that have sustained itself for more than few years; whereas, we have been playing and making music for the last 12 years.

TO: Tell us about your future plans. Any last words are yours.

Eclipse: We have played in the North East for a long time and its time we take our music to the next level. We plan to reach out to the masses and make our music heard all over India.We plan to tour the major Rock Music Destinations in India and perform songs of our new album there. Transcending Obscurity has done a fantastic job to promote bands like us. We also plan to make new tie ups with them to promote our music. The 3rd album plans are on and we hope to release it in 2017.

Lots of new bands are coming up which is a good sign for Indian Metal but there is still a lot to be done. For new bands, all we would like to say is that – learn your basics right and never compromise on the quality of music. Always support local music. Buy your own CDs. For everyone else, we would like to say: Believe in yourself. Believe in your music. Keep promoting rock & roll, metal, and peace.

Eclipse Facebook | Eclipse Bandcamp | Transcending Obscurity 65-band FREE Label Sampler | Transcending Obscurity Facebook

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