Saturday, April 19, 2014

Interview with Multinational Corporations

Year: 2014

Multinational Corporations is band that every underground zine has been going crazy about. Their debut EP 'Jamat-al-Maut' has been praised by critics all around the globe and with good reason. 

'Jamat-al-Maut' is a short yet powerful crust punk / grindcore record that makes a strong impression with its crusty punk music and hard hitting lyrics. The EP now gets a CD release through Salute Records by the end of April, followed by a cassette release by Extreme Terror Productions.

We got an opportunity to talk to the duo behind this strong release and here’s how it went...

Metal Gallows: First off, I want to ask you this. Punk is a genre that is carried on only by a few bands today. While most people’s choice of extreme music today seems to be metal, how did you guys decide to stick to punk roots? Was it a conscious decision or did it come naturally?

Hassan: Well, people in South Asia don't really know much about Punk and it's extreme subgenres (Crust, Hardcore, Grindcore). Hell, most 'metalheads' think Grind is a metal genre LOL. So it was a bit of a conscious decision to stick to Crust Punk and Grindcore and try to be as un-metal as possible except where it fit the occasion. Metal kids in Pakistan, and other places of the Subcontinent need to know about this side of the extreme music world because if you look at history, all the d-beats, blast-beats, hoarse/shouted/screamed/growled vocals, patch jackets, circle pits, moshing etc came from early 80's Crust, D-Beat and Hardcore Punk. Those bands were playing at tempos in 1981 which thrash metal only got to in 86 or so. Speaking of 86, early grind bands as well as some of the fast hardcore bands were already doing blast-beats by that time, hahaha. Everything considered 'metal' actually has its roots in extreme forms of punk music and it's baffling how kids here don't know that. I guess in Europe, North America, Japan and South East Asia the DIY grind/crust/punk/hardcore scenes are pretty prominent and make better music/have better gigs than the metal scenes and we want to start that culture here as well.

Sheraz: We’ve always been huge on punk/hardcore bands besides our metal background. I’ve always loved the raw aggression and energy that is present in the punk music, its parallel to none. And most of our favorite metal bands also come from a punk background so it comes naturally.

MG: Jamat-al-Maut sort of exploded in terms of popularity. Did you expect that it would be so well received while recording it?

Hassan: I was hoping that people would dig it as much as we ourselves did haha. We always make music that we wanna hear - no matter what project is involved. If you don't like your own shit, how can you expect others to go crazy to it? So yeah, I guess we were hopeful of a good response to it from the people who are into this kinda music and we're hoping for a decent live response too. However, we are hell-bent on improving on this first EP. "Jamat-al-Maut" might be good but we want to outdo and push ourselves to the limit, every time we make music. Otherwise, what's the point?

Sheraz: We don’t thinking about how people would receive it while writing/recording songs. We’re more concerned about what sounds good to US. Haha. Kinda selfish but that’s how we are when it comes to music. I don’t think twice before dumping a song if I don’t like after first 10 or 20 listens. It's very important for me to like my own music, I don’t give two shits if my friends or anyone else likes a song I’ve wrote if I don’t like it. But yeah, Jamat-al-maut was really well received by reviewers/bloggers and serious listeners from a lot of countries so it makes me happy that other people can relate.

MG: You have a way of putting your statements rather too directly, in your lyrics. Do you face any form of repercussions for your anti establishment views in your country?

Hassan: I think I am more in danger from the views I express publicly in public settings, than the views in the lyrics of the song. The average Pakistani person ain't gonna listen to the record - but grind fans here and other parts of the world are gonna listen and get an idea about the situation of Pakistan. So yeah. The stuff I say in my university, or the bazaar outside my apartment, or any 'dhaaba' (small local food place) is more likely to get me lynched by people who misunderstand what I say. In fact, the anti-establishment things I am prone to say in real life are worse than the things I say on the EP! Hahah.

MG: Both of you are a part of many projects other than MxCx. How do you juggle between different bands? Does influences from one band flow into the other, or are they separate entities all together?

Hassan: It's absolutely imperative for every band to have its own identity, or else there's no real use. The band me and Sheraz are both in, sound nothing alike - even the aesthetics are different. Take Foreskin for example. Same people from MxCx are in it but the whole vibe, riffs, music, etc is different. These days I'm even trying to do a different vocal style for Foreskin. You can say the same about my other two grind bands Kafir-E-Azam (with Asad from Myosis) and Nihilist Holiday (with Jeff Fischer). Different music, different aesthetics. And Sheraz's projects sound nothing alike either even though the same hand is on the guitar and recording at all times.

Sheraz: I listen to a lot of different kinda music, so I cannot limit myself to playing one specific genre. And if you listen to all of my projects, you’d know how they’re different from each other. Both songwriting and production wise. And about managing, it's all about what kinda mood I am in. I never force myself to write a specific song with specific style, it's boring that way.

MG: Recently, I happened to see Hassan post a Facebook status where he expressed his desire to do shows in India. I’m sure the fans here would be more than delighted to have you guys play here. Do you think that some point in the future, it will become possible for Pakistani bands to tour India and Indian bands to tour Pakistan?

Hassan: It's a nice dream to have, but not in the present circumstances. It's too much of a hassle. Though I know kids who've gone across the border to visit Delhi and act like idiots in shopping malls and I can't help but shake my head. I guess if we were rich motherfuckers we could have gone multiple times. Me and Sheraz's other band Foreskin was invited to Mumbai in 2013. Sheraz's Dionysus was called there as well. But it couldn't happen, too much hassle to visit a country that's just fucking next door. Fuck borders and fuck this concept of countries. All countries are at the end of the day are businesses with flags to inspire patriotism so they can capitalize on local cultures and identities for the purpose of putting cash in the upper-class pockets. I dream of a world without borders where we can go wherever we want - be it India or some place in South America.

Sheraz: I hope it becomes possible, but I know it’s a far-fetched thing. A lot of my friends have been to India but its only cause they’ve some family living over there or they went with university, but that’s not the case with us. And if decide to make a trip to India for a show, we’d have to do it all by ourselves which doesn’t seem possible at the moment.
MG: What are some of the bands that you would love to share stage with? You get to pick one international band and two Pakistani bands of your choice.

Hassan:  Pakistani band - Dusk and Corpsepyre
International band - Integrity

Sheraz: Pakistani band - Dusk and Nokturnal Rust
International band - Inquisition

MG: You recently made announcements about Unsilent Death @ Beacon House National University. Tell us about the gig and the line up.

Hassan: The gig idea just came up out of nowhere. I was sitting lazily not paying attention in acting/performance class and I was looking around the choreography studio in which we were having the class. I thought "this place could have a decent gig" and asked my professor about it. He seemed stoked so I did a little bit of running around and getting permission papers and voila - a gig's coming up! The name was Sheraz's idea, Unsilent Death is the name of Nails' debut album and they're one of our favorite new bands around. Haha. As for the lineup - it will be MxCx's debut gig which should be fun. Me and Sheraz's thrash metal/hardcore punk band Foreskin is playing, and Sheraz's funeral doom band Irritum is gonna be making a debut appearance too. Wreckage, a veteran metal band from Islamabad / Rawalpindi will be parachuting in as well and we also have local Lahore Rock/Blues/Jazz band Mothership opening the show.

Sheraz: The gig is going to be a small indoor show, just like hardcore shows abroad. Nothing fancy, just some people gathered to have fun and mosh the fuck out!

MG: Thank you for answering our questions. Would you like to add something for our readers?

Hassan: Thanks for all the support. Really.
Sheraz: Always good to have people taking interest in our music and letting us know, cheers!

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