By Aniruddh ‘Andrew’ Bansal
Mumbai-based heavy metal band Zygnema started out around six years ago, and through sheer hard work behind the scenes and incredibly high-energy live performances, of late they’ve achieved the success they thoroughly deserved. The band represented India at the Wacken Metal Battle at the Wacken Open Air’s 2012 edition, and have recently confirmed an appearance at the Inferno Festival 2013 in Norway. Besides, they also put out a killer t-shirt last month, and are now preparing to write the follow-up to their 2010 debut album ‘Born Of Unity’, without bassist Ravi Satpute who has amicably departed the band to pursue higher education and career. A few days ago, I caught up with their powerhouse vocalist Jimmy Bhore to talk about all things Zygnema. Read this conversation below, and visit the band online using the links at the bottom.
First of all, you’ve been confirmed for this year’s Inferno Festival. Congratulations! How did that come about and what was your reaction when you found out?
Thanks a ton. Well, we are all aware about the cultural exchange between Norway and India where every year an Indian Band performs at Inferno while a Norwegian band performs at GIR. Plus, a few good friends of ours sent recommendations to Inferno and that’s how we got it. Just like every other band would, we were overwhelmed with joy” when we found out about it.
We have spoken to a few friends and are hoping to have something more than a one-off gig.
Of course, last year you won the Wacken Metal Battle India and got to perform at the Wacken Open Air. Can you try to put that experience into words for us?
Frankly, the maddening time we had at Wacken can’t really be explained in words. It’s a life-changing experience and we strongly believe that every metalhead should experience Wacken at least once in their life. It’s a must.
How much did that gig help the band? Has your fan-base and reputation exponentially risen since then?
When it comes to audience, Wacken has surely expanded our geographic reach and being associated with the biggest Metal festival adds immense value to a band’s brand image. Now that we have Wacken on our profile, organizers (local/international) take us more seriously.
I definitely think you’ll be getting more and more gigs on a regular basis, specially outside India. When that happens, would you guys be ready to commit towards Zygnema a full-time band?
Zygnema is more than a full-time band to us. It’s an ideal situation where we keep touring outside the country regularly and also pay the bills back home.
One of the things that happens when you play major international gigs is, record labels notice you. Demo kits are no longer enough for labels. They scout talent at shows these days. Have you been approached by (or tried approaching) any labels yet?
Well, we have spoken to Scouts/Promoters etc. Let’s hope the future offers something newsworthy.
Coming to the music itself, what is the band up to? Have you guys been writing any new material lately?
Hell yes, we are.
As a frontman, you show tremendous energy on stage. I see an obvious Philip Anselmo influence there, but other than that, which metal frontmen inspire you?
Max Cavalera, Corey Taylor, Mikael Akerfeldt, Robb Flynn.
To be honest, I don’t really know how that works. When you listen to songs on your player, its good, it’s crazy and its does its job but when you watch the same songs being nailed live by your favorite acts, fuck! It’s incomparable.
For Zygnema’s kind of music, gigs can be such a back-and-forth exchange of energy between the band and the crowd. When you see circle pits and people in the crowd going nuts, what effect does it have on you?
When you see the crowd going crazy, you go crazier and you want more of the energy. The hunger for madness is insatiable but the feeling is divine.
You new t-shirt design looks absolutely killer! Was it totally your artist’s creation or did anyone from the band have any ideas or inputs?
Thanks man. The artwork is solely the artist’s (Aaron Pinto – Providence) creation. Providing him with lyrics was our only input.
Art work is important for a band’s branding and selling merchandise gets you some extra dough, which can be utilized to break even a possible loss in album sales, but that can also be done by playing live shows and with much more efficiency. Getting sponsorship can also help support/minimize/eliminate the cost of production. Many artists have been having the fans fund their albums/videos etc. What I mean to say is, selling merch is not the only way to cope with the loss of album sales. These things (t-shirts, accessories, artwork etc) are crucial for a band’s packaging but they can never be as important as the music.