Since its inception, The Down Troddence or TDT that originated from Kannur but now based in Bengaluru has been one of the most prominent and followed metal bands in the country. The band consists of Munz (vocals), Varun Raj (guitar), Nezer Ahemed (bass guitar and backing vocals), Sushin Shyam (keyboards and backing vocals), Ganesh Radhakrishnan (drums), Advaith Mohan (guitar) and Sangeeth Ram who is the current band manager.
Rock and metal genres are still limited to certain audiences in our part of the world. When asked to comment on the same, the vocalist Munz, who is well known for his distinctive voice, says, “Rock and metal music will attract X amount of listeners, and that’s that. We need to come to terms with it. It isn’t coming to the mainstream, because that’s not what’s in demand in the mainstream. The world doesn’t owe rock and metal anything. And rock and metal don’t owe anything to the world as well.”
Looking back at the band’s journey, TDT’s own band manager Sangeeth Ram says it wasn’t a bed of roses. “We’ve had ups and downs. There are six-seven lives involved, and bringing everything on the same table is an arduous task. But we do it for the love for music,” says Sangeeth.
With the release of the music video for their single Shiva, the band got its biggest boost and the official video received the Best Music Video award at the IndieGo South Asian Music Awards in 2011. They have also won seven awards at Rolling Stones India Metal Awards in 2014. Lyrically, they are unique and when quizzed which original songs they would pick to define them, Sangeeth says, “We are constantly in the process of discovering stuff about our world. So, defining what TDT is not something that we do. We shared perspectives and we wrote songs to portray ideas we had. Life evolves and so does everything. Every song is a window into a certain perspective. That’s all.”
Sangeeth feels that the pioneering Western bands had a great influence on them when they started their careers. “All of us had different phases of Iron Maiden, Slayer and all the big bands out there. Having said that, we don’t believe European and Scandinavian bands are the epitome of metal. Yes, many of them pioneered the sound of metal, but there is no epitome of metal for us per se. Any sort of romanticism of early movers only kills the growth of new, and interesting bands. We like to explore new music and a gamut of artists have influenced us in our journey,” says Sangeeth.
The Indian music industry is largely film-bound and affects the growth of independent music in the country. “There are only a very few companies doing events which focus on indie artists. In fact, only a few manage to draw a decent crowd to their shows. The money eventually runs out and the investors lose interest. They find a new scene that’s emerging and put money in that. Demand and supply dictate what genre gets paid and how much. You have to feed yourself and your family, and you can’t always pretend to be making enough money to sustain, while you’re clearly not. Film-bound music has more takers; they pay you more than what genres like metal and rock would per show. So, do the math. Art for art’s sake is an ideal inside our head. Money talks and maybe when capitalism is replaced by a responsible alternative, art will go through a golden age again,” Munz adds.
TDT has been to some of the biggest music festivals in the country and shares NH 7 and Strawberry Fields would top the list. The band has won several awards and they say it made them more responsible. Munz says, “The awards did drive us to perform better each time, but what kept us going is unequivocally our love for music more than anything.” They are now working towards completing their second album. “It’s cooking. We are trying some new recipes. Hope it turns out to be yumm,” warps us Munz....