Interview with Meltgsnow, Part. 2

In the first part of the interview, we got the band to share their experiences touring in the States and the reason for doing so. In the second part, we go in-depth about their personal influences, their Baybeats audition experience and why Meltgsnow is called Meltgsnow.


With the addition of Bexxx and David, how did they add a new edge to the band’s music?

B: Not really. For my side, I just tell them how I feel that we should do up certain parts. I’m just trying to fit myself into the band. I used to play metal when I was much younger so I shared my point of view as a bassist about how I feel about the band’s music. Not so much of bringing my influences into the band because I have played almost all sorts of music so it’s very hard to say that I want to bring a certain kind of influence into the music.

What are the interesting stuff that you listen other than metal that might have influenced yourselves personally?

A: Trance.

B: K-pop. Everyone is going nobody –nobody-but-you.

LI: Not everyone ok. Please! Seeing fake boobs and faces on television…

Z: Actually we all listen to different stuff.

How about we go around and hear from everyone?

A: Trance. I am actually not metal by nature. So some rock, progressive rock and trance. These are some of my main preferences. Commercialised. Not really pure metal. When they mentioned some songs to me during jamming like Slayer – I went – “One more pedal? One more pedal?” I thought one was enough already.

LI: He was a single pedaled drummer when he first started out. [Laughs]

A: So I took a lot of pains to add one more pedal. [Laughs]

D: I actually listen to a lot of jazz and funk, not much metal until recently suddenly got into metal. I kind of just follow the flow.

A: It’s all using the same chords, E, C –

[Laughs]

B: I listen to metal when I was younger, and seriously, it was only in the past 2 years or so that I started to listen to metal again. But actually I was dwelling into a bit of jazz, blues and funk on my bass, and suddenly they got me to listen to metal again. I got a very diverse influence. LI?

Now you got a baby so it has to be nursery rhymes.

LI: Not really actually. I’m letting her listen to rock-a-bies. Rock-a-bies are actually like lullabies, but they actually play all the chime music to the likes of Metallica, Nine Inch Nails etc.

A: So our third album will be metal-bies. [Laughs]

Why don’t you just let her hear what you are listening to?

LI: Not the heavy and crazy stuff yet. Some Radiohead and Muse. The only metal band that I got her listening to is probably Metallica and NIN. She’s actually into it also, I guess. Every time she listens to it she smiles so it’s good! But for myself, I listen to all kinds of music like classical to relax my mind. Metal music, of course it started out with Emperor. I didn’t go way back to be an old school black metalhead. Emperor did it for me, Mayhem, and of course Slayer back in the days, Iron Maiden, there are so many. Helloween, King Diamond, Testament, so many! But recently in the last 5 years, I am into bands such as My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Tiamat, pretty much of the dark metal side. Katatonia and Type-O-Negative, rest in peace Peter Steele.

Z: I listen to Chinese, canto, Beyond, Trance, Jazz, Phuture…

A: Why – are we going into clubbing already?

[Laughs]

Z: When I started, I listened to Metallica that’s for sure. After that I got into punk, bands like Misfits, Samhain, The Exploited. I used to buy those big 12 or 14 inch records for Dead Kennedys. Then I went into Slayer, but I never liked Iron Maiden because their songs all sound the same. But I like Mr. Eddie, the concept of a mascot. Also a bit into death metal, but not too much. I got into a bit of goth and doom like Type-O-Negative and Paradise Lost in 1992. It was so hard to find those CDs at that time.

LI: Sembawang (Music Centre, local CD shop)

David in action

Z: Bloody Kisses was my first CD and I imported it, couldn’t find it in Singapore at that time.

LI: We had to go through underground means. Long, long time ago, we had to ask the shopowner and whisper to him to ask if he sold certain CDs. Sembawang used to sell them.

But Sembawang closed down already.

LI: Is it?

A: How to sustain? Now you know why we drag our album release.

[Laughs]

LI: Yea, because now a lot of people just download their music.

Why was the CD release dragged?

LI: You want to know the real truth? It’s because of us finding the right label to launch it for us. We couldn’t decide which label to sign to initially. Bret is our management label so he’s done an excellent job getting our new label. We finally decided that instead of going for an overseas label, we decided to sign to one that is actually based in Singapore.

Z: We are actually signed to Pulverised Records.

LI: I think they are going to make the announcement very soon. We chose Pulverised because they are based in Singapore and they are pretty strong in Europe and the States. So if there is anything wrong we can get them easily, after all they are based in Singapore and we are pretty close to them. [Laughs]

Z: His (Roy, Pulverised Records) good friend is actually the reason why I am into metal. It’s a story that goes back 15 years.

LI: So that’s the actual reason. [Laughs] Initially we wanted to release it independently but we thought that it’s pretty good stuff so we decided to see if we could get a label to release it for us instead.

Z: While we were deciding I happened to bump into Roy at Party World (Karaoke) in a room. He was singing Better Man (Robbie Williams’ song) to me. This brother of mine asked him if he knew Meltgsnow and he was saying that he knew us and heard us on radio before. He asked him who is Meltgsnow and he pointed to me and said, “that guy!”

Meltgsnow on radio?

LI: Yeah! On Ria 89.7FM, Vicious Volume and 98.7FM and 93.8FM… Now that we are playing at Baybeats, we got to let 98.7 (Singapore’s radio station) know so they will play more of our songs. [Laughs]

B: I’ll get 933 (Singapore’s Chinese radio station) also right?

[Laughs]

A: What time do you want them to play? The 3-4 A.M. slot, right before the national anthem?

LI: In Singapore at least about midnight we get to hear metal. In Australia they switch all the new bands’ slots at the 2-3 A.M. slot in the morning. So it’s not that bad…[Laughs]

Anyway I would describe our generation as the Attention Age. Now we can get information easily because of social medias. Does it overwhelm you that this whole scene is a new generation, like how will you meet up with the new generation’s demand and how you are coping with it?

LI: To be honest, when we hit the stage, we respect the fans and whoever is listening to us and we hope that they will enjoy the experience with us, and we will thank each and every one of them for giving us the opportunity to share with them the experience. This is pretty important when we are on stage, to show them what we can do. That’s why Baybeats 2010 is definitely a platform for us to make a come back.

A: I think the fundamental doesn’t change whatever age it is, be it Attention Age, Digital Age, Ice Age, etc.

For us, we try to reach out to as many people as possible through as many social mediums as possible. Just thinking if the band wants to have these kind of steps.

LI: We definitely want to reach out to as many people/fans as possible. Such as our myspace and facebook account. On top of that, we are fortunate to have a management and label that will take care of the hype, marketing etc.

A: Our job is more to create the music and not the hype.

Z: We just do whatever we can do to promote the album.

B: If we were to think so much as to how to market our music and promote ourselves, we might as well be businessmen.

Z: As long as we don’t change our style to cater to what the mass media want, we are still doing what we like to do.

What was it that made the band decide to play Baybeats?

LI: Actually we wanted to perform at Baybeats for a long time, but it’s because of our internal challenges so we were not ready. However, this year, we are pretty much ready with a stable line up and with our upcoming album release. “Why we audition?!” the judges actually asked us why we auditioned for Baybeats. We said, “Why not?” Auditioning is necessary because not many people know us. People have heard of us but they do not actually know our music, so we thought, let’s just audition for it and see how it goes.

Were the judges actually ok with metal bands playing at Baybeats?

LI: You can ask Adrian because they gave all their views to him.

Z: We are the only metal band chosen from the auditions.

LI: Rudra will be playing at Baybeats as well so it’s pretty obvious that the judges are not biased.

A: From my point of view, I think the main factor is total band discipline. I like to believe that there is a certain level of maturity in us. Secondly, it’s the music itself has to be acceptable to a certain extent such as being tightness, skills and basic knowledge. There was this review session for the final 17 bands whereby they invited all the bands to sit down together in a room and the judges started to comment on the bands’ performances at the audition one by one – in front of every other band. Hmmm…They actually listened to the music of every band. They didn’t actually scrutinize and pick on the song writing but it was more like a sharing session where they wanted the bands to learn from each other. They were not anal about what genre of music that each band plays, rather more like questions like getting the bands to reflect how the band’s music can pull in the crowd on the performance day itself, whether we could convince ourselves. If we couldn’t convince ourselves, what made us think that we could convince the crowd?

LI: You should interview the judges to get more insights. You will probably be surprised. We thought that they would have different perspectives about metal. But no, it seems that they are looking more at the talent and discipline, the strength and the possibility on how you can actually move the crowd.

A: The objective of Baybeats is to have most of the local bands to perform and showcase their talent, that’s why the bands have to perform original music and no covers.

LI: Hats off to them for focusing on local music. Of course, they invite foreign bands to perform as well, that place is Esplanade, it’s all about the performing arts and it’s about giving us locals their chance. Only through this audition that we see all these, because probably most people will think that Baybeats will never have metal bands, I mean Meza Virs performed last year so we don’t see anything wrong with metal bands performing at Baybeats. So we do encourage all the local metal bands to try. We saw a couple of metal bands at the auditions actually. Don’t give up!!! Keep trying!!!

So actually previously we didn’t see metal bands on Baybeats was because nobody thought that they would accept metal bands performing?

LI: I would beg to differ on that one.

Z: The theme then was total ‘alternative’.

LI: The Baybeats organisers now are probably focusing on a different platform I reckon. The previous platform was actually by another group of organizers that only wanted a certain particular genre and of course metal was never welcome at all.

How are you guys preparing for the performing at Baybeats?

A: Check us out on the day itself!

LI: I think every show has a unique experience, for Baybeats, we thought of doing a musical in a metal way but at the end of the drunken moment, we scrapped the idea.

!!! Please Don’t!

LI: I mean, in a metal version, with actors and actresses coming in… You know… Hahah…

We thought of…High School Musical crap…

LI: Hell NO!!! But if the chicks are hot… Hmmm…

Deep in thought…

The ‘in’ thing now is ‘GLEE’… no more those old stuff…haha

B: Maybe next year!

Lord Insanity, with your recent addition of your family, how might that conflict your band schedules?

LI: My band mates are all her Godfathers! Conflicting? No. They probably had to understand that I needed some time off to adapt to this baby thingy…

We’ve always wondered, why does Meltgsnow have to be written this way, and not simply ‘Melting Snow’?

LI: For a start, why ‘Melting Snow’ is because I am into *Rumi and Sufism. You heard of them?

Erm, not really.

LI: There is a lot of misconception about all the songs that I am writing right now, especially the lyrics. People think that it is anti-Christ, or anti-God, and anti-whatever religion, but it is really not that. It is more about life, a way of life, more philosophical. But any Christians who read it, really dwell into it, they will find out that it is about the way of life. For example, our song ‘Betrayal’, the mother of all betrayals happened way back in heavens, you know. Like a certain angel that betrayed God…

A: To be frank, when I play the music, I do not think that far. I would relate it to self-betrayal, human betrayal.

So, open to self-interpretation?

LI: That is what I am trying to say. Actually, Bexxx is a pretty staunch religious guy. When he first joined the band, I told him, “Don’t say anything, I’d like you to review the band, this is the whole stack of our lyrics, feel comfortable with it, but if not, let’s talk.” I reckon that he is ok with it and he understands what I am actually writing. Haha!

B: I think you haven’t really answered their question…

LI: Oh ya! Sorry! I just wanted to take this opportunity to make it clear. It was because I read it from one of *Rumi’s poems, called “Be Melting Snow”, basically it means purifying yourself from your sins. Hence, we have ‘Black Penance’ for the upcoming album.

*Ed’s note: Rumi, a 13th Century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi Mystic. Actual Quote: “Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself. “


[Extra Readings: (1), (2), (3) ]

Meltgsnow with the HMT crew

LI: Meltgsnow was initially spelt separately like Melting Snow, Zac and I came up with it, then Adrian came up with the creative ‘g’ thing.

A: ‘G ‘with an underscore. As in short formed. Haha…

LI: In fact when we were in the States, people thought the ‘g’ was a ‘9’. They were calling us ‘Melt-Nine-Snow’.

A: Maybe we’ll think of the branding in the next 5 years.

But why did you want to put the ‘g’ with that underscore?

A: People usually represent ‘ing’ with the ‘g’ and the underscore.

Oh so it was not a superscript ‘g’?

LI: I think the original logo was ‘Melt’ with a little ‘g’ at the top…

Z: Which looks like a ‘9’…

LI: We just screwed with the thing and settled with this…

We think it is good as it strikes an impression better than the rest. Any last words to fans and aspiring musicians?

D: Work hard, play harder…

Z: Practise more…

A: Don’t think you are that good.

Z: Ya, always think that you are not as good, then you’ll get better.

LI: Know your basics, feel the flow…I think all of us realised that. At the end of the day, we must fall back to our roots.

Alright, that’s all that we have for you and we wish you all the best for the album launch and Baybeats performance this year!

Meltgsnow will be playing at the Baybeats 2010 this year and will be launching their long-awaited album, Black Penance under Pulverised Records as well. Stay tuned for more information to come!

Meltgsnow on MySpace.

Related articles:
Interview with Meltgsnow, part 1 (Singapore)
Interview with Calvin (Pulverised Records, Singapore)

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune

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