Summon: How did the band get started?
Topon Das: Merdarahta started as an alter-ego of our main band Fuck The Facts in 2011. We had the first recording “Snake Charmer / Towers” completed and decided that we would put this release under a different name. It was first released as the B-side of the cassette version of the Fuck the Facts album “Die Miserable”. On “Die Miserable” there is also a bonus track called Oct 26th, and this is really the start of what would end up becoming Merdarahta.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Topon Das: The music is very atmospheric and I usually refer to it as dark/ambient/noise/doom. There’s a lot of experimentation involved in what we do and the base of all the music we release is improvisation. We’re not writing songs as much as we’re just trying to create a mood and sounds to get lost in.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Topon Das: It’s very different from what we normally do in Fuck The Facts, but people have been receptive. I definitely don’t think it’s for everyone, especially the people that are into the more grind/metal side of FTF and not really into our more experimental musings, but I do think people that know FTF, know that we like to break outside of the borders of just being a grind band, the only difference is that this time we felt that it was far enough that it deserved it’s own name. I also see people that wouldn’t normally be into what we do in FTF, enjoy the Merdarahta releases.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Topon Das: It’s taken from an experimental noise track on a Fuck The Facts release. Even though the project is separate, it was important to me that they still remain connected.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Topon Das: Merdarahta is more of a collaboration project than an actual band, so there is no steady line-up and I wouldn’t really want there to be one. Also, the people that are involved play all sorts of different instruments and do whatever it takes to achieve the sound they want to contribute. Even for the live performances we’ve done there’s been a game of musical chairs. The lineup is always different and what instrument people play live has also changed. The people that have been involved in Merdarahta so far are Mel Mongeon, Marc Bourgon, Mathieu Vilandre, Seb Choquette, Leigh Newton, Dave Menard, Mike Raymond, Martin Cleal & myself.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Topon Das: I usually start with a base track that I send to other people and they add their touch to it. What I send is always based on an improvisation session and is rarely even edited. I have a set of people that have been on every release and then I usually pick one other person to contribute, just to keep things interesting and mix it up. Vocals in general are not a huge part of Merdarahta, but like everything else, whoever does vocals figures out what they are going to say.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Topon Das: Sometimes a few words are written out ahead of time, but often it’s whatever comes out in the moment. I know when Mel has done vocals on the Merdarahta releases, all we did is hit record and see what comes out. She often doesn’t even hear the piece before hand and is coming up with stuff on the spot.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Topon Das: It’s not something I’m involved in or really familiar with outside of movies.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Topon Das: Three releases so far. “Snake Charmer / Towers”, “Fault Of Air / Breathe” & we just released “Breathe Electric. All are available for streaming and download here: http://merdarahta.bandcamp.com/
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Topon Das: “Breathe Electric” is really in all ways a continuation of the previous release “Fault of Air / Breathe”. The first track “Breathe II” was initially started when we did the previous release, but just didn’t fit with the rest. It works perfectly as an introduction to the new album and helps the listener transition from the previous release into the somewhat more intense and twisted “Electric” pieces.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Topon Das: Merdarahta is the side-project. We are all involved in other bands that take the bulk of our time, and Merdarahta is the vacation away. Some of the members other bands include The Sun Through A Telescope, Mekhaya, Black Oak Decline, Brain Weapon and of course Fuck The Facts.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Topon Das: My love of noise as well as spontaneous and experimental music was the starting point. I wanted to have something that would really allow me to let myself go and not think, or at least think in a different way. I’m less self-conscience about my guitar playing and I don’t care if I hit a few wrong notes here and there when I’m creating a Merdarahta track, if anything that’s want makes it work in the end. I don’t know how much we sound like these bands/projects, but when I think of influences I would say Trial of the Bow, Masonna, Scorn and O.L.D.
Summon: Which current bands?
Topon Das: I’ll admit that I’m horrible at keeping up to date with new releases, but I can hear similarities to bands like Sunn, Khanate and maybe even a bit of Isis and Russian Circles.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Topon Das: We’ve done 4 live shows so far and we try and create an entirely different piece for each show. There is a loose skeleton of what we’re going to do, but a lot of improvisation mixed in between. Different members live also keeps it interesting and brings new elements to the live show.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Topon Das: No, just in Canada, and actually just in Ottawa.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Topon Das: It’s always been different, but it’s never been anything that would fill an arena. We’re playing small diy venues and clubs. Sometimes they’re fuller than other times.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Topon Das: We’re not a band that you’re going to mosh to, unless you’re really drunk, and if you’re that drunk we would probably put you to sleep.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Topon Das: A lot of the classic death metal band (Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, etc..) are putting out some of the best records of their career. That says a lot for how well Death Metal is doing in the US.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Topon Das: World-wide the extreme music scene is growing bigger and bigger. There’s a lot of support for good bands that are coming up and the veterans are getting more respect than every. I can only imagine what the future will hold, but I’m sure this is only the start of things.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Topon Das: Deamon, Dead Soul Alliance, Obduracy, Insurrection, Alaskan.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Topon Das: There’s always new releases in some phase of completion. I have a hard drive full of improvisation sessions, I just need to find the time to go through them and see which one will be next. There are also some live recordings with the full band which I plan on releasing at some point.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Topon Das: More releases and live performance. You can keep up to date with us here: https://www.facebook.com/merd.rahta
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