As the ABC gig is knocking on the door, we decided to have a chat with Cryptic Fate’s front-man and talk about the bits and pieces that makes them who they are and discuss about the issues which are affecting the music scene today.
What was Cryptic Fate’s motive when it started back in 1993?
As a band, we wanted to prove a point. If we go back to our time, we would see heavy metal or hard rock bands like Warfaze or Rockstrata struggling with their sound. The productions of those albums were of low quality, which is why they struggled to find a good sound for their bands. What we wanted to show is that even in those times, it was possible and very feasible to make heavy metal music in Bangla. It was also possible to make heavy metal music in Bangladesh, even in English. We wanted to prove that the equipments and technology we had back in the time, was enough to make a good heavy metal album, in terms of production quality.
In that specific timeline (1990s-2005), is there anything that Fate has achieved and is proud of?
We believe that we were a part of a movement which helped revolutionize a new guitar-based Rock music in our country; which is the release of the album Charpotro. We believe, that is something that we are proud of, like working in a compilation with bands like Artcell and releasing our first Bangla track. It is a big achievement for us.
What were your thoughts on your first album? How did you think that the public would react?
All of us were in Scholastica, which, as you know is an English medium school. So, it was easy for us to write lyrics in English. I will admit that lyrics were not up to the mark. They were amateur and very childish. Still, it was easy for us to write those childish lyrics in English as we were proficient in English and not in Bangla.
Another fact that struck us- our drummer Farshed and our original guitarist Wahed were going abroad for their further education. So, we thought of making music in English so that they could distribute the tapes to people outside of our country. In this way we wanted to let the people out there know that there is a band in Bangladesh which exists, and which can make heavy metal music, and also in English. At that time, all of us were around 19 years old. So we did not know the market mechanism, and hence, did not care how the public would react to it. We just went on with our own way of doing music.
Cryptic Fate Performing in Scholastica Rock Fest
So, for Cryptic Fate, does the composition has to satisfy the band OR it has to satisfy the public, the audience?
We would prefer both. To us, an artist is blessed when people all around the world like his or her work. Cryptic Fate is a heavy metal band and like it or not, heavy metal music is not liked by everyone. So, it is listened and admired by a small proportion of people, compared to the people who listen to Jennifer Lopez or Britney Spears. Therefore, when you make an informed choice knowing that your target is very small, the message comes out loud and clear that you’re making heavy metal music because you like to. So, as a band, we definitely do what we want to do and we definitely like the music that we produce. It is as simple as that. No one can make music if they keep on thinking about the public, even Michael Jackson would not do that. Everyone makes music that they like and a few artists, who are good enough, are blessed with the gift of people liking their work. For example, if I say that you cannot be popular if you do heavy metal music in Bangladesh, I will not be able to justify my point because Artcell has already done it; they are good enough that public liked their work. So, ideally, we would want to do what we want to do and we would want the public to like it.
Around 2005, Fate suddenly went missing. Why did it happen?
Farshed went to The States in 1995 and settled there. He used to come to Bangladesh for a month or two and basically, that was the time we used to record our solo albums. In between, we did go for gigs but without Farshed. We had Turjo, from Vibe, play with us. He played in Cholo Bangladesh as well. We had Manzur, who is my friend from IUB, play with us. We even had Shaju play in a few songs for Sreshtho! It was very gracious of them to come out and play with us but at one point of time, I did not like it anymore. I wanted only four guys who would be sticking together and playing together. Along with that, all of us had to work during the day. So, because of the pressure, it got difficult for us to give time to the band and gradually, the band went inactive. It was still alive but totally inactive.
What is your take on the addition of so many new bands in the underground scene?
After Charpotro was released, I saw school and college kids getting hooked to the album. This was basically the step where the new bands started to come along, and I, myself, is very happy about it. I feel proud to see that we, the musicians, have inspired kids to take up guitars, drums and mics and start playing some music and it definitely makes me happy to see a thriving Rock culture in our country!
Understand this, Team Bangladesh plays 2 cricket matches and they lose both of them. They play 5, they lose 5. They play 100, they win 5. It is the similar case scenario here. You do see bands like Artcell and Black coming along from the underground scene back in 2005 and now going big. So, if you do not let bands perform according to their will, the chances of getting good bands out of it will decrease. So, the more the bands perform, the probability of better sounding bands with better talents coming out obviously increases. I don’t see any reason why the public should complain about it. If you talk about the degrading quality, it is still in the hands of the crowd themselves. If they don’t like how a band is performing and how they sound and think they completely suck, they can easily boo them off and give them a reality check. The ultimate power is with the people. There is no point of hindering this thriving culture.
Piracy is a growing and a pressing issue now. According to Cryptic Fate, what do you think can be done to stop it?
Piracy is here to stay- that is what I think. In order to control it, you need to provide the people with an option to control it. Understand this- the methods of piracy also prevail in countries like USA or the European countries, but we do see how iTunes is really getting off the hook. It is something like this: iTunes is providing the customers with the opportunity to appreciate the music they listen to. For example, I’m a fan of Iron Maiden and Maiden releases an album. It is obvious that I will want to give them my money because I appreciate the music that they do and therefore, buy a record from iTunes or from any website I can buy. It does not apply only for me. It applies for a lot of fans out there. Obviously, if you love the music a band does, you will eventually come up to them and return them the favour by giving them your valuable money. Now, if there was a website in Bangladesh from which the public can buy tracks for affordable prices, I am sure that there will be a lot of people who will buy tracks. Obviously, you cannot put a complete stop to piracy but certainly, piracy would be controllable then and would be much more manageable. It is all about marginal utility. If we can improve the situation by 10%, then that 10% is what we shall fight for.
Among all these bands, Fate has a distinct sound that makes them different from all the other bands. How did the band come up with it?
It is still a mystery to us. We actually have no clue how we sound like and how we ended up with this sound. The thing is, for every band in this world, their first album stands out loud to tell you who their influences are. For example, if anyone listens to Ends Are Forever, they can tell you that Cryptic Fate, as a band, is influenced by Maiden, Megadeth, a bit of Metallica and a bit of Alice in Chains. So, for all the bands, the first album is like a transition phase: A phase where you don’t know what your sound is. We do not think our sound changed much in our second album. Though, the funny thing is, there is a big gap between the release of Ends Are Forever, which is our first album, and Sreshtho, the second album. In this time, all of us in the band got to listen to more music and got to learn a lot from other kinds of music as well. So, the sound changed a bit and then at Danob, it all clicked and we had a thing going. As a listener, if someone listens to Ends Are Forever, and directly to Sreshtho and then to Danob, they will notice a big jump in our musical style and sound from album to album. Although, someone who listens to all our singles in the right order, along with our albums, they will find a connecting thread there and he would understand how we were experimenting with our sound in the singles.
As a band, right from the start, we always tried to maintain the quality of our music. We always tried our best not to sound like anything that has been done before. This is where I would like to put forward a criticism. There are a lot of bands who give their music to me so that I listen to them. What I admire about them is that they are technically top-notch, but the tracks are very safe, and by safe I mean that there are a few basic guitar chords that they are playing, a basic drum beat, compiled with an uninspiring vocal tone. The thing is, even bands like AC/DC play with around two-to-three chords only but the way they put forward those chords and the way they sing the song; it sounds totally refreshing and it sounds unique. It does not match with anything else. A good example would be Nirvana; someone who listens to Nirvana would easily understand this.
So, as a band, we always put tremendous efforts on quality control and we always criticized among ourselves. Obviously the guitarists come up with riffs, leads and other stuffs. Even I come up with them too, but at the end of the day, we discuss among ourselves and if someone says that he had listened to this before, we clearly discard that. We always wanted to sound refreshing and that is pretty important for any band.
What is Cryptic Fate coming up in the ABC event?
We took some learning’s from the previous show. We are going to reduce the number of songs. 15-20 songs by us and Artcell each clearly suggests how long the show was. Usually the crowd can take in up to 4 hours of concert music but the brain just numbs after that. We also decided to add some gimmicks, like there is a “Dhol” in Raag, so we are going to add that in the gig as well. We are going add some new tracks to our set and bring some special guests to the gig as well. So, I think the show is shaping up to be a very big one.
What are your plans for your new album, “Jantrik Golojog”?
If you listen to Danob, you would realize how complicated we went in that album. Danob took a lot out of us and we are simply tired of producing complicated stuffs. So, this time we took a decision that we are going to keep this album simple and make some straight-out and refreshing heavy metal tracks and we hope everyone is going to like it.
What plans do you have regarding the band and its’ future?
I was watching this Pearl Jam documentary named “20”. The guitarist said that he always wanted to be in a band which will last forever. That sounded very interesting to me and this is something that I want as well. I would want to be in Cryptic Fate till I die. Cryptic Fate is a not a profession for us, it is a very serious hobby and I hope I’ll see the band right here in this stage even after 20 years, and I hope to continue this band till the day I die.
Anything for the fans?
Whenever a fan comes to us and says that he likes our music, or our music has helped him during his time of need or for example, whenever Bangladesh wins a match, someone comes to us and says Cholo Bangladesh, it strikes a chord inside us. I, for one, feel that we live in a nation which appreciates unique and refreshing stuffs. We tried out with something which is very new for Bangladesh and they still supported us and appreciated our music- that is something we are very lucky to get and we will always be very grateful for that.
There is always a solution to every problem. That is what this band advocates for. Let it be piracy, let it be over-populating amateur bands, there is always a check and balance in the system which prevents us from the harm. Thoughts as such are indeed applauded. That is why; they are respected by a lot, loved by many. We wish an everlasting journey of Cryptic Fate.
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