Voices from the Underground
From times to times, some obscure projects have the projection they deserve and a major public have the opportunity to know better his ideas and music. In the beggining of this year this happened with Vāmācāra – with the release of a fantastic mashup of legendary John Coltrane with the masters of drone metal Sunn O))) that you can hear here!
But this was not the first release of the project – that is making noise since the beggining of 2015 – not only experimenting with music, but with imagens and concepts too. I can say with no exaggeration that talking with Nick Dropkick was ultra very funny and stimulant – as you’ll check in the next lines, the guy has a lot to say!
GM: You released 5 brand new titlesin 2015 – wich is something incredible! When everything started? When do you met and started to make music?
Do you have other musical projects/bands before?
I know that, in some cases, bands/projects likes to make some mistery about things, so I’ll understand if you decided to stay in silence, but would be amazing to know who play whats – and how is your creative dynamics.
Nick: As far as Vāmācāra goes, I actually started most of the initial songs early in 2015 (around this time actually, so march, april, etc). My initial three releases (Kalachakra of the Rudras, Anarcho-Nihilist, and Jamsaran, or he assembles his forces against Oghrdu Jahad) were basically recorded throughout the year, with the finalized versions being released in september.
Volume 1: The Jackal of Portland is actually the compilation of those three electronic premiers, which was my first physical release for Vāmācāra.
Throughout the next month, I experimented quite a bit, and moved away from Black Metal and Blackened Noise music, to attempt to create some Power-Noise and Harsh Noise.
Missing White Girl and Dada Grunge & Essene Funk were my two noise albums I released during october, with Dada Grunge & Essene Funk being more of a focus on rhythmic noise.
After that, and at the start of the new year, thats when I released Co)))ltrane. I suppose I’ve just been experimenting quite a bit, and want to venture into as ominous a sound as I can find. Co)))ltrane was an attempt to actually remix something that might not normally get mixed- jazz music & stoner/doom metal. Having a Saxaphone play over distorted guitar just has an eerie other-world like quality to it. Seems to have worked quite well haha.
Le Condamné is the final release for Vāmācāra so far, and that has gone somewhat back to the original roots of Vāmācāra. While it isn’t a black metal album, I’ve taken what I learnt from my previous releases, and attempted to blend some guitar work with heavy atmosphere and some noise as well. It’s dark ambient, but something I think fits the aesthetic of the project quite well. I consider it almost a blend of my original stuff in Volume 1: The Jackal of Portland and Dada Grunge & Essene Funk.
As far as group members go, Vāmācāra is actually my solo project for the most part. On occasion I collaborate with a friend of mine, who calls himself Ripdae La Wise.
I’m on guitars, do the production work & programming, and for the drum work, at the moment use a machine. To tell the truth, its also a part of the reason why I havn’t quite made this a project with vocals yet. While I adore making instrumentals and think the lack of vocals can add a darker tone, I also don’t have that expansive of a vocal range myself.
Ripdae La Wise does perform vocals on a few tracks, however.
With regards to other bands/projects, I have several from before, and several that I’m a part of currently.
I actually got my start in music with an Industrial Metal band called The Death Cartel (this was around 2008 – 2012, I believe). After that, I took what I knew and began producing alone, under the name N3rgul, around 2011 – 2013. After 2013 I went on a brief hiatus, but returned to producing music last year. N3rgul has been my project which focuses on everything from witch-house, to drum n’ bass, to trip-hop, or anything electronic.
At the moment, I’m also a part of a project called “Plebs & Fuckboys”. That project is Industrial Hip-Hop/Noise-Hop/Experimental music, and I am in that group with Ripdae La Wise once more. We actually collaborate a lot, and he makes pretty awesome independent music as well. I’ve also done artwork for a few of his albums.
If you want some links to some of my other projects I’ve been involved in, here is some of N3rgul
Here’s Death Cartel
And here is Plebs & Fuckboys
But thats about it.
GM: Wow, it was breathtaking!
Indeed, I mentioned only the first releases before the compilation because your music changed – I mean, a signficative change. The songs get longer, denses, heavy AND spectral. Your comments, so, were very elucidating.
But, of couse, I have more questions.
What’s your age?
There’s some history behind the name of the project?
As long as I know, none of your works have physical formats. Do you looked for some label – or, instead, have some label contacted you?
Do you have a job? I mean, you’re releasing so many albuns that I can only think that you spent all your time making music!
I’m listening here your other project (N3rgul) and it’s sensacional! There’s a lot of people who love this kind of music here!
Nick: Haha, I’m 23 years old.
As far as the history behind the name of the project, Vāmācāra is a sanskrit term meaning “Left-Hand Path”. It is a general term which represents practices which are heterodox or against what is common within tantric practices. The left hand path, in sanskrit, involves the transgressive, witchcraft, the extreme in the face of the status quo.
When deciding the name of this project, I thought that this was a good representation of the path my life had taken so far, and what I want to represent within my music. The left-hand path, or that which is unorthodox seems to categorize the themes I seek to explore, and thus it’s something I attempt to embrace more often than not.
As for labels, I did a limited physical release with Why Gang? Records briefly- I think we had like 30-40 physical cassettes released, and we might make some more too- though my friend at the label is a bit backed up at the moment. Records http://whygangrecords.com/
I’ve had a few contacts from various netlabels, though at the moment, I’m in the process of looking for a more major label to distribute my music. Id like to find one with more capabilities for a more international market.
For N3rgul I currently work with Illuminated Paths as well, I believe they still have a ton of physical editions of my stuff, though they work primarily through the mail.
And ahh, as far as it goes, I dont have regular work. I work the occasional odd job, but by and large, I have a lot of free time on my hands, which, is pretty much why I have so much time to work on music haha
GM: An attentive person can find a lot of references in your albuns. In the first one we have Bjork on the cover, in the third we have a character of Hellboy and so goes on – and I probably would be losing a lot ot things. Do you love the pop culture?
Do you like movies, comics, books?
[at this point of converstation he released a new album]
…and fuck, one more title! I’m listening now Melancholia.
Nick: I definitely do! I adore movies, comics, etc. I actually used to work for a horror movie festival, so I try and incorporate a lot of horror themed references into my stuff, plus various occult things as well.
I adore pop culture, comics, movies, and books though- I’ll read anything (and often do), though typically like to incorporate various concepts from pop culture that I feel fit a theme within my music (or sometimes try and warp them or create a juxtaposed image, like with Bjork- normally she’s a pretty innocent pixie like figure, I thought using that image of her for a black metal album was just so out of place).
Hope you enjoy Melancholia as well- its essentially the other half of Le Condamné, but its an attempt to go into a more emotional direction.
GM: Where do you get the art for your albuns?
How has been the reception of your releases? Do you like to interact, even virtually, with your listeners?
To me, your music is a bricolage of a lot of music – with the nitid intent to get away in the musical fields. Tell us about your musical taste.
Nick: Haha, for the most part, the artwork I use for Vāmācāra draws from a plethora of sources. Typically speaking, I read a lot of random occult books in my spare time, and on occasion may use some older symbolism I find to be fascinating for my artwork. Usually I’ll edit something in via photoshop- some old symbol or diagram or what have you. For my stuff in this group though https://plebsandfuckboys.bandcamp.com/ ,by contrast, I create all the imagery by hand using water-color.
There’s been some reception for my releases. For Vāmācāra I actually had the pleasure of sharing my music with a lot of the South-Western Ontario underground metal community through Why Gang? Records and got to meet some interesting people with the initial release and start of this project. Besides that, I interact with people a lot through forums online, sometimes I’ll see my music being played on random websites or shared in forums, and its quite fun.
My musical taste it probably as varied as the music I produce. I think Ive explored most genres of music and been exposed to most at some point or the other (even stuff like baile funk). I suppose what got me started in music was listening to a lot of crust-punk records or black metal (stuff like Black Kronstadt or leftover crack, for instance). My first real band was an industrial-metal band, so from there I got very much into industrial music. After that band broke up, I think my taste in music diversified a bit more. I was still into heavy guitar driven stuff, but due to industrial having an electronic component as well, I started getting more into electronic music as well (which is also when I started trying to produce on my own as N3rgul). I think after this period, thats where my tastes really diversified. At this point, I’ll listen to anything and try and incorporate as many styles as music as possible into what I make. While producing stuff under the name N3rgul, I also got the chance to work with a lot of people in different genres as well- so that pushed me even further into exploring new styles of music. Lately, due to internet based subcultures becoming a major thing as well, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring and getting involved in the Witch-House/ Vaporwave scene as well. Honestly, if something piques my interest, I’ll try and find out more.
I think I’ve expanded for quite a bit on that question though, but as of now, I enjoy most forms of music, I’ve got a few favorite artists in most genres, though if I had to pick something to listen to, I’d probably stick with Industrial, Crust-Punk/Black Metal, or perhaps something downtempo, maybe shoegaze or grunge (as you can tell, its hard for me to really condense my tastes) -oh, and can’t forget witch-house.
GM: What albuns are making you mad actually? [and here I’ve made a mistake, writting mad instead of crazy – but the result was so interesting that I need to publish]
What your plans for 2016?
There’s some underground band/project you would like to recommend?
Nick: Ah, thats a good followup question to what my music tastes are, “What albums make you mad”, if mad is bad.
I suppose there isn’t really anything specific, most music has its own merits regardless of who makes it.
To be honest, Ramshackle Glorys’ Die the Nightmare somewhat annoyed me. I felt that Pat kind of lost his edge in that album and abandoned some of the anarchist ideals he once had in live and let live, replacing them with just wanting to attack the police instead of creating a situation where the police were not needed.
ZAYN’s mind of mine also annoyed me quite a bit as well.
Myrkur made me a bit angry as well, when she had her debut album, just in the sense that it appeared to commodify and commercialize black metal, though to be honest, black metal has been commercialized for years and she certainly wasn’t the first. Myrkur’s M isn’t that bad to be honest, though Id considered it moreso to be symphonic metal with black metal influences.
If there is a genre that I dislike at the moment, I’d probably consider most pop-punk music after 2010 to fall under that, and perhaps a lot of indie-folk as well. Mumford and Sons is something that just puts me in a foul mood whenever its played
There are def a ton of people I would recommend as well in the underground. Keith Ape, Lil Ugly Mane, Suicide Boyz, Bones, and Pouya are pretty interesting in the Trap music scene at the moment. Ripdae La Wise is also amazing as well, I actually worked with him previously (the artwork on this album is something I created, for instance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y60gI3Nf2Gc )
Sturgil Simpson is an amazing country artist more people should be aware of (this is also a pretty good country-esque song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbCf0EDBv_k )
Boards of Canada is excellent for some ambient music.
Yoko Kanno is an interesting Japanese composer, same with Cornelious, Sayuri & EGOIST.
Young and In the Way is probably my favorite Blackened Crust band at the moment (amazing album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyhyZwuHjAc ) & Appalachain Terror Squad isnt half bad either.
In electronic music, Salem, Crim3s, and Black Ceiling are amazing.
I think thats a pretty expansive list!
Oh, and for my plans for 2016, as of now, I plan on continuing to experiment with my sound and to focus on Vāmācāra mostly. Past that, I can’t quite say what the future holds.
Then we started to exchange great music – I show him the Noc’s Demo IV (its just like a wall of noise hitting you and thats amazing), then he sent me a video of Salvya Plath (Salvia Plath???? I buy his first cassete “Dreams”, when he was called RUM DMT, and then I buy the vinyl version (just 250 copies), truly love his work).
Nick: Ditto man- if you want music that makes me mad/crazy, that would probably be it. I love his work, and a lot of lo-fi/ emo stuff currently coming out. You give me stuff like him, saetia, raein, teen suicide, etc and Im just amazed.
… and so the history goes with Masayuki Takayanagi & Kaoru Abe’s Mass projection, João Gilberto’s Chega de saudade and he sent me Enbilulugugal and so the time goes…
…and here’s some crazy pictures from his home studio: