‘Musician’s life is not easy’

By Prasanta Phukon

Reverse Tragedy, the progressive metal band from Mizoram, got recognition after it won three awards at the MZU Rock Fest in Aizawl in 2013. A year later, the four-member band came out with their first music video, Fly Away. Today, the band is among the best in the North East.
“The band has been playing progressive metal genre from the beginning but we keep experimenting with our music. We decided on the genre because Bishal (guitarist Bishal Gurung) was a diehard progressive metal listener… later he teamed up with Bimal (Bimal Sarki on keys). So it was easy for these two to adapt. Our drummer (Suraj Sunar) is a metal-head guy and all of them just clicked together,” said bassist Fela Pachuau, aka Alef Pachuau.
In 2017, the band released its MP3 single Himmat and now the young musicians are working on their debut album. When asked about their favourite song, Judgment Day was the unanimous choice. “It was our first song and we put a lot into this song. It helped the band get a foothold in the music industry. This song motivated us to continue our journey,” said 29-year-old Gurung, adding that all the members are greatly inspired by bands like Symphony X, Circus Maximus, DGM, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dream Theater and Coldplay.
However, the members admitted that the band has always faced the problem of finding a permanent vocalist and “we hope to get someone by this year”.
Like every young musician in the North East, the Reverse Tragedy members too had to go through a tough time and the struggle never ends. “Every band in the North East would love to make a full-time career in music. It is hard but not impossible. When we started, we too had plans to make music as a career but also had an alternative to support ourselves. Then we started participating in competitions in Mizoram and gradually moved out for better exposure. Life as a musician is not easy and one should know that clearly. There are many things that one has to compromise and it needs a lot of sacrifices. One has to be sincere, good at what he or she is doing and must believe in oneself. Most importantly, have faith in your band mates and love them,” said Sunar.
Do their struggles and survival reflect in the band’s name? The members smiled and said there is definitely a deeper meaning but the name, when chosen, was not intended to reflect their struggles. “One day, Suraj wrote down 10-15 names and then we selected two words, ‘Reverse Strategy’… but one of our friends, Aman Shahi (then the front man in the band ABLY) said, ‘don’t you guys think it is difficult for 1,000 people cheering for you to pronounce the name’. We thought it was a valid point and discussed among ourselves. Aman suggested we replace ‘Strategy’ with ‘Tragedy’. It does have a meaning if you think deeply,” said Gurung.
The members said they have met American heavy metal band Queensrÿche and the legendary shredder Michael Angelo Batio. “In fact, we played with him on his famous song No Boundaries and that was a night to remember and a great experience,” said Sarki.
Reverse Tragedy also opened for Nazareth, a Scottish hard rock band, at Shirock 2019 in Ukhrul. The band will perform at the Fireball Festival in Guwahati on January 12.
The members love the music scene in Shillong, “which is still the rock capital of India and we should not let it fade away”.
“If it does, what would happen to the rest of the region,” the musicians said.
To their fans in Shillong, the Reverse Tragedy boys apologised for keeping them waiting for the full-length album. “We have started working on it at Kings & Prophets studio in Aizawl. We are in search of a vocalist and are already looking for a perfect match,” Sunar concluded.

Photo courtesy: Reverse Tragedy

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