Exclusive Stream: If Hope Dies Rampage on Debut EP ‘Sukna’
Frontman Aakash Sherpa talks about being the only metal band from the foothill town of Sukna near Darjeeling
Most bands will tell you they started from scratch. Metallers If Hope Dies’ frontman Aakash Sherpa, however, says he “started from zero”. Based out of the Panchayat Raj-administered village of Sukna – which is equidistant from Darjeeling and Siliguri – Sherpa started out with guitarist Abinash Moktan and drummer Rupsang Lama in 2010. Sherpa says, “We don’t even know which scene we fall into, but it is a plus point to be in the middle, between Siliguri and Darjeeling.”
Sherpa eventually moved out to study in Shillong for a year in 2011, where he got up to speed with Indian metal, watching bands such as death metallers Plague Throat and Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut. He says, “I didn’t know much about metal, apart from [alt metal band] Alter Bridge and then I got into Iron Maiden and Sepultura. We always thought we should do something heavier.” If Hope Dies, completed by bassist Pratik Rasaily, competed at various college competitions and even won, but they were never given their cash prize. It was only earlier this year, when they won IIT Kharagpur’s band competition Wildfire, that they gained enough funds to finish their debut EP Sukna.
They spent all of 2015 recording Sukna, with Sherpa acquiring gear and spending hours at an Internet café watching music production tutorial videos. “We took four or five months to program drums, because I really had to learn how to do it. My computer used to crash all the time,” says Sherpa. After recording, the band roped in Siliguri producer and electro-pop artist Debo Sanyal aka Dreamhour, to mix and master the EP.
While they had released their first single, the aptly-titled tech metal-leaning “The Eternal Mindfuck” in 2014, Sherpa says all the songs were redone. The first glimpse of the EP came with “He Implodes,” released in April. Between the chaos, there’s metalcore breakdowns and fiery fretplay that sounds rightly wounding. “It’s supposed to be in-your-face kinda stuff,” says Sherpa. The opening track “Hurry Burry Spoils the Curry” – which Sherpa is surprised to hear we know it takes its name from the funny but mindful road-signs spotted at hairpin bends on highways across the country – piles on riff after riff, taking Sukna from zero to pissed off in seconds.
While there’s still no sign of shows yet, Sherpa hopes that this release will help them with that. He adds, “When we started out, we didn’t give it [the band] much thought, but now, I think we’ve done something right.”
Listen to ‘Sukna’ below