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Quick Take: Underground Metal Label Transcending Obscurity’s Kunal Choksi

The Mumbai-based label head on trying to unite the underground metal scene.

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Anurag Tagat Dec 06, 2013
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(far right) Kunal Choksi with members of Gutslit, Devoid and Zygnema. Photo: Courtesy of Kunal Choksi

(far right) Kunal Choksi with members of Gutslit, Devoid and Zygnema. Photo: Courtesy of Kunal Choksi

In 2004, Mumbai-based Kunal Choksi launched the imaginatively named Diabolical Conquest, a music label and magazine, to promote international metal bands. In March this year, Diabolical Conquest was renamed Transcending Obscurity with a new plan in mind. Choksi is as passionate about metal as he is about kooky names and in this interview, he tells us about pushing Mumbai thrash metal band Devoid, heavy metal band Albatross, death grind band Gutslit and black metallers 1833 AD, among others under the sub-label Transcending Obscurity India.

What was the idea behind launching Transcending Obscurity India?

Kunal Choksi: I want to elevate the standard of Indian bands to an international level. When it comes to pressing CDs, I’m very, very particular about artwork and presentation and I’m even more quality-conscious when it comes to the printing quality of merchandise. I don’t want the general international perception of India in metal being “inferior.” I have international experience and I’m using that to raise the bar.

The Indian underground scene has also been somewhat prone to friction, factions and bickering. Do you think a label like TOI will come across as an uniting force?

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You got that right. I wish the day comes soon when they realize that it’s all for their good, that politics and pulling each other down will only delay the inevitable, but it does take a toll on me.

How did you begin organizing and sponsoring shows?

What do bands need? Shows and to be heard and possibly appreciated. No longer do bands have to suck up to organizers, be their “ally” or “friend” just to get shows. I hope that with this label, music, professionalism and co-operation would be enough for bands to be booked for shows.

And finally, how did you choose the name Transcending Obscurity?

I stand for the underground but I don’t want good music to die in the underground. I want to transcend the boundaries while retaining the essence. Good music without the commercial infestation. It’s about giving the bands a chance.

Transcending Obscurity and S.B. Music host Black Metal Krieg 3 featuring Cosmic Infusion, 1833 AD, Stark Denial, Solar Deity, Insane Prophecy, Dark Desolation, Winter Gate, Spiked Crib and Dormant Inferno at Hotel United 21, Thane, on December 8th, 2013. Event details here.

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