Assamese glam/heavy metal band Filharmonix, follows genre rules by writing songs about people’s inner fantasies
When you come across an Assamese glam/heavy metal band, you make the erroneous assumption that one of their best known songs, ‘USA’, is about foreign dreams. A quick read through the lyrics will explain the real meaning, as does guitarist Anurag Saikia of Filharmonix, who are based in Jorhat and Guwahati. Saikia explains, ‘“USA’ stands for Under Skirt Adventure. We came to know that the States has the biggest porn industry. We write most of the songs about the inner fantasies of people which aren’t expressed openly here.”
After all, that’s the core essence of any glam metal band – to be brash, crass and on the lookout for anything that rhymes with it. Think bands like Whitesnake, Dokken and Motley Crue. But some might argue this kind of music – thumping drums, wild solos and pervy lyrics – belonged to the ‘80s. “Our basic genre is heavy metal with some touch of glam, which got established as heavy metal’s biggest success among sub-genres,” says Saikia, who adds: “As far as people’s talks go, we’d say it doesn’t matters what genre one goes with. What matters is how focused and dedicatedly you go on with your genre. We’d say we stand apart from what is going on in the metal scene in India right now.”
Formed in 2009, Filharmonix has members based in Jorhat, which Saikia calls the cultural capital of Assam, as well as Guwahati. They’ve had a few line-up changes straight from the get-go. “We had a nameless band and we were jamming for a contest called Phobiax (held in Guwahati). The vocalist of our band got so irritated by our jam and fun we used to have, he left the band just one week before the show,” says Saikia. Their current vocalist, Kandarpa Kalita, stepped in at that point of time. “We tried our best to act decent on the first jam day, but then we realised he was just a little more manic than us. So he just perfectly fit into the band,” jokes Saikia.
And to keep up with the game, Saikia, with bandmates Purab A. Baruah (vocals), Bedanga Sarma (bass), Kandarpa Kalita (guitars) and Sami (drums), made a strong impression in the scene with their debut album, Hot N High, in July 2011. With eight tracks of heavy metal (scorching guitar solos included), the album was a dream to release, according to the band. The release itself was a milestone, the band says. “Now we’re putting out singles since we invested all our money for that dream (of the album) to come true,” says Saikia. On the way forward, the band is now focusing on gigs, “to collect some money for the next album” considering sponsors are rare in India for a rock/metal album.
Filharmonix has behind the strong backing of a great, catchy, romp of an album that is Hot N High. “Our first thousand copies were sold out so we decided to put out the songs on the internet so that we can reach audience outside Assam,” says Saikia, adding that they are now working on their next single, ‘Devil’s Girl’ which will be out later this month. As for the already successful album and their mischievous current favourite ‘USA’, the songs can be downloaded freely from www.reverbnation.com/filharmonix.