Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, the currently NYC-based “immigrindcore” act Chepang are set to release their debut LP, titled Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire, on November 3. The album is the follow-up to their 2016 EP, Lathi Charge, and is a natural progression of their vicious, politically-charged grindcore/punk sound. The band build on the intensity of their dual vocal attack and take their approach to an even more extreme level, with the introduction of a second drummer.
Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire also incorporates more groove elements into their technically proficient style, which adds yet another layer to their chaotic crust- and powerviolence-infused grind. In this recent interview with Svbterranean, vocalist Sanket Lama discusses how Chepang came to be, the new release and how it compares to Lathi Charge. He also talks about the Nepali-based lyrical themes featured on Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire, how the cover art ties in with those themes and more.
Can you give me a bit of the band’s background? How did Chepang come to be?
Vocalist Sanket Lama: We have known each other for couple of years now and we all shared a common interest in playing fast and heavy music. So we made that happen even though we lived in different states and have busy schedules. Eventually, things started to look promising and then we decided to take this project seriously.
Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire is your debut LP. How are you feeling about how it turned out?
Excited! I think the album came out great, way better than what we had initially envisioned. Kevin Bernsten (Developing Nations Recording Studio) did an amazing job and added justice towards our album with his recording and mixing. Overall, we are very satisfied and hopeful that people will feel the love.
The album follows the band’s 2016 Lathi Charge EP. How do you feel Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire compares to your previous material?
The new songs are almost an extension of our EP, Lathi Charge. The only difference is that we recorded our new album with two drums simultaneously, instead of one, which added more power and intensity. This gave the free flowing guitars and vocals more room to be chaotic and raw. With this amount of freedom we were able to exploit this genre as much as we could.
What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
We treated our recording days as a vacation from our daily grind of work and school so we were just happy to be there. Also, Kevin is such a laid back guy it took the pressure right off from recording. Honestly, we didn’t even have to worry about any of the technical stuff. We cared more about finding new places to eat than to record. Real talk!
Chepang is quite unique in that it features two drummers, which adds an intensity unlike any other. How did that idea come about?
[Guitarist] Kshitiz Moktan aka Captain Bhude aka Tone Lord has an arsenal for crazy ideas and this is one of them. Shit just keeps getting better.
Chepang’s sound incorporates grind, powerviolence, crust, punk, etc., but it also features some groove elements and it’s very technically proficient. How do you describe the band’s style?
We wouldn’t say that our band has a particular style, we just play what sounds right and polish it. We feel that limiting ourselves to one genre blocks us from being more creative. So we go with our guts and try to rip it open.
Where did the “immigrindcore” label come from?
Immigrants playing grindcore for love. Simple as that.
What are your influences, musical or otherwise?
Being an immigrant in this country right now should be enough influence for us to grind this out. Haha. Other than our political component, our spicy food helps us add flavor to our songs.
How have your Nepali roots influenced the band?
Chepang incorporate a strong political message in the lyrics. Is there a specific theme behind Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire? What’s the meaning behind the title?
We have tried to incorporate other issues of a third world country such as corruption, unemployment, caste system, modern day slavery, and even human trafficking as the theme for this album. We feel that all these components are risk factors for an already failing society, reflecting the notion of a wildfire.
How important is it to Chepang that the lyrics convey a political message?
To some extent it is important. If you have an option to communicate the struggles that you face through an artform, then why not?
The cover art is quite striking. How does it tie in with the music and/or themes?
The artwork we used was drawn by Dib Gurung and is a portrayal of the god Bhairav. He is known as one who destroys fear and protects from negative forces. Essentially, Bhairav gives us the resiliency to take on life’s rough circumstances without fear. Hence, he is the face of Chepang.
What’s coming up next for Chepang?
We are currently planning a mini tour at the end of December and we will be posting the dates soon. Aside from that, we will also be playing at Obscene Extreme Festival in 2018 for their 20th anniversary.
Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for taking time to interview us. 1 love 1 life 1 grind.
Upcoming Chepang Shows:
Nov 4 2017 – Brooklyn, NY @ Bar Matchless (Record Release Show) w/Stimulant, Mother Brain, Organ Dealer [Facebook event page]
Feb 24 2018 – Amityville, NY @ Revolution Bar (Obnoxious Noise Fest) [Facebook event page]
Jul 18-22 2018 – Trutnov, Czech Republic @ Battlefield (Obscene Extreme Fest) [Facebook event page]