Updated: Dec 24, 2019
By Prasanta Phukon
Dymbur is among the best known experimental metal bands not only in the North East but also in the country. With its original scores and mix of progressive and experimental metal, the band has climbed the charts fast since its inception in 2012.
The four members of the band are from different musical background and that was never a deterrence for them to come together and make a mark in the music industry here.
The name of the band is a Khasi word that means ‘fig tree’. “We wanted a name that sounded unique and symbolised our roots,” says Julian Andrew Lyngdoh, the vocalist.
The word Dymbur is taken from ‘The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree’ in the Bible. It is about a fig tree that does not produce fruit. “A fig tree symbolises rebirth, progression and evolution and victory after struggle. Fresh leaves from old branches form new shapes defining one of nature’s basic laws, the ability to regenerate and grow anew after a dry spell,” explains Lyngdoh.
The band first came to prominence in 2014 when it won the Meghalaya Icon Chapter 5 title. It was followed by another win in Shillong Battle Rock. There was no looking back for the young musicians after that. Dymbur has played in Guwahati and other parts of the country.
In January 2018, Dymbur shared the stage with American metal band Veil of Maya in Guwahati.
Guitarist Cornelius Kharsyntiew says the band has been playing original music since its formation “but we never had the chance to put the songs together in an album owing to various many obstacles”.
“We never thought of or considered music as a career, especially being a metal band in India. All four of us have day jobs to support our passion for music,” says Lyngdoh.
“Financial support has always been the problem with metal bands like Dymbur. This is because almost every promoter wants a band to play for free and even if a band can pull in a decent crowd it would always have to negotiate with the organisers for payments,” the vocalist adds.
Bassist Mason Dkhar seconds him, saying it becomes an impediment to a metal band’s growth.
“It’s not just the organisers. The saddest part is when music supporters and fans always want free tickets either from organisers or from the band,” observes drummer Achugra B Sangma.
“How can an organiser pull out funds from a metal gig to pay the bands if the fans are not willing to spend a few bucks on tickets? You see this money thing is the biggest problem that brings about the downfall of musicians,” Kharsyntiew rues.
There were times when the members felt like giving up but they held on to their grit and continued the struggle. They’ve had many line-up changes and financial difficulties but they took everything on their stride. In fact, the band members say they have had one of the “best journeys till date filled with good and bad times”.
On a lighter note, Dkhar says if they had not chosen music, “we would have been like any other human being who’d just work so hard only to think about ways to earn money and waste it and then get back home and go to sleep, and repeat the same boring cycle for the rest of our life”.
After all these years, the band — the members of which consider Meshuggah, Veil of Maya, Monuments, Vildhjarta and Whitechapel, among others, as their inspiration — is finally compiling the original songs in their debut-concept album set to be released this year end. The album was recorded in Legato Recording Studios, Shillong, and mixed and mastered in Eltar Studios, the US.
The members have made an announcement through the band’s official Facebook page and other social networking sites about the album called The Legend of Thraat with the track-listing on it. They’ve recently released an album art display track along with a single and an official music video from the album on the band’s YouTube channel. The date for the album’s release will be announced soon.
On their favourite metal musicians, the members listed names of Tosin Abasi and Matt Garstka from Animals as Leaders, Fredrik Thordendal and Thomas Haake from Meshuggah, John Browne from Monuments, Marc Okubo, Sam Applebaum and Danny Hauser from Veil of Maya, George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher and Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse and Phil Bozeman from Whitechapel.
“Music is always a learning process for everyone. We will only better ourselves with more practice, playing, composing and learning from other musicians,” Sangma says.
The four musicians want the musical journey to continue with more music videos, EPs and albums. “We had the chance and we did it, we never gave up like the others and we took that risk in making music, we can die in peace without any regrets or questions as to why we didn’t do it when we had the chance,” Lyngdoh says.
For newcomers too, the members have the same message. “There would be many obstacles but one has to overcome these and never ever give up on dreams. It might take a lifetime to get there, there will be people who will pull them down, dislike their music and criticise them but in the end what one needs is to follow the heart. But make sure you have a day job as well so you can support your dream,” Dkhar says as others nod in agreement.