HOIRONG, talented post-indie noise bringers from India
Noise manipulators, from the Indian sub-continent, HOIRONG is a brainchild of frontman/guitarist - Kamal Singh. “The fat and ugly stepsister of pop music” is how they describe their music, and their latest album, Cow Gives Milk, is one of the best releases of 2019 from India that delivers an interesting mix of cleverly crafted Noise, Shoegaze, Punk and everything in between.
Basically you alternate between Madness and Pure Joy in beautifully crafted songs. Be ready to be entertained, enjoyed and surprised.
Here are a few example to listen to, illustrating the band’s variety of sounds and influences:
Note that they are part of Noise Artists Indian Shoegaze, Noise & Dream Pop volume 1 with other great bands
We invite you in this piece to discover their music, who they are (interview, as whacky as their music can be), where to find their music and more information on the band.
The current line-up is:
THE MUSICAL WORK
HOIRONG diverse musical work to date is as follows:
Cow Gives Milk (April 2019)
Mwah, LP, (May 2016)
The Old Newz, EP, (April 2015)
Dandaniya Apradh, LP, (August 2014)
Nursery Lies, LP, (2014)
A Hoirong Christmas (2013)
The Resurrection Of The Princess Of Woe And Her Vampire Hound Posse, LP, (March 2013)
If I Slit Your Throat Would Your Blood Turn To Doves That Fly Out From Your Neck And Leave Me In Complete Awe, Nov 2014
23/24 (Dennis Rodman Tribute), Nov 2014
Under Section 87, 2014
I Swear (All For One), March 2015
Lakhan (From The Movie - Ram Lakhan), July 2015
1979 (Smashing Pumpkins), June 2018
Titanium (David Guetta), 2013
Aaja Meri Gaadi Mein Betja (Baba Sehgal, Anu Malik), 2013
2 Become 1 (Spice Girls), 2014
Enter Sandman (Metallica), 2014
Smile (Unknown Artist), 2014
What is your music about?
Kamal: Living, Love, Laughter and Food
Akshat: Living, Love, Laughter, Food and Suicide
Tell us about the artists you have worked with.
Kamal: They are very good and it was a pleasure to work with each and every one of them.
We look forward to crossing paths once again in this lifetime.
Having said that, there are some people we have never worked with and never ever, ever…. like EVER want to work with them. We also have very bad things to say about them.
Akshat: Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, that Masterchef guy, and many others. We like to work with Hoirong’s.
Where are you from? Where are you living now?
Kamal: India, We live in different cities…but we could say that we are based in Delhi/Bangalore
Akshat: What Kamal said, But additionally, seems like Akhil lives on twitter since we barely hear from him other than his tweets.
Akhil: We are a dysfunctional group where, half the time, we have no idea what the others are up to. But we get together (digitally) every few months when it’s time to work on music or release something.
What did you study?
Kamal: Quite a few things that I now realise I completely wasted my time on. That does not mean in any way that I had or have better things to do. Not at all. Not one millisecond of that thought even crosses my mind but maybe it did and I am in denial because I am mentioning it and in some way defending it. If it was not true why would I even be saying it.
Akshat: The art of following pursuits which will probably amount to nothing or very little at all
Akhil: Kamal is trying to say in a roundabout way that he studied music therapy. Akshat dropped out of engineering college I think. I studied English literature and journalism for some reason.
Kamal: No, I’m not. I was talking about school and the many things I tried to study and tormented myself.
What is your day job at present if any?
Kamal: Music Therapy
Akshat: New media Artist / FIlmmaker
Do you dream to live from your music or is it a passion you do not want to spend your full time on?
Kamal: This is definitely a trick question. My answer is … None of the above…. and …. Music is a dream and time is life. And to freely misquote Steve Vai “Passion is Warfare”
Akshat: No I don’t dream to live
Akhil: Never. Have you heard our music?
You have a great history. Could you tell us more on how the band came to be and its history really?
Kamal: The band came as a surprise. Hoirong began out of the intention of never being a band. It’s just misery to be a band and totally unproductive and completely useless. Why would anyone want to be in a band??? Everything I’ve just said here is a lie. This is just total reverse psychology to myself and everyone who has stood with us through the thick and thin that life has offered us. I would like to apologise on behalf of the band for all our mistakes and for the utter irresponsibility we have carried ourselves with. We have disappointed you and therefore, we hang our heads in shame and self disgust.
Akshat: I was and am a fan of Kamal’s writing before joining the band. One day he asked me out for a date, and I was like “Really”, and he was like “Really” and I was like “Damn, this is a dream come true”, and he was like “Give me 3 Rohypnol” to the chemist. Things are a little blurry after that, but safe to say nothing was the same ever since.
Akhil: Short answer: Kamal started it off as a solo thing to put out his music and Akshat and I barged our way into it and insisted he play with us.
Could you tell me how the band meet and decided to do music together?
Kamal: Mostly we just text each other. Recently we started sending each other voice messages on whatsapp.
Akshat: We usually try not to communicate unless absolutely necessary.
Akhil: Same as above.
Can you tell me the inspiration behind your band? You can detect the influences of noise and punk rock. You took these influences to make your own music, your own sound, which is not easy. Could you tell more?
Kamal: Yes, this is true. We might have done this without realising. By the way, the Air Jordans on Snapdeal, I am told, are fake.
Akshat: The 80’s No-wave movement, the 90’s garage and alternative movements, and basically every sound made by people dressed as bums.
Akhil: All the pretentious art movements of the last many decades.
Kamal: Wow! That’s a lot of putting together. We might have outdone ourselves.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite bands, the music you listen now, some you may want to bring the attention from the reader to?
Kamal: I like the music of Space Behind the Yellow Room and my new favourite band is Lo! Peninsula. Yes, both the bands paid me to say that and yes, I am the promoter for both the bands and so I just take every chance I get to plug them? Yeah!! we plug them both as hard as we can. Plug it to ya! Its plugged in!!!
Having said that, both these band would sound terrible unplugged.
Akshat: Indian bands I love are Lifafa, The Superfuzz, and HOIRONG.
You should definitely listen to HOIRONG. They are better than the other two I mentioned.
Akhil: Hoirong and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Was there a vision of sorts or did you know what you wanted to do when you started up?
Kamal: Yes. It was very clear - don’t waste my time. I did not mean that you are wasting my time. I meant that I and we as some sort of band should not waste time. Please believe me.
Akshat: Yeah there was a vision. It was meant to be like the opening 20 minutes of ‘Almost Famous’, but ended up being more like the ending 10 minutes of ‘The Shining’
Akhil: Just playing music.
Do you have any other musical side projects apart from this band?
Kamal: Yes, we have a few.
Akhil: We’re all always doing something or the other musically. Most of it is shit.
Could you tell me more on the band composition? Do you have plans to add new members, or is there possible departure scheduled from existing band members?
Kamal: Yes, we plan to add band members because there has always been a possibility that Akhil actually finally leaves us and joins a very famous world music fusion band. Well!.... good for him and good for them.
Akshat: I really hope Akhil stops holding us back after this album and quits. Akhil i hope you are reading this.
Akhil: We might get rid of the drummer.
Can you tell us more how you came to have the band’s name?
Kamal: It suited us so well, we had no way to talk ourselves out of it.
Who writes the song and the music and how do you get to the final song? Is it a community process, do you have leaders in composing or arranging music?
I, Kamal, the control freak Dictator won’t let anyone do anything.
Akshat: Supreme Leader and Commander in grief, Kamalala writes the frame, and then together we create the painting which eventually makes people eyes and ears bleed.
Akhil: Kamal writes all the songs (because we let him) and then we work on them - sometimes together, usually individually.
Do you listen to the advice of your band mates? What would you do if they said a song was shit but you liked it?
Kamal: Best way to deal with these situations is not to answer phone calls, ignore text messages and never make the mistake of opening whatsapp messages, you know what I mean? because if you do then the blue double fake nike logos change colour and... that’s that then.
Akshat: Never. I am the best and know better than everyone else in this band. +1 to what Kamal said
Was it kind of intimidating going to record knowing people might not be engaging with the songs in terms of hooks and such and trying to deliver an engaging sound on record?
Kamal: Oh! No! not at all. We are very confident and self assured as individuals. We have very high self-worth and self-esteem.
Akshat: Every night while finishing my daily bottle of scotch, I think, nay hope, that people will get our music, but know that it is too ahead of its time, and that they will never, and then I cry myself to sleep. Every night.
Akhil: No, I think we’ve gotten past those insecurities for the most part.
Talking about the lyrics: who write them? Is there a common thread in them, a theme? Who chose the songs’ name?
Who else…. that Dictator control freak.
Do you labor over your lyrics? Is that something that comes easy?
Kamal: Not at all. I wouldn’t say it was easy…. I think it comes fairly easily. Like… not too bad types. Yeah, medium speed and medium pace.
Do you have a message that you want to get across in your music? If so, what are some of the messages you want to spread?
Kamal: Yes we do. Love, Beauty, Peace, Child Labour, E-waste and Save the Forest and also Save the Tiger.
Did your listening habits changed over the years and does it affect what you write?
Kamal: Yes, We have gotten more impatient and maybe that has made us very idiotic as people too. I don't think we'll make it very far if we don't do something about it soon.
Akshat: Yes listening habits have changed. Earlier there was lesser access, but more meaning. Now there’s infinite access, but far lesser meaning, there’s an overpopulation of content and that is diluting the value and timelessness of art. but that’s just me. It affects how one thinks, feels and of course writes music. I think there is more pressure now than ever to write meaningful music and not contribute to the pile of crap already out there.
Akhil: My listening habits change every few months but I think we all will continue to like punk and the dirty guitar rock that informs Hoirong often.
How is your recognition going worldwide? Is it growing? Are you happy with it?
Kamal: It’s terrible. No we are the opposite of Happy. We are turning into a bunch of jealous crocodiles.
Akshat: We are world famous in India
Is it easy to find producers and studios where you live for indie-rock?
Kamal: Yeah, but none of them want to work with us. We keep asking for discounts and tell them we will pay them when we become famous or from the gigs we play but we never do and now they know all this too well to make fools of themselves anymore. I totally get it. No offense meant and none taken.
Your recorded sound is very good, which is not easy. Did you engineer the sound yourself, or did you have a sound engineer with you? If yes could you tell us more about him/her?
Kamal: No one wants to work with us. Viraj Mohan took bait once along with Keshav Dhar but now they know all our tricks.
Akhil: Not that he needs any more flattery, but the new record - as with a lot of the old ones - has been produced by Kamal on his Acer desktop.
Was it a community work to try to have the best sounding music possible or mainly driven by the sound engineer or by the band?
Kamal: Ok. Now you’re just trying to rub it in no?
Can you tell us how the recording process was?
Kamal: Terrible. Boring and very very tiring.
Akhil: For me, it was just recording hundreds of guitar parts to the songs at home and waiting for the mixes to see what made it and how the songs changed shape.
Could you let us know some important technical tricks you learnt during the process that could help other musicians not as experienced?
Kamal: Making Akhil play his parts and not recording him.
Akhil: He’s talking shit.
How did the recording work differ over time?
Kamal: We started paying more attention to the complaints we were receiving. This decision has led to purchasing a new sound card and a couple of headphones along with a laptop charger.
Akshat: We are very democratic and heard the public and acted upon it. One of the main issues people had with our music was Akhil’s crap guitar playing. So now, in this new album, we have basically buried his parts waaaaaaayyyyy in the back of the mix so that they are there but not there.
Akhil: Why is the drummer answering music related questions? Learn to play a real instrument first.
Is the recording material yours when you are out of a studio or do you borrow/rent it?
Kamal: No, no. We own everything we have.
Akshat: We mostly just burn the evidence after. That’s why no two albums of ours sound the same.
Akhil: I bought a brand new soundcard just to record my parts for this album.
Any interesting anecdotes on some recording session you would like to share?
Kamal: No, not really.
Did getting the live experience across on record create any pressure for yourselves in the recording process?
Kamal; No, the other method is severely pressurising, demotivating and very very emotionally destructive.
Akhil: If anything, Hoirong’s live sound (if we ever play live) tends to be very different from how we are on record.
Instruments: Are you mainly a Fender band?
Kamal: We don’t own any fenders but having said that we have seen some of them here and there *ahem* *cough* *cough* *hint* *hint*
Akshat: Dude there is a drummer in this band as well, what the fuck? Couldn’t you have mentioned a drum brand just for courtesy? That’s it, my interview is over.
*throws rock star tantrum and stops answering questions*
Akhil: Fender sucks. I am a left-handed guitar player and I play a PureSalem. I originally wanted a Fender Jazzmaster. But while the righty version was some $700, the EXACT SAME GUITAR left-handed would have cost me $3500 as well as import duties and a waiting period through the custom shop.
Kamal: Ooooo so much to talk about suddenly. “PureSalem”
Do you have one favorite instrument or do you change often?
Kamal: I change often.
Tell us what you are looking when trying to achieve your sounds? Do you experiment a lot or have a clear idea of what you want?
Who is the more knowledgeable with pedals? You use them a lot, to great effect.
Kamal: Akshat is the expert.
PS - I just realised that pedals could mean 5 different things.
He could be the expert in selling drugs.
He could be an expert bicycle guy.
He could be an expert in guitar effects.
He could be an expert in hi hat and kick drum pedals.
He could be an expert race car driver.
See...Now… we will never know the correct answer.
Akshat: Kamal knows me so well.
How many concerts a year would you do on average and what would be the size of the venue?
Kamal: Last year we did one concert. The size of the venue was good. The stage was small so one of us had to stand off stage. It was difficult to concentrate on the gig trying to make sure our bandmate was not feeling out of place.
Akhil: it wasn’t last year, it was 2016.
Would you mind sharing some good anecdotes from your concerts/touring?
Kamal: Not enough experience to share any anecdotes.
Akshat: Kamal lies. He has a knack of getting into fights with people, which Akshat tries to diffuse, and then he gets angry at Akshat and beats the shit out of him. This has happened at 2 different festivals with people of 2 different nationalities.
Kamal : Akshat????
What are some places around the world that you hope to take your band? Do you have any plans at present to tour in other countries?
Kamal: Yes, we hope to be able to play in at least one more country apart from India.
Is there any reason in particular that you want to go to these places? Is there something about the music scene in those places that makes you want to go there?
Kamal: No reason really.
Is it easy for an Indian indie bands to be known internationally? Do you have any example?
Kamal: Maybe it is. We hope it is.
Akshat: Not really. No one really cares about Indian bands not singing in Hindi since its not exotic enough.
Has the scene changed since you began, and if so how?
Kamal: Yes, the cover bands have come back. Yay!
Akshat: Yes, when we started there was a live band scene in India, quite a nice one at that. Then the Dj’s and EDM took over and now we don’t have that many live bands and a scene as such. But such is life , and thats a trend everywhere. Not hating, just stating.
Akhil: Not hating just stating lol.
Could you tell us a bit more about your record label and your relationship with it?
Kamal: We have no relationship with any record label.
How did the funding worked for the LP? Did you invest a lot yourself? Was your label supportive in that respect?
Kamal: No, no one supported us. We have no funding and we don’t really invest in ourselves. We learned the hard way. The only reason we are still around is because we believe in ourselves and would not give up no matter what.
Akshat: lol, what funding?
Where does the majority of the money go when you’re paying your own way?
Kamal: The funny part is there actually is no money that comes or goes anywhere when you are paying your own way. The money is just over, finished!
Akshat: lol, what money?
Do you make a decent revenue from your music or is it still very much a hobby?
Kamal: Not at all, we make a killing.
Akshat: Lol, What revenue?
How do you sell your recordings (shops, online, …)?
Kamal: Please Akshat, please surprise me by saying. “Lol, what shops?, Lol, what online?”
Akshat: Shops selling physical music in this digital age? Lol, … (stops himself)
Kamal: Rolls eyes dramatically.
Akshat: Rolls eyes back with double drama.
Akhil: Bandcamp is great. Other than that, we’re now on all the major streaming services, so we expect to make around $0.00006 for every thousand plays.
When is the next album due?
Kamal: Very soon.
Akshat: With Akhil, probably in 2 years. Without Akhil, Yesterday
Akhil: Once we figure out our drummer scene.
Any other project (ie movies soundtrack, …) or plans.
Kamal: Yes, A collaboration with traditional Manipuri folk music.
Akshat: I’ve been writing some music independently, and with another band called Mag Phos so more music there
Akhil Sood: I write aimless music at home under the name Free Drone. I recently got a Chinese four-string guitar called a xuian (sp?) so maybe something with that.
Do you plan to continue music for a long time or are you tired of it?
Kamal: Both, I am tired of it but I plan to continue making music for a long time.
Akshat: It’s like that first girlfriend you had, whom you truly fell in love with but are also horrible together. You know you are bad for each other, because it’s all so volatile, but that’s also what keeps bringing you back to it. But it’s also like you’ve both become middle aged now, and are kinda like friends with benefits. How long that is going to last, well we’ll find out.
Kamal: Middle aged?
Akshat: Yeah, middle aged.
Akhil: Same answer as Kamal.
Anything else you want the reader to know?
Kamal: This interview is very long. Don’t hesitate taking a piss break or having a snack in between, do some stretches, a couple of push ups, watch some tele and then come back.
A good music video to watch
Watch the video of Oppurtunity on youtube.
Where to find your work? Where can people buy you music
Provide some bands from your country, that would be worthwhile listening.
Space Behind the Yellow Room, Lo! Peninsula, MC Kaur
Anyone you like to thank?
We want to thank ourselves for hanging in there.