The history of the band starts quite some time before it was actually formed. Back in their pre-SLC days (1997), Sunny and Avaya played in a band called “Applesauce” along with Massismo (Max). Max played bass, Avaya played the drums, and Sunny handled both the mic and the guitar. Covering artists such as Alice in Chains and Silverchair, Applesauce played a variety of live shows, establishing itself as a band that loves to perform. However, despite a promising future, it seemed that the band was destined to fail. In 1998, Max had to leave for Denmark, and while this deprived them of a nifty bassist and a close friend, their approaching examinations seemed to spell the word doom.
After surviving their exams, however, Sunny and Avaya planned to do anything but sit around feeling voiceless. The only problem was that with Max gone, the band was incomplete. It was around this time that Avaya started fooling around with a bass guitar, and discovered something very strange… he actually enjoyed it!. A few more slap-and-pops were enough to convince him that it was time to trade in his sticks for a plectrum. Looking for other musicians to help complete a group, the band came across Dipesh. Even though they had been friends for quite some time, no one had any idea that Dipesh could actually play drums. At that time, Dipesh was playing drums in his school band “Saboteur”, and after seeing him play, they knew they had found their new drummer. All it took was a little persuasion and a lot of threats (hehe), before Dipesh agreed to play with them. And with Nitesh on vocals, and Sunny handling axe duties again, “Albatross” was born.
While the whole music scene of Nepal revolved around hard rock and heavy metal, the band ripped through cliches with their furious live shows and their covers of unconventional bands like Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers. They performed quite extensively and became a regular feature at the Bamboo’s Club in Thamel. “Nitesh used to hang out with us and his style really reaped the hell out of my brains”, Sunny says. At this time, Albatross also recorded a single “Broke 17″, a track that pays tribute to one of their favorite bands, Rage Against the Machine, with its choppy riffs and jacked up rap. “We were (and are) really influenced and inspired by RATM and so we recorded a song Broke 17. It was recored at the Sacred Soundz Studio and produced by one of the coolest people in the world: Iman Bikram Shah”, the band says. Although this single failed to get the airplay it deserved, the band continued playing live shows (the lifeblood of Albatross), and even jammed with Axata at various events. Then, with Nitesh deciding to take a break from vocal duty, the band decided to take a slightly different musical direction and along came Sirish from Monkey Temple on vocals. With his distinguishing ability to throw his voice amazingly high, the band found that they could now play many other styles of music as well. ” With [Sirish] Dali we started playing covers of Korn, Creed, Pantera, Pearl Jam, Iron Maiden, etc. at our various gigs. And to top it all off, our new tastes helped us develop our original work as well.” The band recorded another single, titled “hellskitchen”, a metal-meets-rock track that features a very tight string section and precise drumming along with some lung-stretching vocal feats. The track has been featured on the Muzik Isles compilation album, and although it has fallen prey to poor mixing, any Albatross live show will bring this song up to its full potential.
The band had just barely begun to relax when it faced problems again. Sirish had to leave Nepal in order to continue his studies in America. The band was without a vocalist, yet again. Not knowing what to do, Sunny and Avaya thought things over and decided to take a risk. About a month ago, they had seen another band play at a GAA gig in Thamel. The band had just been starting out and went by the rather comical name of “Mop Handle Mama”. They decided to call up Diwas and Anuraag from MPH and jam with them for a while, and see how things went. To everyone’s surprise, they discovered they all had similar tastes in music, and their ideas about music flowed in pretty much the same direction. And so, after a month of heavy headbanging followed by some heavy bonging, Anuraag and Diwas officially joined Albatross.
Wishing to take the band along slightly darker and heavier roads, they are all dedicated to churning out the heaviest music they can. Twin-riffing and thrashing out solos with a characteristic precision that still houses the fury of the bands they are inspired by, the string section of the band, comprised of Sunny and Diwas, has attained a new heaviness that is multiplied by the slam of Avaya’s versatile bass-playing: from the teethy crunchiness of a full-blown metal song, to the engine-smooth groove of funk-rap inflection. Influenced heavily by Korn and RATM, Anuraag revels in pushing his voice to the limits and more than compensates for any lack of through frenzied doses of banging the very blood out of his head. And with the unique skinslamming abilities and almost jazzlike timing of Dipesh’s drums, Albatross is indeed flying high. In more ways than one.
The band is working on its first ever full-length album. Wishing to address various topics such as the recent rather disheartening slander of the band’s name and more seriously, the state of the country, they would like to take their time and come up with meaningful songs that have all the “force and power of a punch to the gut”.
“We want to come up with songs that have indomitable strength and fury. Something as brutal as Pantera and yet with all the intelligence of Rage Against the Machine. When we get on stage, we want to be able to just explode… so that the sky and the ground change places for us. Nothing beats racking the hell out of our respective instruments and having a good time. And that’s the biggest factor in it all: Playing live. And having a fucking kickass time doing it.”
Band Line Up:
Avaya (Bass) and