Interview with Tantrum

StudioRock conducted an interview with Javeen Soysa (Vocals/Bass Player) of Tantrum (Progressive Thrash Metal / Technical Death from Sri Lanka). In this Interview Javeen talks about the band and their new album, Rebellion.

StudioRock: How's life in Sri Lanka these days? And especially, how's Tantrum life going on right now? Are you guys touring, writing, recording?

Javeen: Life in Sri Lanka is hectic really, especially when you play in a Metal band here. Lol. There’s not too much support over here to make metal big due to conventional minds, so it’s a lot of hard work. However Tantrum is going good as we just released our full length debut record in September. So positive wibes from all over the World cus almost everyone who gets a hand on it ends up loving it. So yes we are scheduled to play a few shows around the country, looking at some promoters outside the country as we want to tour as much as we can but being in this little country it makes it tough as we don’t get appreciated much at all.

StudioRock:How and when did this band start? Was it easy in a country with probably a small metal culture? Did you get support from friends and family? Or were you all the black sheeps of the community?

Javeen: It wasn’t easy at all. It was a struggle in every department, so it took a long time to build up a following as we didn’t have access or support to a lot of things being a metal band as its not commercial music. But thanks to a lot of social networks & various online promotions a lot of people in Sri Lanka got to know about us & are digging heavy metal in general. So I guess everything has improved so much nowadays as opposed to when we started out. The metal culture has grown in the country, more bands, more fans but its pre dominantly Sinhalese pop music that run the show and then of course the trendy radio music, but we believe with the right amount of exposure for metal through media etc would indeed attract a large audience in this country as they could easily relate to the lyrics and themes.

StudioRock:Were you studying music when or before starting the band? Or did you just learn to play instruments by yourselves?

Javeen: Some of us learnt music at a basic level before we started playing in a band but when it came to our instruments we pretty much learned them on our own. The World Wide Web has everything nowadays, so that’s been our guru. Lol.

StudioRock:The first single dates back to 2005. How easy or difficult was to finance it, to find recording companies and such?

Javeen: We didn’t have any backing as such; we did the 1st single with our own pocket money. However we managed to get a few sponsors for the “The Destruction Begins EP” to support us financially in 2006.

StudioRock: Why did you chose this band name?

Javeen: No idea… Thought it best describes our music, & now we are stuck with it. Lol. After several singles, the band finally has a full album out, called 'Rebellion'.

StudioRock:How would you present it in few words, to someone who never heard the band’s music before?

Javeen: It’s a mix of a lot of things, its aggressive, its fast, its musical, its progressive and it takes you on different trips & you just have to listen to it to know what it’s all about.

StudioRock: Why 'Rebellion'? What are you rebelling against?

Javeen: Everything? Lol. Mainly the social system. Its wasted beliefs, politics in everything, betrayal and backstabbing, selfishness of mankind etc. I think the album cover pretty much describes the record.

StudioRock: What are you singing about in your lyrics? Is there a general theme or each song has its own story?

Javeen: Each song has its own story, but they are all related to the social system & human conflicts. So you have form stories from politics, war, organized religion, addiction, love hate relationships, backstabbing etc.

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Tantrum - Sri Lanka
Photo: Tantrul band

StudioRock: How long did it take to put the album together? What was the biggest challenge?

Javeen: Finances were the biggest challenge and also to get a good quality product especially in sound. Being in Sri Lanka we don’t have the best studio facilities, even if we do, they are extremely expensive & they would probably have not much equipment and knowledge to record metal music. So we invested in our own little home studio and managed to get enough equipment to give us the sound we are looking for. So financing for this and of course the artwork & mastering did cost us a huge amount and we don’t make much money out of metal either. So we had to pool in from our day job salary and make all this happen, hens why it took a long time to get this album out as we did it all independently and had to collect every penny for this on our own.

StudioRock: What's the most important thing you learned when making this album?

Javeen: We’ve learned a lot of things when recording this album. All the technical aspects to a recording & how to get the right sound. We’ve also learned that it takes a lot out of you to actually lay down the tracks of our music to perfection. So yea still more things to learn but the recording of “Rebellion” was indeed an experience.

StudioRock: Any future confirmed gigs?

Javeen: Yea quite a few gigs lined up in the next few months around the country. As mentioned before we are looking for overseas gigs at this point too. Are there many metal events in Asia? Like the big metal festivals in Europe, Wacken or so… There are big metal festivals in India and some other Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, Thailand etc but not so much in Sri Lanka. We had 1 music festival earlier this year called the Colombo Music Fest which also includes other genres of music played on different days. So no particular metal festivals such as Wacken over here in Sri Lanka.

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Album cover “Rebellion”
Photo: Tantrum band

Line up:

  • Javeen Soysa - Vocals & Bass Guitar
  • Akila Pieris - Guitars
  • Thishan Wijesinghe - Guitars
  • Tharaka Senevirathne - Drums