“Onibarjo”: De-Illumination’s inevitable journey | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 18, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 18, 2010

“Onibarjo”: De-Illumination’s inevitable journey


Cover of the album.

De-Illumination has created quite a stir in recent times with their debut album “Onibarjo”. The genre -- symphonic metal -- is somewhat fresh, and the amount of effort that went into the album, starting from the compositions, the lyrics and the sound, has started to pay off. The Daily Star (TDS) caught up with one of the founder members of the band, veteran guitarist and former Warfaze member, Sazzad Arefeen. Arefeen talked about the band, their new album and more:
TDS: “Onibarjo” is a concept album. What made De-Illumination inclined towards such an idea? And how is it different from a regular studio album?
Arefeen: We started De-Illumination only because we wanted to start working with a new genre that is symphonic rock/metal. Personally, I had been working on and studying it since 1999, and later with Shams Bhai (Warfaze) I wanted to generate interest in it. Thus De-Illumination was born. The genre is pretty new to itself to the world. In a nutshell, when you collaborate heavy metal with neo-classical and operatic forms, it reaches a complete new horizon, which also follows very different progressions to work on -- and with multi layered operatic voice. Another important aspect of symphonic rock/metal is to imply the musical ambience to match the lyrical feel and drama. We released five singles before in various mixed albums, and all of them had theme-based lyrics. So from the very start, we had a plan to work on theme-based concept songs, and it turned out to be the full album “Onibarjo”.
TDS: The best and worst things about “Onibarjo”?
Arefeen:
The best thing is this is the best we can do. The worst is we had to face major technical difficulties to work on the proper sound to deliver the genre; no one ever tried it here. Around 2008, I started working as a sound engineer. It took over 300 hours to mix each single song, apart from the recording hours. Since there was no template to work on, we had to start from scratch.
TDS: Any special story regarding “Onibarjo”, over the last three years or so?
Arefeen:
Lots of them. ABC Radio joined us as our media partner; they truly believed in the genre, and our philosophy, and felt that it would add a new dimension to the Bangladeshi music scene.
TDS: The band has senior musicians like yourself and Shams, and youngsters like Anabeel. How is the chemistry?
Arefeen:
It's very easy; we just don't look at the age difference. Since De-I possesses a very strong line-up, we let all our members work with complete freedom and exchange thoughts. At the same time, we believe De-I is a family. Best part is, we all know the essence of symphonic rock/metal and want to work on it. So no red flags there!
TDS: How did De-I come into being? When and how did it happen?
Arefeen:
I had always been into new genres and sounds. I listened to Symphony X, Nightwish, Within Temptations around 1997. I started exploring the genre since then. The genre is vivid and diverse. Shams -- being the fine keyboardist that he is -- was always into this stuff. Later, around 2006, Shams proposed that we should go public with this genre since we had collected enough material over 8-9 years. We asked Samiul to join; Rony and everyone else joined in later. The name 'De-Illumination' expresses the intention of rejecting illuminated exterior -- full of imposed knowledge and prejudice -- and the inner light or darkness of one's soul.
TDS: You're also touring the country to promote your album. Tell us how that idea sprouted, and what the response is like.
Arefeen:
De-I has always been innovative with whatever they did. We have designed a nationwide campaign to visit almost all the major cities of Bangladesh, under the name 'ONIBARJO De-nation Public launch and visit tour'. The responses have been overwhelming.
TDS: De-I's plans, for near and distant future?
Arefeen:
We have a video album in the pipeline, and regular live shows.

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