DUSK is THE BEST Ambient Black Doom Metal Band from Asia. It can be said that Opeth are Europe's answer to Dusk. Known as "Pakistan's heaviest export" Dusk have come along way since they formed in 1994,having released 2 demo's and now unleashing a Full Album called "My Infinite Nature Alone" under Hibernia Production [Portugal]. Shahenil talks to Babar Shaikh of the Infinite Horde of Dusk.

Tell us something in brief about DUSK...its past and the present. [who founded the band, which year, how many demo's?, etc..] . Why did you choose the name as DUSK? What are DUSK's goals and what about the future plans?

Today I as in Babar Shaikh from the infinite "hordeofdusk" will make yet another attempt to introduce our forms of expressions to the inhabitants of the other world! Well here's to all the individuals that believe in the black and to those too who find themselves in the pale white! Dusk happened initially in the winter of the year nineteen hundred and ninety four! The true stories behind the entire scenario being that I had planned out some pieces of this real hyper fast chaotic shit and than it all started to take form when I got this compilation tape with all these death and black metal bands (who were mostly my friends) from the far east. And I was like it just has to happen for dusk. And so I did this demo on my own and I sent it to some people I was in touch with at the time in places like Greece and Malaysia. The demo was titled "Casketize" and I almost did everything from the disharmonic guitar solos to the lyrics and even the photocopied artwork. And surprisingly it got quite a response internationally and so dusk put out their first ever-official promo tape in ninety-six. It was called "where dreams bleed" and by this time I had a friend of mine plying lead guitar for me and of course by this time dusk also had within it's ranks one of Pakistan's greatest guitar abusers namely Faraz Anwer doing the drums. So the promo tape did pretty well and we got into a lot of these fanzines and radio shows and we got all these great reviews and all that shit! And finally we ended up entering the studio in early ninety-seven to do our first full length that as you know finally hit the scene at the end of 1999 AD. Enter "My Infinite Nature Alone", a concept written and performed by "DUSK".

What is the present line-up of DUSK? How would you define your music?

Well as far as the present line up is concerned, it's Faraz and myself. And it has been that way since I would say late nineteen ninety-six. You see when I started off with dusk in 94 or something I was selling the demo with a certain tagline that read "Dusk is alone Pakistan's heaviest export". So I guess that pretty much sums up to the fact that it was all about hyper sounding, de-tuned chaotic black/death metal. But as everything else in life goes through a certain metamorphosis, so did we. As years passed, we got more and more inclined towards sound-spaces and the atmospheric type of things. When the debut album came out into the European market, there were all these magazines that sort of tried to put a label onto the kind of music we made, some were labeling it as progressive doom, the others ended up calling it atmospheric dark metal, but the end of the day I think it's safe to call it "metal".(With the necessary ambient attachments of course).

What is your current view on your music - are you developing in a particular direction or are you just 'perfecting' your style? To what extent do your think you have a style of your own?

Like I just stated above, the music we make is nothing but an extension of a certain process of thought that we have eventually become servants to, it's a universal translation of our expressions.

What exactly got DUSK into this kind of music? By which bands/music is DUSK influenced? What are your favourite bands? Are you open-minded to other music?

As far as Faraz and me are concerned well the both of us got into metal and heavy rock and shit at the earlier period of our lives. We really didn't know each other that well until the last six or seven years, but the fact remains that the both of us have been fans of extreme music since a while now. Even though Faraz was always more into the dark symphonic side of metal and I always used to be the one more into the black & doom side of things. Metal's not really popular in Pakistan that statement will unfortunately have to be true! I guess I'd be pretty much unable to explain why we decided to play metal, or what really influenced us to get into it. You know one really can't say much, if one is totally in love with a certain atmosphere or is immensely passionate about a certain vibe than I guess it just happens for you. And that's that my friend in my eyes this would be one of the best things that could've happened to us. If you ask me about the musical influences we've had, it would be the likes of people or artists like Towering inferno, Pan Thy Monium, Black Sabbath, Axiom of Choice, Dream Theater, Kansas, Cynic, Weather Report, Alan Holdsworth, Swans and tons of other obscure personalities and bands.

Do you guys think that you have an audience in Pakistan? Do you guys play live often? Have you got offers to play abroad?

No actually I'm really glad that you asked this question. An audience, I'm sure there are people (If not tons, maybe a handful) around, who really dig whatever's truly metal here in Pakistan, but then again we're most definitely your everyday regular metal band. Playing live has always been a real touchy topic here at the dusk GHQ. That is something we've been inspired to do since day one, but some tales of misfortune surround the band. For instance we never came across a local drummer who could play this kind of Technical off-time shit! And other than that I think finding the like minded people can become a bit of an issue if you're treating the band on a real personal level, as in our case. And of course when the European metal market sent in good words for dusk, all the appreciation we got locally came to us as a bonus. Yes! And just for the record, we've been invited as a foreign act to do shows in Singapore. But then again I think we've started to feel more and more comfortable being just a recording act.

Before you were signed to a label [Hibernia]- what exactly did you expect from a record label? What are the things that have turned out differently from your expectations? Tell us something about your deal with Hibernia from Portugal. How did it come about?

Actually our first official promo tape titled "where dreams bleed" was the main reason that all the labels who kind of dug us during the time of 96/97 got interested in us. There was Dark Artz from Singapore was the first record label that had approached us. The next were Hibernia Productions from Portugal. They wrote to me saying that they were going to put out a series of compilation tapes and wanted to feature Dusk on one of them. After the tape was out somewhere in 98, Hibernia got interested in doing a proper Dusk release and that was what eventually led us to do our debut album "My Infinite Nature Alone" on Hibernia, released in the infernal Winter of the year 99.

How important are the lyrics of your songs? Can you describe what they are about? Are they written from a particular perspective?

In the case of dusk, I think the particular direction of a piece depends a whole lot on the lyrical content. It might sound strange, but when we're getting down to do a piece, the first element that takes form is the lyrics. For us initially putting down the whole piece in black and white is important. The lyrics at many a times would be a distorted image, or rather a reflection of personal individualistic experiences. In the world of dusk these very basic bitter happenings are magnified to a point where they almost become abstract. The concept of dusk itself is a world within words.

What do the members of Dusk do in their full-time? Are they full time musicians?

Survival in Pakistan for an individual who has a profession like music, or even art in general can become a pretty difficult thing. As far as Faraz is concerned, He has been one of the most reputed, musician/composer in the local music industry in the last eight years or so. Faraz has been responsible for producing albums, playing session guitar, and even composing the original scores for local Tele-films. Which brings us to my professional life, which is absolutely so confusing… Anyway, I've done my bachelors degree in advertising and have majored in advertising design. After working for various design houses and ad agencies, I last year started off with my own concept and film company. Other than that, I'm a bag-packker. And ever since.

How important do you think is the role of Internet in the actual metal scene?

I think that at the end of the day it all comes down to the adaptability factor. In life, we generally get conditioned to things and it's only a matter of time before it becomes one of the most important things. I think people like us in this part of the world should really benefit (and that we are) in the metal circles using the Internet as a means of communication or a vehicle.

Do you think there are any musicians [in sufi music or "rock"/metal music] from Pakistan who have influenced you or the band in any way?

Well it would be wrong to say that there are not. I know I, as a matter of fact, took a massive influence from the wave of hard rock groups that was around in the local scene in the late 80s. Other than that, I don't believe in any terminology such as "Sufi rock" or anything. We're definitely fans of "The Sufi Music" that exists with all its roots in the interiors. On our next album, we even used some samples from Sufi festivals in the interior Sind. Last year or so, Faraz and me got into these Sufi music ensembles from places like northern Iran and Turkey.

Now that you are out with your debut how do you look upon the final result, and are there particular things you would like to change next time?

If I were to go back and change any thing in the recording sessions of Dusk's debut album I think it really wouldn't be an easy thing to do. Cause "My Infinite Nature Alone" was like this huge kind of a veil of fucking emotions we were knitting at the time. The whole process was mostly all about a whole lot of things falling into the right places. And we pretty much tried our best that they would. I guess the production values could go up a few levels on the opus. Besides that I think the overall song writing on the album for the time was satisfactory for us.

Have you ever heard any Asian metal band? Which one? Where?

Well as I had stated earlier on, even way back in 94/95 we were hanging out with bands from the Far-east, namely Graycode, Bastardized, Ruthra, Illimauzer, Eibon, Harvester, Cardiac Necropsy, and tons others. I was also always into the Asian tape trading circuit,(along with Europe and America on the list) which eventually did me a lot of good. But I guess I owe so much to all my Metal Brethren in the Singapore/Malaysia region, for supporting Dusk in all those cruel initial years. Believe me, without them people, we wouldn't have made it all this way.

What do you think of the Asian Metal Scene in General? What according to you is the future of the Asian Metal Scene?

I think, the ultimate key is progression, and we all should not lose sight of that. Also what Bill Steer stated a couple of years ago; If you operate n one single gear for too long, your engines gonna heat up much sooner than it actually should have. So…

Any Final Words to your fans and the Asian Metal Force?

"Design and conquer"…to me those two words have all the power.

Are there any Pakistani Metal bands that you would recommend?

I believe there are certain acts around that hardcore metalloids would really dig.

Will DUSK ever go the Junoon way? [Junoon is a popular "rock" band]

You see, diverting to a certain angle of commercialization is not necessarily the worst thing to do. In many cases it proves to become something that has a lot of effect. So progression is one thing, selling out is another. Diversification is one thing, breaking away is another. Just like "Ambient sound sculpture" is one thing, "Sufi rock" is another.

Website: http://duskstudios.bakterium.com