INTERVIEW: Debopom Ghosh – Interdisciplinary Visual Artist, Art Photographer and Black Metal Lyricist

Debopom Ghosh is a young and interdisciplinary visual artist, vocal percussionist, and art photographer based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with an exceptional vision and perspective. He has been affiliated with the anonymous, experimental blackened drone band project ‘Opodebota‘ as their lyricist and art director and is even rumored to be the project’s sole founder. Besides, he is a successful album cover designer and worked with artists worldwide. Debopom is mainly known for the severe aggression and darkened metaphorical themes assimilated in his artwork and songwriting.

1) Can you tell us more about who you are and how you see yourself now?

Debopom: I am currently a college student and a freelance graphic designer. But other than this, you can consider me an experimental visual artist and an aggressive songwriter. I really never thought of myself as successful or qualified; I am still in the process of comprehending myself or maybe the people around me. I have several mental disorders and traumatic experiences from the past, and I couldn’t cope with all of them. Eventually, they are reflected in my art, and by art, I define visuals, photographs, journals, sounds I have produced, and every single thing I have constructed. Yes, in conclusion, I see myself as a misanthropic artist.

2) Tell us more about your musical project(s) and experience with Opodebota. 

Debopom: I have produced many blackened drone music tracks; however, I never felt like releasing them officially. I have worked with several bands and artists worldwide, primarily as their art director and sometimes as a mix engineer. Several months ago, I received an email from the founder of Opodebota, where they asked me to be a part of them. I wasn’t interested as I wasn’t in a state to blend with people during that very period, but when I learned they were an anonymous black metal project from Bangladesh, I was in! And progressively, we kept our conversations through emails. They are friendly people, and yes, I have received DMs from people requesting me to reveal their identities. The answer is- ‘I don’t know, and I don’t want to. I respect their privacy, and there may be a motive behind this. Anyways, all I can spill here now is that the recording and writing process had blood and bruises involved. After being a part of them, I have been receiving invitations from several band projects and label companies to join them and release something under them, respectively.

3) What are your inspirations behind this aggressive and dark yet fascinating lyricism and artwork?

Debopom: Thanks a lot. Regarding songwriting, black metal icons like Burzum, Mutilation, Bathory, Cult Of Fire,  Dragged Into The Sunlight, Nattefrost, Happy Days, Xasthur, Psychonaut 4, Austere, Apati, ‘Dead’ from Mayhem (there’s a reason why I marked him; Ohlin is the biggest influence for me to write), Silencer, Nocturnal Depression, Aparthiva Raktadhara, Tetragrammacide, Necroholocaust, Summoning, Behemoth and much more black metal bands/projects inspired me frankly. But you can observe I have mentioned artists from several subgenres, such as War Metal, DSBM, Raw, etc because I am simply into all of them. I am confident and versatile; thus, I could match my energy with Opodebota. We have made suicidal, war, misanthropic, and aggressive blasphemous-based tracks efficiently due to this. Last but not least, anti-religious projects from the Middle East, such as Seeds of Iblis, Ayat, Janaza, and Damaar influenced us too.

Regarding the artwork, I am unsure if anyone should be taking credit?? You see, as I have mentioned, I mainly incorporate my wrath and disorders into my art and writings. That’s it; these are the places where I see myself, my past, my thoughts, the voices in my head, and anything you want to name. But I will be honest, I have hurt myself to a large extent for specific projects, and since I have bipolar disorder, I really don’t know how to express the right feeling about this.

4) As a person and artist what do you love and hate?

Debopom: Both as a person and an artist, I have zero love and affection toward people around me. I am firm against racism, homophobia, misogyny, Nazi propaganda, or anyone who supports it. Oh, and did I mention religious extremism? Even after so many years, people still live under the rocks of superstition and misconceptions. Blind faith in certain beliefs really leads most of us to the wrong paths; people are cultivating toxic traits and either passing them or affecting others. This is the fate of humanity, I suppose.

Something I love? I love hatred, noise, war art, provoking metaphors, polaroid photographs, avant-garde visuals, and negative imagery.

5) Who or what inspires you to write or produce?

Debopom: Nothing yet, everything. I don’t depend on drugs, but I have specific triggers that help me write or comprehend my images. My PTSD and schizophrenic episodes assisted me during my hard times, and maybe I am now more or less dependent on them. I really don’t know whether this is a good sign or not, and I never had someone in my life whom I could share these with. Hatred is an essential aspect too. It was a process of give-take, I hated people, and now they hated me for being myself and claiming I am this and that. I embraced it since I feel the whole world is against me at this point, but really this couldn’t scar my presence. Whatever they hate me for is solely for where I am now.

I can claim that most of my works are self-centered, as they depict hate towards myself, my contemporaries, people around me, religion, or over entire humankind with a glimmer of complex surrealism disguised with my own metaphors.

6) During the early days, which artists guided you to where you are now today?

Debopom: So before stating this, I would like to note that I am the type of guy who listens to everything but yes, above all, I am a black metal fanatic for obvious reasons, haha. Linkin Park, the band, was with me during my darkest times, and they are the reason why I got into metal. During my 12/13 years, I was really into Nu-metal. I explored Slipknot, Korn, Deftones, Disturbed, Static-X, Evanescence, and Mudvayne. Progressively, I headed toward other metal subgenres such as metalcore, thrash, and doom. I guess my 15 years old self didn’t admire them much. However, I recall listening to Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon back then. Later, I started to reexplore the sub-genres again, maybe during the 17s, and this time I loved it. I sure can bet this isn’t a phase (I listen to Black Veil Brides too).

7) In what project are you currently involved with Opodebota?

Debopom: At the moment, Opodebota is producing tracks for their upcoming album, featuring several artists worldwide. I am working alongside the artists for arts and lyrics.

8) Are you involved with any other bands or band projects?

Debopom: Other than Opodebota, no. But there was a time when I personally wanted to start a deathcore band of mine. Although it never happened as I didn’t have the necessary connections or friends.

9) We have researched a bit and found on several social media platforms that people are claiming you to be the founder of Opodebota. What’s your say on this?

Debopom: Well, I can’t really blame them. Won’t really claim or disclaim the credit. It is anonymous, and despite being an affiliated friend, I don’t even know whether this is a solo project or whether they are compromised of other members too. Now, as they revealed my name on the credits, it’s natural for them to claim such a thing. Now, personally, I will stay silent on this subject.

10) Does your family or friends support your artwork?

Debopom: I am from Bangladesh. A typical third-world country where people lurk around, lacking proper literacy, blinded by their stupid faiths, and are still living in the 1900s. Don’t expect support from them in these aspects as long as they aren’t beneficial for them. They barely comprehend elements beyond ongoing media-trend or based on textbook contexts, while capitalism and false propaganda consume them. All kind of relationships and affair is now based simply on capital, usefulness, and advantages. Anyways, so no friends and family; I really don’t consider them a part of my current life. But again, all of them will run to congratulate or support you once you start gaining a fraction of fame and appreciation. And you are wondering why I have cut off associations with individuals around me?

11) Have you ever rebelled against any specific type of art?

Debopom: I can’t recall whether I rebelled against anything, as people don’t care about my opinion. But since I am getting a platform now, let me state something. People are polluting art in several ways. From free exhibitions to gaining popularity on anything through social media marketing, art is slowly becoming cheap. Really we all need to learn that clicking a photo or owning an expensive camera doesn’t make anyone a photographer; simply drawing images won’t make someone an illustrator; writing worthless and trendy objects won’t make someone a writer or poet. As I have said, society really cares about supporting only the elements which are beneficial for them. Thus, most of the time, the original essence of art is actually being thrown out of the window. Artists are dying here,  no hope is left at all. If it’s just beyond your comprehension, people will either overlook it or criticize it as if it means nothing at all.

12) From your perspective as an album art artist, what’s your best and worst choice of album art?

Debopom: For favorite ones: cover art for Korn’s self-titled album and Life Is Peachy, Batushka’s (the spilled-up one) Panihida, Mayhem’s Dawn Of The Black Hearts, Behemoth’s Evangelion, Linkin Park’s Hunting Party, Bathory’s Blood Fire Death, and Waking The Cadaver’s Straight Outta The Ground. Now, for the worst ones: Abruptum’s Evil Genius, Creed’s Weathered, Iron Maiden’s Dance Of Death, Iron Angel’s Hellish Crossfire, most of the Manowar and Vanlade albums, Torment’s Bestial Sex, Therion’s Theli (this makes me cry), Scorpion’s Animal Magnetism, Alice Cooper’s Raise Your Fist and Yell, and in conclusion Immortal’s Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. Apologizing to the fans if I pissed you off :))

13) You have designed several album covers throughout your life. What’s your favorite one of them? 

Debopom:  I have done innumerable commissioned arts. However, the single cover design for Hybristophiles To The Hellfire (exclusively available in Bandcamp) for Opodebota is something I am proud of. Every time I worked on something, I felt like I was bounded by specific parameters more or less, even when I designed something for myself too. However, the matter was different when I worked with Opodebota. I was utterly unrestricted and could execute something beyond my expectations.

14) Putting aside any accolades or criticisms that fans, the industry, or the media may afford your persona, music, or artwork, is there anything about you or your craft you think people may overlook, underestimate or misunderstand at all?

Debopom: Thanks for this beautiful question. I have existed in a completely toxic environment (irrespective of family, educational institutions, society, and other factors), claiming this as an artist and a commoner. Everything in every aspect is overlooked by us if its motive and aesthetics are beyond our comprehension or, as I stated earlier if it’s not beneficial in any way, it carries no importance. We aren’t sensitive to the issue where it is required. It’s easy for authorities to possess us under several toxic propaganda, and even if we combat it, either we accept it instead of facing penalties/prioritizing ‘self-ego’ or just forget about the whole situation after a period, thus slowly normalizing it.

Anyways, the main thing is whether they overlook my creation(s)? Mainly a significant amount ignores it as they fail to comprehend it. Another group criticizes it even if they can’t apprehend a single piece. I am open to criticism from people from all walks of life and perspective, and besides, I can confirm that they are being provoked by what I have said or done. Lastly, I get comments and questions from people who seem to catch the point, or at least they are on the page as mine. I will always remain grateful to them since they actually tried to realize what I have stated. But in the end, I do these for myself, and my objective is and always was to PROVOKE no matter what.

Regarding the underestimating issue, I am not sure about it since I really didn’t care from the start, as I had faith in myself. Till now, I have been facing this from my family, contemporary acquaintances, or authorities since my thoughts, activities, or creations aren’t realized or acknowledged by them. Even if I gain success or not, my approach toward them will always remain the same, a vessel blinded by toxicity to throw my hate and wrath on. Therefore, in the end, my answer is yes, I have been misunderstood and underestimated AS LONG AS I DIDN’T PROVOKE THEM OR MADE THEM REALIZE HOW FRAGILE THEY ARE.

15) Do you feel that your creative work is giving you back just as much as you put into it, both commercially and from a critical standpoint, or are you expecting something more, or different, in anyway?

Debopom: Practically speaking, surviving is thorny if I stick solely with what I am forming. I have a decent net income as a freelance visual artist, but I will never be delighted with what I have sold to other people since I stated that I couldn’t express myself entirely while producing for them. Working with Opodebota is an exception. I believe I will need to continue my future in this manner as a commercial visual artist as long as I can go on. But again, if a client or the organization I will work with tries to push a cheaper aesthetic approach to replace mine, I am leaving the facility. Being a freelancer really doesn’t mean I am selling myself off.

Ultimately, I am thankful to myself for not being an ordinary life pursuer. I have an ongoing life career, a strong resume, affiliations with band project(s), and much more.

16) For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?

Debopom: As a drone artist, Emit was the first one who inspired me to connect with this sub-genre. I discovered them back in 2017, and after that, I started to look for more drone projects similar to this and eventually found Abruptum. But I have connected with hundreds of harsh noise and gorenoise artists/projects over the past few years, and it may have served me the impulse to become one of them. However, it was tough for me as I had no idea where to start or didn’t have the proper instruments back then. Several destructive incidents got involved in my life; thus, slowly, I developed severe PTSD. It was tough for me to get out of the state.

Moreover, it was hampering my daily and creative activities. Creating visuals or writing journals wasn’t enough to get out of this. One night, back in 2021, I decided to produce a track with what I have- a phone and a laptop with a DAW. The demo was a success; when I was done, it was dawn by then, and I had faith that I could do more. Therefore, this is how my journey as an experimental drone artist started.

From my perspective, I saw noise carrying traumatizing stories, fragile emotions, screamings, tears, perversion, wrath, blasphemy, gore, and more. I incorporated that too as much as I could in my pieces; thus, these demo(s) represent me and what happened to me, even if it’s provocative and not comprehensible.

Later, I reworked the demo(s) and temporarily showcased them on specific platforms.

17) When you’re not creating music or designing art, do you have a different hobby or pastime to ease your mindset and regenerate your creative juices?

Debopom: Nothing really regenerates me positively. I trigger my disorders or injure myself to achieve something since no one cares, it isn’t a significant concern. This helps me to create something more efficiently than I could ever do. After a trigger effect, I experience tremendous mental stress, which pushes me to the edge of a bitter existential crisis through which I can produce something. I am aware that embracing the process is exceptionally detrimental, but there are no alternatives. This is who I am; in this process, I live and will die.

18) Do you think it is necessary for fans of your music and art to understand the real story and message driving each of your pieces of work, or do you feel everyone should be free to interpret your creations with their own feelings and experiences?

Debopom: Art is subjective and carries an abstract/transparent objective toward us, for the future audience, or even for the artist themselves. People barely recognized or comprehended where I was coming from with the metaphors and visual representations. I have mentioned this several times that they solely stick to arts and crafts, portraying no proper narrative(s), or the portrayal is too materialistic and thus easy for commoners to comprehend.

Is my art necessary for commoners to comprehend or judge or understand? No, as I am telling my story, expressing my thoughts, and being selfish, that’s all for myself. But you are welcome to interpret (or misinterpret); it’s your choice (and your problem). No matter what happens, unless I want, the art piece will stay there forever and keep communicating with the audience.

19) The music industry has fundamentally changed over the years. For the better or for the worse, in your opinion?

Debopom: Both. The industry is being benefited and degraded right now. We, the artists and audience, are both responsible for it.

As an audience, the majority of our taste is awful, and we are sticking to materialistic music, mainly where music artists are hiring ghostwriters, their consortium record labels are investing in promotions on larger platforms,  usage of stream bots, capitalistic monopoly, and much more factors are happening. Thus, independent artists are being pushed off the edge. Moreover, most underrated independent artists don’t deserve their righteous recognition by a fraction. Digital streaming service platforms pay the artists ridiculous revenue per stream. It’s tough to live off making music only. I won’t wholly say our taste has been degraded, actually, as people are still listening to rare subgenres such as harsh noise, gorenoise, gore slam, etc., and several labels are available, dedicated simply to the sub-genres themselves, thus providing more opportunities for the people are practicing it. Not only that, the record labels are actually investing in cassettes, vinyl, and CDs.

Now, how can we improve these? If we can, at least, fix one factor that is improving our taste, we can contribute to some extent. We should explore more genres/sub-genres and learn to appreciate music by knowing the production process. We should also focus on lyrics instead of sticking with the mixing and production, as all the mainstream songs sound similar and consumerist. This proves that they are running out of vision or lack appropriate creativity. Instead of sticking to those, we should explore, support, and value other themes.

Again, for the independent and bedroom artists, it’s tough for us to walk alone. Many of us aren’t even aware of the complete process of distributing our songs properly on streaming platforms and how much they pay you. I suggest you stick to what you are doing no matter what, as they define/will define you in the future. The negative and positive criticism will come and go, incorporate them in yourself. Don’t run after money from the beginning, but again don’t sell yourself for a low price; learn to value yourself and your creations. There will be times when you will gain no support from the people around you, but losing hope won’t benefit either of you or them. Have faith in yourself and express your capability to the full extent. Wishing you all the best.

20) What do you find most rewarding about what you do, and do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?

Debopom: The only thing I can find rewarding is I can represent myself shattering limitations, unlike others. I desire to achieve more in the future than my contemporaries haven’t. However, I see myself deceased soon, as there is nothing to celebrate or live for. There is nothing for me in specific or particular to accomplish at the moment other than preserving my creations, although there will be no point to these after I am gone. In the end, I believe at least they won’t be replaced, unlike me.

The themes and representations are ineffective and barely comprehensible anyways. It’s almost impossible to live alone, but it is always delightful to provoke the whole world by turning the false accusations you suffered against them into a harsh reality and a fate for them to experience

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