Interview by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
Blackened death metallers Demonic Resurrection from Mumbai, India formed back in 2000 and are at the forefront of the metal scene in their country. Since their formation, they have signed with Candlelight Records and had their music distributed by Universal Music as well as winning some impressive accolades such as Metal Hammer Golden God Winners 2010 and Rolling Stone Metal Award Winners 2010 & 2014 across various categories. Their latest album ‘Dashavatar’ was released last year (2017) but although ideas have begun for a potential sixth album things seem uncertain for the band and a new album may not be on the cards for a while or at all as vocalist/rhythm guitarist, Sahil “The Demonstealer” Makhija honestly discusses the bands past, present and future, including their upcoming UK tour in May which they are very excited for…
Can you tell us about your formation back in 2000?
I was 18 years old when I formed Demonic Resurrection but I had been writing material since 2 years prior and I had been looking for band members since then. I was frustrated with not finding members for the band and was ready to go on stage with my computer and play a show. Lucky for me I ran into an old school friend Prashant (who was studying in America but returned to India for a break) and he agreed to join the band and with him came another schoolmate of mine Aditya who played guitar and a drummer Yash who was living in their area. I asked another friend of mine Farhad who was a keyboardist to join us. This is how I managed to get the first line up of the band together.
What is the metal scene like in India?
It’s a very new scene and a very complicated one. In India, the majority of metalheads are between 16-24 years old and metal is largely something they listen to in college and after that most of them grow out of it and change their music tastes. Many of them leave the country for better jobs. India has a big economic disparity and metal is something only the middle class and the well to do listen to because the poorer sections don’t relate to English music, let alone metal. At the same time, because most kids listening to the music don’t have parents approval because most parents want their children to study hard and do well in school/college instead of going to concerts, there is very little support for merch and music sales. Most metalheads here will download all their music. However, it’s not all bad, in the 90s it was mostly cover playing bands and there was barely any bands here recording or writing original music. There were hardly any venues or international band concerts etc etc. Fast forward to now when we have many bands, many albums being released every year, we have more international metal artists coming and playing here and even more venues for bands to play today. So there is some good and some bad. Hopefully, more young metalheads here will remain into the genre after they have passed the age of 25 years.
What are some of your main musical influences currently?
When I started listening to metal it was the staple of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Sepultura etc. I love everything from Power metal to Black metal to Death metal. I even enjoy a lot of the modern bands now which play technical style of metal. Some of the recent releases I’ve been enjoying are Rivers Of Nihil, Obscura, MGLA, Persfone, Gorod and of course lots of other bands. It’s too many to list. Some of my all time favourites though are Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Blind Guardian, Soilwork, Old Man’s Child and Kamelot (Roy Khan Era).
So your latest fifth album ‘Dashavatar’ is a year old now, looking back what do you think of this release and how happy were you with its response?
I am personally very happy with the release, it’s the best album we have put out and it’s a pretty big one to better. I can safely say the response from the fans has been great and in general whatever part of the metal community we have been able to reach. I feel like the album still hasn’t reached all the people it should be reaching. I wish we could tour more to support it and I really want to push it in Europe/UK and the USA. These days every tour is a buy on with a big band and we can’t put in that kind of money but hopefully, we can find a way to get it out to more people.
You have just released a new video for ‘Vamana – The Dwarf’
taken from ‘Dashavatar’, what made you decide to release this
song as a single and can you tell us a bit about the making of thevideo?
I had actually planned to release a video for every song and we started with the lyric video for Matsya followed by Kurma. We did a music video for Narasimha and followed that with a guitar play through for Varaha. We shot the play through style video for both Vamana and Krishna together and we have released them 1 after the other. I think we just went with the songs keeping in mind which we were playing in our live set and that made sense to put out first. The video for both these were shot in my studio with the help of my brother and Ahishek Goswami did the editing and effects. These play-through videos are fairly easy to make and as a musician, I always enjoy watching the performance of the musicians so I just went with that idea. Hopefully, we will have more videos coming out in the coming months and maybe in 6 months, each song will have it’s own video. We have done 6 so far, 4 songs are left.
What was the recording and writing process like for the album?
This album was very different. I locked myself in the studio for 30 days and wrote the whole album and recorded all the demos. I sent it to the band and waited for feedback after which I just started producing the album and everyone came in and did their parts. It was the least amount of time ever taken to write and record an album for us.
Have you started work on your next album yet and what can we
expect from this future release?
I have ideas and riffs as always, it’s something that always comes to me and I record them and keep them in a folder. However, right now I am very disillusioned with the music scene and I don’t know if I will write another album. I feel like maybe it’s good to end the band with this album on a high note.
So in May, you are touring the UK with Wretched Soul, how excited are you for this and what can fans expect from the shows?
I am super excited because I love touring! It’s been very hard for us to get decent tours because of everything being a buy on and also we have had lots of bad luck with booking agents in the past. So I am very glad this has worked out. Fans can expect a mix of old and new songs and we’ve got Arran and Shoi from De Profundis filling in on bass and lead guitars so it’s going to be a lot of fun, they are great musicians and we will deliver a fitting performance.
What are some of your favourite songs to play live and why?
I really enjoy playing Krishna live and Narasimha, both are very high energy songs and of course we love playing ‘The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance’ because that always gets the pit going!
What have your past experiences of touring the UK been like?
We have always received a warm welcome whenever we’ve played in the UK. It’s one of the reasons we love going back. Last time we toured with De Profundis and Onslaught. One tour with on a mini bus and the 2nd on a nightliner so that was quite an experience. It was our first proper tour I think, prior to that we had played Bloodstock and done a 1 off London gig. In short, we had a blast!
Since your formation what have been some of your main
highlights as a band?
There have been a lot of highs and lows over the 18 years of our career. I think some of the biggest achievements were winning the Metal Hammer Golden God award in 2010 and also playing our first international concert at Inferno Festival in 2010 as well. Featuring in Sam Dunn’s Global Metal documentary was pretty sweet as well. As a band living in India, playing two of the major festivals back in the day, Independence Rock and The Great Indian Rock Festival, these were a pretty big deal for us. So lots of highlights to be honest.
What else do you have lined up for the rest of the year?
Honestly like I said I’m very disillusioned with the music scene and after May I am putting the band to sleep for a while. Our agent will try and book us a Europe tour, if he is able to do that, we will tour. Otherwise, it’s done for a while. I cannot say for how long but I will focus on other things for now.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I just want to say thank you to everyone who likes our music and
supports us. Cheers & Stay Demonic!