Skyharbor released a single ‘Out of Time’ last month after lineup changes (Eric Emery and Aditya Ashok have replaced Dan Tompkins and Anup Sastry on vocals and drums respectively.) I spoke to Keshav Dhar about their new single, the new lineup and their upcoming tour of North America.
Your new single ‘Out of Time’ sounds awesome. Tell us a bit about it.
Keshav Dhar: It was interesting because we wanted the first song that we released with our new lineup to be a fully collaborative effort between everyone. We had a lot of material written before Out of Time, but this song was born out of a vocal melody that Eric had written previously, so I wrote the skeleton of the song around that and then everyone came in and changed up a whole lot of things. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, especially because it’s been a fully collaborative effort, so this means we’ve got a good thing going.
The single features your new line up Eric Emery on vocals and Aditya Ashok on drums. How did they become part of the line up?
Keshav Dhar: Basically, as of 2014, Dan and Anup were the only two members of the band for whom Skyharbor was only one of numerous other projects. We were getting a lot of attention with the Download/Graspop festival run, the pledge campaign for what eventually became Guiding Lights, and just stuff that was going on in general. We were also getting a lot of touring opportunities around the world that we had to turn down because either Dan or Anup were unavailable at any given point of time. It was unfortunate because we loved each other like brothers and had an absolutely fantastic musical chemistry and vision for what we wanted Skyharbor to sound like. But eventually as all the projects kept growing bigger and bigger, there came a point when they had to prioritize, and unfortunately Skyharbor was not in a position to sustain them as a full time career band. So they decided to move on and focus exclusively on their other projects, and at the same time free us up to pursue our ambitions freely.
Aditya has been a great friend of ours for many years now, and we definitely wanted to get someone from our home country of India to play drums so that the main rhythm section of the band could have more opportunities to jam together, as we want to move towards a more ‘live’ and natural sound. We asked him if he wanted to join, and he stepped up to the plate wonderfully.
With Eric, we were a bit worried when Dan left because it’s very hard to find a good singer who’s willing to live this lifestyle of touring and album cycles and generally go through a hard time for the first few years of solidifying a band, especially with a new frontman things can really be hard because the sound changes drastically when you change the voice, and it’s almost like the industry and even fans will expect you to prove yourselves all over again and that can take years. Our good friend Forrester Savell (who mixed Guiding Lights) suggested we check out Eric, I looked up his Youtube channel and sent him a message asking if he’d like to audition. He sent in his audition in record time, and the rest was history. Possibly the smoothest lineup transition we could ever have hoped for.
How different was the song writing process with the new members on board?
Keshav Dhar: It’s interesting. Anup and Dan had incredible ideas, but their approach was more like, since they were both so busy all the time we’d usually write the bulk of the music between Devesh, Krishna and myself and present it to them, and then they’d present finished drum or vocal ideas back, and that was usually what we just went with. It was great because it was a very painless exercise, as they’re both outstanding at what they do, but it wasn’t quite as collaborative a process as maybe we wanted it to be. And sometimes they’d have their parts literally sent in at the last minute, by which time we didn’t even feel like discussing any potential changes or trying anything else out even if we did have ideas, because there simply wasn’t any time. But now we literally go over everything, consider trying different things out for every vocal, drum, guitar and bass part of every song, really milk the process and throw billions of ideas back and forth in the quest to make the songs the best they possibly can be.
On ‘Guiding Lights’ you’ll experiment with their sound. There were heavy songs like ‘Evolution’, a ballad like ‘Patience’ and everything in between. Was it a conscious decision by the band? Tell us about it.
Keshav Dhar: We’ve always had heavy moments and peaceful moments, from the very start, and that’s really what we’re all about, light and shade, ebb and flow, peaks and valleys. It can be like having 10 movements in the same song, or you can have 10 songs that are a movement each. There will always be a bit of everything in what we do.
Looking back at the album now, would you like to change anything about it?
Keshav Dhar: Honestly, no. I don’t believe in that stuff. We said what we wanted to say with the album, and I feel it expressed us perfectly as people and musicians at the time. Sure there are things that we know now that we didn’t know back then, but then that’s what life is all about, growing and discovering.
Renowned producer Forrester Savell mixed and mastered ‘Out of Time’ as well as ‘Guiding Lights’. How was it working with him?
Keshav Dhar: He’s almost like a member of the band by now, he understands us perfectly and absolutely nails the vision we have for the music. All of us in the band absolutely love Sound Awake, it’s one of if not the greatest produced rock record of all time, and to be working with him is a real privilege.
This November, you embark on your first tour of North America with Tesseract, The Contortionist and Erra. What can fans expect from your set?
Keshav Dhar: Well we’re opening, which means we’ll only have a half hour set, so we won’t really be able to do the sprawling 8+ minute songs haha but it’ll still be a fun, short and snappy set.
In the short period, you have emerged as the most successful band from India. Do you have any tips for metal bands that are just starting out?
Keshav Dhar: Really, just do your thing and focus on the music and not on facebook likes or album sales or even live shows, until your material is of the highest possible standard it can be. Everything else is secondary, and in any case none of us have any control over whether someone will like what we put out next or not, because we all write music for ourselves, so just keep doing that without hope of reward, and if you do become successful that’s a bonus. I personally consider us extremely fortunate and lucky to be in the position that we are in today, and although we have worked very hard I won’t say that the limited success we’ve had is entirely down to hard work alone, because there are plenty of bands that work very hard and have nothing to show for it. Just treat it as a passion and if you happen to get lucky and thousands of people connect with it and put money behind it, then you can start treating it like a business.
Have you started working on your third album? What can fans expect from it?
Keshav Dhar: Yes, it’ll probably take a lot of people by surprise just like Guiding Lights did to those who got into the band with Blinding, as we’re exploring a completely new direction for us, but it will always sound like Skyharbor. We’re super stoked with how it’s shaping up.
You are also currently booking a tour of India in February next year. Do you have other plans do you have in the New Year?
Keshav Dhar: We’re looking at hitting Australia at some point early next year, releasing the new album at some point in the first half of the year as well, and then of course touring it, so the same as any album cycle really. Excited to get back out on the road again!
Listen to “Out of Time” below
Who: Deadstar is the instrumental project of Nihal Anand.
Where: Bangalore, India
What: Last month, Deadstar released his debut album “In Between Dreams“. “Well its quite varied for the different songs on the album. A lot of the mood is based on travel and places I was lucky enough to see during the time I was writing the album.” said Nihal about the album. “Other songs are based off of TV shows, other bands, people that I know well and people I’ve never met. So it’s basically anything that really pushed me to feel something over the last 4 months. I think most of the songs are quite happy on the surface, but they all make me a tiny bit sad, so I think that’s the perfect vibe for this album.”
How: “I’ve been writing songs for the album since May this year so its been about 3 months of writing, I usually finish writing/recording a song in a day so its still fresh, so I guess its 10 days of those 3 months that I actively spent writing songs.” said Nihal about how he went about writing the album. “A lot of times I didn’t feel like I could come up with anything nice if I forced it so I just picked up the guitar when I felt like. I probably spent more time travelling and collecting ideas in those months. Since I play and record alone, the songwriting process is completely linked to the recording. I’ll start off recording the riffs I have in mind, then add in second guitar and whatever drums I have in mind and from there it just keeps going. I rarely I have complete songs written when I start recording, because I need to know how all the parts sound together.”
“So that way, the actual recording was about 10 days and then I sat and obsessively mixed it for a few weeks, adding in keys, electronic bits and field recordings.” said Nihal about the recording process. “I do everything at home on my own, I recently bought this really nice Focusrite sound card and since I have an amp simulator I can record at any time, but it’s usually in the wee hours of the morning.”
Listen to “In Between Dreams” below
Bevar Sea are doom metal band from Bangalore, India. I interviewed them 3 years ago when they release their self titled album. This weekend they release their second album ‘Invoke the Bizarre’ in India (Worldwide release 31st October). I caught up with Srikanth, guitarist of Bevar Sea and spoke to him about their new album, the different approach they took and also advice he had for bands planning to self release their music and merchandise.
Congrats on the release of your second album ‘Invoke the Bizarre’. Tell us a bit about the album.
Srikanth Panaman: Hey Peter. Long time no see! Invoke the Bizarre has been cooking slowly since the first album came out and we finally were able to record late last year and put it out this year. It is out on September 25th in India and October 31st in the rest of the world. It’s been a labour of love from everyone involved, and we’re excited to have the fans hear it finally.
How does the album compare to your debut album?
Srikanth Panaman: The first album was good for what it was at that time. We got the best out of what we had and knew at that time. On the second one, we went in knowing a lot more about recording and engineering, and we went in as better performers. Musically, this still stoner and doom, but it’s darker and more varied than the first one.
I remember you released a demo of ‘Sleeping Pool’ in December 2012. How long have you’ll been working on the songs for the album?
Srikanth Panaman: Sleeping Pool was written in 2011 before the first album came out, Where There’s Smoke (There’s a Pyre) was written in 2012, Bearded and Bizarre was written in 2013, The Grand Alignment, Bury Me in NOLA and Heathen were written in 2014. We are slow, much like our music. If we’re able to recover the money invested on an album sooner, and save up for the next album sooner, we will get off our asses and write more but one album every three years is not too bad. I’d ideally like us to have a smaller release between two full lengths, so let’s see how things go.
‘Invoke the Bizzare’ was recorded at Adarsh Recording Studio. How different was the recording process this time around?
Srikanth Panaman: We booked ten whole days at the studio for recording each band member separately and we wanted to use the big room and the fancy mics that the studio had at its disposal. We went in the order of drums, bass, rhythm guitars, additional guitars, acoustic guitars, lead guitars, and vocals over the course of the ten days, and spent the eleventh day listening to each track and then consolidate various takes. This was a pro approach and it was a great experience for us. We’d like to be in a real studio and not a home studio because the equipment is better, and more importantly the recording room itself is better. We also can’t afford to be lazy because time is limited, so that helps us finish what we started as per schedule. We all took time off work and got this done, so it wasn’t a weekend project for us.
You have been working with Matt Lynch (Mysterious Mammal Studios) on the album. How was the experience been?
Srikanth Panaman: Matt plays for an old timey Seattle/LA band called Snail and that’s how I got to know him. He had also worked with bands like Nebula and others, and I always liked the way his drums and the way the ‘room’ sounds in his mixes. We were more metal than his usual work, but when I told him what we’re going for on each track, he understood immediately and got the mixes the way I’d wanted. We gave him a good sounding recording, and the tones were all there. His job was mainly to remove all the mud, and to give us that big overall sound. We’re super happy with the results.
Your self titled album was released on Iron Fist records, a label started by the band. What did you’ll learn from the experience? What advice would you give other metal bands that plan on self releasing their EP/ Album?
Srikanth Panaman: That was a name we used because our then manager Salman (from Bangalore Open Air) wanted to use Kryptos’ and our releases to start a label to support and push good local bands but that never took off. We are putting this one out on our new imprint called The Mighty Riff Records, something I’ve been meaning to start for a couple of years but finally getting to. I sure do have some advice: Don’t compromise on the artwork and packaging. Don’t think of yourself as a local band. Don’t expect people to buy CDs if you don’t have a CD collection yourselves. Don’t expect to make your money back if you invested despite knowing your album had no demand to begin with. Learn everything about the workings of being in a band, including printing, pressing CDs, making merch, logistics, management, recording, video editing, designing, web designing – whatever talents you have acquired can be of use and can help you make your money back. The more skillful you are, the better it is.
Were you satisfied with the response your first album received? Are you planning anything different for the release of ‘Invoke the Bizarre’?
Srikanth Panaman:The first album far exceeded our expectations in terms of response. We’re hoping the second one will kick things up a few notches for us – especially in Europe, UK, and the US. These are the three territories where we got the most real purchases from, so we’d like to go a little deeper in those markets with this album.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Srikanth Panaman: We’re taking things slow this year. We just want to put this out and make sure the album reaches the right audience around the world.
Any final words?
Srikanth Panaman: Thanks for letting us talk about our new album man. Your readers can always go to the below links to follow us.
http://bevarsea.bandcamp.com [pre-orders are online here]
Listen to three songs from ‘Invoke the Bizzare’ below
Who: Against Evil The band consists of Shasank (Guitars), Sravan (Guitars/Vocals), Siri Sri (Bass/Vocals) and Noble John (Drums). “All of us are from the same city and since there are a very few people who listen to metal in our city, we all knew each other.” said Shasank about the origins of the band. “We formed a classic/hard rock cover band called Echo in 2009 and played a lot of gigs since then. We wanted to compose and play heavy metal music but couldn’t do it cause Echo was already popular as a classic rock cover band in the city. That is when we formed Against Evil in 2014 to compose and play our own style of heavy metal.”
Where: The band hail from the Vishakapatnam, a coastal city in the Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. “We are the only metal band in Visakhapatnam. There are a few cover bands here, but none of them are really into making original music.” said Shasank describing the metal scene in their city.
What: The band recently put out their first release, ‘Fatal Assault’ EP through Transcending Obscurity Distribution. “Well, its not a concept album or anything like that. It’s titled “Fatal Assault” and has 6 tracks. The lyrics are about war, fighter jets, street racing, etc.” said Shasank about the EP.
How: “We released a song named ‘War Hero’ in April 2015. That was the first song that we had written and recorded. The response that we got for that song exceeded our expectations. Thats when we decided to record more songs and release an EP. It took us three months to write, record and get it mixed/mastered.” explains Shasank.
“After the writing process was completed, we immediately hit the studio to record the EP. We recorded all the songs at a local studio owned by our friend. It took us a few weeks to record all the tracks.” Shasank describes the recording process for the EP.
The EP was mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni (Domination Studio). “It was great working with him. He is a very friendly guy and an incredibly talented guitar player!” said Shasank about working with Simone.
A special mention to Andrej “Maggotmeister” Bartulovic for the awesome artwork. “Our vocalist is friends with the band “Toledo Steel” from Europe. They told us about him. We saw his work and got blown away! We wanted comic book style artwork for our EP which even Andrej was a huge fan of. It was a blast working with him!” said Shasank about how they got Andrej to work on the artwork.
Buy ‘Fatal Assault‘ here and stream the EP below
The discovery of the mp3 format has changed the way music fans buy over the past decade. The sale of CDs has decreased and as a result had a huge impact on the music industry. Record labels are still struggling to adapt to the buying habits of music fans.I have noticed a rise in independent music labels for metal music. Some of them are Blastasfuk, Memento Mori who I have featured in the past. These one man labels keep the fire burning in the underground.
The label I am featuring this time is Blood Music. Based in Helsinki, Finland the label has put out some awesome releases this year like Irreversible Mechanism who I featured in May, GosT among others. I spoke to label owner J about how he started the label, his most memorable releases so far and also what is next from the label.
Hi, you have been running Blood Music for 4 years now. How does it feel looking back?
J:It’s a feeling that can’t truly be put to words – the emotions condense to an infinitely dense marble that fits into the palm of your hand but contains all the energy of the known universe. It has all of these emotions wrapped up, many of which have never been able to be realized. The label’s very first release did well, and it has been a constant, exponential growth without a single moment of slowing down. It’s beyond surreal, as I know how rare it is to experience a project that encounters very little resistance, it’s almost unheard of! It’s not my first project by a long shot, and I’ve never come anywhere close to this before. It becomes eerie, like – why this / why now / why does everyone suddenly care?
Because of the high output of the label in such short time and high outpouring of support, each project effortlessly folds into the next as a kind of infinite map. I don’t have the time to feel all the emotions that go along with this because as soon as I take a short break to celebrate, 1000 more e-mails come in, more material goes out of print, and more bands are ready to go with new material. I have a duty to keep up with the thousands of people who are expecting things, and I want to be able to meet as many of those expectations as possible, so long as they’re humble and realistic.
Instead of expanding, I intend to forcibly start slowing down the signings and the output of the label, as I would like to soon take time to sit back and reflect on each project, savor the taste of the full release cycle and not just fit the emotions in when it’s convenient.
In short, it’s completely overwhelming, and I’m still not sure how it all feels. I only have time to taste short glimpses of it.
How and when did you decide to start a label?
J:The seed started in early 2011, only a few months before it actually came to fruition. Although the idea to run a label has been in the back of my mind for twenty years.
In the late 2000s, I had been phased out of the freelance work I was doing, and all my savings was disappearing as I tried to get work going – but no one was hiring.
In 2009, I decided to hitchhike around the world indefinitely and ended up in all kinds of random places with small jobs off the coast of Africa and in islands throughout the Atlantic. After only a year, I ended up back in an attic in Tampere (a couple hours north of Helsinki) and was bored out of my mind with no job prospects and nothing going for me. I was really only interested in collecting records, and I walked down to the record shop once a week, spending the rest of my savings on vinyl. I eventually got frustrated that so many albums I wished for were not released, were long out of print, or were pressed in atrociously poor quality editions. So, I made a list of projects I’d like to see on wax, and the bands that came to the top of the list were maudlin of the Well, Lykathea Aflame, and Sigh. So, I contacted them all.
Your first release was Maudlin of the Well 4xLP + 7″ Box Set. How did that happen?
J:I received replies from all three bands I initially wrote. The reply from maudlin of the Well was that the vinyl rights to “Bath” and “Leaving Your Body Map” (their companion albums which gained cult popularity after the band’s demise) already rested with another label. I checked the other label (Antithetic Records)’s social media, and it sounded like they were short on cash. So, I wrote them and offered to go 50/50 on the box set with financing, work duties, and rewards split down the middle. They thought it was a perfect opportunity, and we went forward – simple as that.
I learned a ton from that experience, and it was definitely valuable to work with a partner who’d already done a few releases, in order to make less mistakes than the average first-timer would. Nevertheless, it was a slow process for both of us with a huge learning curve. In the end, we sold it out quickly. We broke even. Everyone was thrilled. Then the box started selling for $400 on eBay a few months later.
I wound up working with Lykathea Aflame and Sigh shortly after.
What have been the most memorable releases so far?
J:I get asked this a lot, and it’s getting harder to answer. The easier question would be “what have been the least memorable releases” because there are very few of those. I am proud of every single release I’ve done and very enthusiastic about the work put into all of them.
The motW Box was originally a source of immense pride for me, soon replaced by the Strapping Young Lad 7xLP Box, soon replaced by the Moonsorrow 14xLP Box, soon replaced by Perturbator “Dangerous Days” (the label’s first break-out album).
But I have to look at artists themselves as whole projects because I’ve achieved a ton with a good number of artists already, and so many projects stick in my mind – such as the Cloudkicker releases, which were done as the first “professional open source music releases” in history. SERDCE “Timelessness” is just a phenomenal album that I’m happy to have been a part of – and bringing perhaps the first Belarusian band into a very small piece of the international spotlight. Aquilus had a mere 900 fans on Facebook, and with one vinyl release with Blood Music, they became an extremely well-known and respected player in the atmospheric black metal scene with nearly 7000 fans! Nightbringer, Ne Obliviscaris, and Beyond Creation all exploded immediately after I worked with them. GosT went from near obscurity into a major player in the retro-electro scene, and Dan Terminus as well. Irreversible Mechanism and Corpo-Mente had smash debut albums.
It’s so hard not to dwell on all the projects, they all mean a lot to me, even the ones that aren’t as successful. I choose them because I admire the art endlessly.
What is the biggest problem that you faced so far?
J:Finding the time to rest and finding the time to sleep. Also, the label is overloaded with contacts – too many e-mails to answer. And some people can get really aggressive.
I also unlocked the rights to a band who had their catalog frozen for ten years, and instead of signing to Blood Music, they signed to a major label. That was near the beginning, but I’ll never forget that!
Do you do any marketing? If yes, what kind?
J:I tend to limit most of my marketing to social media and a few forums. I’ve always been very bad at coordinating with blogs and magazines, although I try. I think blogs and magazines get frustrated with me too. I’ve only very recently started hiring publicists because I just don’t have what it takes to forward the albums to people to review. It’s better if someone who is more skilled does that. I do love to see coverage on my bands’ albums, even negative coverage can be fun and sometimes hilarious.
I would say the marketing has been very much based on word-of-mouth. I think that has been one of the reasons that people are excited about the label is that most of them found it in a very organic way which hasn’t been very pushy. I’ve also been quite an adamant supporter of: if you don’t like what the label is doing, you can leave now. Some people take great offense to that, but those that stick around can respect that this is such a personal project.
Most of your releases are available through Bandcamp at Name Your Own Price. What is the reason behind it?
J:There are a few reasons to this, the most major one relating to a book I read about the the modern world of media. The book is not very well-known but is very well-researched on the ins and outs of records in the modern world – and it states that freely available media is helping to financially kill the media industry but it also has produced many positive results. I thought it sounded like a counterintuitive concept but one worth trying. I also had worked with Cloudkicker and Perturbator who have all their material at Name Your Own Price, and it works for them. I also have fielded a lot of complaints over the higher-than-average pricing of my vinyl releases [which I do believe are justified, considering the care and money invested into them]. I thought, well … the physical versions will have to remain costlier than average, and the digital will be freely available for those that can’t afford the physical.
It probably backfires on some bands, but overall I enjoy the impact that it makes. I like to see the music spread around, and I think Blood Music releases bands that people want to check out – strong takes on old classics or something very new. It gives a good platform for people to try and see if they like it. If they do, they can choose to donate. I believe people are more trusting when you offer more trust to them. Not all but many, and I like the way these concepts interplay.
How do you manage to run the label all by yourself? Do you have a day job?
J:I often surprise myself, but it does take 12-18 hour working days to get everything done. There is no time for a day job. I have to prioritize things as much as possible to accomplish everything in the correct order. My to do list is unreadable now, I just keep the things I have to finish at the forefront of my mind and write them on the to do list multiple times as I think of them, and they all get completed based on pending deadlines. It makes some things go slower – and some packages take some time to ship, but they all do ship. The 1-2 month time it takes for some packages to send really freaks some people out who are not used to it. But I believe many people need more patience in their lives, so I think I’m doing them a small service.
You have released music from different genres on your label, ranging from death metal (Irreversible Mechanism) to black metal (Ifing) and even electronic (Perturbator). What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?
J:I am a huge fan of many genres and have been for many years.
I want to find bands that personally speak to me in a very strong way, regardless of genre. I want to organize a musical palette that has a throughline but is not limited by style. There are intense boundaries set up to segregate one crowd from another, and some metal heads like to attack non-metal heads at metal shows, and that’s plain stupid. The best way to enrich the entire cultural palette of the world is to cross reference and build upon each other’s work. Most things get stale when sticking within a certain regimen of how people expect you to behave. I think many of my artists have become inspired to add loads of new influences to their music they wouldn’t have just by being on a more open-minded label. I encourage them to warp their sound, collaborate, go harder or softer (depending). It can only mean good things.
Have you been in a band before? What instrument do you play?
J:Yes, but nothing worth mentioning at all. I’ve played in several kinds of rock and electro bands that went nowhere. I also used to compose a lot with analog synths in the late 90s/early 00s, a short time before the actual ‘retro synth’ movement began. I’ve always wanted to write a solo metal album, but it’s never come out. Lots of ideas but no results.
I can actually shred on guitar. I can play bass and synthesizers as well. Perturbator asked me to shred on his next album, but he got tired of waiting for me to have free time, so it never happened. But it was nice of him to think of me. Maybe another album or another time. For now, it’s more important that I help these guys in other ways.
Any advice that you have for anyone planning to start a metal music record label?
J:It is one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Make sure you have enough money saved for three times your first release, in case that release goes badly. You can then decide if you want to try again or quit. Also, work only with projects you love. It costs a LOT of time, energy, and money. If you want to do it right, you have to be ready to show a lot of respect to artists and fans and yourself too – finding that balance can be hard.
What are the upcoming releases from your label?
J:The most sought after ones are surely the Emperor box set, the next Perturbator album, and the next GosT album.
But there is a lot of great stuff on the horizon, such as the Grey Aura debut double album, Star One (Ayreon side project) on vinyl for the first time, the Thy Catafalque early works pressed for the first time professionally, Gire (incredible, obscure Hungarian death metal) rereleased, Rïcïnn (Corpo-Mente singer)’s debut album, the Perturbator early EPs, ambient legends Carbon Based Lifeforms hitting physical publications, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum on vinyl, and ultimately some great new albums being developed by Irreversible Mechanism, Xanthochroid, Ifing, etc.
Thank you very much for inquiring and being interested in the label!
Here are some the recent releases from Blood Music that you should check out:
One of the first webzines I read when I started listening to metal was ‘Diabolical Conquest‘. I was also active on the message board where I got to know a lot of metal heads from across the world. ‘Diabolical Conquest’ is now known as ‘Transcending Obscurity‘ and has expanded into a label as well as online store. I am glad to announce that I am contributing to the webzine section.
My first interview for Transcending Obscurity is with American death metal band Funerus. I spoke to frontwoman Jill and guitarist John (Incantation) about their latest release ‘The Black Death‘, how their Asian tour came about and also what they are looking forward to at their Indian shows next week.
You are embarking on your ‘Black Death over Asian tour’. How does it feel? Is this your first time in Asia? What is your perception of the Asians?
Funerus: It feels great to be a part of this thing! We played some shows in Japan years ago, but other than that we have been to Asia. I have always had an interest in the Asian cultures so it will be great to visit these countries!
I noticed a flurry of posts on my social media platforms by excited metalheads when your band was announced as the headliner for Pandemonium fest in particular in Delhi. Please tell us how the tour came about?
Funerus: The tour came about because John and I planned a vacation. It’s our 15 year anniversary this year, so we wanted to do something big. We decided to do an Asian cruise, and since we were already going to be here, we thought we would make a tour out of it!
Read the rest of the interview here
Sleep Terror is the instrumental metal project of guitarist and composer Luke Jaeger. I learnt about Sleep Terror through Acrophase, a electro metal project Luke has with Vishal J Singh (Amogh Symphony). Last month saw the release of Unihemispheria, a long awaited album from Sleep Terror followed by a short tour of the west coast of the United States of America.
I spoke to Luke via email about the album, the tour and also his future plans for the project.
You just completed a short tour of the United States. How did it feel to be back on the road again?
Luke: It felt great! Been a little bit. There are a lot of mixed emotions and experiences on the road. Passion, fear, excitement, dread, joy, exhaustion, inspiration, bliss. The combination all packed in one is definitely interesting to return to.
The live line up featured Marco Pitruzzella on drums. How did he become part of the band?
Luke: We have mutually expressed interest in joining forces to do it for a couple years now as he lives nearby me. It just seemed to be spontaneous and schedule-permitting on his end for once and solid timing before this tour.
You release your new album Unihemispheria last month. Tell us a bit about it.
Luke: I’m very proud of it and consider it the official full length I always wanted to debut.
The album has been in the works for sometime now. How long have you been working on it?
Luke: It wasn’t really a planned effort over time but rather an accumulation of songs I felt integrally fitting to the Sleep Terror sound and gelled well on a tangible release.
Unihemispheria was produced by Navene Koperweis. What was the recording process? How Iong did it take?
Luke: I basically sent him the zipped WAV files of all the isolated tracks and he did a final mix and master of the songs from there. It was a fairly quick process and turned out sounding pretty beefy!
How does it compare to your previous album Probing Tranquility?
Luke: I really disliked the production of that record but I loved the cleanliness of the album performance and of course the songs. I couldn’t compare the two very drastically, it is still Sleep Terror sound and style to the max.
You have a band Acrophase with Vishal Singh ( Amogh Symphony). What the status on the band? Any new releases planned?
Luke: It was something we wrote and recorded between 2009-2011. Really cool stuff. No releases planned but things can always change there.
Do you have any tips for upcoming guitarists?
Luke: Be yourself, express yourself without aesthetic limitations and don’t be concerned with being “better” than anyone else. Music and art is about having your own unique stamp and the rest is irrelevant. More importantly, don’t ever offer your talent to a band or person running that band that thinks it is acceptable not to pay you for your hard work and creativity.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any more shows?
Luke: Most definitely. Recording a new 5-song EP due by Winter and definitely keeping an open mind to extensive touring to follow.
Listen to Unihemispheria below