Heathen Beast (March 2011)
On Headbangers India this March, we talk to Heathen Beast, India’s newest black metal band, who wowed fans and critics with their debut EP ‘Ayodhya Burns’. Read on to find out more about the band’s reasons for staying anonymous, their next album and more.
HB.IN: Hey guys, thanks for the interview! How are you doing?
Heathen Beast: We are doing great, thank you for interviewing us.
HB.IN: Firstly, could you introduce yourselves, and tell us the stories behind your stage-names.
Heathen Beast: The band comprises of Carvaka on guitar and vocal, Samkhya on bass and Mimamsa on drums. The stories behind the names are simple, these are different atheist schools of Hinduism and we were very sure that while we loved Norwegian black metal and wanted to play something similar we did not want to follow their path as we did not relate to it, we are Indian people who have Indian beliefs, Indian problems and write about Indian things. We
believe in having a unique identity and therefore we chose these names since we took an atheistic approach to the lyrical style of black metal deviating from the satanic/anti-Christian themes.
HB.IN: And why the name ‘Heathen Beast’? Is there a story behind that as well?
Heathen Beast: It is a name that reflects the music we play along with our ideology. A heathen is defined as one who does not accept god as defined by the bible who is not of any religion. We are heathens and the music is a beast, a
carrier of our message. It would be typical of a religious organization to label believers like ourselves as beasts. Heathen Beast is the perfect fit.
HB.IN: The real test of a good band is how they sound live. Heathen Beast sounds great on the EP, but a LOT of people want to watch the band live. Will this happen anytime soon?
Heathen Beast: This is a constant point of debate between us as well. We definitely do agree that for most bands going live is essential. However we have different schools of thought, we will go live at some point in time but when that will
be we cannot say. There are many great artists and bands that are more studio projects than live bands. We can promise that when we do go live, we will make it a memorable performance.
HB.IB: Norway, churches and predominantly Christianity and Satanism- these are the most common elements that one would associate with Black Metal. However, it is really interesting to see how you’ve adapted the genre to the Indian context. Tell us what Black metal is to you guys.
Heathen Beast: We mentioned earlier that we wanted to create something unique and create an identity. Black metal is so much more than just music, it was a revolution, a rebellion, and it was a war for a cause. For us it is a great style of music that allows us to express ourselves. It is our form of rebellion, it is our revolution and it is voice of our cause.
HB.IN: I know you may be a little new in the metal ‘scene’, but it will surely be interesting to know what your thoughts on on India’s other black metal bands…
Heathen Beast: We have heard a whole bunch of them and most of them are following the international styles of the genre but that is fine. We believe that any band that plays their music with honesty and integrity deserves our support, it doesn’t matter if they are the best band in the world or a brand new one. I think from the new bands Mumbai’s Stark Denial are going down the right path and of course 1833AD and Spiked Crib are already at the top.
HB.IN: Tell us about ‘Ayodhya Burns’. What were the ideas you wanted to put across? How long did you take to record it and are you happy with the response you’ve got?
Heathen Beast: The ‘EP’ was written and recorded last year between September – November. We are very happy with the way it turned out as well as the response it has received from critics and fans. We felt the Ayodhya issue was important, given our atheistic background since it is religion that is tearing apart our country. The EP actually has a flow lyrically as well about Blind Faith that leads to Religious Genocide which culminates into Ayodhya Burns.
HB.IN: What are Heathen Beast’s musical influences? Any bands/ musicians in particular?
Heathen Beast: We are inspired by lots of music, we listen to pretty much everything and there are only 2 kinds of music for us, music that we listen to and music we don’t. Our inspiration comes from the world around us, particularly
India, religion and events around us. Musically we try not to have idols or get overly into any bands and rather work to create our own sounds. Indian Raagas would be a definite influence musically. We are sure people can relate our music and find similarities with other black metal bands, what we listen to might definitely show in our sound.
HB.IN: Tell us a little about the guys behind the pseudonyms. What are your real names, and what does each of you do?
Heathen Beast: At this juncture, we choose to remain anonymous because to put a common name and a face or even a job to anyone in this band takes away from what we wish to be seen as. For now I request people to think of us as just as a band, musician or entity that creates music and meaning.
HB.IN: What’s coming up next for Heathen Beast? Are we going to see any more new material from you guys this year?
Heathen Beast: There is a full-length album in the works. Just like Ayodhya Burns surfaced so will this album. Like Ayodhya Burns we are likely to make a limited edition CD release for it, however we will not be giving it out for
free this time. We are also looking at a possible music video for one of the songs and we are currently in talks with a few record labels and distributors to take up the album when it is out.
HB.IN: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to add here- a message to fans, critics, other bands etc?
Heathen Beast: We are eternally grateful to all the musicians and fans that supported us, listened to our music and gave us wonderful feedback, quotes and encouragement. The Heathen Beast shall rise again!