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Heretic- Featured Band (Feb 09)

  • Interview by: Vilasini Muralidhar
  • Date: February 1, 2009

After big names like Motherjane and Avial, we bring to you one of Kerala’s most popular bands- Heretic. This Cochin based four-piece metalcore group started climbing the ‘ladder of success’ after making it to the finals of Independence Rock XXIII in 2008.  Currently, they are in the studio recording their maiden album. Headbangers India had a small session of Q & A with them and this is what they had to say:

HB: Tell us how Heretic was born, and how you guys got together…

Heretic: Heretic was formed around September 2005 when guitarist Abhijit Namboodiripad, bassist David Jacob and drummer Cecil John started jamming together. But it was only a year later that our group found a consistent line-up and started making music together. Each of the members in the band was with their respective college band and we used to meet regularly at various college festivals and competitions. More than anything else, the need to play quality music and also make songs got us to form the band that we are today.

HB:  Being a metal band in a country like India isn’t easy, as we all know. But an outsider’s impression of Kerala is that it is more traditionally rooted than most other places in the country. How true is that? Did that make things more difficult for Heretic?

Heretic: Well, honestly, we feel it doesn’t matter where you come from, but rather where you are going. We agree that being a metal band in India is tough and being from Kerala, we can tell you it’s even tougher. But that is no reason for us to hold back from what we do. Society here has only inspired us to work harder and achieve more. If you look at this year’s top 10 Indian albums as listed by Rolling Stone (India), Motherjane‘s Maktub is at the top of the list with Avial‘s debut album at #3. And both these bands hail from Kerala. So I think that answers that question fair and square!

HB:  Fair enough! So what would you guys consider Heretic’s big break?

Heretic: Definitely the big break was when Heretic ended up runners-up at Kingfisher Kerala Rock’s first edition in 2006-07. Apart from netting a string of gigs with Kingfisher, it gave us the confidence that we are great as a band, and also that our songs strike a chord with the audience. Our performances at the festival exposed a lot of people to our music.

HB:  The band has been named after the Greek philosopher, known for his outspoken nature. Would you say the band kinda echoes his sentiment? Also, do you think in today’s state of affairs, a band can get away with this “freedom of expression”?

Heretic: As we said earlier, it isn’t easy being a metal band in the society we live in. A ‘heretic’ is a term given to an outcast who is unafraid to stray away from the beaten path to find his own destiny. As a band, we were always very clear about what we wanted, and wrote, sang and played our hearts out with all our songs. We have never given a damn about what today’s state of affairs is, and have always concentrated on expressing ourselves better, and improving the quality of our music. Rock and metal together stand out from any other genre of music because of the freedom of expression involved. Because true rockers do not play to impress, but rather express!

HB: (Applause). Quote noted. Now… Every band has some embarrassing shows and funny moments to talk about. Come on. Let the cat(s) out of the bag!

Heretic: Haha. Yeah, we do have a lot of anecdotes related to the band over the past 3 years. But the funniest one we reckon was at a competition at IIM Bangalore over two years back, when we got onstage at 5 in the morning. The stage was the worst we had ever seen, set in a volleyball court, with no monitors onstage and with people sleeping on beanbags in front of the stage. Towards the end of the gig, Akhil screams into the microphone “Thank You Manipal! You’ve been a great crowd!” (We had had a gig at Manipal a week before that), and one of the guys on the beanbags actually woke up with a start and exclaimed “Manipal? ” We have a picture somewhere of Abhijit doubled up in laughter backstage after the gig.

HB: And now you’re in the process of recording an album, right? Tell us about this…

Heretic: Well, the album will be called ‘Insist to Differ’, after one of the tracks in it. We’re recording at AISE Studios, Cochin. We have finished 7 out of the 8 songs that are to be in the album. We are looking at getting back into the studio by this July and we’re aiming for a late 2009 release. Previously, we had released an EP last September with 3 tracks which are up on our MySpace page. The tracks have managed to accumulate a decent amount of hits.

HB: Good luck with that!  Any major shows coming up? What’s next for Heretic?

Heretic: We are looking forward to play at Bangalore again for the second version of Rock Ethos. It’s high time more festivals like Rock Ethos start happening, instead of the many competitions that we have, which sadly have become the only gigs for a lot of bands nowadays. We are working on our next few songs now. We hope to finish them soon and get into the studio and finish off the album too!