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The Demonstealer (May 2009)

  • Interview by: Subhramani Sathyanarayan
  • Date: May 6, 2009

The man from many bands, and the master of all trades. If there is one name in the Indian metal industry that everybody knows, it sure is that of The Demonstealer. He’s as metal as metal can ever get! Headbangers India catches up with Sahil, a.k.a The Demonstealer for this exclusive interview:

HB: What made you choose a name like ‘The Demonstealer’? Do you think having a stage name has helped you in the music business?

Sahil: I guess I’m doomed to answer this question forever 😛  so here goes. When I got into metal and decided to form a band of my own, I was listening to a lot of  metal bands like Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, COF, Old Mans Child etc and most members of such bands had really cool stage names. So I decided I wanted to have one as well and being a LOTR virgin at the time and unfamiliar with European Mythology, the best name I could come up with was ‘Demonstealer’ and only because ‘Demonslayer’ was too cheesy. So, once I created an identity with the name, I decided to stick with it despite the jokes and wisecracks from people. I think the name has definitely helped in some way-
it’s someone you will remember, maybe not always in a good way! But even today the name, the jokes and everything with it is still not getting old.

HB: We don’t see The Demonstealer with the black metal- inspired face paint anymore. Why is that?

Sahil: Well, we did a few photo shoots with corpse paint only to realize we are not 6 feet tall, well
built Norwegian or Viking people. However, the realization dawned much after we used the photos
here and there and it was too late to get them back and burn them! At that time we were very young and we thought it was a cool thing to do, but we never played on stage with it. Later when Demonic Resurrection toyed with the idea again when we reformed in 2003, I just said no because it didn’t make sense as it didn’t go with the style and direction our music was taking. However, if I ever formed a black metal band like Marduk I’d consider it.

HB: Being a part of three bands and one solo project is a lot of hard work. How do you manage to juggle all of that? Is music a fulltime occupation for you, or do you also have a regular job outside the realm of The Demonstealer?

Sahil: I do have a regular day job- I work with Furtados Music as their Artist Relations & Events
manager and also product specialist. Along with that I also run Demonstealer Records.
So, the above jobs plus music is a bit of a challenge but I’ve figured out how to divide my
time efficiently. Essentially, its only two projects- Demonic Resurrection and Workshop which
are live bands… So they are my main focus and occasionally when I get free I work on my
solo stuff and Reptilian Death.

HB: Playing music in uniforms! That’s pretty innovative. Tell us about Workshop…

Sahil: Workshop, to begin with, was a pretty unconventional project being that it had a humour element not really done before by a metal band. So when we decided to seriously pursue the band, I felt it just made sense to compliment our music and stage act with a costume. And given that the band itself is called ‘Workshop,’ a boiler suit was the most apt attire for the band. The helmets are an added bonus and for safety reasons.

HB: We’re not going to ask you about who won, but still… Tell us about the entire Launch Pad experience.

Sahil: Well, I can’t tell you who won because the finals are on May 6th! But the whole experience
was awesome! It was an amazing week spending time with 7 bands in a house and we had a blast at the event. I’ve written a detailed blog about the experience so those who want a full blow by blow account can read it up on http://demonstealer.blogspot.com

HB: Do you think ‘good’ music, particularly a genre like metal, has a chance to survive in that commercial arena?

Sahil: Metal has always survived and will continue to do so. In fact, because metal is one style of music that has always been carried forward by live performances, it’s definitely going to keep surviving. I think it all comes down to how the music is supported and frankly metal is raking in the moolah these days. Maybe not so much in India but abroad, definitely. Also something to think about is that many people love metal because it’s not mainstream. I wonder if a Pig Destroyer fan will still like the band as much if they sell a million records and if every Tom, Dick and Harry is listening to the band and is a fan of it. There is a good chance that he would forget them and move on to the next obscure band which deserves his attention. It’s complicated psychology if you ask me!

HB: Now let’s hear something about your solo project- The Demonstealer…

Sahil: It was my birthday so I said Happy Birthday to me and released an album! Hahaha! But honestly, I started as a solo artist before Demonic Resurrection was born and I did the occasional single here and there over the last few years and even with Reptilian Death it was pretty much me writing all the music. So, last year in 2008 I said I’ve got so many songs here and there its time I released something concrete. And so, I did everything that I wanted to do which was not Demonic Resurrection material. Basically, my solo project will always be there for music styles that I can’t explore with my bands.

HB: How has the response to your appearance in Global Metal been? Have you made any international contacts? Any plans to take your music outside India?

Sahil: Ever since I started in 2000, I’ve been making international contacts which have allowed me to
get my music out to parts of the world which would not be possible otherwise. Honestly, while we’ve got great responses to being in Global Metal there has been no impact to the band like tour offers, record deals or anything. Definitely more MySpace page hits but that’s about it. About taking our music outside- I’ve been spreading the music through Demonstealer Records as much as possible and once we release the new album, we are going to be working very hard to make sure we have an international tour and play a few festivals. Hopefully they will all work out.

HB: The Demonstealer is known for his outstanding contribution to the Indian metal scene, whether its music or even the record company. Anything else planned for the near future?

Sahil: This year, with the label there are a few releases planned along with doing a few launch gigs
for each release. Hopefully we can expand and do these gigs in other cities as well. We’re also working on improving our distribution and basically making sure we have a better network. Workshop and Demonic Resurrection are both releasing albums this year and I will also try and
do a new Reptilian Death EP and Demonstealer album if time permits… but am not sure just yet.
Will also try and play as many shows as possible with both bands. Demonic Resurrection has already hit places like Dhanbad, Anand, Silchar and Jalandhar and we hope to play many more cities this year.

HB: Concluding inspirational lines from The Demonstealer to metalheads across India would be…

Sahil: Each and every metal head makes the Indian metal scene a success or failure. So the scene doesn’t lie in the bands or just the bands and musicians… it’s all about you guys supporting the music they make. So Cheers & Stay Demonic!