INTERVIEW | Demonstealer
Sahil Makhija aka Demonstealer is a well known figure in Indian metal circles as the frontman for one of India’s oldest metal bands Demonic Resurrection. A couple years ago, he released a solo album under the moniker Demonstealer, This Burden Is Mine featuring George Kollias (Nile) on drums. This month, will see the release of a new album under the moniker, Last Reptilian Warrior. The album features guest appearances by some of the world’s best metal musicians.
Today we are premiering the video for the cracking closer to the album, Rebel in Space.
“This is actually an older song I had written for a collaboration project on this page called ‘All Things Metal’ which I used to be an admin on. However it never really went anywhere and I just used it as a practice track for myself.” said Sahil about the track. “I had 7 songs on this album it was really bothering me for some reason, I felt like I should have 8 at least and so I thought about adding this song as a bonus track, it’s lyrically the ‘prequel’ to the story that runs through the album. I am glad I managed to find a way to make it work in context with the album and when I saw that Dan Presland had some free time before one of his tours I hit him up to record drums and like the nice guy he is, his answer was yes. That’s pretty much how it came together.”
I also spoke to Sahil about Last Reptilian Warrior, the stellar line up of guest musicians on the album and also the future plans of Demonic Resurrection. Check out the video premiere at the bottom of this interview.
How does it feel now that you are on the cusp of the release of your third solo album?
It feels good that the album is finally being released as it’s been in the making since August 2017, nearly 10 months of writing, recording, video filming, editing etc. It was quite a lot of work especially since I thought I would get done much earlier and it went from a 4 song EP to 5 songs to 6 to finally 8 and became an album. I’m quite relieved as well because it was a lot of work. I was doing this along with my day job of making cooking videos for Headbanger’s Kitchen, my youtube channel.
Last Reptilian Warrior is a dark album with an apocalyptic theme. What inspired the album?
It’s a lot of Netflix that inspired the album to be honest, hahaha…I watched a lot of cool series like Stranger Things and Westworld and all that stuff gave me ideas for stories and I was able to create this story in my head which I put down as the lyrics to the album.
How did you select the guest musicians that performed on the album?
It all started with Kevin Paradis who was posting videos on this Metal Drummers group on Facebook that I am part off. He posted a clip at 270bpm and I immediately wrote to him that I wanted to do something together and that’s what kicked off the project. I’ve always been a big fan of David, Krimh and Romain and I knew they had the ability to record the songs as well as film the videos which was important for me for this project. The whole idea was each song needed a video. After recording bass on the first song I was feeling a bit underwhelmed with my skills (I did the job that was needed though) but I felt maybe with certain songs a better bassist could bring more to the table and that’s why I got in touch with Arran and Stefano who are both friends of mine, I’ve toured with Arran in 2014 when DR and De Profundis toured together, and Stefano, I know from his work with Hideous Divinity. I wanted all the songs to have solos so I just sat down and thought about who can play something cool in these sections and that’s how I came up with Rami, Shoi, Mendel and Yatin.
You have taken a different approach with release of the album, each song is a single and is accompanied by a video. What was the idea behind this?
I often discuss this with my friends in the metal scene that the attention span of the audience has dropped in recent times and how singles make more sense because it allows people to focus on 1 track and really get into it. As a musician I still love albums and I love listening to albums and I like writing them. I wanted to kind of bring these two ideas together. So I could release each song with a video and people can digest it at a leisurely pace and really get into each song, focus on the music and lyrics. Then they can hear the entire thing collectively. This also made sense because of the amount of musicians on this album and the fact that all the songs would sound different sonically because of that.
Do you prefer writing and recording alone or as part of a band?
There is pros and cons to each of these. When you are alone, you are the boss. That also means you can sometimes lose perspective while writing. When you write with a band it’s more collaborative so many ideas you might like don’t fly and it can be something that’s not fun but on the bright side you might get only the best ideas out because there is a screening process. I think in the last 2 years I’ve become more comfortable writing alone because that’s how I’ve written for the most of my musical career.
You raised funds for the album release through crowdfunding and have been quite successful with the same in the past projects. What is your advice for bands who are considering the crowdfunding route?
Make sure that you are realistic with your goals and that you are willing to deliver the goods, quite literally. Crowd funding is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. People have paid money for your work and that means you have to get things produced on time, packed, shipped and make sure your fans are happy that they spent money supporting you. Also, be realistic with the amount you ask for and be aware of how many fans/supporters you have who might be willing to part with their hard earned money for your music, which they have never heard.
Do you plan on taking the album live? Are there any shows planned?
Nope, there are no such plans.
You are touring UK with Demonic Resurrection this month. What are you looking forward to at the shows?
I’m looking forward to the shows themselves, playing for the people who come out to see us. Of course it’s going to be a blast driving around from one place to the next, working your ass off and hanging out with Wretched Soul. It’s going to be a blast.
Your social media of late has taken quite the depressing tone, can you spell out your frustrations in further detail, possibly also chronicling how you decided to then end Demonic Resurrection?
It’s too complex an issue to put down here but it’s got nothing to do with money or working hard. It’s a lot to do with the inability to progress and when you struggle at the same thing for 18 years it wears you down. All I know right now is I need to let go of this and focus on things that need my attention.
Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?
Cheers and Stay Demonic!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Interview conducted by none other than Peter K aka Trendcrusher. He, much like the rest of us, is someone who has an insatiable desire to discover the most obscure bands from around the world, and is an active supporter of bands from the region. He also runs his own blog called Trendcrusher. We can’t thank him enough for sending in interviews to help continue to build the content of our site.]