Voices in the Wilderness: Interview with Heathen Beast

Posted: November 13, 2015 in Interviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Heathen Beast - Logo

Heathen Beast have become, for me, a big favourite. This year’s ‘Trident’ release collects together their three EPs into a single CD release, and you can watch their progression from raw black metal act into something more sophisticated and more socially aware. I spoke to Carvaka Samkhya about how Heathen Beast came about, their message and how their Indian heritage affects the band’s output.

Tell us a little bit about Heathen Beast, the influences and concept behind it

CS: We are a collective from India and we are atheistic in nature.We believe in no god and no religion and we sing about things that are relevant to our country and culture. Musically we try and bring in more Indian sounds because it’s who we are. The concept is to make great music and spread a meaningful message, which is religion is the root cause of all evil. We remain anonymous.

Is it more difficult to be an atheistic band in a country like India? The West has kind of lost their dominant respect for religion these days, but spirituality and religion is still very important in your country

CS: Not really because in India metal is very underground and unless it’s into mainstream culture no one will care.

It’s just because you’ve kept your anonymity, I assumed your lyrical themes may have caused you problems. I take it there is a lot of religious collisions in India? I’ve read a lot about issues in Kashmir etc

CS: No it’s because we are a metal band and no one cares the uneducated masses of this country have no interest in metal and our kind of music isn’t plastered in the papers but yes if tomorrow some paper printed our stuff on their front page it would be a problem. There is a lot of religious clashes in India. Many times things are happening in small towns and villages and they don’t even get reported also at times the media will sensationalize a small incident and give it a communal edge. Politicians are famous for doing that too.

Yeah I’ve been reading about Modi and his hardline Hindu government. Even though you’re atheistic, does the spiritual history of India affect how you write? You use native instrumentation and discuss cultural events, is it important that Heathen Beast still be seen as part of Indian culture? In the same way that Norwegian pagan bands celebrate their own country’s history while railing against the crimes of religion?

CS: yes for us it made no sense to copy the Norwegians. We of course took our inspiration fro the Norwegian greats of black metal because that inspired us musically but it make no sense to copy them stylistically or lyrically even.

Where do the musical influences for Heathen Beast come from? Which bands were key reference points when you started?

CS: Emperor, Darkthrone, Immortal, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child, Mayhem. But it is life and our country that inspires us, our hatred for religion and the concept of god.

Heathen Beast - Trident

After I reviewed Trident, I went straight online and ordered a copy. Have you had a lot of good feedback both at home and further afield?

CS: thank you so much. whatever feedback we have got has been great so far. We don’t play live and it’s not so easy to spread your music these days but for us we are okay with going slow and steady. We anyway release our material slow and in 3 song EP formats. There are too many bands right now and everyone is just fighting for the attention of the fans.

Yeah there’s a lot of over saturation in all types of metal, and even if your material is great you can still get lost in the mix. There’s a lot of great metal coming out of India at the moment, has there been a catalyst for that recently, or has it always been there?

CS: No since actually in the late 80s and early 90s there were some bands like Postmark, Millennium and Dying Embrace who had releases and in fact Millennium was even having a video on MTV at that time. Then in the late 90s and early 2000s bands like Threnody, Mindsnare, Kryptos, Demonic Resurrection, PDV, Acrid Semblance and all these bands started playing and spearheading the movement of original music when the audience was wanting covers. The by the time of say 2005-2008 most bands were writing material from the start itself. So around 2010 we formed and it was natural to write our own music.

Demonic Resurrection were the first band I really heard from India. Has their success brought more of a spotlight on music from your area of the world do you think?

CS: maybe a little bit, they are a very big band, they have played lots of shows in Europe, them and also Kryptos and now even Gutslit. So I think all these bands touring is definitely bringing some attention to the scene

Where do you see the scene in India heading? Is it going to move from strength to strength, or is this ‘burn fast burn bright’ at the moment? Bands like yours have the quality to stay in people’s minds, but what of others?

CS: like every single scene in the world there are good bands and not so good bands. So in India as the scene gets more and more crowded bands will work harder and write better music to stand out so it will become good. So we think it will only get more amazing!

You have a lot of great bands there already, is there any that haven’t got much attention yet that the Killchain should investigate?

There are so many! I think most of them are now signing up with Kunal (Transcending Obscurity label head) so he will send you their stuff!

Haha yeah he sends me a lot. Well thanks a lot for doing this with me, is there anything else you want to add or say?

just want to say thank you to all those who support us and those who like our music. Hailz!!! \m/

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