Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Brahmarakshas Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
1. Hi  , firstly thank you for taking the time to listen to my EP and for your kind and honest review. Brahmarakshas is one of my many musical projects, one that focuses largely on the metal aspect of my musical interests, more so black/progressive metal. There are very little clean or harsh sung vocals - most vocals are either samples from old experimental films or my own voice reciting Hindi poetry by Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh, or Muktibodh for short.

2.Recently you have released an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
2. It is definitely black metal in terms of feel, but the songwriting is stylistically influenced by death metal, jazz fusion and ambient/dissonant music.

 3.Can you tell us a little bit more about the poem you had explored with your lyrics?

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Brahmarakshas'?

3/4.  A Brahmarakshas (according to Hindu mythology) is a Hindu priest (Brahmin) who has been cursed to roam the earth forever as a flesh eating demon (Rakshasa) who cannot die and must suffer eternally. Muktibodh's Brahmarakshas (a slight variation, he is also trapped in a well he cannot get out of) is also an intellectual and a philosopher - to better understand him you must better understand the poet, who was a Marxist poet and intellectual in a time where the Indian government was actively suppressing all such literature and thought. Most of his poetry was published posthumously. His version of the mythical demon was a surreal and dark satire on the intellectuals who meekly bowed down before the Government and sacrificed their ideals just to gain acceptance in society. In doing so, they let social inequality flourish, and it is doing so even today. My other two EPs (Arising From The Surface and Misshapen Lunar Apparition - both based on Muktibodh's poetry) also explore similar themes.

Muktibodh's Brahmarakshas can also be thought of as an intellectual creature who is consumed by its own ego and leads a dissatisfied life trapped in its own musings and excessive philosophization. When I created the project, I realized I was inadvertently guilty of being a Brahmarakshas in both of those ways - I was thinking too much, and I was thinking too much within the confines set by society.

5.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicains or do you prefer to work solo?
5. I have done everything on this project myself (with a few minor exceptions, bandcamp has details) - I play guitar, keyboard/piano and flute, and do the spoken/harsh vocals. I program percussions, and produce my own albums. The EP prior to this (Misshapen Lunar Apparition) is completely electronic (as opposed to the rest in which all instruments save the drums are completely analog). It is not that I want to work solo - it is just easier to work solo than to work with other musicians who do not understand what you are trying to do instinctively. Working and playing with those that do get you, however, is sheer bliss and a great learning experience.

On that note, I have collaborated with musicians before - I have a band called "Vetal" - we have released an album in 2014 and are currently working on our second release. I'm also working with another musician on some soundtrack-like piano based electronic music, and plan to work with a few more.

6.Originally you where from India but now re-located to the United States, what was the cause of the move and also what part of the country do you live in?
6. I moved here for my graduate degree, and live on the east coast, close to NYC.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
7. I actually started a label back in January with my collaborator in Vetal - we are called Death/Cable Records - feel free to look up our bandcamp. Currently we're just a digital label and still in nascent stages of development, and since our inception we have been busy with our own things, so the legal aspects are yet to be clearly defined - right now we just pay the artists whatever they earn and do everything else for free. We are looking to promote artists with a unique and/or dark sound - doesn't matter what genre. Our current roster is small but diverse - Ravana (dub/dnb) Tulsiraakh (ambient black metal/free jazz), Benji M (nu jazz/darkjazz), Omega Oblivion (experimental/melancholic electroacoustic music), Vetal (experimental rock with industrial influences), Brahmarakshas and my other projects - Sesha (atmospheric black metal), unkitsch (soundtrack/electronic) and Drona (drone black metal).

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and death metal?
8. Honestly, you are one of the first journalists to notice this project, in spite of the three releases that preceded this one. I've only been featured by one other publication in the past, and I am not very good with the PR aspect - I only know how to make music sitting in my room and send it across to people, hoping they might listen. The ones who have bothered to listen have given some very encouraging comments though, as well as some constructive criticism, for which I am thankful.

9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
9. I think I will continue to play black metal in some form or the other, because that's the music which is closest to me. However with the release of this EP I plan to put the project Brahmarakshas on hold and focus more on collaborations and studying music in a more systematic fashion. I do plan to finish the Sesha album, which will again be ambient/atmospheric black metal, but with a very different sound as compared to Brahmarakshas - you can listen to some demos on my soundcloud page. The new Vetal album is being recorded as we speak as well.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
10. Influences are too many to mention, though when I am actually making music I don't try to angle my sound towards a particular artist, though I will borrow techniques and approaches as required. Soundwise my major influences are black metal, jazz and hindustani/western classical music. Rest are just modes of expression - be it electronica or death metal. These days I'm listening to a lot of jazz (Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Mingus, Holdsworth, Coltrane, Dolphy etc) and diving deeper into old favorites like Spawn of Possession, Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega - Bryssling, Vindsval, Hasjarl are fantastic guitarists and musicians, studying their compositions is an endless treat, especially on MoRT/Codex, Noctambulant and Paracletus.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
11. I like to read and write - my other project Sesha will feature my own poetry as lyrics. Besides that I'm interested in films - I feel like cinema is a very fertile place for all kinds of audiovisual as well as literary art to flourish - a great movie is the best of all three. Would love to score a good movie or a game some day.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
12. I would like to thank you once again for reviewing my music and for this interview, and a shoutout to my friends who have supported my music. To everyone reading, please continue supporting the artists you like in any way you can - first and foremost by listening to them. Cheers.

Links:

Death/Cable Records:

https://deathbycablerecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/deathbycable/

Brahmarakshas soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/brakshas/

Vetal:

https://vetalin.bandcamp.com/

Sesha

https://sesha.bandcamp.com

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