Exclusive Interview: Demonstealer talk “And This Too Shall Pass”!

Adorned by artwork by Indonesian artist Adi Dechristianize (Embalmer, Disgorge) and mixed and mastered at Hertz Studio in Poland by Wojciech Wieslawski and Slawomir Wieslawski (Decapitated, Hour Of Penance, Vader, Behemoth), the new EP “And This Too Shall Pass” by Demonstealer is an absolute hidden treasure. The project is the work of multi instrumentalist Sahil Makhija, whose previous works have each been a piece of Death Metal that India has been able to hold on to. Having reviewed the EP, we had the pleasure of an audience with the man behind “The Reptilian Warrior” and here is what he had to say…

It’s been 2 years since “The Last Reptilian Warrior” and for “And This Too Shall Pass” you went down the crowdfunding route; what was it that sent you down that path and how did you find the journey?I think I’ve always been a serial crowdfunder. In 2011 even before crowd funding platforms existed in India I created my own system for my band Demonic Resurrection to fund a music video. Since then I’ve successfully crowd funded the 4th season of my cooking show Headbanger’s Kitchen, Demonic Resurrection’s 5th album Dashavatar and both my solo albums ‘This Burden Is Mine’ and ‘The Last Reptilian Warrior’. I’ve always believed in the power of the fans and I think over 20 years of being a musician I’ve developed a very close relationship with my core fanbase. I know that they trust me to deliver quality music and always give them their money’s worth. So it makes sense for me as I manage to have the finances to make the album and can work and do my absolute best without that weighing on me. The crowdfunding itself does take some work but it’s also very rewarding, being able to share updates with fans, give them sneak peaks and get their feedback immediately on this. I do love the process.

How have you found the reaction to the new material? Which are your favourite moments from the EP? I’ve only released a single so far and the response has been tremendous from the fans. I’ve seen my Spotify audience grow from like 600 listeners to just over 3000 since the single released. I’m really pumped for this EP and I feel like the fans are going to live it. I think for me the ending ominous section of the first song ‘This Crumbling Earth’ and the final song ‘From Flesh To Ashes’ in its entirety are my fav moments on the EP.

We noticed a nice continuity between “From Flesh To Ashes” and “From Rubble to Ruin” from your 2016 “The Burden Is Mine” album. Was that something intentional or was it something that came about naturally? “Oh I didn’t even realize that so thanks for pointing it out. I guess it was completely unintentional. Didn’t even think about it.”

“The Last Reptilian Warrior” saw collaborations with Kévin Paradis of Benighted and Svart Crown, Romain Goulon of Necrophagist, Kerim Lechner of Septic Flesh and Decapitated and David Diepold now of Obscura; if you could have had a guest appear on “And This Too Shall Pass”, who would you have chosen for which song and why? Of the guests you have worked with in the past, which one did you enjoy working with the most? “For the last album the songs were written keeping all the guests in mind and with this EP I knew it was going to be just me so I never envisioned the songs with anyone else on them. However I think if I did have to pick a guest musician I’d love to have had Bjorn Speed from Soilwork drop some guest vocals on the EP. When it comes to the guests, honestly it was a pleasure working with all of them, it would be hard to pick just one. I guess if I had to I would say George Kollias because he was the first one I got to work with and we did a full album together so that allowed for a lot more working together”

How do you find having your own studio to work in on these releases? Is it a help because you can take your time or a hindrance because there is no time pressure? “When I started 20 years ago it was because of having the ability to record myself at home. That’s why I even started writing and recording. I’ve used studios in the past but largely for minimal work like drum recordings or vocal tracking. There are pros and cons to each setup to be honest. At home it’s great I can take my time. There is no stress about cost and not having to pay for the studio does save a lot of money. On the down side I do have to manage performance and recording and I don’t have anyone else in the studio to push me so it’s really all down to me. Honestly I wonder if I’d ever be able to record in someone else’s studio now. I’m just so used to having my own space but you never know, might give it a go someday.

What’s the scene like in Mumbai? Are there any local bands that you’ve heard you could recommend to us? Well covid has put a halt to any live gigs that did take place, some folks put together online shows to keep things going. We finally have a live gig happening at the end of the month so will see how that goes. There are lots of great bands in India, I’d love to recommend Gutslit, Primitiv, Zygnema, Albatross and Bhayanak Maut from Mumbai. Some other bands to check out are Kryptos, Inner Sanctum, Skyharbor and Bloodywood.

And This Too Shall Pass” by Demonstealer is out 11th December 2020 and is available over at bandcamp.

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