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Interview

Deutsche VersionInterview mit Rudra (03.07.2009)

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Logo Rudra

HH: Hi Rudra! I'm sure that many metalheads in Germany don't know your band up to now. So first I would like to know, why you chose Rudra as your band name. Please tell me about the god and its role in the Hindu mythology.

Kathir: Rudra is the name of ancient Vedic Storm God. Also known to be an epithet of Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction in the Hindu Pantheon. Being an Extreme Metal band and playing a extreme form of music we found the concept of destruction very appealing to that genre. Moreover, being of Indian descent and influenced by the culture, we wanted to adopt a name that will best represent our roots.

HH: I guess in Singapore you are well known artists with lots of fans - how have been the resonances from the European market at your last and the actual album?

Kathir: After signing on to Vic Records I am seeing a greater response from Europe to our current album Brahmavidya: Transcendental I. The reviews so far have been very encouraging. However, the album is to be released on the 6th of July and so I am still looking forward to more responses after its release.

HH: Lets talk a little bit about Brahmavidya: Transcendental I. What themes are the lyrics about? Is there something like a red line that connects the individual songs?

Kathir: Yes. There is indeed a thread that connects all songs. In fact, this album is the 2nd chapter of the Brahmavidya Trilogy which we started in 2005. To feel the complete effect of this album, the listener is encouraged to read the inlay booklet before listening to the CD. The booklet contains the lyrics and an introduction to each and every song. Only then can one fully appreciate the effect of the music contained in this cd. We made this album such that the music and the lyrics create an aesthetic experience to the listener. We started this concept with the first chapter, Brahmavidya: Primordial I released in 2005. The subject matter of the lyrics to the current album is primarily based on the body of Sanskrit literature called Smrtis. We chose 14 Sanskrit texts and wrote a song each as a commentary to each text. So one will only get the full experience when listening to the music while reading the lyrics and notes.

HH: There are three titles on the album that are completely traditional arranged in vedic chant, if I can believe the promotional info sheet. How would you argument to combine this beautiful folkloristic elements with the rawness of death or black metal? I mean, that are two completely different worlds that collide with each other...

Kathir: In fact such a style is a musical representation of our lives. For example, I like metal and also the Vedic chants. In fact I learned these Vedic chants myself and chanted in all of the tracks in this album. Somehow, I always felt that the fusion of chants and metal is an unchartered territory in Extreme Metal which we thought would be cool to explore. Psychologically, the oscillation between two opposite experiences can be therapeutic, like subjecting someone to the calm after a storm. Just imagine such an experience. Rudra is all about musical experiences. We would like the listener to go through a journey while listening to our songs or watching us onstage. That's how I view our contribution to the global metal scene which is the combination of chants and metal. I enjoy playing the songs live as it is a beautiful experience for me as much as it would be for the audience.

HH: You gave me the right key-word: live concerts. Do you perform this traditional songs live on stage? I think that would be a really special and non common feature.

Kathir: Yes we have performed the traditional songs live. In fact two years ago we did a traditional representation of eight Rudra songs at an Arts Festival. The response from the audience was awesome. However, to tour with such an ensemble is quite an expensive affair.

HH: How would you describe your musical style? Would you say that you are a black metal band?

Kathir: Firstly I would prefer to call ourselves a Vedic Metal band. To generalise further I would say that we are an Extreme metal band with both Black and Death Metal influences. Why we prefer to call ourselves a Vedic Metal band is primarily for the reason that we don't play metal that's conventionally defined to be death or black metal.

HH: And where do you find your musical inspiration? To what music do you listen in your leisure time?

Kathir: We all have different musical tastes. However, the band collectively listens to metal, western and indian classical music mainly. For example I am currently digging God Dethroned's Passiondale & Jai Uttal's Thunder Love. When it comes to writing songs, our emotions play a strong role in inspiring us. So it all depends on what mood we are in when we enter the studio to write songs.

HH: Hehe - that's funny. Passiondale is running my player up and down for two weeks, too. What significance does Heavy Metal possess in the society of Singapore? Is there a big fan base?

Kathir: There is a big audience for heavy metal in Singapore but it doesn't get much radio time. Singapore is a very small country. To get an idea, you can see it from the concert attendance of about 4000 at a show by Heaven & Hell.

HH: Do you often have the chance for playing live concerts in your home country?

Kathir: We do get many offers to play in Singapore but we normally turn it down as Singapore is a small country and therefore it does not make sense to overexpose ourselves. We try to play once or twice a year the most.

HH: And did you already play some gigs outside of Singapore?

Kathir: We have played many gigs in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and went on a mini tour in the United States in 2007.

HH: What are your destinations as a band? What do you want to reach with Rudra?

Kathir: We have five albums under our belt. We want to keep producing extreme metal albums pushing boundaries of traditional Indian music and Metal mayhem. We want to infuse the exotic touch of Indian classical music and mysticism into the global metal scene.

HH: Well, I think you are on the best way and really managed it to create a unique style of raw music. So I wish you to get the chance to perform your music on great stages in front of a big international audience. I say thank you for the interview. Any last messages to our readership?

Kathir: Thanks for the kind words. We really wish to play stages all over the world. In fact that is our dream. Thanks to all who read this interview!

Dagger

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