Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing India's very own and brilliant Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metallers - Bevar Sea,
Bevar Sea are starting to make a name for themselves with their stunning debut S/T album which I recently reviewed here:
The guys have kindly agreed to talk to me about all things Doom, Stoner and Sludge Metal. So lets get down to business with India's finest Stoner Metal band.
Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. For people who are unfamiliar with your band, can you tell them little bit about the history of the band? Where you're from, band members, when you formed?
Hey there! Here's the history lesson - Srikanth started the band in 2008, jamming with a few friends of his in Bangalore while learning how to play the guitar. After a couple of years of jamming, with some lineup changes along the way, there were quite a few fully formed songs ready, and the band got its debut gig late in 2010. Since then, it's been a steady climb, and the lineup has stabilised with Srikanth and Chacko on guitars, Deepak on drums, Ganesh on vocals and Avi on bass.
Q2 – How would you describe your sound.
Sludge soup for the soul. But seriously, a trademark of this subgenre is open Black Sabbath worship, and we check that box fairly blatantly. Essentially, we just try to incorporate all our favourite elements - grooving rhythms, big riffs, melodic solos, whiskey-fueled vocals - and see what comes out.
Q3 – Is The Band a Full Time Project or do you have regular jobs to support the band.
Pigs will fly before anyone starts making a living out of playing heavy music in India. All of us still need our day jobs very much.
Q4 – How has the reaction been like to your music overall. At home and abroad.
At home, it's been largely positive. We actually didn't expect that, since there weren't too many avid fans of this sound around, but now we see quite a few people sharing links to tracks by Sleep, Church of Misery and the like. It's a good feeling! There have been quite a few international orders for our album, predominantly from the USA and Europe, which was also a pleasant surprise. We've sent out our CD to several international review sites, so hopefully there ought to be more coverage soon, and then we can better gauge what the reaction is like.
Q5 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.
Most of our friends were made through music, and the remainder are happy to turn up for a concert now and then to support our asses. As for our families, they're just happy that we're not total deadbeats. Overall, that's a big yes.
Q6 – You released two great EP's and released a whole shitload of great videos on YouTube. Has this helped get your music across to a lot more fans.
I think calling them EPs might be glorifying them a bit. They were just recordings of our practise sessions while we were warming up for a couple of gigs. Hopefully, we sound a bit better now! But yeah, I think giving people easy access to check out our music, and having concert videos and other fun stuff to absorb gives us a better chance of showing people what we're all about, and eventually converting them to fans.
Q7 – Do critics reviews bother you as a band or do you just care what the fans think.
We're open to criticism, and honestly, we're quite self-critical a lot of the time. One of the few things we could do without are the lazy reviews, where the reviewers don't have a clue what they're writing about, and just use the reference points closest to them, even if we don't sound anything like that! If it's got enough of the 'lulz' factor, though, we'll let it slide - why turn down a good laugh?
All that said, it's about what we want to play, and while external opinions are always good to hear, they shouldn't be crucial to decide whatever path we take.
Q8 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is there one main songwriter or does everyone contribute to all the songs.
So far, Srikanth has been the main songwriter. Deepak does a lot of music with other bands and projects, and the rest are too damn lazy! Anyway, Srikanth comes up wit a bunch of riffs and ideas, brings them to the jam room, and there, we see what works in a full band setup, and discard or tweak with the stuff that doesn't. Inevitably, everyone adds our own touches along the way, so that the finished product ends up being quite distinct from its origin. We'll also occasionally mess around with finished songs, and add new parts and dynamics here and there for different gigs.
Q9 – How is the Metal Scene in your home town or surrounding areas. Are there a lot of places for bands like yours to play at on a regular basis. As India is not known for its metal scene. Especially a Stoner Metal Band at that.
Pretty bad, to tell the truth. Very few venues left where we can organise a small gig, let alone a large one. We have some diehard metalheads who make it to every concert, but the numbers are rarely high enough to make it a sure thing. We've got our inhouse initiative, The Mighty Riff, which we hope to make a profitable model for regular gigs, so let's see how that goes. As for India not being known for its metal scene, there are very few bands from here that could cut it in the international scene, so it's not all that surprising. Hopefully, that changes in the future!
Q10 – Do you tour on a regular basis. What has the reception been like to the band performing live. Have you toured with any famous bands.
We haven't toured at all! Organising a tour is a major thing - we need to find enough places that want to have us play, we need to get time off from work, make sure we don't end up losing money, and a bunch of other headaches. There are only two cities we've played so far - Bangalore and Chennai. The response in Bangalore is always great! Since it's home turf, and our buddies are always around, we tend to be in our comfort zone playing here.
Our gigs in Chennai have been a lot smaller, but even having a few dedicated fans of our kind of music come out to see us is pretty awesome. So, we haven't toured with anybody, but we did open for Orphaned Land for our debut gig, and were in the lineup alongside Kreator at Bangalore Open Air.
Q11 – Do you have any plans to tour abroad or is too expensive to do at the moment.
That's our long-term plan. If the band moves from a self-sustaining entity to a profit-generating one, then we can start saving for an international tour. That'd obviously be a big landmark for the band,
so hopefully we can plan to have it just after our second album or so.
Q12 - How do you feel about blogs and websites giving music away for free.
Tricky. We're not going to pretend we haven't ever checked out the leaked release of an anticipated album, so it'd be hypocritical to geton a high horse when it comes to our music. The situation is quite complex, and hints of a flawed system - physical media operates on one set of rules, laid down by the record companies, but for a long time, the digital world has been a sort of wild west scenario, where lots of people go "We ain't paying you nothing!" and openly share media.
Now you could argue that this is part of humanity's cultural output, and that humans ideally should not be locked out of any culture for monetary reasons, but then again, the cultural contributors still have to operate in a system that requires money to survive. From a pragmatic perspective though, we're hardly big enough to be hurt by unauthorised file sharing - at this point, all it can do is spread awareness of the band, with which we obviously don't have a problem. Besides the CD, we'll be offering our music for digital download and free streaming online, so we're just trying to make it as accessible as possible.
Q13 - What are the most/least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.
Playing live to a receptive audience is obviously a big one. Some of us were stage newbies at first, but now, we tend to relax a lot more and just enjoy the rush. Having people tell us that they got into some great bands through our music is also pretty sweet. Mostly though, it's getting to play the kind of music we like.
Least rewarding aspects are struggling to find venues to play, occasional ego hassles with show organisers, lugging our equipment around for practice sessions,
Q14 – What are the future plans for Bevar Sea. Is the long awaited debut album coming out in 2012. (OK Folks I wrote this interview before the debut album was released)
The album is the priority! We're gunning at a September release date, as long as there aren't any unexpected delays with production. Then, we've got The Mighty Riff sometime next year, which should be a blast. There are also plans to set up a practice/recording studio at home, and that'll take quite a lot of work too. In the middle of all that, we hope to get to play in some new cities. I guess that's the lowdown on our immediate future.
(The album is finally released and has been receiving some brilliant press. I know the guys are very happy with the reception they have received so far).
Q15 – Can you recommend any other great bands to check out in India. Regardless of any genre. I do like Shepherd. They are a great band who I will be featuring soon.
Shepherd kicks ass! We'll be looking forward to that feature. Anyway, greatness is subjective and all that, but as for the other bands we recommend, Dying Embrace are obviously one of the favourites, since they were playing their brand of extreme doom long before extreme metal was common listening material here in India. Kryptos is getting great reviews all over the place for their new album, The Coils of Apollyon, so you might want to check them out.
Albatross is a band that's kept getting better with every release, Inner Sanctum makes for a monster live performance, and Gorified is a fun grind outfit that's coming out with an album soon. Of course, all these guys are good friends of ours, so maybe we're just a little biased.
Thanks for the time in answering these questions. I hope it all goes well in the future and maybe one day I will see you guys in action.
Thanks for the support, man. We hope we get to play in your part of the world someday.