Remember the name, Bloodywood. The Indian quintet have stormed out of their home nation and are rocketing towards international stardom, here is a band who have somehow managed to harness the Bhangra sound with a fruity blend of Nu and Folk Metal. Led by dual vocalists Jayant Bhadula and master of ceremonies Raoul Kerr, the New Delhi boys are joined by guitarist Karan Katiyar and touring musicians Vishesh Singh (drums), Roshan Roy (bassist) and Sarthak Pahwa (dhol player). We spoke to Karan at Bloodstock about their humble beginnings, acceleration to international acclaim and what the future plans are.
"The only reason we're political right now is because there is a huge disbalance all over the world when it comes to politics"
Your career started off from recording covers of well known Indian songs and uploading them to YouTube, from there it rocketed upwards, was it something you expected or wanted to happen?
“We always wanted it to happen but we never foresaw it, we never foresaw the intensity of it but we always wanted it to happen (being honest about it haha).”
For those who know the Indian metal scene, they would know Demonic Resurrection and Kryptos as the defining pioneers of the scene, are Bloodywood considered the 'new wave of Indian metal'?
“I wouldn't say that because those bands have been at it for a really long time, sometimes people say that the torch has been passed onto us, but I don't believe that because they're still doing their thing, we're doing our thing and I have a feeling that you're going to see a lot more from the Indian metal scene, there are some very promising metal bands coming up.”
Of course competitions like the Wacken Metal Battle have helped support the metal scenes across the sub-Indian continent, do you feel with this exposure that more metalheads in Europe will pay more attention to bands in that part of the world and wider Asia?
“Um, no I don't think that's going to happen. I think there's going to be an equal amount of attention throughout the world because that's just how metal is. I don't think you can really pinpoint a particular place to say that metal belongs 'here or there', it belongs everywhere. It just takes a few good bands for people to start listening to bands from that area, I feel it's still yet to happen for India but things are looking up.”
What are the modern challenges that bands in the Indian metal scene face nowadays?
“Id say there are just two challenges that we in particular face – One we don't get any gear in India, everything has to be imported which means we pay about 300% of the price, and two there are a lack of venues, because it's a very different way of how people work over there – venues decide if they want to let the bands in or not and no ones heard of metal, so they're very sceptical. Lack of venues and gear, that's the only thing that makes India different.”
Your music video 'Machi Bhasad', was that filmed with audio overlaying the video or with live music?
“No, none of the music videos have live audio, it's impossible to do that because you're going to catch so much of the ambience – if we actually sung into the mics we and record that, you're going to hear people all over the place, cars and horns, it's India man it's never going to be quiet, so that's impossible to do.”
So when you had the locals in the video, what did they make of the music?
“They don't understand any of it, but they really want to enjoy it, because it's a spectacle for them, you don't find metal bands rolling up to your village an start playing in the road everyday you know? They're just very supportive though, they'll never get in your way, if you want something you can always ask them, they'll just stand by and watch, that's all they ask for in return.”
Your debut album 'Rakshak' was released this year and was well-received worldwide, please tell us what the album is about.
“I can't put one particular topic to the album because there are so many things we talk about, but I'd say all the songs are in favour of a better world. I'd say the songs are political in nature, but we also want not to be extreme about it, we want a very balanced approach, the only reason we're political right now is because there is a huge disbalance all over the world when it comes to politics, literally all over the place and that's when we have to speak up, if things were in balance then we would not be a political band.”
What are your tour plans for the rest of the year and into 2023?
“We have a month-long USA tour in September / October, and then in 2023 we're coming back for a headline tour across the EU and UK... and there's talks about Japan too so we're all very excited.”
Do you have any greetings and thanks you that you wish to send out to friends, family, fans etc?
“I'd like to say hello to everyone who is reading this interview and everyone can check out the band across YouTube, Facebook, etc., if you catch us on tour you can buy a very limited edition of our vinyl, its called the 'naan vinyl' – it looks exactly like a naan, because the tour is called the 'Nine Inch Naan Tour', spoiler alert... it's not edible but is selling like hot naans.”