Interview: Sahil Makhija Talks About Demonic Resurrection And His Studio Project Demonstealer

So recently we caught up with Sahil Makhija aka Demonstealer of the bands Demonic  Resurrection, Reptilian Death, Workshop and his studio project Demonstealer. He also runs a record label for extreme metal music called Demonstealer among many other independent projects. Pheww..It's a long list yes but that goes to explain the experience he has. Seen as the face of Indian metal scene, We tried to get deep with him to understand his opinion on all things metal. So here's what he had to say about them.

Metalhead Spotted : Hello, how are you doing today? Thank you for your time firstly, most of us have a rough idea about your busy schedule, thanks for the status updates. :P
Demonstealer : Hello, I am a bit under the weather so taking a break from work actually and I hope to be ready to get back to work by next week. 

Metalhead Spotted : A multi-talented artist like yourself, playing for 5 bands, running your own studio, a metal cooking show, hosting guitar clinics etc. without taking any/much leaves, what is your secret of continuing this schedule year after year?
Demonstealer : Metal and music is my life. I have been very lucky to extremely understanding employers Furtados Music who allow me to work from home which gives me time to focus on everything else I do. I don’t really socialize much or party and I’m mostly in my room or studio working or cooking and getting things done. 

Metalhead Spotted : You have been in this field for more than a decade. You must have seen a lot of ups and downs, and you still have that excitement and energy to work like a teenager. Do you still have the same feelings/regards for metal music, bands etc. which you had 10-12 years back?
Demonstealer : If I didn’t have the same drive and passion ( if not more) as before then I wouldn’t be here today. I think the music industry has just turned a lot of musicians upside down emotionally and financially and in such a situation it’s not easy to continue unless you have an undying love for what you are doing. So for me that has what kept me going. I’ll admit I’ve had a lot of lows in the last 2-3 years, possibly more than before but you just got to pick yourself up and carry forward. 

Metalhead Spotted : Demonstealer’ has been one of your projects for quite a long time. How did you come up with this name? You already have 2 extreme metal projects which are doing very well, what is your idea behind still continuing with Demonstealer?
Demonstealer : ‘Demonstealer’ is my stage name which was inspired by all the music I listened to when I was 16, which was bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Old Man’s Child, Cradle Of Filth etc. All the members of these bands had stage names taken either from LOTR or Mythology and myself being not so well read came up with this. Over the years it’s kind of stuck around and just used it to put out music that didn’t fit my other projects.  For me this project is very personal. In short, it’s me, pure and unadulterated. In my bands I generally collaborate with other members and each band has a sound and a style that is kind of followed. Under this project I pretty much can do whatever I want musically. It’s also my outlet for what I can’t express in the other bands. 

Metalhead Spotted : You are doing a crowd funding for your latest Demonstealer album, which directly connects the musician to the fans and is a win-win for everyone. Could you shed some light on that? Have you encountered any negative aspects about this model? 
Demonstealer : Ignorance breeds fear and prejudice. Most negativity comes from people who don’t understand how this model works. The only thing here required is trust between fans and the musician. If my fans believe in what I am doing and that I will deliver a worthy album they put their money behind it and pre-order either the download, CD, boxset, t-shirt or some of the other bundles available. This essentially gives the musician the financial power to release the album. These days albums cost anywhere from 2 lakhs to 10 lakhs depending on what you are doing and then for a musician to try and sell cds over a period of a year or more to recover that is ridiculous. So this way if your fans believe in you then they take that burden off you. I strongly believe that many small contributions make a big difference.  
Metalhead Spotted : Demonstealer is a studio project as of now, any chances we can see you performing live with various artists, may be a good idea for a super-group?                                               Demonstealer : I will be taking this live to promote the album when it releases. It won’t be a full time band just a couple of gigs here and there and as an when we get good offers. I don’t think I can take a full various artists entourage with me because that is very expensive but I will have some good sessions musicians on board 
Metalhead Spotted : You have performed abroad more than once. How was your experience there? What you feel is the difference between Indian crowd and outside?
Demonstealer : We’ve always had a blast playing abroad. The audiences vary from country to country. Like Norway they aren’t big on moshing but in Czech Republic they go mental. The common factor is that at the end of the day you play good music and put up a good performance they appreciate it and it’s the same in India too.

Metalhead Spotted : You have been in the scene for a long time and have seen it evolved, people and ideas coming and going. What are the things that you’d say made a positive or negative impact on people’s minds/entire scene?
Demonstealer : The way I see it everything can impact a positive change. The scene has evolved and will continue to do so. The balance is there. Right now the need of the hour is for metal fans to remain metal fans after the age of 23-24 and to continue to come for gigs and support the bands they love.

Metalhead Spotted : In all these years are there any decisions that you took which now when you look back and think should have been thought about a bit more and taken differently?
Demonstealer : Hahahah... well if I’m sure there are tons of things I would have done differently but since that isn’t a possibility I personally choose to not dwell on that thought. I realize that whatever good or bad happened is what has shaped me as a person and DR as a band. I’m one of those people who doesn’t regret anything, unless I’ve hurt someone. Apart from that we had to make the mistakes we made so we could learn and grow from it and so hopefully we can give other bands a heads up to not repeat those mistakes.  

Metalhead Spotted :The new Demonic Resurrection album, ‘The Demon King’ is out. How would you say that this one is different or better than any of your previous work?  

Demonstealer :  I think it’s the evolution of the band and the sound from the previous album ‘The Return To Darkness’. What you hear is a more cohesive work of the members of the band and a more firm footing on what we call the DR sound. For a musician his latest work is always his best because that is how we evolve if you write an album and you don’t think it’s your best work till date, you won’t release it.  However for fans it’s a different story.  

Metalhead Spotted : Lastly, a lot of teenagers aim to be full-time musicians. Many of them might be without any proper guidance, any words of wisdom for them? 
Demonstealer : If you are incredible at your instrument then being a full-time musician is not a problem. However if you restrict yourself to just metal then I would suggest it’s best to get a day job and play music as a hobby on the side. 
Interviewer - Kaushik Joshi
Editor- Puneet Chauhan

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