There’s been a decent amount of buzz surrounding this New Delhi-based folk metal project the past few years. And such hype is absolutely, well-deserved as their humble beginnings of creating YouTube covers gradually evolved into the international genre-bending beasts they currently are. Multi-instrumentalist Karan Katiyar, vocalist Jayant Bhadula, and rapper Raoul Kerr have found harmony between the exciting sensations of modern groove / nu metal and the whimsical delights of Eastern classical instrumentation. Their unique fusion led to their performance at Wacken Open Air in 2019 and millions of views of their dynamic singles / music videos.
More recently, the group dropped a new album and and will be hitting the road to perform the fresh material. Please enjoy our interview below as we discuss the recent release and more!
Bloodywood’s debut album, Rakshak, is out now. Can you talk about the writing and recording process for this record?
Our instrumentals always come first and then we plan the layout of the vocals before moving on to the writing and recording phase. Previously, we were used to working on only one single at a time before we decided to record an album. Usually that would involve locking ourselves away in the studio and working for hours or days on end until it was done. This time though, considering how much had to be done, as well as the pandemic, we decided to work individually before meeting at the studio and bringing it all together. It helped us avoid burnout and cover a lot more ground. It all resulted in something we’re really proud of.
Was there a specific goal (lyrically or musically) that you were hoping to achieve with this release?
Musically, we wanted to take risks and expand our sound rather than stick to a recipe. The signature is there, but we’ve branched out in more than a few directions. Lyrically, we wanted to do what we’ve always done and stay true to the message; you’ll hear lyrics meant for both the individual and for the global society. All the songs were written with the hope of creating a better world.
Your sound is so unique; it’s impossible to compare it to anyone else. I’m assuming this is because of a vast amount of influences across all band members. If each band member could choose two influences, which artists would you choose?
Karan: Insomnium, All Shall Perish
Jayant: Slipknot, Meshuggah
Raoul: Rage Against the Machine, Eminem
You’re also approaching some live shows and festival dates throughout 2022 and 2023. Are there any particular new songs that you haven’t yet performed for an audience that you’re excited to play live?
Yeah, we’re coming back with a whole new set that includes songs from the album, which means songs like “Gaddaar,” “Aaj,” and “Dana-dan” will be heard live for the very first time less than a month after the album drops.
There is a mix of languages sung / rapped in your songs. Do you feel pressured to write in English to appeal more to a Western audience? Do you prefer writing lyrics in Hindi or English?
Our decision to be bilingual wasn’t a conscious one, it’s something that naturally felt right from the start, so no, there’s no pressure. Jayant and Karan write the Hindi / Punjabi lyrics and Raoul writes the English ones so it’s not a question of preference; we’re all just playing to our strengths. The fusion of both languages helps us drive home a universal message.
Personally, I discovered the Indian metal scene through What Escapes Me, the Bloodywood YouTube channel, and Demonic Resurrection. I’ve also discovered many other acts like Demigod, If Hope Dies, Within Ceres, Sarfaad, Dymbuur, and many more. Do you know the bands I just mentioned and have any experiences with them (seeing them live, opinions on their music)?
Sahil Makhija of Demonic Resurrection is a friend and has been pushing the metal agenda in India for the longest time. The metal community here is small, but it’s a strong one.
Are there any other Indian metal bands that you feel are worth mentioning?
Pineapple Express, Skyharbor, Flying Cupid, and Acid Pit. We’d recommend exploring the scene as a whole; our documentary’s soundtrack features songs from it and there are more than a few hidden gems.
There are also socio-political aspects discussed in your songs and this album. For those who aren’t aware of India’s politics, can you give a brief summary of the current political situation in India?
Our messages, socio-political or otherwise are universal. The challenges we speak about and want to overcome, such as divisive politics, sexual assault, puppet broadcast journalists, etc., are both Indian and universal. The way these challenges have manifested themselves in India has given us experience and perspective as well as the desire to do something about them, but we express ourselves from a human point of view because they need to be eliminated at a global level.
Your music isn’t just music. You’ve helped those in need of mental health counseling through “Jee Veerey” and a dog shelter via “Yaad.” What other causes are you hoping to help through your music in the future?
We’re currently in the middle of planning our next initiative so we wouldn’t like to talk about it until it’s all in place, but we want to help whoever and however we can. Whenever the opportunity presents itself we will go beyond the music and make an impact.
I’m super excited that Bloodywood is expanding to perform in Europe, but do you plan to maybe tour the US in the future?
This is actually our second European tour, but yes it’s definitely bigger than last time. The US tour has always been on the cards. We’re doing absolutely everything in our power to make it happen as soon as possible.
I understand Jayant has The Cosmic Truth project. Are there any other projects any of the Bloodywood members are currently working on?
Karan produces and shoots videos for The Snake Charmer (India’s biggest bagpipe player) and Raoul releases hip hop as a part of No Flag.
The Cosmic Truth:
The Snake Charmer: