An Interview With SLAIN .
Slain is Bangalore’s most sought heavy metal live act. After winning numerous contests in and around Bangalore and having opened for IRON MAIDEN this year SLAIN has reached greater hieghts since it’s birth in 2006. We caught up with band spokesman and Guitarist Manek D’Silva for this exclusive Interview. SLAIN is also the artist of the Month for July on Indianrockmp3.com .
What’s the story behind the band’s name, there is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ, but why?
The name is better understood in the context of the biblical phrase ‘The lamb that was slain for the sins of the world‘, at the time we wanted to find a single powerful word that would speak for the band, its music, its beliefs. The name of the band is as much for the audience as it is for the members, every time we hear ‘Slain’ we’re reminded of our personal lives, our spiritual lives, and how much passion we’ve put into this project. ‘Slain‘, short and to the point, hence incredibly easy for a sizable crowd to chant!
On the flip side, we’d just crowned ourselves one of the scariest brutalest gore metal band names in the country, but that did provide for some good humor.
Please introduce the band members
Judah ‘Pinocchio’ Sandhy- lead vocals
Manek ‘Magik Serpent’ D’Silva- rhythm guitar
Naresh ‘Mr. Sage’ Nathan- bass guitar
Bryden ‘Cabbage’ Lewis- lead guitar
Jonathan ‘Dillu’ Wesley- keys
Jared ‘Freddy’ Sandhy- drums&percussion
DNA newspaper called SLAIN ”the Prodigal sons of Metal”, Do you agree? What genre of music would you characterize the band as being?
Well we’re yet to figure out what they meant by that, but it’s a good tag so we’ll take it as a compliment. When Judah started Slain as a college band it was all about nu-metal, heavy riffing, growling vocals etc. Then with the resurrected lineup the focus shifted to Classic Rock and it pretty much stuck until we confused ourselves with tons of Power Metal, Western Classical orchestration and huge influence of Blues/Jazz, especially when it comes to solos. As a band, we’ve always been inspired by the 80′s era, simple rocking melodious music reminiscent of Whitesnake, Journey, Stryper and all those other vintage greats. Though as hard as it is to accept, the 80′s is over- we’re in 2009 now, too many years have past to be doing the same thing all over again. What we try to do is take the elements that we love so much, that emotional intensity, that glam craziness, and just project it into our modern times. The end product is hard to define, but whatever section of the spectrum we find ourselves at, there’s always a healthy balance between musicality and technicality.
Can you tell me a little about your faith background? Did you guys grow up in a religious household? How did you all meet?
We’re all Christian. Each with our own stories, backgrounds, highly supportive Christian families, the brilliant part is we hardly even knew each other before forming Slain. It’s what keeps us going, that we don’t just treat this as a band, we treat it as a miracle! I mean, what were the odds that exactly these 6 people would land up playing music together and learning so much? The band started out as Judah’s dream, but along the journey he found people with the same dream; some came as distant friends, some as closest family, some as rival musicians- how we met is a long story but we believe there’s a reason we share this banner, Slain is all about passion. As musicians, as people, we just keep pushing each others limits, and all we know is there’s someone up there guiding us and blessing us, helping us take each step.
You guys have won almost every competition in and around Bangalore, also opened for Iron Maiden, but what is the most defining moment as a band?
We’ve come a long way in 3 years, played quite a number of shows across the country we each have our own personal favorite gigs, but honestly speaking, the shows that really impacted Slain as a band, were NLS Strawberry Fields ’07 and IIT Chennai Saarang’08, two competitions we bagged rather early but they just spread the word like nothing else. The biggest thing for a band is showing people who they are, it was exactly what we needed at the time. Of course once they know who you are, you gotta show em what you’re made of, we still get on stage to answer that one.
‘Angel in the Sky’ was nominated as one of the top 10 songs for a French FM station, what is the inspiration behind the song?
Angel in the Sky is a pretty simple song, it just makes you picture this boy standing on a high cliff looking down across a beautiful endless seascape, he’s thinking about life and death, good and evil. The chorus uses this uplifting emotion of him feeling a personal attachment to a higher being, to God and suddenly his burden is lifted, he’s free of the world, free of any boundary, just floating like an angel in the sky. Its been quite a favorite among audiences, mainly because its got some neat rhythmic instrumental sections, an epic solo courtesy Mr. Bryden Lewis, and of course the chorus is just so easy to sing along with!
What is your set list? Do you guys play covers?
We try to look at each venue, the type of people we’re playing to and decide the set list accordingly, 90% original material but now and then it feels great to pay tribute to a band that’s influenced you- Journey, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Toto have all been part of our set. And obviously there should be some sort of logic to the flow, so based on how emotional songs are or how energetic they are or what themes they talk about, we sit and painstakingly draft out a list that will be both powerful and snugly fit the time slot. Of course, onstage none of us ever remember the set so we end up trusting Judah’s instinct!
You guys released your debut EP (” The Slain EP” ) as Free downloads , when can we expect a full album?
We sat for hours together thinking about a name for the 4-track EP, short listed about three hundred names, but by far the one we were most inspired by was.. ‘The Slain EP’. It was fabulously short and self-explanatory, even gave you goose bumps when you said it out loud. Despite a good demand for physical disc format, we wanted to release it online for free because its just so much easier. We had already begun working on the full-fledged album, plotting and scheming its release far in advance, so the EP took a low-priority- we just sat back and let the internet work its self-publicizing wonders. Recording is going great, but the road to satisfaction is a lengthy string of trial and error. 5 out of 11 tracks are already finished; it’s really exciting because each new track we record becomes our favorite song EVER, only to be replaced by the next. So yes, we’re learning a lot as we go along.. There was ofcourse a minor toss-up about whether the disc should be named ‘Here and Beyond‘ or ‘The Slain album’, but we stuck with the former. ‘Here and Beyond’ is set for an indefinite 2009 release, but we promise it shall be done in style. Infact, there’s so much potential material we’ve been jamming with, I think a second album won’t be too far behind!
Who writes songs for Slain? And what is the theme/message of Slain songs?
The music part of Slain songs is generally written before the lyrics. At the centre you have the hook, which could be a melody or a riff (these saplings of inspiration mostly come from Bryden/Judah) which we assume to be the chorus, because we’re a band that really digs a good chorus. Once that’s in place we start building more riffs, licks and progressions that go with it, each person pitches in with what their good at, adding strange timings/rhythms, jazzier chords and what not. We experiment with a bunch of arrangements and juggling parts, Judah’s got a great feel for flow; he just knows when to use what melodies. Once we have a nice draft instrumental in place we sit down with acoustic guitars and decide the song theme, depending on what’s been going on in our personal lives, or even as a band, depending on what kinda message we want to portray, Naresh is great with putting thoughts to words so most ideas go through him and reach paper. We think of what problems we’ve been through, friends or families have been through, and try to spin stories. As humans we all go through similar experiences, we can relate real well to stories! there are times when things don’t go our way but we just have to keep our head up, keep the faith, just pray things will be alright. It always seems to work out, and that’s what most of our songs about, just believe in the power of the good things in the world, love, friendship, faith.
Many Christian bands turn mainstream over time, Which isn’t wrong of course. Which direction Slain is headed?
If I were to say it another way I’d be lying, by the looks of it Slain is heading the mainstream route of Creed, POD, Stryper and the likes, but that doesn’t mean we’re sacrificing our themes. By virtue of the style of music, I can’t imagine Slain being a ‘cult-band’, the tunes do magically appeal to a extremely wide spectrum of people, if there’s any hope of making a living off music, we really need to aim global-domination! Whatever happens though we’ll always be Christian at heart, our themes have always aimed to inspire hope, and it’s really the basis on which we run. We keep trying to push ourselves to new ideas in song-writing, new ways of saying things, new stories and emotions – we’ll just keep writing the music we love, leave the rest to the one that brought us this far.
Any one you would like to thank for the moral or financial support?
Our families, Our friends. None of this would’ve happened if it weren’t for their support and patience! Financially, morally, and even musically, we’ve had the good fortunate of being related to some of the most blessed people on the planet, encouragement and high expectation is how we’d summarize it! I can’t help but mention Mr. Augustine Sandhy, Judah and Freddy’s dad, he’s been an unimaginable support to us. As someone who knows tons about music and the industry, he really made sure we were quality material. From critiquing every single song of ours, being at practice sessions, helping us with tweaking and engineering our live and recorded sound quality, taking us for jazz concerts – thank you, we’ve learned a lot.
Please tell our readers how can they get access to your music .
Catch us on Myspace/Reverbnation, we’ll soon be putting up sample clips of songs; look us up on Youtube, we keep adding new videos. We’re also pretty active on the social networking sites so catch us in the Facebook and Orkut communities, an official site is coming with the album.
Slain! Thanks for the interview, any last message for Slain fans?
A musician is only an entertainer when in front of an audience. Stay blessed, thanks for being so supportive, every show, every new song, its been incredible! We’re killing ourselves for perfection on the album, its the least we can do for all the love we get! God Bless!