NEPHELIUM Interview (Canada)

Answered By Alan Madhavan ( Drums )
Update 16 April 2012

Before going into band things, about you personally, Alan Madhavan. Could you introduce yourself in a compact manner?
Hey there Herry! Before anything, thank you for your interest in and taking the time to interview us. By origin, I’m half Indian and half Malaysian but was born and partially raised in Kuwait and later moved to the United Arab Emirates. I have been a drummer for the last 17 years. Other than music, I love working out – if you don’t find me behind my kit, you’ll find me at the gym.

How did NEPHELIUM form, and what were your influences? What made you choose to be a death metal band for Great Choosen till Now?
Nephelium was conceived on an absolute impulse. My buddy Zaid and I were out and about driving around and I felt this strong urge to play black metal. Having said that, I wouldn't call it 'divine' intervention but that's literally all it was! While on the road, I called Alex and told him what I wanted to do and without question, doubt or hesitation, he answered positively. We searched for musicians to complete the line-up (we had a keyboardist at the time - whattup Sameer! :D) and recorded our demo, Archaic Malevolent Sorcery and after several line up changes and hiatuses, put out our EP, Ignite the Wrath of Silence. After playing several local shows and spreading out music across the Gulf, Alex and I set our sights higher and wanted to play to die hard fan bases around the world and alongside the bands we grew up listening to. It was time to pack up and leave! Alex moved first and I quickly followed. During that interim period, Alex recruited Boyan and Dan and Jay was later introduced to the band through out current guitarist James. After Boyan, Dan and Jay parted ways, we had to stall again to find musicians. Alex finally got in touch with Flo and without a second of delay got him on board. I coincidentally bumped into James at a subway station and said that we were looking for a guitarist. Rehearsals began and the search for a vocalist continued. Soon after Devlin joined the unit, things snowballed. 15 years, a few periods of drought, countless line-up changes, a demo, an EP and most importantly, that phone call and here we are...:) Our influences are a cocktail of genres. Currently we have members that come from a jazz/fusion background to members that are more into progressive rock and some more that are even into dubstep (yours truly…:D). We listen to and try to learn from everything we possibly can. Some of our main influences are Decapitated (Vitek…if my drumming were a tree, you would be the trunk…RIP brother), Kronos, Death, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Morbid Angel, I could sit here till tomorrow! I don’t know why we started playing brutal death metal, I guess it’s what came to us naturally. More importantly, it’s what we LOVE playing!

What Origin NEPHELIUM mean Words??
Nephelium, as referred to in the King James Version of the bible, were beings of superior genetic composition, often giants, and were the offspring of fallen angels from the heavens and women from Earth. This cross breed species, down the generations, is believed to have resulted in the human beings that we are today, with our flaws and sins. Similar references are made in different religions, and it is easy to make the hypothesis that these stories were actually primitive retellings of visitors from another planet fucking up with the DNA of apes to create mankind.

NEPHELIUM can I considered a "Technical/Brutal Death Metal" band. What are your thoughts on the term?
We are exactly that – a healthy blend of both. It’s hard to find a middle ground when delivering this genre of music. You don’t want to be overly extravagant from a technical aspect and sacrifice groove and feel. If our music was a dish and technicality and brutality were ingredients, I’m confident in saying that we got our measuring right! :)

In my view, " Coils of Entropy " is a KILLER masterpiece that unites your past with a future direction I can't quite figure out. Were there additional influences or developments to your style? Where do you go from here?
Along with a different line-up, our writing style has definitely been altered. Also, since then, we have been exposed to so many different kinds of music that has influenced our method(s) of composition and sound. Where we go from here is still inside us. The initial part of our writing process has no “plan” if you will. We let our creative juices flow freely to really play what comes from the heart.

What if You compare it with " Ignite the Wrath of Silence " Ep or " Archaic Malevolent Sorcery " demo ?
As mentioned in the above answer, a lot has changed. Having said that, the demo and EP served more than a means of documenting our music; it helped keep things fresh and moving. I still remember how excited and hungry to write we were upon completion of the demo.

How much Drum overdubbing and harmonization do you do in the studio? Is layering a necessity for the NEPHELIUM formula to work properly? I Hear Some Kickin Ass Powerfully Drumming Here, Good Job For This !!
No overdubbing or layering here brother…what you hear is what it is! Thank you for your kind words. :)

Will any Drumming make an appearance on older tracks in a live setting now that you've established it as part of your vocabulary?
If what I think you’re asking is whether we’re gonna bust out any of the older tunes, I’d say no for now but who know what the future holds!

Is it important for death metal to be a genre of "respectable" skills, one that outsiders may not enjoy but can appreciate for its creative force?
I wouldn’t say that it is important to execute; it comes with the territory. To play good death metal, you require skill. With that in mind, to play any genre of music well, you require skill. Success to me is getting those “outsiders” to appreciate AND enjoy it!

Like in the late 1970s, metal feels to many people like it has lost direction and become hollow. Is a change in direction needed, and if so, will that come from within metal?
Metal is a genre of music not only heavily driven by its fan base but also by lifestyle. The more people unite, the more a solid direction can be established. I feel that the masses take metal for granted and don’t really take time to listen to it but rather bash it off the bat. This is where the unity of the fans in our genre comes in, whether it be putting shows together, helping friends in other bands, help with advertising or whatever else. It’s the smaller things that collectively make the bigger difference.

An undercurrent of classic thrash metal. The band seeks to remain true to the standards of acts like Death, Testament, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, and Napalm Death, while putting its own signature dynamic into the mix, What inspired you to explore music in this way?
It’s what came naturally to us. Ever since we started playing our instruments, we always wanted to explore new territory and never set any boundaries to what we would do. Metal just seems to work when you have such an array of influences to grasp from – metal and non-metal.

I think many bands have great ideas for lyrics and concepts and metal in all forms really is very widely open to really any subject matter. Doesn't always have to deal with death and being bummed out, NEPHELIUM Keep using Issues Theme From Annihilation, Vengeance, Ancient Mythology Issue Till Now?
The lyrics represent visions that the entity we speak of throughout the album receives from the memory base of a dying world. It saves these visions through means of the wire like attachment on its bottom right eyelid as seen in the artwork. The image of the tree is a mystical symbol and the only thing in existence at the time whose puzzle the traveler is trying to solve. Essentially, what the traveler sees is a conjured image of a failing mind. The lyrics are a direct representation of the traveler’s journey.

For Alan Madhavan and Alex Zubair, What you decide to pursue a career in Toronto, Ontario, Canada?, Dubai City does for you is not much to give many options for this Career in Music?
Alex and I have always been hard-working individuals since we were kids. Apart from the fact that we have family here, our research told us that Toronto didn't have a top notch, premium death metal band. We saw that as an opportunity to pursue in building a stronger fan base and metal scene in Toronto as we did back in the U.A.E. Along with making a name for ourselves and playing music from the heart, we want to be "That insane death metal band from Toronto!" It was a lot of hard work getting to where we are and we are well aware that it is going to continue to be - we thrive off it and welcome it with open arms.

I know there are some good bands coming from Dubai, Like as Nervecell, Archaic Guilt, Capricious Alchemy, and More, Whether for you, in fact Dubai is not the right place for the development of extreme Metal music ??
Amongst a few other bands, we were what helped build what the scene in Dubai is today. We formed as band between friends to see where it would go and here we are! Metal in its entirety was definitely a genre that wasn’t accepted in the country due to its religion and laws. However, there were a lot of fans of the music secretly downloading and listening to all sorts of stuff; some of which they would introduce to us! With this knowledge, we decided to take part in and put on these little shows to see who would come out and needless to say, they were always packed. Bigger companies in the country started to see potential in the genre and wanted to sponsor shows and events and so from thereon, the scene started to climb and continues to do so today.

Any Plan Band for Upcoming Soon ??
We have some lose end to tie up before setting out but we will be hitting the road sometime this year. Work on our new album is already underway and in the traditional Nephelium vein, expect gut-wrenching havoc and technical sorcery that will fry your brain!

Thanks for the truly great interview. I really enjoyed it and now have to give my hands a rest from typing!
Thank you brother, it was a pleasure!

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