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Gaia’s Throne – Special Article

Gaia’s Throne is a sci-fi themed heavy metal band from Pune that’s pushing the envelope when it comes to the music and even thematically. Although the debut full length is coming out next year via the Transcending Obscurity India sub-label, the band has just completed recording for its new song Crisis I: Bereavement and it became necessary to throw more light on this effort, and while we’re at it, also talk about the band’s progress and future plans.

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TO (Kunal Choksi): What’s the current scenario in the band? Please elaborate on the intricate fantastical sci-fi world of sorts that you’ve created for the band. Going by the special artworks created, there’s a strong underlying concept for the album.

Gaia’s Throne (Sidharth): The band has been in an interim period for long, and we’ve just risen from stasis to get back to a goal we have been pursuing in the three years of our existence so far – completing and releasing a kickass debut full length. That’s what we intend to achieve in the next half of the year, Godspeed!

We’ve waited this long because this lineup works the best for us and we wouldn’t have it any other way now. Some time has been spent in settling down individually, professionally, but this is going to be it. There is a certain chemistry you need to achieve before you know that a band is ready to cut a release – that too a full length! The coming few months hold a great significance in all our lives now.

Our current lineup, established July 2014:

Aditya Shukla – Guitar
Ameet ‘Teema’ Kulkarni – Guitar
Neeraj Diwan – Bass
Harshvardhan Gore – Drums
Sidharth Raveendran – Vocals

Gaia’s Throne (Aditya): The year is 2745, a scientist is born in a degenerate society, only to realize that Earth is ready to move on without the human race. He chooses, changing the very nature of ethics, to design a noble, sentient and superior race of humans called the Homo Eternus. A race which harnesses unimaginable mental resources with 9 sensory organs to justify life on Earth.

The scientist uses biotechnology to live for 3 centuries conducting research and surprisingly witness the first encounter in human history with an alien race called Keperthals. A rebel warlord named Vaelon Spine, who is a normal albeit blood thirsty human, is threatened by the existence of an incoming alien race and a superior human race. Gaia’s Throne is about the events that unfold in this setting where the very existence of Earth is in question.

Final Band Photo

TO: How difficult is it for Gaia’s Throne to jam, considering that more than two band members are currently pursuing careers? What does it take to remain together in a largely underground scene for the band?

Gaia’s Throne (Sidharth): We’re making it a priority to have productive weekends as working professionals. The gigging culture hasn’t evolved for metal to develop any ‘circuits’ where we will be playing entire weeks and whatnot, plus work can always use an off day or two when we need to take stage and put on a great performance.

I guess any adult in a band who isn’t doing music full time ideally learns to balance work life and creative pursuits. Keeping every member’s priorities in sync with the band’s priorities is another important step in staying together, which I feel has been crucial for Gaia’s Throne to have come this far.

Gaia’s Throne (Aditya): Each one of us made a commitment and agreed upon a common goal: The success of Gaia’s Throne. Not just the music, but as a complete entity. We’ve built it together and laid the foundation. That keeps us going. So now we find workarounds. Fortunately, we’ve had time on our side that permit our personal and musician goals to work in synergy.

I personally do not stop composing and practicing no matter where I am even if I don’t have a guitar with me (yes, you can practice playing guitar without a guitar). In fact, each member of the band will hone their skills and tap into creativity regardless of the distance. And when the opportunity of meeting in person and jamming arises, we grab it and use it to the fullest.

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TO: What do you think about the future of “heavy metal”? Bands like Albatross and Against Evil have proved that there is a very strong upsurge and interest for that style. It even affected the sales of the lesser known band called Gypsy from Kolkata. Your band, despite having various influences, kind of like the band Rectified Spirit, is still rooted in the old heavy metal style. Do you think it’ll ever run out of appeal?

Gaia’s Throne (Sidharth): I think heavy metal is music anyone can appreciate. People even remotely into relatively heavier, guitar driven music like say classic rock, can enjoy our music partly if not entirely on record. It definitely is a lot more fun live.

The ‘old-school’ does not exist in our hometown Pune, apart from stylistic influences that we and perhaps another band or two have, notably Dirge or Anarchy. This means our audiences are open & very receptive to multiple styles of music, not just our own. But it also tends to be a lot more amorphous, in the sense you will not see too many long-term supporters of the band in comparison to the turnouts at shows, as tastes change and people move on from listening to metal music way too quickly in the transient, student-life youth populace that is the primary crowd for metal in Pune.

We’ve been luckier than most bands, I believe, given how many people continue to look out for our music and love our output.

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TO: Please tell us about Crisis I: Bereavement. Where did you have it recorded? How was the songwriting process for this one and the lyrical/conceptual theme for it?

Gaia’s Throne (Sidharth): The lyrics revolve around a situation where our ruthless warlord Vaelon Spine, the Leader of the Brotherhood, launches an attack on the alien species known as the Keperthals. The Eternus, who are a superevolved sapien species, have been in the middle of a peaceful deal being made with the newly-arrived Keperthals.

But they sense that all is not well here, as one of their own has suddenly disappeared from their telepathically linked network known as the Ethereal Mesh. Their Ambassador to the Keperthals is revealed to be the missing link, and they need to find a way to reach out to him and rescue him before the carnage consumes all life on Earth. This is the moment definitive of Crisis I: Bereavement lyrically.

The conflict lies in forging some kind of compromise with the violent Vaelon and his armies, where both parties can find a way to stop the irreparable damage being done to life on Earth as they know it.

Gaia’s Throne (Aditya): The song has been recorded at Demonic Studios, Mumbai under Sahil Makhija, of Demonic Resurrection fame. We chose to do this song the way all our heroes have done – a room, mics drums and amps! The single has been produced 100% organic and suitable to the ideology and style that we pursue musically, and Sahil has been a great friend and ally in the process.

At the heart of our songwriting process, is my ‘incubatory’ process where I write something slowly by doodling around our story theme in my head, wait for my brain to assimilate my ideas (musical and otherwise) and then have relatively small periods of refining a piece. And, a long session of summing up the story’s details relevant to the song. Then the material enters the jam room where the whole band molds it thoroughly. This is where the band as a whole incubates the song and the music passes the test of making sense with lyrics. We did this with Crisis I and we would probably do this for many more songs.

TO: When can we expect to see your band on stage now? How important do you think it is to play live? How well do you think the sound/imagery translates on stage? Have you thought of doing something special, like perhaps dressing up in a different way or having standies or using alien masks for that added appeal/attraction?

Gaia’s Throne (Sidharth): The band has played live throughout 2013-2014, despite lineup changes. We feel it’s time that we play more shows in more cities, expand our listeners and expose more to the offering that we have in terms of an immersive science fiction concept that drives our retro, yet different musical style. You should hopefully see more of us live in the next few months and always remind your local promoter if we’re a band you’d like to see performing in your city. We love being on stage!

Gaia’s Throne (Aditya): Oh yes, we would certainly enjoy teleporting on stage and at the end say: Beam me up Scotty! Hahaha, Perhaps use a sonic screwdriver to tune our guitars and adjust the kick volume! On a more serious note, we do take imagery associated with our sound quite seriously. From wearing slippers and tied-hair college look, we’ve moved on to one wearing robes, jackets and boots. But we are still growing, visually and musically. I can promise you this: Gaia’s Throne will get very theatrical in the immediate future. Perhaps masks and and props are just the starting. (Smiles looking at a book I wrote about us in the future!)

TO: Lastly, what can we expect from your full length that’s due sometime in 2016? How different would your band be from the rest?

Gaia’s Throne (Sidharth): Gaia’s Throne is derived from an intense passion for the music we play, and the shenanigans of three science-fiction/comic/manga nerds who love themes, characters and stories. We hope to strike a chord in the hearts of those who love to sing their heavy metal, to airguitar to their solos and throw horns into the air as much as they like to pore over a Doctor Who, a Transmetropolitan or Full Metal Alchemist.
We aim to bring an experience with an album that involves our listeners on multiple levels, the primary one obviously being the music itself. I am proud of the fact that our band stands apart musically as we sound like ourselves, and even if we belong to a broad category for the sake of categorization, we share that space with excellent bands like Albatross, Against Evil or Rectified Spirit, as you’ve quoted above. We’re honoured!

Gaia’s Throne (Aditya): We are bringing in the best of our musical lives and pouring our most honest work into one bucket. In many ways, most bands want this too.

We wish to walk this land of sung and unsung heroes of heavy metal and we want you to join this march of victory, for every listener becomes a part of Gaia’s Throne. Expect a welcoming hail with the sound of science fiction!

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