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Interview with Dubai-based band KAIHON playing progressive metal

KAIHON from Dubai, UAE have put out a stunner. No one really expected an album of this calibre to pop out, let alone being of this ilk. Surprisingly forward-thinking and cutting-edge, KAIHON’s debut ‘Terraform’ is up for free download and streaming in its entirety. Guest interviewer Mebanaibor Aier Nengnong talks to the band in an attempt to reveal more information about how it all happened.

 

TO: Greetings fellas, congratulations on your debut EP ‘Terraform’. It is definitely an intriguing record with a variety of elements merged together. What was the most challenging part of it?

KAIHON: Thank you for the kind words! The most challenging part of the EP was trying to make a record that sounded interesting and fresh while trying to set the base for a sound that would define KAIHON. Plus the fact that we’re all working professionals really stretched out the recording process. Time can be your biggest enemy.

TO: It seems that the band isn’t afraid to experiment with a wide palette of sounds which is substantiated by the EP, but would you say that you’re more of an experimental metal band even though you’ve been termed as a progressive metal band?

KAIHON: We’re not sticking to any labels when it comes to our music. All the pigeon-holing of bands into genres and subgenres just makes the whole scene convoluted. We never really took up the progressive metal mantle, but if I had to classify our music, I’d call it Modern Metal.

It’s true that we do love to mix it up as far as writing music is concerned. Jude (Mascarenhas) is the main songwriter in the band, and his influences range from metal bands like CROWBAR and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD to more eccentric acts like FAITH NO MORE and LAZER/WULF.

TO: Correct me if I’m wrong but Pathological has influences from modern metalcore as well as groove metal, with a touch of just the right melodies. Is it safe to say it has become a fan-favourite?

KAIHON: Pathological has definitely been received well.  Metalcore really wasn’t the goal when the song was being written. If anything we were trying to channel a more straight-forward song that was anti-thesis to the chaotic nature of Awaken and D.T.A. People like something they can tap their foot along to. And Pathological was written keeping that in mind, while trying to keep the song memorable.

TO: Let’s talk about the EP as a whole. Can you please take us through the writing as well as the recording process? How long did it take?

KAIHON: The writing and recording process took a little over a year. Our jobs got in the way a fair bit, but with a lot of sleepless nights and pulling through the graveyard shift, the record was written and finally recorded sometime in 2016. We don’t really remember when though. Everything’s a blur of work, record, sleep, repeat.

TO: The EP has guest appearances from Keshav Dhar of SKYHARBOR and Shashank Bhatnagar of UNDYING INC. How was it like working with them?

KAIHON: Working with Keshav and Shashank was AMAZING. For being such stalwarts of the metal scene in India, they’re very supportive and it was a fun experience working with them! Keshav as a producer is a mad genius, as a guitar player it’s like watching a wizard. And watching Shashank record is an experience unto itself! WHAT A VOICE.

TO: What is the core concept of the EP? Can you explain the theme behind it?

KAIHON: The EP does have a pretty elaborate backstory. It involves parallel dimensions, a Planet-God, and a lot of old-school sci-fi elements that we drew from our childhood. Most people write songs that come from experiences and emotions. We wanted to step away from that and create a soundtrack to a story that we wanted to tell through our music.

TO: How difficult is it to self-release a debut album? What are the pros and cons?

KAIHON: Thanks to online distributors like Distrokid the whole online distribution part of the EP was pretty straightforward. However being a new band in a scene filled with amazing bands, it’s hard to get noticed. Thankfully, we have had the amazing fortune of having a few amazing people who’ve bought our album and the support we’ve received keeps us going.

TO: Can we expect KAIHON to perform live in the near future? Shuffling between two countries, India and Unites Arab Emirates, must be difficult but are there plans to hire session musicians to play live?

KAIHON: Well, with Lalit being in Dubai, it does make things a little tricky in terms of playing live shows. We’re playing Unscene Edition 7 live on 13th July with GODLESS and ANTAKRIT. For this gig, Lalit won’t be able to make it. Hence, we’re have Shashank Bhatnagar (UNDYING INC./SOUL INCLINATION) filling in for him.

TO: To KAIHON what comes first, the lyrics or music (Melody)?

KAIHON: Neither. The first thing that comes to mind is the theme of the song. For instance, Awaken was supposed to be about majesty. More specifically, a mountain emerging out of the ocean. It helps when you visualize things, it helps to add structure to what you want the song to end up sounding like.

TO: As a band, do you follow any ideology? If so, does that influence KAIHON lyrically and musically?

KAIHON: There is no ideology. The main thing that we keep in mind is that we’re not restricting ourselves to writing music that fits in A or Z. If it’s across the spectrum, then all the better.

TO: Surely you must have other hobbies besides writing and metal, what are those? What are your other expertise besides music?

KAIHON: No, we’re all pretty much losers stuck in our bedrooms.

Just kidding. We do have our hobbies. Lalit loves getting his football fix and venturing out into the nightlife of Dubai.

Jude cooks and writes and is a video game nerd, along with Shantanu who is also a graphics designer.

Adi loves playing his bass and attending gigs and Aranyak is about to complete his second year of his Bachelor of Dentistry degree.

For the most part, we’re just easygoing guys who crack horribly lame puns and try to have fun.

TO: How did the band come about? How did you meet all the members?

KAIHON: The band actually started with Jude finding Lalit on YouTube of all places. After that it was pretty much just filling in the rest of the pieces.

Finding the remaining members wasn’t easy. Apart from the amount of technique and skill required, it was also important that they had the right vibe. Once Jude moved to Bangalore, he pretty much went across the scene trying to find people.

Guess we got really lucky. We’re still looking for a session vocalist to fill in for Lalit when he can’t make it for gigs. So if anybody’s interested, you’re more than welcome to try out!

TO: Is KAIHON working on new material? Do you have any plans to put out a full-length album?

KAIHON: Yes, we’ve already got 4 new songs lined up. The only question right now is do we release it as an EP or put more time into it and release it as an album. Both have their pros and cons, but for the most part, it’ll probably be another EP. It’s easier for people to digest a 4 track record that’s all-killer/no-filler.

TO: Thank you very much for this interview. Last words are yours.

KAIHON: Thanks for having us! We hope to play a gig near you guys sometime soon!

 

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