Killibrium – Interview with Keshav Kumar

Date: April 15, 2018
Interview by: Peter “Trendcrusher” K
Photo by Tushar Dhanawade

The Indian metal scene has grown by leaps in the past decade. The latest entrants are Mumbai based death metal act Killibrium. The band have made their mark with their first album Purge, released last month. The album is a potent mix of brutal and technical death metal.

I spoke to guitarist Keshav Kumar about the origins of the band, their debut release and their future plans.

You have been working on your debut album Purge for a couple of years. How does it feel now that it has been released?

Thanks for asking this question Peter! I feel a mix of emotions to be honest. Sad, because it was a really great experience to write (and scrap) songs. The first album generally has a lot of excitement in it because we don’t really know whether the response would be good or bad, so this keeps everyone on their toes and we’re more perceptive as a unit. I’m also really excited that the album is out and now the band will get to work on new material with a fresh perspective and approach.

You were a part of Devoid and other members are a part of Cosmic Infusion and Hoffman Code. How did you get together to form the band?

The band came together around 2015 when I met Nitin Rajan (Primitiv) on Facebook, and we both wanted to make music that would talk about real world issues. Nitin described our style of music as ‘controlled aggression’. In other words, we wanted to work on stuff that would make you want to break walls, but still retain your balance. We then came across Mihir Bhende (Cosmic Infusion) through his video cover of Backbone by Gojira and were extremely impressed with his extreme style of drumming that included intense blasts and relentless use of the kick drum. The three of us started jamming and felt things clicking almost instantly. A final addition to the line-up was Suvajit Chakraborty (a.k.a. Bunty, The Hoffman Code) who was more inclined towards technical death metal and the we felt that his style would add a lot of dynamics to the sound.

With the line-up complete, we were ready to start putting ourselves out as a band that’s ready to kick some ass. We released our first single titled ‘Mental Illusion’ in August 2015 via Transcending Obscurity and received a lot of positive reviews for our style of writing which motivated us to go ahead and continue making music in the style that we love.

The new addition to the line-up is vocalist Afaque Azad. How did he join the band?

Afaque is an old friend. We knew for a fact that his style of vocals fits like a cog in the mix and we would be able to compliment his aggressive delivery with our music. His addition to the band has only made our music more intense and exciting for us. We are in the process to releasing some live videos from our last gig at Hard Rock Café where this intensity was experienced first-hand by many attendees. We hope to put these videos out soon.

Why did you decide to play death metal? What about the sub-genre appeals to you?

I think we just feel satisfied when we play this style of music. This type of music allows us to be really aggressive, technical and relentless. I could even compare it to a feeling one gets after a long day at the gym. That’s similar to how we feel after a jam.

Your debut release Purge is a crushing mix of technical and brutal death metal. Tell us a bit more about it.

We try and use a good mix of brutality, technicality clubbed with simple straightforward thinking. It’s a bit like life, you know. Looks straight and simple from the outside, but only the one experiencing it would recognize its moments. So like that, our music may sound simple at times, but it has its moments that capture brutality, aggression and technicality. As a band we like making our music very organic and not forced into a particular direction.

What was the writing process for the album? Do you write alone or jam on ideas together?

To be honest, different things work for different people and there is no standard recipe for successful song writing. We usually write parts at home and jam on them together to smoothen out the flow and structure. But this is not always by choice. We usually pay by the hour in jam rooms, so it becomes important to work things out individually to an extent and then try them out in the jam room. We would often give feedback to each other during practice, and everyone was usually very receptive of it. Differences always exist but if a unit is strong together then some compromises are also made. But all is done with the intention to make the band sound better.

What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you as of late?

Metal bands that I always listen to are Nile, Behemoth, Hate and Slayer on any given day. But I often listen to artists outside the metal gene. Two such artists that have inspired me a lot in terms of the general practice of songwriting are Ludovico Einaudi and Benjamin Clementine. They have completely reshaped the way I look at songwriting now.

Could you recommend any Indian bands that our readers should check out?

Atmosfear, Third Sovereign and Plague Throat.

What are your plans for the coming year? Do you have any shows planned?

The coming year will see some more interesting line-up changes and additions to the band, but we will be very selective of the shows we play. We are also exploring new music routes to keep things interesting. We realized that we would like to make our music more homegrown yet relevant for an international and local audience.

Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?

Brave man rejoice; the last man standing is you!