By Aniruddh ‘Andrew’ Bansal
Mumbai-based brutal death metal/grindcore band Gutslit have completed their debut full-length album “Skewered in The Sewer” and it’s ready for release in the near future. They are also confirmed to perform at the Indian Metal Festival, to be headlined by Gojira and set to take place in Bangalore, India on December 15th. Tickets can be purchased at IndianStage.in. A few days ago, I caught up with the band to discuss the making of the debut album, Indian Metal Festival, among other things. Read our conversation below and visit the band’s facebook page for more info.
First of all, how’s the progress on the debut album and how much of the process have you already finished?
Hey Aniruddh, our album titled “Skewered in the Sewer”, recorded at Demonic Studios by Sahil Makhija and mixed and mastered by Jeff Fischer (Oklahoma, U.S.A) is digitally complete. We are just working with labels now and hoping that it is released before this year ends.
You’ve worked with Sahil Makhija a.k.a. the Demonstealer in his studio for the recording of this album. He’s highly active in the Mumbai metal scene, and I’ve always wondered what he’s like in the studio with other bands. What was his input in your recording process?
Sahil as a musician is a well known and established figure. As a sound/recording engineer and the boss of Demonic Studios and Records, he is one of the best we have worked with. Cool headed, professional and very patient. And not to forget, makes insane food and coffee. His inputs in our recording process were very apt and exact from the point of view of a veteran musician and a metal music lover himself.
You’re confirmed to participate in the Indian Metal Festival next month, alongside the likes of Gojira. I’m sure it will be a different experience for you guys, considering that you’ve mostly played underground shows so far. How does it feel to be part of this gig?
This gig is indeed quite massive, having the maximum number of international bands all on one stage and the same day. As far as we know this has never been done before. And playing with the likes of Gojira, it’s indeed an icing to this brutal sick cake. We are going to kill it without any second thought.
Gojira is obviously more on the technical death metal side, which is quite different from your style. Do you anticipate their fan base giving you a positive response?
No genre in music is liked or hated by all. We started with a handful of people in India even knowing our style or genre of music and now look at the scenario, bands have genuine slam parts in their songs, vocalists are trying pig squeals. Covering Dying Fetus was the first by Gutslit in India. If that has impressed listeners and built up our own fan base, we need not say more than play what we play best than end up classifying us as something like experimental while playing the same shit and cater to the “quantity” than “quality” listeners.
I’ve actually never been to any of your shows yet. What are your Mumbai shows like? Do you get a good number of fans turning up at such shows?
Well let me just say, you’ve missed the only deathgrind band from Mumbai playing the finest and the sickest genre in extreme brutal death music till now. But as far as how our shows in Mumbai are like, its best left for you to experience hands on. We wouldn’t want to kill the fun for you now (laughs). And the words “crowd” or “turn out” depend on a lot of things. We have played infront of 1000 people and have had dust clouds and played infront of 200 and still have seen the whole venue shaking with the mosh.
Talking now of the beginning of the band, you started out in 2007, and in these past five years you’ve done pretty well for yourselves. As a deathgrind band, which was not exactly a popular metal sub-genre in India when you started, did you ever expect to be a successful band?
Everybody has some plans laid out for themselves as musicians and as a band. For us, it was a simple one that worked just fine. “Go and play the music you love the most and stick to it than the deviations that make you sound and be confused incorporating everything and anything ever heard.” You’re right, Deathgrind wasn’t and still isn’t that famous a genre, but what inspires us is when we meet people at shows and online who come up and say, “Gutslit introduced me to extreme metal.” Gutslit is successful not by playing a show every week, but by building up our own set of listeners.
You’ve had a couple of lineup changes very recently. Are you now satisfied with how the band is working together, and is this going to be the stable, long-term lineup going forward?
This is one of the most powerful lineups we’ve ever had & certainly seems like its going to be a stable one for a long time. We at least hope so!
I read somewhere that you had to use programmed drums for a period of time in your first couple of years because you parted ways with the original drummer. What was that like, and how long did it take for you to realize that you couldn’t carry on like that anymore?
Using programmed drums or a drum machine is nothing new and is done by loads of bands abroad. And few of them have even played in India, Putrid Pile in Bangalore and Bloodsoaked in Mumbai at Meatfeast run by our bass guitarist Gurdip. It’s their personal choice for every band. But for us, it was all because of scarcity of quality drummers playing our style of music. Killing the band for such an excuse didn’t make sense, so we went with the other option and started playing with programmed drums. And we must tell you, it has its own kick when you play with a machine on stage. Every single song is straight out precise and perfect. For us to adapt to it and play with it has helped us a lot professionally.
We stopped using programmed drums when we found the talent, dedication and commitment from Abhishek Nandi who filled in perfectly in the band.
Is it really that hard to find good, talented drummers in India?
We will leave the question back to you but change a few words, “How many extreme metal drummers do you know who love grind/deathgrind/brutal slam music and play Click/Hyper blasts and Double Bass at 240 bpm?”
And just finding a drummer is not the end of the deal, a lot needs to be worked out. Most of the musicians in India are all multitasking between a job and their band or bands. Getting someone who has the time, is interested and is up for it took us our time and the patience definitely paid us, not once but twice with two of the best grind drummers India could ever produce, Abhishek Nandi and Aaron Pinto.
You’ve listed a number of bands as your influences, including Dying Fetus, Putrid Pile and Misery Index. While it’s great that these bands inspire you, how much importance do you give to maintaining a degree of originality in your sound?
Originality in our songs is what makes us sound as Gutslit.
Coming back to your live performances, you’ve played in Thailand before. I think countries like Thailand and Singapore have been really receptive to the whole grindcore movement in recent times. Did you feel that judging by the crowd at that show?
South East Asia is a wonderful place for extreme metal music. It’s like having a back door Europe in your neighborhood countries. The people are into the music, the bands know what they are playing, the crowd doesn’t mind paying for quality music. Overall it’s brilliant. Not just grindcore, they have a good idea about what old school is and what the new age core shit is. Even festival like Obscene Extreme from Czech Republic is having a leg of its show in Indonesia this year.
Do you plan to venture into such territories again in the near future?
Well, I hope it happens for you guys. Thanks for the interview and all the best with everything.
Gutslit thanks you for taking the time to do the interview!