Time after time I am baffled by all the cool bands that there are in the World. MAHAKALA being one of my latest discoveries. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Oh, the name question again! Hahaha! Well, Mahakala stands for “The Great Black” in Sanskrit and it is the consort of Hindu Goddess Kali in Hinduism, but also exists as a deity in Buddhism and Sikhism. We’ve always been seeing our music as a mixture of musical genres and our aesthetics consist of several religious beliefs and mythologies. So just like all colors melt into black, all beliefs, cultures and musical elements melt into Mahakala.
As I am sure of we are quite a few that are rather new to you guys could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-Well, what can I say! We are Mahakala from Athens, Greece, we’ve been tortured by quite a few line-up member changes all these years, and we play doom heavy metal, with lyrics inspired from religion and dark mythology. Our brand new –second in a row / fourth if you count our two EPs- concept album “The Second Fall” has just been released in Greece and is about to be released in rest of EU and –in our humble opinion- it’s our best and most mature release to date. We’ve shared the stage with numerous acknowledged acts in the past, on several occasions and we’re always happy to perform by the side of powerful bands consisting of beautiful people. We hate traitors and liars and we fancy a Sabbathic guitar riff! We stay true to our beliefs and we don’t care about social conventions! Hahaha!
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Blue Oyster Cult, The Who, Bathory, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and all proto-rock and proto-metal stuff, musically speaking. Now, apart from musical influences, religion and its mythology have affected us in several ways. We adore the works of Dante Alighieri, John Milton and Neil Gaiman and the engravings of Gustave Dore have been stuck in my mind, every single time I’m composing a riff or performing on stage. I don’t believe that there is a single great influence. It’s mostly the combination of all of the above.
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-The existence of a local scene is very very important for a band. There can be no exchange of ideas otherwise. I don’t remember so many good things happening in the Greek scene before it started growing and evolving. It’s no secret that the Greek scene is one of the most productive in the entire European continent at the moment, especially compared to the small size of the country and its population. It seems like the financial crisis has been a game-changer on this aspect.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Of course we feel like that and of course we are part of something greater. I personally feel connected with every single person out there being member of a band and trying to exist musically and artistically in general, in an underground artistic community. Especially rock and metal musicians are like brothers and sisters to me, in the way I see things. Music unites.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-I recall Paradise Lost having a cover artwork with bees on “Believe in Nothing” and Rush’s “Fly by Night” had an owl on the cover. Hahaha! A great album cover is a cover with a gimmick. Haven’t you ever said “The one with statue of liberty on the cover” referring to Metallica’s “… and Justice for All”? Well’ that’s a good cover.
What is your opinion on digital versus physical? Is digital killing music?
-Actually yes. It kind of does kill music. I recall buying an album and listening exclusively to it for a month or so. No one does that anymore because thousands of full albums are available for streaming on the internet. But there’s nothing we can do to change that at the moment, ain’t that right? Apart from making the best music possible, of course.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-I have no idea what one means by saying “bands like us”. I’m not pretty sure if we can be considered members of the traditional heavy metal scene or members of the doom metal scene. Whatever the case is, both scenes have powerful underground festivals like Germany’s Keep it True or Hammer of Doom, Greece’s Up The Hammers Festival, Malta Doom Festival and many more. It is one of our main perspectives to be parts of these great happenings in the future.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-Oh I assure you it is no party when we play live. It is a ritual. As I see it, there is a higher spiritual connection between the band and the audience and it is really great when this is achieved. You can’t explain it, but you can feel it when it’s happening.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-Does it really matter what I’d like? Future will bring chaos, so let us be strong enough to face it. Amen.