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With their recent documentary Raj Against The Machine detailing the cinematic-like, triumphant success from a lovable internet parody band to India’s next Folk Metal sensation, it’s safe to say Bloodywood have their finger on the pulse of Metal. Their track Ari Ari was dubbed a ‘soundtrack of the summer’ and they’ve already racked up 2.9 million YouTube views on Machi Bhasad (expect a riot) in just over a year. What makes them a rivalling underdog rising through the ranks is their rich blend of traditional Punjabi folk music and metal, coating gruesome riffs with vivacious bhangra drums. Arguably, the helm of metal has always been guided by western ideals and music styles, what Bloodywood are offering isn’t necessarily new but isn’t represented enough across the spectrum of metal.

“Our sound is unique, there aren’t a lot of bands fusing metal with folk instruments and rap music in India” explains Raoul Kerr, who fronts on the rap vocals side for the six-piece band. “Make no mistake though,” he continues “there’s a lot of talent in India, we may have made our way to the top by working to create the right blend, but there are a few bands who’re on the global scene and plenty of others waiting to be discovered. It’s a small but talented and tightly knit community.”

“We went from having a dream to living it,” the vocalist gushes “but what might get overlooked is the fact that being successful as a band and playing massive shows is only the first part of that dream.” Kerr first unravels the documentary and what the whole process of that what was like “we painted the bigger half of the picture and proved a few big points with our successful debut tour. We went from an online sensation with no experience of playing together to live performers capable of cutting it on the biggest stages within the span of a few months.” Typically, a documentary of this calibre would signify the end of a chapter or the closing of one’s career, but Kerr assured us that this documentary was merely a snippet for what’s to come “{the documentary} definitely marked the end of a chapter, and like our favourite kind of chapter ending, it signalled that this was only the beginning.”

Metal is a heavy genre, both in riffs and debate. An argument that may ensue till the end of time is the look and sound of metal, or what ‘real’ metal is. Whilst metal is absolutely governed by a particular composition, technique, use of instruments and overall sound, many arguments for what a metal band ‘should’ look like seem to be shrouded in the second nature comforts of our western ideologies. This reflects itself on the stages and across the industry, and was particularly highlighted in conversations taking place throughout Blackout Tuesday back in June – put simply, representation is no longer a tokenistic luxury but a dire necessity. Kerr admits Bloodywood have been very lucky, despite getting the odd racist YouTube comment that they usually laugh off the band have still been welcomed with open arms most of the time “we’ve felt welcomed more often than not” he says “instead of working against us, it feels like the lack of representation worked in our favour because most people have said they’ve never seen or heard a band like us. Metal is truly universal, and a majority of the community represents that spirit in our experience.”

“We definitely wanted to break down barriers” Kerr comments as he evaluates how Bloodywood rebel against the conform of what metal bands typically look like “with our music and create a global sense of community, but breaking the mould of what an ideal metal band should be/look like was just a happy byproduct of this goal, it’s not something we set out to do.” As for representation as a whole Kerr says that the lack of inclusion isn’t directly racist, but just a lack thereof “metal is a relatively small genre in Asian and African countries so naturally you don’t find as many bands emerging and representing” he goes on “that’s changing now though, and festivals are playing an important part in bringing about that change, we can give examples of our own here: we – an indian folk metal band who had never played live before – were invited to play at the biggest metal festival on the planet, The Wacken Open Air.”

Bloodywood’s latest single Yaad is available now, check it out below:

Growing up in New Delhi, what was the Metal scene like over there?

“The scene was small but strong, we really are the few and the proud. You’ll usually find shows with a small attendance of 15-30 people, but there are also nights where the entire scene comes out and rages together, there have definitely been some great nights like this for new Delhi metal over the years.”

Many would say you’re popular for your incorporation of punjabi vocal style and Indian percussion styles. Do you plan to always stick to your cultural roots in song’s or would you ever expand to just doing a metal song with no-Indian percussion?

“It’s definitely part of our signature style, we don’t plan on changing that but we’re not opposed to doing some songs that are more traditional in the metal sense. Guess we’ll wait and see.”

What are your plans for 2021, will you be shaking up the metal scene once again? 

“We’re working on new music for now, but if it is safe next year a world tour may be on the cards!”

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Yasmine Summan Just one queer, brown lady with a lot of opinions. My love language is 2010 crabby-metalcore