Interview with Kekal

kekal_band

Interview with :  Kekal, The Band

What does Kekal mean and where are you guys currently based now? How many years has Kekal been together?
Kekal means ‘eternal’ or ‘immortal’ in Indonesian language.. We are from Jakarta, Indonesia.. The band has been going for almost 7 years now.

I read in your newsletter that you’ve just released your 3rd CD – tell us something about this album? Which label has released this album?
“The Painful experience” is quite different than our previous albums.. In terms of style and songwriting, this album is our best yet as it has the balance between interesting elements in metal (the aggression, intensity, groove, memorable riffs, and melody) and also the progressive elements.. The production is also better than our past 2 albums.. We used 64-track digital hard-disk recording now as opposed to 16-track analog we had on previous 2 albums.. So we had a lot more freedom to lay down anything to the recording tracks.. This album has been released by 3 independent labels: THT Productions (Indonesia) release the cassette format, Fear Dark (Holland) release the CD version for European market, and Clenchedfist Records (USA) release the CD version for North American market.

I must commend you on being able to survive and release 3 full-length albums being in Southeast Asia! I’d like to know the major problems you faced being in this region as an extreme band? Also do you have any words of advice or encouragement for the Indian bands here trying to break the shackles?
I think there are no serious problems, if we play such an extreme metal music we have to accept that the mainstream industry will not look at us. So to be independent is the best way, we don’t care about what the current mainstream music industry will go. They have their own way and we have too. As for advice, well I think just play music from what you like and what you believe is the best for you.. Being as honest as possible to the music you play.. And never try to put yourself within the box of certain genre or sub-genre and limit the potential progression.

On your first album “Beyond the Glimpse of Dreams” released by s’pore based Sonic Wave label, the musical direction of Kekal was sort of pro-Christian Black Metal. Is that true or have misunderstood the lyrics sheet? And has the direction of Kekal changed over the years?
We just play music that is coming from our hearts.. For us, if we wanted to write such a strong music, it has to be based on what we believe and what we experience in life.. Our music reflects our own personal experiences and beliefs.. We haven’t changed the direction of the band, the topics might be changed from album to album and song to song, but all based from our personal reflections towards life.. They can be spiritually, philosophically, or anything else.

Also I’m really inquisitive to know what prompted you to combine such extreme compositions with lyrics with such a pro-‘god’ feel? Also do u personally any more bands making such similar music?
It just comes naturally.. We believe in God and we also love playing metal, so we try to be honest with anything, including the lyrics.

Also has the Kekal line-up changed over the past few years, ‘cos on the initial album you were a foursome now I see a trio at the website? Who are the new members and from which bands are they?
There are no new members since our 1st album “Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams”, the vocalist Harry who was in the line-up since 1995 to 1998, had to leave the band because of his day-job that needed full-time.. Then we remain 3 piece until now.

Also heartiest congratulations of getting on so many compilation cds – I see that you’ve been waving the flag of S.E.asian metal high! Was all this part of your own initiative or aggressive marketing by your label/s? Can u list some of the prominent compilations that the Indian metalheads should try out?
All the good promotions came from the record labels of course, we don’t have enough money to promote ourselves to so many countries.. But we work hand-in-hand with the labels, I mean if we know some good distributors or magazines, we will let them know and get them to send the promos.

Have you guys performed outside your country so far and are any mini-tours planned for the future?
No, not yet.. And so far we haven’t planned to do tour.

What are the other prominent bands that you see or know in Indonesia, which we should look out for and cover ASAP? And has there been any band, which has helped you, or have you helped any amateur group rise?
We have a very good underground scene here.. I mean the scene is alive very well.. There are some bands that have signed deals with overseas labels or have released albums there.. Bands worth to mention are Funeral Inception (formerly Bloody Gore), Sicminded, Koil, Trauma, Godzilla, Slowdeath, etc.

What do you make of the metal scene in Southeast Asia as compared to the west? What do u think our scene is severely deficient in? What do you think of the record and distro label support here in Asia?
The scene is practically similar in all countries, although the Western countries have more metal record labels that have major distributions, so their albums can sell better and easier to obtain.. In SouthEast Asia, the scene is working more in the underground.

Has the new album been reviewed by any zines or sites so far so that the metalheads here can access them to know more about your music?
Yes, our albums have been reviewed by some big metal magazines like Aardschok (NL), Mindview (Bel), BWBK (Can), SOD (US), also we have been interviewed by some of them.. Also our new album have been reviewed by lots of webzines and fanzines around the world.. Some of them have interviewed us too.

Have you heard of any metal artistes from India so far? And which county do u think is really excelling in metal {in south east Asia} and will be likely to be focus of attention for Europe/US?
We don’t know much about India scene, but we would love to know from you of course..! As for South East Asia, by my opinion, I think Indonesia has a good scene and has lots of the quality bands.. Some bands have already gained exposures in the US and Europe.. Bands like Funeral Inception (death metal) and Jasad (death metal) have signed with western labels.

Has your CDs been marketed in Europe/US and how’s been the response so far?
Yes, and the response is very good.. Since we licensed our new album to 2 labels (one in USA and one in Holland) for the CD version, naturally they promote quite much around their own regions of course, so the responses are very good over there.

Tell us something more about yourselves and your influences?
Well, we are between 27 and 28 years of age now, and we have been listening to metal since about 17 years ago.. So basically our influences are mostly metal bands from the mid 80’s period, stuffs like Iron Maiden, Trouble, Helloween, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Death, Sodom, and some others.. But we don’t limit ourselves to only metal bands of course, other bands / artists that might influenced us include: Camel, King Crimson, early Genesis, Rush, Marillion, Dream Theater, Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Duran Duran, Van Halen, Paradise Lost, Kitaro, Chick Corea, Return To Forever, Pat Metheny, Bill Bruford, Gary Moore, etc.. The list can go on…

Interview By : Riju Ray (psychoray@hotmail.com)

Links :
Official Kekal Website

Kekal – Beyond The Glimpse Of Dreams