Interview | Dying Out Flame

Out of the horde of newer death metal bands in Kathmandu, one that caught my attention the deepest is this four-piece killing machine known by the name Dying Out Flame. Being the first band in the scene to exclusively play Vedic metal, originally coined by the Singaporean band Rudra, this is one interesting project to look out to. DMN caught up with the band's vocalist/bassist Aabeg Gautam for this interview.
Greetings! How is the band doing?

We are doing great, thank you! Almost all of our compositions are ready for our first full-length album and we are hitting the studio in October. We did an amazing Extreme Tour in Hetauda and Pokhara few weeks back. In few days, we are playing in Hetauda again in Slaughterhouse Death Fest, and we have few more tour dates and interviews as well. So you can say we are really busy and excited about everything going on right now.

First of all, please elaborate a bit on how the band initially started. What were the directions and motivational factors to start Dying Out Flame?

Dying Out Flame was formed by Prachanda (our drummer) and I in late 2011 as a technical death metal band. Our undying passion and respect for extreme metal were the main reasons to get the band together. We were good friends from the beginning and had something in common. Both of us had been without a band for about a year, and we had enough time off to think about starting our own death metal force.

Our guitarist joined a short time later, who we first met in Nepal Music School. During the beginning months, we mostly covered songs, but after some time, we started writing our own music. We played for the first time in a show called "Beginning of the End".

Later, our thought process eventually changed and we became much more positive. All of us had this common notion that we do not want to sound like any other band. We were sick of all the trends. We knew that it was not something we should do, but we wanted our music to be faithful to the basics. We thought it is good to try out new things. The music we are doing now is quite different from what we had done in the past. This is the music we can do to the fullest and with sincerity, and we think it gives us more of a distinctive identity. So to keep the music interesting and fresh, we had to make some changes to our sound, hence playing Vedic death metal. The band has faced several line-up changes in guitar section, which has left Prachanda and I as the only founding members remaining.
You could have attained the fresh and original sound in other ways too. What influenced you to play Vedic metal in specific?

The countless ancient stories and wisdom saturated with Vedic literature, spiritual themes, non-dualism philosophy and myths of the Hindu traditions that we have been listening to since our childhood have definitely influenced us. As I mentioned earlier, DOF had started out as a technical death metal band, but after few songs we realized that we were not any different from other bands who were all doing the same. We felt the need to bring a very unique sound, since every band sounded like "this band" meets "that band" and it’s pretty uninspiring. We never wanted to become just another band added to the thousand others with nothing new to the table. So after a particular period, we refused to play technical death metal, and as we had some concepts of Hindu mythologies, Vedic literature and classical music, we all decided to take a traditional approach to the non-dualism philosophy in the light of the Vedas for the music-making process through our eyes of transcendental wisdom. We think it is only the perfect vehicle for conveying our feelings and to express ourselves through the music. This change of approach came not to reach out to new people but to write simple and deliver better with extra elements in the music that would stick on the listeners’ head without offending anyone. We try just to better ourselves and to become as honest with our music and philosophy as possible.

While most of the extreme metal bands are portraying their atheistic or nihilist ideologies through their music, Dying Out Flame is tending to do the exact opposite. What do you think?

We try mainly to stay focused on what we do and not what is going on around us. What everyone else did never really concerned us. DOF was never the type of band that would go with the flow or do what all of other bands were doing at the time. We are really not interested in atheistic or nihilist ideologies as you have described. We don’t want to offend anyone from the lyrics but we prefer to become as honest with our lyrics as possible by bringing the truth and realities into our words. We base our lyrics on ancient texts and so the songs are really informative and meaningful. Personally, great arrangements are pointless if they deliver no message. The message through music is the most important that we know.

I like to view each of our songs almost like short religious movies set with death metal and also I don’t see any reason for not incorporating such thoughts here. We are no atheists, nihilists or Satanists, so why pray the book of these ideologies? But honestly I am not against any band having these themes at all. Most of my favorite bands follow these ideologies. But we are able to respect other metal bands which have their own views.
What is the significance of the band name, Dying Out Flame as a Vedic death metal band? I for one think it doesn't comply much with the Vedic terms. What do you think?

When we started back in 2011, we were in the beginning phase of the band and were heavily influenced from death metal themes such as death, war, science, etc. So these themes had also inspired us for the name, because we felt it is the appropriate one to describe and symbolize our music as well as the concept behind it. Later we changed our direction to Vedic death metal and we refused to play technical death metal. Now it's a whole different thing, music and genre wise too.

But again, we are not regretting with our band name however. The name Dying Out Flame gives Hindu traditional sense too. It is the last phase of the burning of a human corpse. In short, it can be said as the last spark of flame of the burning dead. In Hindu tradition, fire is something pure. It cleanses and renews. There is hardly a single Hindu ceremony that doesn't at some point use sacred fire, which acts as a conduit between man and god. Also, there is a widespread agreement that the 4000-year-old practice of open-air burning is the most spiritually appropriate way to release a soul from the body following death. It is an important sacrament of the Hindu society.

How many originals have you completed making?                       

We have 7 songs written already and currently writing one more for the upcoming album.

How did the concept of adding female vocal come in?

I personally get inspired when attending Eastern classical concerts and listening to classical music. We found that female raag vocals can provide wonderful ethereal effect to such kind of music. Since our music is also mixed with Eastern classical modalities, we feel that the music and female raag vocals are a good match and these two things should be mixed together. The kind of feel, emotion, atmosphere and sound we want to create with our music could not have been the same with death metal growls only. So we all agreed to add female vocals in our music. We are positively surprised and happy about all the good feedback on the use of these melodic, sensual female vocals in our songs by Nakchu Gurung.
You guys had played shows in three cities in the Extreme Tour with Wakk Thuu, Aakrosh and other bands few weeks back. How were the shows and your experience?

It was mind-blowing and the most enjoyable tour for us yet. We enjoyed all those awesome shows with them and had an amazing time. We all are very close and good friends with each other, as well as booze partners. We all vomited out the meal we ate earlier all those five nights of Extreme Tour, hahaha!

Unleashed and Weapon. These were the two bands that came in my mind when I first heard your music. Tell us some of your musical influences.

Thanks for the compliment. Unleashed and Weapon both are killer bands and our big favorites, but I'd be lying if I told you they were an influence. I was a big fan, still very much am, but they never came into the equation when we were writing any of our material. We write our own kind of music because it’s deep in our heart and come from feelings. I love old stuff, these days not too much metal inspires me. I love bands like Ugrakarma, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Sinister, Vomitory, Dismember, Grave, Unleashed, Entombed, God Macabre, Hate Eternal, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Nile, Weapon, Krisiun, Deicide, Behemoth, Hate, Azarath, Carcass, Monstrosity, Malevolent Creation, Demigod, Vallenfyre, Vader, Zyklon, Rudra, Kartikeya, etc. All these bands have left their marks on us as fans and musicians and have given us some inspiration, but did not inspire the direction that we have taken. We try to do it our own way, but I don’t know if you can hear that in our music.

Since you guys sing exclusively about Hindu philosophies and mythologies, how religious are you guys in real life?

I personally am more philosophical and spiritual than religious. I can say that because philosophy and spirituality is morality without religion. It is being close to god and all that god created. It is a way to touch god and to seek that which is unknowable in the purely physical, valuing your fellow lifeforms and helping them to fulfill their potential, believing in abundance and provision rather than scarcity, living in love rather than fear, loving to oneself and others, caring about people, animals, planets and treating your body and whole universe like a temple can give you any type of spiritual experience you want. You don’t need a religion to be philosophical and spiritual.

Any last words to the readers?

I would like to thank everyone for coming to our shows in the past days and believing in extreme metal. Thanks for buying our merchs! We will continue our journey passionately until we physically can't do it anymore. We still have more to say and do, so keep supporting us. The flame still burns strong with us. Long live true metal warriors of death! Never forget ahimsha parmo dharma!