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International atmospheric Death/Doom collaboration Antim Sanskar was founded by Indian vocalist Sunay Bhat as a solo project, perhaps surprisingly, given the lack of any real Death/Doom scene in that country. But with a prior EP, and their debut album now out, Comrade Aleks wanted to know more.

Interview with Antim Sanskar.
"Nowadays it's rare one would be surprised by international studio projects, but nevertheless let's try… Started as a solo project Antim Sanskar consists of three members from India, Austria and the UK. And while I never heard before about vocalist Sunay Bhat's other projects, I believe you'll already know Riccardo Veronese - the man behind such bands as Aphonic Threnody, Towards Atlantis Lights, Dea Marica and more - very well. Desderoth has played in different Austrian Black Metal bands, but I guess that the only one I've heard is Descending Darkness. Together they perform a sort of atmospheric and melodic Death/Doom, and as there's minimal information online, I've talked with Sunay about the band's first album, released digitally on 10th September."

Antim Sanskar: Sunay Bhat (vocals), Desderoth (guitars, drums), Riccardo Veronese (guitars).

Hi Sunay! How are you? How does the promotion of 'Antim Sanskar' go? Have you received some feedback already?

Hey Aleks, I'm good, thank you and hope you are well too. Thank you for having us on board. I am doing my best to share our work with people who dig lesser known bands, independent artists on social media. Promoting one's own work is new to me. However, with so much time and efforts that went into the making of the album, we really hope it reaches out to people around the world.

Yes, we are getting positive feedback.

So it's said Antim Sanskar was started as a solo project, how did it happen that it ended up as a band with members from three different countries involved?

Yes, it started as a one man project. I was experimenting with a lot of new sounds and a new DAW back in 2017-18. During this time, I came in contact with Desderoth (Valfeanor), who was willing to work on the songs. We clicked well, share a lot of common beliefs, intent and passion, we released an EP in 2019 and we felt the drive to take it forward. Around this time, Riccardo (Aphonic Threnody) entered the scene and honed the guitarist's mantle.

I know that there's no Doom scene in India besides a bunch of bands like Bevar Sea, Djinn and Miskatonic and Shepherd… ah, Shepherd is no more, okay then. So why do you think this is? Climate? Mindset?

There are a lot of talented bands in India. Mostly they play to a smaller crowd in the pubs. However, we do have people who follow metal religiously.

Mostly, there are a lot thrash metal bands, death metal bands in India, very few doom bands. Lack of sponsors is one of the main factors why these bands don't travel much across the country and play gigs. Many eventually prefer to move on with their professional lives.

Indians lead a fast life. We often become impatient at many day to day life situations. So maybe we don't have enough patience to wait till the riffs build and feel a slow song. Imagine what would go through them listening to a 9 or 12 minute long track. Hence, very limited doom scene.

That clarifies the situation a bit… What influences Antim Sanskar's concept, lyric- and music-wise? What kind of ideas did you aim to express through your music?

The whole idea is to go with the flow and enjoy the process. Even though, the name, concept is designed around death and funeral , we write about nature, real lesser known people whose story deserved to be heard, personal loss, tyranny etc. We don't preach anything in particular, just want to keep our expressions- simple, real, thoughtful and heartfelt.

Which bands influenced you when you were working on Antim Sanskar? Where did you draw your inspiration?

Plenty to name them all! Our collective influences have been Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Doom:VS, My Dying Bride , The Howling Void , Hamferð , Uaral , Katatonia to name a few.

Antim Sanskar - 'Antim Sanskar' (Full album, 2021):

Having three members from different parts of the world, how do you manage to organize the composing of your songs? Who offered most of the ideas for the album, for example?

Believe me, it was never easy. Desderoth has a black metal background and loves experimenting with newer sounds. Riccardo is well known in the doom metal circuit. Having these two exceptionally talented and dedicated musicians is a dream come true. I am influenced by the NWOBHM, Classic rock and Sufism / Zen / stoic philosophies. Most importantly, we were able to bring our collective influences and give it shape. We don't have our own sound yet, hopefully we will find it on our way. Both Desderoth and Riccardo have offered ideas. Their commitment has been impeccable.

What kind of sound did you aim to achieve on this album?

We wanted to create an old school funeral doom sound. However, we have been open to experiment with ideas and different sounds. We ended up with something which we felt would give the audience something fresh and worth their time. Now it is up to the audience to listen and decide.

How did you manage to do all the mastering and mixing?

All the mixing and mastering was done by a mysterious gentleman who only wishes to be known as C.P.P at W.I.E Studios, Austria (No prize for guessing ! ). If any newer bands are looking for a quality mix and mastering their songs at an affordable price, we can certainly vouch for our man, C.P.P!

Riccardo and Desderoth have connections with some labels, did you try to find a label for Antim Sanskar too? Was the album released physically?

Yes, a couple of independent record labels did come forward to release our album in the physical format after the album was released in digital format. We are yet to finalize the deal and other logistical issues at the moment.

How would you determine the band's strong sides, now that you have a full-length album? Do you already know in which directions you'd like to move further?

Many important lessons were learnt from our first album. We know there are people who love the bold approach and appreciate us as long as our efforts are honest. I have a lot of ideas for our future, we want to offer something fresh and worth their time on our tracks.

How long ago did you finish the album? Do you already have new songs for the next one?

We started working on the album in September 2019. The tracks were completed in the first few months of 2020. I had recorded vocals for two songs in January 2020 and finished the rest only in April 2021. The Pandemic happened, a lot happened personally and we were only able to come back stronger with fresh ideas and newer lyrics.

Yes, we have always had extra songs. A few songs were not included because we did not want to include them for the sake of having them on the album. We might have them on an EP sometime later.

Oh, and I totally forgot to ask! What does the band's name mean?

Antim Sanskar means Final Rites in Sanskrit. It carries a profound significance in Hinduism/Sikhism. A dead person's body is cremated, unlike the burial which is a common practice. We thought this name would be apt for a funeral doom band and decided on that.

Thanks for the interview Sunay! How would you summarise Antim Sanskar's message today?

You are welcome Aleks, Thank you for this interview and time. I would like to thank all our friends who have wholeheartedly supported us and backed us, without their support and insight from the peers, this would not have been possible. We would definitely continue to work hard and keep making better music in the days to come.

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Visit the Antim Sanskar bandpage.

Interviewed on 2021-12-07 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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