The Earth Below; brainchild of prolific rock musician Deepak Raghu, resurfaces with a brand new album ‘Nothing Works Vol 2: Hymns for Useless Gods’. And we had this opportunity of getting to know everything from Chennai and Rat King to LA and Unherd.
MI: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and doing this interview for MelodyInisder. What would you be doing today if not for this interview?
EB: I’d be doing the hundred other things that need to be done to keep this enterprise we call life, from running out on us or running over us, depending on what kind of day you’re having. But it’s corona time, so today I’m just chilling and binge watching TV shows from last year.
MI: As a drummer, what was your inspiration? What drew you to the drums?
EB: A friend of mine made me a copy of Metallica’s live concert video ‘Cunning Stunts’ when I was 11 or 12. Watching Lars Ulrich playing with Metallica was really what inspired me to play drums. I also liked the fact that the whole band seemed like they weren’t afraid of anything or anyone. I used to air-drum all day long to Metallica, U2 and whatever other rock music I could get my hands on in Kozhikode, Kerala during the late 90s to early 2000s.
MI: What got you into this genre?
EB: Life just takes you on a ride. Sometimes you’re in control of the wheel and other times you just go along with the ride. I don’t feel like I really have any choice in what kind of music I like. It’s like asking a person what moment in their life made them the person they are today. Some people might have a very specific answer for that but for most people life happens one day at a time. One moment at a time.
MI: Which happened first, drummer for Shepherd or in-demand session drummer?
EB: They both happened at the same time. I had moved to Bangalore in 2011 with the plan of starting a band or two. It turned into a 7 year period of writing, recording and touring with artists like Kryptos, Dying Embrace, Millennium, Bevar Sea, Cauchemar, Mad Orange Fireworks, Alexis, Blushing Satellite, Allegro Fudge, Floyd Fernandes, Karan Joseph, Hoodoo Gas, Leslie Charles Trio, Borderblast, White Mug, Sanjeev T, Lou Majaw and Shepherd.
MI: Tell us something about the "Rat King"
EB: Rat King was an experiment project I had started with a friend of mine in 2007 while I was studying in Chennai. The whole idea was based on horror music. We were inspired by David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky films and film scores just as much as we were by extreme metal music. Rat King went on to release two critically acclaimed albums, The Plague of Hamelin (2008), Larva (2009), and produce the soundtrack to Malayalam psychological horror film Akam (2013).
MI: What was the driving force behind the "LA school of Music" and how has it panned out in further shaping your career?
EB:I was very lucky to have convinced my parents to let me do a 1 year course at LA School of Music in 2009. It was a great learning experience and it definitely helped me sustain myself with a relatively stable career in music and performance.
MI: Is the path ahead more struggling or does it get better from here?
EB: No matter what path you choose in life, you can’t avoid pitfalls and disappointments. You try your best and leave it all out in your music or out on stage. I’m of the opinion that life is hard work and mostly not worth it.
MI:How are the psychological rewards in this career you have chosen? Have you ever second guessed your choices?
EB: Everyone has self doubts and second guessing can be a good thing sometimes. I always try to remember that life has no purpose of it’s own and that it’s up to you to figure out what to do. Every decision you make has it’s own consequences. You learn to live with it and you learn to own it.
MI: How frequently you get an opportunity to perform? Is it difficult getting booked?
EB: The Earth Below started as a bedroom project in 2010 but hasn’t done any live shows yet. We’re getting the old machine oiled up and ready to take it out on the road. Very soon.
MI: Which is your dream label?
EB: Unherd Music
MI: What’s coming up for You down the road?
EB: The Earth Below debut full length album ‘Nothing Works Vol 2: Hymns for Useless Gods’ is coming out on CD/Digital April 20th 2020 via record label Unherd Music. We’ll be playing a few shows this year. If you want us to come play somewhere near you, let your local promoter know or get in touch with us at www.theearthbelowindia.com
Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavours. See you soon at a concert. Thank you!