The Mumbai-based trio Midhaven released their second album titled ‘Of The Lotus & The Thunderbolt’ recently. In the seven-track concept album, the musicians dives deep into the layered concept of time itself, as they pay homage to Shiva as Mahakaal.

The band describes the album as ‘a universal, yet personal experience that is being conveyed in the form of heavy metal’. This album is a humble attempt from them to present a new shade of ‘Indian’ Metal music through tracks such as the Para Bhahman & Codeman, Zhitro, Mahakaal and Bhairav among others.

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In an interview with Opoyi, Karan Kaul(KK) (Vocals/Guitar), Aditya Mohanan(AM) (Guitars/Vocals) and Aviraj Kumar(AK) (Drums) talks about the growing interest of metal in India, more about their new track and their plans ahead.

Excerpts of the interviews

Opoyi: Please tell us a bit about yourselves. How did you all come together?

Aditya Mohanan: Karan and Aviraj have been friends for over a decade now and a common interest while growing up was music – especially heavy metal. We both picked up different instruments at the time and would often get together at Karan’s place to exchange some ideas and before we knew it, Midhaven was formed in 2012 and was a 4 piece setup at the time. A few albums later and in between, the band went through line up changes. Fast forward to 2017, when the band was looking for a lead guitarist and Karan was the one who got in touch with me via Facebook. After a few times of meeting and jamming at the studio, I formally joined Midhaven. Since then we have been a 3 piece setup.

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Karan is an esports coach and is currently the head coach for Team Vitality, India. I’m a budding archeologist having done a chunk of my education in London from universities like SOAS, University of London. Aviraj is a marketing professional and is currently pursuing his MBA.

Opoyi: How easy or difficult is it to maintain a balance between your pursuit of music and your careers, please tell a bit about the latter as well?

Karan Kaul: It is challenging and we’re not all based out of Mumbai – Avi is based in Delhi and Aditya is in between Mumbai and Kerala. Opportunities to physically meet each other and create music has been even more challenging since covid-19 hit us, but it’s the passion that drives us to keep pursuing a career in music. That’s something that will never die. We’ve adapted to other ways of collaboration and that’s working well for us. To be honest, metal is quite a niche genre. It is not mainstream music. Almost every musician we know operating in this genre, even in the biggest bands in India do have a ‘day job’ while parallely pursuing a career in music.

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Opoyi: Please tell us something about your latest album Of The Lotus & The Thunderbolt?

Aviraj Kumar: The album revolves around the central theme of time. The understanding that we try to communicate through this album is not that of linear time but one of universal, cyclical time where things don’t happen just once and don’t just happen in one way. The concept of this album revolves around a single universal soul, portrayed as a man, undergoing evolution through different stages, from suffering to enlightenment.

Opoyi: How was the whole process of thinking about this album to launching it in the public?

Karan Kaul: It’s definitely been a very rewarding yet a challenging experience for us. The pandemic and the uncertainty it comes with definitely impacted our launch timelines. We had to hold back on the record for a few months but finally decided it’s time to put the music out there.

Also, there was a lot more to think about for this release since we were doing it independently. When you’re signed to a label, they already have a set infrastructure to push an album. But it has been a very fulfilling experience to do this on our own from start to finish, of course with the help of some incredible humans along the way.

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Opoyi: What do you think about the Metal music scene in India?

Aditya Mohanan: Metal has always been a very prominent genre in India. From the biggest festivals in town, to the club gigs, metal bands have always been a huge part of our music community. There is a huge appetite for this genre. Sure, it’s not mainstream music, but there are still many, many fans of metal music in our country.

As of now, it does seem a bit dull because of no live shows – a big part of metal culture is to go head bang and enjoy the music live with your buddies. Sadly, it’s the only element that is lacking from the launch of our album too, but we’re keeping a solid eye out and we’re going to bring our music to every possible city in this country. Who knows, maybe next year we tour abroad too!

Opoyi: Would you say it’s difficult for you to spread awareness about your genre?

Aviraj Kumar: Not really. As we mentioned before, while metal is not mainstream music, there is a huge chunk of people out there who are ardent followers and listeners of this genre. Of course, one needs to adapt to the times and be present on relevant platforms, but live gigs are a huge part of the culture and a great way to check out bands you’ve never heard of before is to experience them live. While growing up, we used to go for sooo many shows and would definitely come back with a new artist on our playlist.

Opoyi: It’s been a month since your album is out, what is the kind of response you’ve been receiving?

Karan Kaul: We’ve got some great reviews from music journalists and publications about our new album. Our fans seem to be really digging the music as well – we’ve had a bunch of people DM us on our instagram or message band members personally to let us know how amazing the album is and for a few people, it’s helped them get through rough patches in their life. It’s been really humbling.

There are of course some reviews that have not been positive but we take it as positive criticism. As a band, first and foremost, we wrote this album for ourselves and not for anyone else out there.

Opoyi: Your advice to people to make their career in non-mainstream genres like Metal.

Aditya Mohanan: Keep your eye on the prize. If it can happen for others, it can happen for you as well. Don’t let genres define the music you create – it should be for you and something that you enjoy. It ultimately boils down to your determination and what you believe in.

Opoyi: What’s next?

Karan Kaul: The immediate focus is on supporting this release. We’ve recently launched merchandise to support our album in collaboration with Slimjim India – tshirts, CD’s, paraphernalia etc. The response has been great – in fact, we’re almost sold out within 10 days of dropping the merch. A huge shout out to our fans for supporting us! We’re also developing a live video which we recently shot at Island city studios in Mumbai. It’s the band playing the songs from the album live at a studio, but it’s not your standard issue play through video. Something bigger and better.

Simultaneously, we are assembling ideas for our next album. The response to this album has been really motivating and we are definitely not waiting another 7 years to drop our next album.