| 30 Jan 2023
Universal India signs its first Indian metal band-Midhaven

MUMBAI: Even as the metal music scene in India struggles to become popular, Midhaven is the first metal band in the country to be signed by a big label- Universal Music India. The Mumbai-based sludge metal band was formed in 2011 and in a span of just three years, has already been signed for a tour across the country. Early next year, they will also perform at a few international music festivals with some of the veterans in the field.

Karan Kaul, a 19 year old BCom student from HR College, Mumbai, formed the band with Abhishek Sawant (bass and vocals) and Shreyas Rane (guitar). Viraaj Saxena, former drummer of Reverse Polarity, joined them in 2013, when he replaced Aviraj Kumar. In three and a half years, they have performed at more gigs than they can keep a count of, and are one of the few metal bands to receive a rating of more than 3.5 by Rolling Stone India. With a fascination for Greek and Hindu mythology, the lead vocalist and guitarist, Kaul, makes sure to incorporate mythological factors in the music he composes.

Initially called Temple Smoke, the band quit the name and baptized it as 'Midhaven'. The founder is also a fan of astronomy, ergo the name 'Midhaven', which comes from 'Midheaven' meaning the centre of the universe. They released their EP 'Tales from the Tide' in May 2013 and re-recorded a few tracks to add to their album 'Spellbound' which was released under the label of Universe Music Group in March 2014.

Speaking about the band's journey so far, Kaul says, "It started out as a few jamming sessions when I proposed the idea to form a band. We would hang out for hours and days, playing games like God of War and Empire. It was through these games that I got ideas to write music on mythology."

When Kaul got a call from South Asia Universal Music and EMI MD, Devraj Sanyal, he plainly assumed it was a prank and hung up on him. After being convinced enough that he had just received an offer for a contract, the band was insanely excited and nervous. Kaul says, "The day they called me to listen to our tracks, they asked us to wait for a bit while they made a decision. That was the longest half hour of my life. I almost believed that they would reject us in the last minute. So, when they got the contract to be signed, I could not believe it was happening."

Kaul's greatest mentor is Demonic Resurrection frontman- Sahil Makhija, who can be rightly credited with changing the entire underground metal scene in India. He has supported many metal bands over the years, including Midhaven. The band is also inspired by heavy metal bands like Mastodon, Neurosis and Bhayanak Maut.

Midhaven's 'Spellbound' North East tour starts this July with their first concert in Kolkata on 4 July. The album has tracks like 'Death Row' (guest vocals by Jordan Veigas), 'Seeking the Divine' and 'Spellbound' with clean and melodic vocals by Kaul.

Kaul ends with, "This year is going to be kickass for us. This year our music will be all over the country and by the next year, it will be distributed worldwide. Our visas are ready and we cannot wait to start the tour!"