The music capital rang with metal music over the last weekend with Celtic metal band SuidAkrA giving us a taste of Düsseldorf. In the city as part of the Wacken Metal Battle India tour finals that selects one Indian band to perform at the summer open air heavy metal music festival at Wacken in Germany, the international band played at Vapour on the last leg of their six-city tour presented by the Wacken Open Air festival and Goethe-Institut, Bangalore.

Frontman Paul Arkadius Antonik tells MetroPlus that coming to Bangalore is like coming home. “Having played at the Bangalore Open Air Festival and Summer Storm Festival before, we have always had a deep connection with the city. This is our first Indian tour but Bangalore is not new to us anymore. We did discover some smaller scenes in the other cities and we learnt that no matter where in India you go, the food is a bit spicy. Bangalore is always our favourite metal capital.”

For the band it has been a real big adventure, he adds. “We were blown away the first time we played here. We have so many friends and real appreciation for our music. That’s why we always look forward to playing in Bangalore. For me this is metal city number 1.”

Having played at the Wacken Festival before, Arkadius says the Indian band that wins the finals will experience something they have never felt before. “They will make a lot of impressions and play in front of one of the biggest metal crowds. It’s easily every metal bands dream.”

Formed in 1994 with a different lineup and called ‘Gloryfication’, the band’s name was changed to SuidAkrA (Arkadius) later the same year. On what inspired the name, Arkadius says: “It wasn’t really my idea. When it happened, I wasn’t even the singer. Gloryfication sounded a bit clichéd and we were looking for a new name. Just like other teenagers we were making fun of each other by writing our names backwards when we found my name spelt backwards sounded good for a metal band and it stuck.”

Being a band for 20 years, after changing lineups and 11 albums, Arkadius says the journey has been fun and long.

“We have had a lot of good and bad memories. You can almost compare it to a real relationship with both good and bad times. But we really love what we’ve done and how far we’ve come. After 20 years, we are still here having the best times of our lives with our best friends with the same motivation that we had when we began.”

Looking back, Arkadius recalls that back in their younger days, their inspiration were Metallica and AC/DC. “My biggest dream was to play guitar. I never thought of playing in a band and just wanted to be a guitarist. I was looking for a rehearsal room to jam back in school and I met a drummer there. We decided to form a band since rehearsal rooms were given only to bands. What began as a school project playing covers of Metallica soon turned in a full-fledged band writing own compositions.”

What sets SuidAkrA apart is their unique genre of melodic Celtic metal. “Our biggest aim was not to sound like anyone else. Of course, when you start as a young band, it’s good to follow other bands till you’ve found your own style. Then we decided to enrich our songs. We are open-minded musicians who listen to other kinds of music so we were able to combine and connect everything. We brought in the bagpipe, banjo and tin whistle and augmented a vibrant Celtic vibe to our music.”

Arkadius says it’s really hard to predict the future of metal. “When I started listening, there were hardly any genres. Everything was like a big family. On one hand, so many genres are good since the scene remains fresh, but on the other hand, people are starting to think in categories which make it really bad.”

The 36-year-old says when he was younger, he had many goals, but never enjoyed the present. “Right now, maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m getting older, but I want to live each day as it comes. I am really thankful for everything I have now.” He adds that time is buzzing by. “When I meet 16-year-old fans after a concert and they say they love our music, I feel really old since we formed the band before these kids were even born,” he laughs.

Arkadius’message to metal bands, is “love what you do. I’ve met bands that are huge but really unhappy with each other. I am a happy person because I got to make music with my best friends. That’s the reason SuidAkrA still exists. Try to keep business out of the band. Concentrate on the music and the passion.”