Encender to spread the word with music | Sunday Observer

Encender to spread the word with music

The common notion is that metal music is macabre and dark, easily affiliated with morose themes such as violence, war and damnation. If you don’t share the same sentiments then you are all good but if you do, still, there is no need to worry - especially because Nathan, who fathered the metal band, Encender, didn’t really understand the genre too - until he went to his first gig in 2015.

“I thought metal music was rubbish, but when the bands were playing (at the gig), I was like ‘Man! That’s really good’,” Nathan said. However, he enjoys local bands, like Nevi’im and Mass Damnation, more than the foreign ones.

He’s sitting between his brother and co-founder of the band Joshua and Izzy. They, along with two more band mates are enjoying the beautiful evening, drinking ginger beer and sprite with date cake to go with it.

“We wanted to do something different with our band. We wanted to make music from the heart of God - not in a religious way though”.

Before we continue with Encender’s story let’s meet its members - Nathan - the lead guitarist, Joshua - on the drums, Rewan - the rhythm guitarist, Rushen - on keys, and Izzy the vocalist and bassist, all aged between 18 and 24.

When there was a lot of negativity surrounding the metal scene, Nathan and his brother wanted to give music lovers a positive message. To change their perception about what is normally presented in metal music, they wanted to make music about faith in God, the environment, animal conservation and other themes that are largely neglected.

One such theme that stands out is society’s perception of dark skin, even in men. Nathan is making a song about it after he was tormented because of his complexion when he was a teen. Then there is a song about bullying.

The band’s concept resonated in Rushen too. He was basically ‘picked from church’. To cut a long story short - when Nathan went to church he heard Rushen playing his guitar, approached him, explained everything about the band and nothing more needed to be said, Rushen was onboard. That was early 2017.

Rushen wanted to do something radical. “I wanted to talk about things that are really different. Almost weird - but good weird.”

Then, Rewan was recruited during a Christian event too, almost. In a nutshell - he tagged Izzy along for band practices one day. Izzy made crazy and random screaming noises during a break, then he became the band’s vocalist.

“The best part is we clicked musically,” Rewan says. And that was that, the young band is now all set to entertain local fans.

“The common factor is that our music is connected to Christianity. Encender is inspired by religion,” Rewan said, explaining that the band’s music does not gravitate towards the ‘preachy’ but speaks its message to the audience at a personal level, without the idea of conversion.

It is not an easy process. The members are drawn to make music about uncomfortable subjects.

However, they make it happen.

All of them sit together, take the subject they are working with and express their opinions. For example, the song about bullying has an array of emotions engraved in it - anger, sadness and so on. Then they try to see how they could articulate their story in the best way possible.

“Our content is pretty much ‘feel-driven’. We try to channel our emotions into the music,” Rewan explains.

So why is the process hard? “We have to put all of that into a three-minute song.” Conveying their message during that short time can be taxing.

The band is very proud of its first song - Changiri Puththa. It has an oriental and North Indian touch to it along with metal elements. The next songs are inspired by Changiri.

“Ambiance is a great part of our music. We start our songs very mellow, very unlikely for metal music,” Rushen says, adding that their approach is pretty unique. It is a fusion that combines groove metal, experimental, trash and so much more. Not an easy area to encroach into if one is not aware of how the different styles blend.

Nonetheless, the budding band is not alone in its journey.

Thankfully there is a lot of support from within the metal scene. The already established bands are encouraging and constantly backing it.

With all of that Encender (to ignite) will embark on its voyage to spread God’s word - not in a preachy nor bad weird way - this year.

“We are both excited and nervous about doing so. Sri Lankan bands are really good, and to perform alongside them is nerve wracking,” young Joshua said to Youth Observer as we wrap the interview.

He said they are also excited to introduce metal fans to their take on the genre.