For those familiar with the indie music scene in the 2000s, Sahil Makhija of Demonic Resurrection is a known name. The band’s Frozen Portrait and A Tragedy Befallen are still on our playlist. So, when we were having a conversation with Sahil, it was a lot like treading a nostalgic path.
Sahil’s journey is nothing out of ordinary — he wanted to become a computer science engineer, but after his first few encounters with death metal, he desired to be a death metal musician. Today, he is more than just that — he also runs a cooking channel ‘Headbanger’s Kitchen’.
In this edition, we’re offering a slice of our conversation with Sahil.
Thousand Faces: We know quite a bit about your music journey, but can you tell us when the first time you cooked was?
Sahil: One of my earliest food memories is when I was 11 or 12; we had gone on a family vacation with our family friends and their kids. I cooked breakfast for around 18 people, and it was eggs — whether they all wanted omelets or scrambled eggs, I cooked for them. Growing up, I did want to be a chef and open a restaurant.
Thousand Faces: That's interesting! Did you also stumble upon metal music around that time?
Sahil: Not exactly! I discovered metal music much later, but I was always into music. My mom loved music and collected CDs, vinyl, etc.; she was into pop, rock, soul, and funk, so I grew on a healthy diet of The Beatles, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, and Dire Straits. My first brush with metal happened when a friend offered an Iron Maiden tape during my sixth-grade school trip.
Thousand Faces: And what was that experience like?
Sahil: I didn't get it the first time around, but it grew on me when my friends nudged me to listen to it more. In no time, I was listening to heavier bands and thought it was the kind of music that inspired me to make music. You don't have unrealistic expectations like having a rock style because metal is a lot more underground and less fancy. We were in 10th then, but we decided to learn guitar and form a band.
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Thousand Faces: Did you stop cooking, though?
Sahil: I was whipping a meal or two for the band occasionally. But in 2003, I started seeing a girl who is now my wife. I was cooking to convince her I was a cool guy. I remember cooking many dishes when she came over to my place for the first time. It wasn't a lot, but I was still actively cooking and was going through recipe books to learn new stuff. As it turned out, she loved to eat, and when she got me a smartphone for my birthday, I had a phone that took pictures. Around the time, I took to Facebook Notes to write poetry and lyrics. One day, I posted a picture of my dinner with a note, Demonic Cookery, which took off. Later, I posted several recipes on Notes.
Thousand Faces: Did that lead to the cooking channel?
Sahil: Sort of! We launched our first episode in 2010 as a side hustle to further my career as a musician and thought I could recover our band's production costs from it. Initially, we did about seven episodes monthly, and the content largely revolved around interviewing other bands. Of course, there was food, but it wasn't the channel's bedrock as the concept was still heavy metal music and to whip a dish for the bands. Change of plans happened much later, and I tried different things before scaling.
Thousand Faces: How so?
Sahil: We were pitching the channel to companies, but recipes on beef or pork weren't for their target audience. Nothing worked out, yet we kept making videos for about three years. Subsequently, we hired people for a season, crowdfunded, but towards the end of four years, we had 4,500 subscribers and 2,000 views and felt it wasn't worth our time. Since there were no ads, there was no monetary motivation either. In 2015, we took a complete U-turn with keto recipes, which blew up. I was making pizza out of cauliflower — I thought it was nuts and decided to film it. The video did well on its own; I had no expectations because I did it only because I wanted to. Before that, I've also experimented with adding bacon to everything — for instance, I took standard recipes and bacon-ized it. I've done microwave potato chips, bacon tadka, and recipes with rosemary dust.
Thousand Faces: Music and cooking! What does the future look like?
Sahil: Even when I'm 80, I'd still want to write music for Demonic Resurrection, play the guitar, tour the world, and make albums because these have been my vision since the beginning as far as I remember. And whatever money I make from Headbanger's Kitchen, I'll invest it in making the best music I can and being happy. It also helps advertise my music and reach new listeners. I'm grateful for whatever I can do in life because not everyone gets to do this.
That was our conversation with Sahil where we were fanboying every single moment! To uncover his entire journey, we’d recommend reading 👇🏼
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