Isolation for a metal scene can mean a lot of things. It can mean that there’s simply nothing around it, it can be remote from other local scenes or in the case of Mauritius it’s simply the geography of being hundreds of miles from any other country. In fact, the island nation consists of 4 islands, with equally huge distances in between them. Being a metalhead on one of the Mauritian islands can’t be easy.
No surprise then, that the scene aMakARtUS is part of is small, but passionate. Heavy music is not something you can be specific about in places where there’s only a few to share it with. I got in touch with the band and asked them some questions about the music scene in Mauritius. As far as aMakARtUS is concerned, the scene may have humble beginnings. That doesn’t mean they’re not hungry for more.
Hi, so could you guys introduce yourselves?
We started in June 2010. initially known as Bringing Death. We were high school friends sharing a love for the same style of music.
Eddie had the idea to start a metal band, where we would play things we love and write music. At first, we wanted to create something different, we were really into old school metal and punk. We try to fuse modern metal with its old school counterparts.
The group (to date) is composed of 5 people:
vocals – Rodney Sagore
guitar – Mahesh (Eddie)
guitar – Darshan
drums – Evan (Yovesh)
We have one debut studio album entitled: In For The Kill.
the album has 8 tracks:
I die you die
The doctrine of fools
Sin with me
How did Amakartus get started? Like, how did you guys get together as a band and start making music?
We were high school friends and we had metal in common. We were playing music and fooling around since a young age. It was in June 2010 at the University of Mauritius that we decided to form a band and take things seriously and start working on compositions…
What bands inspired each of you to make this sort of music?
Well, we have Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeath, Anthrax etc.
I understand you have been recording some demos. How do you guys go about making music together? Who has what role and how does your writing and recording process look like?
Normally for most of the songs, it’s Eddie who comes up with a riff or idea, then the whole band gets involved in arranging and working the idea. Most of the time we do ditch ideas that we feel are not ‘up to the level’. With that idea, we start to jam until something good comes out and we try to get that recorded with whatever means we have.
What sort of themes do you use for your music, what inspires your lyrics and what message does Amakartus have for the world?
We normally talk about violence, hatred and all this negativity consuming the world. We have a message of peace… live and let leave! For example: Traitor is a song about someone who has betrayed his country.
What does Amakartus mean?
AMAkARtUS is KAMASUTRA turned upside down. kamasutra is the book of love. we are like a manual of hate, explaining to people that hatred leads us nowhere. Moreover, we also wanted to show people that a name is not important as most of the time we tell people that the name is bogus and it does not mean anything!
I understand a lot of your music is inspired by themes like human nature, hate, suffering, and war. Are there particular things in your country that inspire you, as metal is in effect a kind of protest music for many people?
Yes! Our culture here in Mauritius is very diverse, so we get inspiration from everywhere.
Metal is indeed some kind of healthy revolt or protest and a way to let things go and accept others. We also want to show people that metal is not taboo. and today we have more and more people coming to gigs!
Obviously, my source has mostly been the internet, but it seems that Mauritius has a small, hardcore metal scene where punk, metal and hardcore kind of blend together. How dit metal music come to your country and who were the pioneers? Can you maybe tell a bit about the history of this music in Mauritius?
Well, obviously the media has a great role to play in this context. At first, we had cassettes etc. I remember buying Iron Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’ and Black Sabbath cassettes in 1999. When I was listening to it, people around me thought that I had lost it! So this scene emerged and more and more young people started wearing ‘metal shirts’ and talked about this music in our society. Before that, people would listen to this music on their own, but this started to bring it out in the open.
We do have bands like Feedback, Scar, Tribus, Humanoid and more, that started way before us. Then again, they all stopped for one reason or another and we are now carrying the metal flag along with bands like Revolt, Cryptic Carnage, and Circle Red.
Is metal a big thing in your country? Is there a bit of a scene around it and can you describe it? Do you have places where bands can perform and where they play this music?
Normally, there’s no ‘specific’ place to play metal. As for metal gigs, bands come together, contribute together and make gigs happen. we do not have event organizers for metal concerts or specific venues for rock and metal. it is a big thing here (not considering the number of people)… it’s a big thing for all the metalheads and for our little metal community. everyone knows everybody and day by day, the numbers are growing.
Do you have everything easily available, like rehearsal spaces, instruments, music, and other related gear? Or are there things that make it hard to make this sort of music there? I’m imagining there are some problems since your country is quite remote from others.
There’s no particular place for rehearsing for metal heads available in Mauritius. We have normal studios and they charge a lot. In AMAkARtUS, we tried to build our own studio for rehearsals, which we try to improve daily. Music instruments are way more expensive compared to other countries. We have little choices when it comes to the variety of instruments and most of the time we have to rely on online shopping.
Are you facing any sort of censorship in Mauritius or can you play this music and sing about whatever you want?
There is no censorship as such as long as nobody tries to incite violence.
Mauritius also appears to be a mixture religiously. Historically metal and religion have not been the best buddies. Is there a sort of clash there for you guys?
Yes! There is always the perceptions that metalheads are Satanists or atheists, but we do have a lot of metalheads going to temples and churches.
Do you put anything typical from Mauritius in your music do you think?
Yes, we put a Mauritian touch to our compositions. For example, the song ‘I Die, You Die’ has been inspired by the sega beat (the traditional music from Mauritius).
What bands from your neck of the woods should people really check out (and why)?
Well check out Shred the Glory: they are currently preparing an album and do check cryptic carnage and revolt!
Do foreign bands play in Mauritius? And if not, who would be the dream band for you to visit and play a support slot for?
Nope. No metal bands, but we do have other artists visiting the country. Metallica would be great!
What future plans does Amakartus have?
AMAkARtUS is currently working on its 2nd studio album. We want to reach more people. and we want people to understand our message and follow us if they feel that connection to our message! We do not want to re-invent metal but add-up to what’s already out there!
Ok, if you had to compare your band to a dish, what would it be and why?
Well, AMAkARtUS would be a Curry Flavoured Lamb Sauté! From the violence it took to bring down the lamb, to the mixture of flavors and cultures… you could not help but ask for more!
Thank you Guido.