Brothers Yohan and Rueban Issac from India formed together the band Onslaught [not to be confused with Onslaught from Bristol / UK]. Their new album Leap Of Faith was released last saturday [Sept. 1]. Read more about them and their music in the interview below.
TMR: Hello to you from´The Metal Resource’ Holland, how are things going there in India ?
…And a hello to you from Onslaught . Things could not get any better in India. We love it here.
TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]
Onslaught is a two piece Christian Alternative Rock band from a city in South India called “Hyderabad.” Onslaught comprises of Rueban Issac on vocals and drums, and Yohan Issac on lead/rhythm guitars and bass.
TMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Onslaught’
Onslaught started in the month of october in 2007 and was the brainchild of Rueban. Having played in secular as well as gospel bands, we had decided to compose our own music than rather play someone else’s music. We decided to bring two of our favourite elements together which included, the ultimate “in your face” style of rock/metal music \m/ as well as our faith in +God+. We drew a lot of inspiration from Christian bands and decided to do the same.
Onslaught was originally a three peice band that comprised of Johnny Abraham David on vocals and rhythm guitars, Yohan on lead guitars and Rueban on drums. Back in the day, we did manage to record a track with Johnny titled “House of Pain” which should be floating around on the internet. However, due to personal commitments, he had to leave the band. We did carry on composing music, going all DIY on the recordings which we still do to this day. Ever since Johnny’s departure, the line up has never changed.
TMR: Why the name ‘Onslaught’ ? Is there a story behind it ?
The name to be honest, is totally derivative which is funny to us in a way. We were listening to a lot of Demon Hunter back in 2007. We love their music and we love the name of the band as well. We did like the whole idea where they were a bunch of hardcore musicians churning out “anti-lucifer/satanic (stooooorrrmmm the gates of hell)” themed songs and Rueban had this bright idea where he thought we should be like them and sound like them. Thats the truth of it all.
But if it was to be said on a serious note, jokes apart; it would go something like this:
“The meaning of Onslaught is an offensive against the defensive. We, as believers in the Almighty are stronger than all evil in this world and with God on our side, we can crush all evil.” That is why we are called Onslaught. You are free to go with the funny version or the serious version .
TMR: Are you guys full time musicians ? If not what kind of job or study do you do beside the band ?
We are not full time musicians. Yohan Issac holds an MBA from Asian Institute of Management and is a Manager working for Axis Bank in their Corporate banking sector. Dr. Rueban Issac holds a PhD in Molecular Immunology and Cardiovascular Biology from the University of Surrey. He works as a Scientist for GVK Biosciences Private Limited in their In Vitro Pharmacology division.
TMR: Are you guys full time musicians ? If not what kind of job or study do you do beside the band ?
We are both self taught musicians. We have had no formal training in the past. It took us ages to get where we are today and we still have a lot to learn.
TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Onslaught’ ? .. how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?
The music writing bit is done together and the lyric writing portion is handled by Rueban alone. There is no particular mood for writing music, it’s pretty spontaneous. We are always listening to music before composing our own. Some of the bands that we were listening to, during the writing of our new album “Leap Of Faith” included Helmet, Drowning Pool, Alter Bridge, Filter, Soundgarden, Another Animal, Iron Savior and Sevendust.
TMR: How do you describe the music of ‘Onslaught’ the best ?
The mutant cousin of Grunge and Metal; “GRETAL” with a lyrically positive message.
TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning  of ‘Onslaught’ ?
The very first day that Yohan and me decided to jam after Johnny’s departure and we had no clue what to do but to churn out crap which we thought was music. A classic moment indeed .
TMR: And the worst thing were ? [if there is one]
This can be linked to the answer of the previous question . We kept churning out crap for music and fought like a bunch of school kids clueless whether we should sound like some hardcore band or some power metal band.
Onslaught focuses on creating music with a positive message. We try to bypass all the negativity that happens in the world. Rock and metal music has always been labelled as music that is the anti-of something. There are a plethora of bands out there that carry concern by highliting all the negative issues in our society today. Based on that, we take an approach where we highlight on a positive message that focuses on the betterment of individuals by putting one’s faith God. An example being a quotation of the lyric from our track “Bite The Bullet:”
“I’d rather fall in line.
To see a brighter day.
To leave all the pain and hate behind.
I’d gladly take the hit.
So fill me with lead.
I’ll bite the bullet and make my sacrifice.”
TMR: For a lot of bands the lyrics are just a accidental circumstance, but for some bands they use them to communicate ! ..can you tell us how that is for ‘Onslaught’ ?
Our lyrics are never accidental circumstances. We use it as a medium to communicate with people. With the new “Leap Of Faith” album, we focussed on talking about the impact of believing in God. This included conveying a message that involved battling one’s inner demons, the art of self sacrifice, forgoing negativity to attain peace and the attainment of nirvana through one’s bond with God.
TMR: Name some of your favorite bands to play with live [past and future] and tell us why ?
Since we are only two guys running this whole operation , we have not had the opporutnity as of yet to go live. But if we had to, we would share the stage with some of the local Christian talent here in India. A special shout out to Redemption, In Heavens Eyes, Blood Covenant, Whitenoiz, D’Whetstone, Final Surrender, Drop Doubt, Transitpoint, Once Chosen, Revelations, Realms, Still Status, Anno Domini 33…. and the list goes on and on.
TMR: First record you bought? [for everyone personal]
Yohan: My first record was Judas Priest’s, “Metal Works.”
Rueban: My first record was Foo Fighters, “There’s Nothing Left to Lose.”
And so began our journey into the awesomeness of music that was rock (…the word awesomeness was used to emphasise on something that is more awesome than awesome as quoted by the legend of legends, Mr. Jack Black).
TMR: What makes you laugh? [for everyone personal]
Rueban: Bears with gatling guns for feet… thank you www.theoatmeal.com
TMR: Have you already performed live ?
Not yet, we are a two piece band as of today. If we do find “able-bodied” musicians to join our platoon to storm the gates of hell, we would definately do it (a quick reference to demon hunter and that question that we just answered on “What is the meaning of Onslaught?” )
TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?
Online. We love the internet. You have so many platforms to get your music across to the masses these days; ergo “The Metal Resource”, we love you guys .
TMR: Do you have a life philosophy?
Righteous living in the eyes of God is our philosophy.
TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days? [for everyone personal]
Yohan: I haven’t been to any gigs lately due to work. The music I am listening to these days is that of a power metal band called “Iron Savior.”
Rueban: No gigs lately . I am listening to a lot of Earth Crisis, Terror and Megadeth these days.
TMR: As far as I know, you are one of the few Christian metal bands from India. So tell us about the metal scene in your area/country ?
The metal scene in India is going great. There are good bands coming from all over India that are going great guns. There are a lot of Christian rock/metal bands out here. However, we do not have a solid live platform to promote Christian rock/metal bands. But we do have an online promotions crew here called Army Of Christ Promotions. Rueban runs the organisation, you get info on all the currently active Christian bands in India to their latest releases. Check them out on: www.armyofchristpromotions.blogspot.com
TMR: What’s your outlook on the record-industry today?
The record-industry is a business, they solely focus on making money like any other business, not paying much attention to the talent. We do not have record labels here in India to promote Christian rock/metal bands. We would love to see the day when a label like Solidstate or Tooth and Nail records etc setup shop in India.
We had a great time composing “Leap Of Faith.” It was great for us because we were finally able to get our sound straightened out. Through the years, we have always found issues in gelling as musicians due to musical indifferences. But we have finally passed all that and have got what we wanted.
The songs were typically structured to be a heavy “in your face” comeback for Onslaught following our poppy EP called “Metamorphosis” that we released in 2010. Drawing a lot of inspiration from grunge and hard rock bands, we decided to keep the structure of the songs as simplistic as possible. We tried to build on an easy structure ensuring that the instrumentation sections sounded catchy. As mentioned before, the entire lyrical focus was on the impact of believing in God on one’s life.
Recording of the album commenced during the month of January this year and covered a total of 67 days which also included the mixing and mastering process. The entire album was a total DIY effort. We utilised Abelton Live as our interface to record our music and Ozone Izotope to master the tracks. We completely relied on taking a very guitar oriented approach in recording our songs and structured our songs around the riffs churned out by Yohan. The lyrics were written the last and was structured out based on the overall feel of the song.
The album artwork shows a man bearing angelic wings looking to heavens, with heavenly light shining down on him and an all rounded distorted glow surrounding him. The album artwork signifies a man who has taken the “Leap of Faith” to attain salvation. The ultimate blessing by God relies on faith not only through belief but through action in life. If followed, would results in the descent of the Holy Spirit onto man and the ascension of man to the heavens which encompasses a life of peace and harmony forever. We are not currently signed and carry out all of the album promotions ourselves.
TMR: Where can people buy the ‘Onslaught’ albums?
You need not buy our albums. We give it away for FREE. You download all of our material at bandcamp.
TMR: What about your plans for the remaining months of 2012 or the near future ? [New album / European Tour ?]
A: We plan on commencing shooting for a music video by next week. So keep your eyes open. You can get all the info on that by checking out/liking our facebook page (www.facebook.com/onslaughtindia). Regarding touring, we would love to do so, but as mentioned before, we would need able-bodied musicians to be able to pull of becoming a live act. That would mean a bass guitarist to ease on Yohan’s workload and a drummer for Rueban to focus on vocal duties.
TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
Good music comes out of those who have a good ear for music. If it’s a phase that you might be going through, have fun doing it while it lasts. Take a positive approach, be patient and keep practicing.
TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands ?
Platforms are out there to promote music for bands and there are easy accessible tools to record one’s music. Time have changed and getting your music heard is not difficult. We find that churning out quality music by bands is the biggest obstacle. Musicians need to get together musically if this has to be acheived.
TMR: Guys thanks for your time and the interview, we wish ‘Onslaught’ all the best … Is there anything you wanna say at last? [any final statement ?]
We might be broken down by lies that bleeds our mind, but for what it’s worth, we have to leave it all behind. Despite all this chaos, in the face of confusion, always remember, our God is steadfast. Many thanks for the support TMR. God Bless
Yohan Issac – Guitars/Bass
Rueban Issac – Vocals/Drums
Metamorphosis (EP), 2010
Leap Of Faith, 2012