Interview with Hiran Deraniyagala [Battlecross]

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, the boys of Battlecross have hit major success with the release of their albums Push Pull Destory, Pursuit of Honor, and their newest release War of Will. Playing with major metal acts and being a part of massive tours such as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and Orion Music Fest, it’s no wonder that they’re well known and loved by many. They’ve taken influences of upbeat thrash, death and southern metal to create a sound that’s punishing but is also is refreshing for fans of metal.  I got the chance to catch up with Battlecross guitarist; Hiran Deraniyagala for a word or two about the new album; War Of Will as well as his musical inspirations and movies.

 

Lauren: How did you come up with the name Battlecross?

Hiran: Tony came up with it. I remember coming out of one of my classes in college and getting a text from Tony saying “What about Battlecross, as a band name?” I remember it just hit me really well. I loved it but like with all band names we always check the internet to see if anyone already had the name we came up with. No one had the name from what we could find so we both agreed it was an awesome name. It took some convincing to get the other band members to agree with it but eventually they just went with it. “Battlecross” to me represents something powerful, epic and aggressive which I think represents the music. I like the fact that our name can give people different expectations about how we sound versus a typical band name. People have assumed we’re a “Power Metal” band and obviously got something different from what they expected.

Lauren: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

Hiran: In general I would say that we draw a common influence from Pantera, Metallica and Slayer but we each have our own musical influences that we draw influence from. Personally, I draw influence from various metal bands like Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Circle Of Dead Children, Pig Destroyer, Woe Of Tyrants, Goatwhore, Emperor, Meshuggah, Morbid Angel, Mastodon, Black Sabbath, Down, and local metal bands from Michigan like, Enkephalin, Summer Dying and GutRot. I’ve always been intrigued by the technicality and aggressiveness of extreme metal bands but also the groove of doom metal.

Lauren: How would you say your newest album, War of Will, differs from your previous releases?

Hiran: Yes definitely. War of Will is a much more focused and mature album for us. We grew as a band, from touring  and also mentally, from being in a different position as a full time touring band on a label. There are expectations that not only come from ourselves but from fans and the industry. We were under pressure to complete the album and had roughly a month or two to finish writing followed by a tour and then right into the studio. We didn’t let the pressure stop or deter us from what we had to do. We knew we had to kick it up a notch to top what we did on the first album but at the same time not lose who we are as a band. I think each song on this record has more of a dynamic. We didn’t want every song to sound the same or just play fast all the time. There’s more melody but still brutality on this record. With tracks like “Flesh and Bone” and “Wage a War” which have a lot of melody to them, then you have “Beast” and “The Will To Overcome” which reflect the brutality of the band and then songs like “Ghost Alive” and “Force Fed Lies” that are thrash style songs.

Lauren: How has touring been this last year?

Hiran: Touring has been great! We’ve had so many great opportunities that we had the pleasure of being a part of. From Trespass America with Five Finger Death Punch and Killswitch Engage, opening for In Flames, then Orion fest with Metallica and of course, Mayhem Festival with Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Machine Head and Huntress. All these tours have given us a chance to play in front of large crowds and have really helped us gain a quickly growing fan base. There a lot of bands that never get a chance to do these types of tours so we’re really thankful we’ve had the chance to be a part of these. Touring is hard work and a lot of dedication but when you bust ass and do tours like these it really makes the work all worthwhile. We’ve always been a hard working band and we know that this just the beginning to more opportunities. We don’t let these opportunities get to our head and we know that we’re still a young band that has more to prove but we’re ready.

Lauren: Have there been any memorable shows for you this last year?

Hiran: I would say most memorable show for us was Orion Music and More with Metallica. Playing a show with Metallica is a dream come true and we got to play with them in our hometown of Detroit! Not only did we play on the same bill with them but we got to be part of a press conference with the band! Out of all the great bands on the bill we were selected to do this! It was unreal and as a matter of fact I barely said a word at the press conference because I was so nervous! Never thought I would be sitting next to Metallica! To top it all off, James Hetfield and Robert Trujillo, came out on stage before we went on and introduced us! They pumped up the crowd and us! We went up there on fire and just burnt the place down with our energy and excitement. Truly a memorable and career highlight for us!

Lauren: If you could replace the soundtrack to any movie with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Hiran: I’m honestly more of a fan of scores when it comes to movies versus putting songs in a movie soundtrack. I really wouldn’t want to change the soundtrack of any particular movie I like because I feel like the music is already fitting for it but if I could I make my own movie with our music I would make an action movie. It’d be like the Expendables battling against the cast of all those dumb reality TV shows.

Lauren: Where would you like to see Battlecross in 5 years?

Hiran: My hope that our career is still thriving and that we will be touring all over the world. That’s all I really want from this band is a solid career and be playing anywhere and everywhere we can.

Lauren: Are there any plans for any upcoming tours or a new album?

Hiran: Definitely upcoming tours, we have a tour with Hatebreed, Shadows Fall and Acacia Strain this fall followed by a tour with Death Angel, 3 Inches Of Blood, Revocation and Diamond Plate! After that not sure what else is in store other than more touring and hopefully heading overseas! Can’t wait to play in Europe, South America, Japan and every where else on the globe! As far as a new album we’re not really focused on that yet other than working on some ideas on our own here and there.

Battlecross online:

http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal
http://youtube.com/battlecrossmetal

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One Response to “Interview with Hiran Deraniyagala [Battlecross]”

  1. […] Interview with Hiran Deraniyagala [Battlecross] (valkyrianmusic.com) […]

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