Godhead is a new Los Angeles-based Krishnacore band. Krishnacore is a subgenre of hardcore punk that draws inspiration from the Bhakta Yoga traditions. Although some hardcore punk bands had already made references to Krishna Consciousness in the 1980s punk scene, this subgenre was established in the early 1990s by bands like Shelter and 108. Godhead recently released their first EP and just had their first show on November 21st at Programme Skate & Sound in Fullerton, California.
ISKCON News asked Godhead if they could tell us a little bit more about their band and devotional lives.
Danesa das: I was given a Bhagavad-Gita by a coworker at the age of 14/15. He handed it to me, began explaining who Krishna is and wrapped it all up by pulling out a methamphetamine pipe and in a casual manner… “did his thing”.
I did take the Gita home, but my juvenile brain couldn’t separate this book from the preferred recreations of the person who gave it to me. It took me many years to get over that.
Bhakta Javier: I don’t remember encountering KC before someone showed me the band Shelter around 1993. They explained that it was Ray Cappo (Raghunath)’s new band, and I was interested. I went to see them play, and then went to the Laguna Beach temple a few times, but it didn’t stick. Around 2015, my then girlfriend (now wife) brought me to some yoga classes and we discovered a local community, and after regular attendance at the Laguna Beach and Long Beach CA temples, we decided to become devotees of Lord Krishna.
Danesa das: As far as lyrics are concerned, I typically get music sent to me that the prabhus are working on. Then I write lyrics to the music that are either relevant to where I’m at personally in my spiritual life or I try to write about what might be a more universal experience that all Bhaktas can relate to, or something of inspiration they can benefit from.
Bhakta Javier: Musically, everyone contributes. We usually write the music to a song, send it to Danesa and he will shape it around lyrics that he has written. It’s a very organic and collaborative process.
Ekaraja das: The writing process is pretty simple, we basically just jam out and piece songs together till we’re happy with the result. After that we send the tracks over to Danesa prabhu so he can add lyrics and that’s pretty much it. Our logic is, if it takes you days to finish writing a single song, then it’s probably not gonna be good. It’s those songs that come together immediately that are the best.
Danesa das: Everyone in this band has played this style of punk rock music since we were much younger.
Krishna Consciousness teaches us that we should continue to do what comes naturally to us, so long as we can add Krishna into the equation. Playing this style of music comes to us so much more naturally than, say, something like traditional Kirtan. Even though we love our Kadamba Kanana Swami and Aindra Prabhu style of Kirtan, playing this specific high energy music as an expression of our Bhakti made the most sense.
Danesa das: We certainly don’t expect anyone (nor would we encourage them) to jump into any extremes and start wearing dhotis or calling their old friends ‘‘Karmis’’.
Just as was Krishna’s first teaching to Arjuna, we would like people to first understand that they are not their material bodies, but they are spirit souls. Hopefully this truth will spring them forward into their spiritual lives. Whatever that looks like for any given individual is valid in our eyes.
Bhakta Javier: One of the most important lessons that I have learned as a devotee is “just add Krishna”. You like being a hardcore punk kid? Just add Krishna. You’re married, with kids, and a career? Just add Krishna. Not everyone needs to be a monk, or a kirtaniya, or a yoga teacher. Just add Krishna to your life.
Godhead live at Programme Skate & Sound
Ekaraja das: Bhakta Ty and I have known each other for quite some time now, we used to play in a band a while back. As far as the other prabhus, we’ve only known each other for a couple of years now, but it honestly feels like we’ve known each other for many lives.
One day while at work I thought to myself, there’s quite a good amount of devotees who used to play in hardcore bands, we should start a Krishnacore band like Shelter and 108 did back in the 90’s and bring back that spiritual and positive energy that’s been kind of missing from the scene. I decided then and there that I would make it a goal to make it happen, but only for the sole purpose of spreading Krishna consciousness. We struggled and had to make a few line up changes, but after recruiting Danesa prabhu, things really started to come together.
Ekaraja das: Things have really taken off since our EP was released. I think at first lots of people didn’t know what to expect. When people usually think of Krishnacore they think Shelter or 108 and we came from a totally different angle, we wanted to keep our music fast, short, and aggressive. Give you a full dose of KC in under a minute.
Ekaraja das: The pandemic delayed our recording for quite some time, but in the end I think it was all Krishnas arrangement. I don’t think we were ready so it forced us to really make sure we were happy with the music and vocal arrangements.
Bhakta Javier: Global lockdowns have really changed the face of live music and underground music scenes. One thing that it really did to help this band is allowing us MONTHS of time to practice before a single soul heard our music, so we could really do things the way we wanted without any time constraints.
Bhakta Javier: Stretching! Stretching is so important before any physical activity. Being healthy helps, it’s hard to jump around and keep your energy up during a punk show or a roaring kirtan if your body isn’t ready for it.
I would also love to get my mind in the right place before a live performance that what we are doing is not for fame or notoriety. We want to take the energy, the shakti, and glorify Krishna with it.
Bhakta Javier: We just want to keep making music and expressing ourselves, and to serve Lord Krishna and His devotees. This is our service, this is our passion.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada once said-
“You don’t have to stop anything; just add Krishna to your life. Whatever you cook, offer it to Krishna, and then take prasada. And chant Krishna’s names.”
This band is full of people who grew up in punk and hardcore music, and it’s something that we love. So, we decided to take that and just add Krishna.
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org