Enjoy this great conversation with Sahil Makhija and make sure to get on my VIP list at the bottom of the page!
Sahil was a very special guest. We connected back in the fall of 2018 and it was great to catch up and speak about diet, music, and doing what it takes to keep the dream alive!
Sahil Makhija is a death metal front-man of Demonic Resurrection, but better known currently as the host and chef of Headbanger’s Kitchen which has 350,000+ subscribers at the time of this writing. His show mostly features him cooking food for the keto diet while having metal music on in the background. His recipes are very wide ranging. Sahil had gone through many phases. Some of these include cooking, marketing, audio engineering and computer science.
Sahil just finished a keto cookbook that he’s been working on.
He is heading over the UK to be a panel speaker at a heavy metal music conference called World Metal Congress.
His initial format for Headbanger’s Kitchen when he launched in 2011 was different. He used to interview bands and cook for them. The production was much more time and labor intensive. Due to this and the fact that it wasn’t growing fast enough, Sahil decided to just cook on video instead with one camera when he felt like it.
Sahil began doing the keto diet after a friend of his and his wife lost weight from it. After making things like cauliflower pizza, he thought it would be a cool thing to post, and it snowballed. People were requesting recipes and he just stuck with it, growing to over 300,000 subscribers three years later and doing YouTube full time.
Music was Sahil’s first and primary passion. He has been in his current band Demonic Resurrection for 19 years now.
Sahil realized pretty early on that he would not really be able to make money playing death metal music, or at least it would take a long time to do so. He cooked a lot and people online took a liking to it. When India began getting broadband internet and YouTube was becoming very popular around 2009, he thought he should give a shot to having his own cooking show there. Some of his early influences were Epic Meal Time and The BBQ Pit Boys.
At around the same time, his band put out a music video and he used the opportunity to ask the director of his music video to help him film his own show. After the producer prompted Sahil to make it more than a plain cooking show, he conceptualized Headbanger’s Kitchen and launched the show.
Everything that Sahil has been doing in his life has been to promote the band that he is in. As much as he loves cooking and his show, he take every opportunity to spread the word about them and even plays the music in the background of his videos.
Sahil reflects on his experience with his band and says you need to find unique ways of promoting yourself these days. He goes on saying that you must “evolve or die”.
Although he doesn’t get to tour so often because of location and other circumstances, Sahil doesn’t diet on the road. He is a foodie and loves to try all kinds of cuisines when traveling.
During his formative years, Sahil went through several phases. He went from wanting to be a chef, to getting into computers, then music and audio engineering, which he worked in after high school. He then worked in artist relations with Furtado’s Music for eleven years, until he was able to leave and do YouTube exclusively.
The moment Sahil was able to record, he started recording bands for extra pocket money. He has always hustled to make an extra buck anywhere he was able to up until about two years ago.
Sahil considers himself an atheist and believes that as long as you are being a good person, that is all that really matters.
On fitness, Sahil admits that although working out is a bit of a chore for him, it is necessary to shape the body. You can lose weight without it, but you won’t look too much better or defined until you include some exercise.
On hormones and their role in shaping your body, Sahil points out that diet plays a major role in that.
Sahil gets about 7-8 hours of sleep daily at this point and goes to bed around 11PM. He likes to enjoy his mornings but has no pressure otherwise to rise early. He is loosely organized in keeping up his channel throughout the day. The second half of the day is dedicated to music, then being with his wife.
To organize his notes, Sahil keeps drafts in his email.
Emotionally, Sahil has struggled on a bit of a rollercoaster with trying to promote his music ventures. He has invested countless hours into promoting his band during the two decades of its existence. Sleeping has been the main remedy to get rid of the feelings.
He used to rant online about what he struggled with and then realized, thanks to his wife, that it’s better to speak to someone rather than going online and spreading that kind of energy there and feeling validated for it. He says doing that makes you look worse than you actually are.
Sahil’s parents are extremely supportive of what he does and always have had his back. He is very grateful for them as well as his wife in standing behind him.
On the carnivore diet, Sahil shared that he is not a huge proponent of it because it is a bit too restricting for him. He also went on that the research for it is still insufficient at this point. He makes the case that whatever diet you are consuming, you should be able to get all of the nutrients from your food without relying on man-made supplements.
Sahil believes that the unhealthy state of the world is largely attributed to the easily accessible over-processed foods that don’t resemble anything we ate traditionally. He said that our technology is evolving much faster than our bodies.
As a side effect of following a diet like keto, Sahil says that you end up eating purer foods without all of the additives that can degrade your health. Educating yourself and being mindful about food is a huge benefit of eating in this way.
Within 5 years, Sahil would like to bring Headbanger’s Kitchen to a point to which it can sustain him financially while having sufficient time for his other pursuits.
Sahil’s message to all musicians is not to get caught up in the numbers game. Do the music for the love you had when you first started. Sometimes you need to step back and do music just because you want to.