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Interviews Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:50:31 +0000 en-gb Animal Factory Amplification-The Sonic Wildling Comes Out To Hunt


How many times have you gone out to buy an amp or a pedal, and come back wondering, ‘Why doesn’t anyone make this in India?’ Well, they do now, in our very own aamchi Mumbai. Meet Aditya Nandwana, the man behind Animal Amplification Factory, who has decided to rule the world with sounds straight from Planet Floyd and Galaxy Soundsmashup. He builds Custom Pedals and Tube Amps for those looking for sounds not found on your everyday hardware. Intrigued? So were we. 


IMR: How did AFA come into being? 

Back around 1999 when I went to college in Bombay and picked up my first acoustic guitar, the only things I was obsessed with were a.) putting bass strings on it and b) distorting the hell out of it. The first idea had to be relinquished, but the second didn’t. With the help of a friend, I put together Aron Nelson’s Hornet Fuzz, which worked for about one second before never making a sound again. I think we trashed that sorry mess. 

That kind of set something in motion though. Over the next few years I started building more simple effects and learning about electronics along the way. I have to thank Warren Mendonsa at this point – he commissioned the first ever pedal I built for somebody else, a clone of the Butler Tube Driver. It sounded horrendous and probably got trashed. Warren, if you’re reading this, I still owe you a Tube Driver. 

Around 2008-9, the itch had grown into an urge, the urge into an addiction. If you want to fuel your addiction, you’d better have some disposable income – hence, I figured I should start taking on some of the custom build enquiries I was getting at the time and make my habit pay for itself. 

I did a few pedals and a couple of tube amplifiers as custom jobs for people, as well as a few mods and repairs. At some point I got a bit fed up and I figured that I don’t want to be known as a custom shop/cloner and would rather take on a product focus. I think that was really the birth of AFA as an idea.

IMR: Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a bit of a misfit in general. I come from a family business background, so I consider myself very fortunate in terms of having some sort of foundation to build upon, and having learned stuff from very different places. I studied engineering as an undergraduate, and followed it up later with a master in cognitive systems and media. I suppose I’m a bit all over the place. I get pretty geeky – and fairly consumed - about things I’m doing or enjoying., usually music, building stuff, cooking or working out. Other than that, I guess I’m just a regular urban 30-something who needs his black coffee in the morning and is aging disgracefully as we speak. 

IMR: What about your tastes in music?

Musically, I’m all over the place. I’ll listen to pretty much anything as long as it’s not too stupid. I go through phases, I guess. My favourite bands/artists would include Nirvana, Einstürzende Neubauten, Coil, Foetus, Explosions in the Sky, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Pantera, Aphex Twin, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Modeselektor, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Arcade Fire; topping that list would be Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails. Some newer bands are creeping high up that list – Silversun Pickups, Muse, Foals, The National, Nicolas Jaar/Darkside, The Weeknd, God is an Astronaut to name a few. 

So there’s a lot of industrial, electronica, shoegaze, post-rock/post metal. I’ll give practically anything a listen though – there’s really no point closing yourself off to music. Except perhaps the shit on MTV these days, Nicki Minaj and One Direction and that sort of garbage. Currently, I’m lusting for shoegazey sounds – Kevin Shields,Brian Aubert, Slowdive, JaMC... 

IMR: What is the process of making a pedal? Where do you start and how much time does it take to make one of them?

Without going too deep into specifics, let’s break down the process- You need a schematic (circuit diagram), a layout (which translates that circuit diagram into a physical placement of parts on a board of some sort), electronic components to build the pedal, a soldering iron, solder wire and wire cutters, a switching mechanism and something to house the whole damn thing in. You’d be best to avoid flimsy enclosures though, given that you need to step on them. You assemble components on a board according to the layout, solder them in place, connect the input, output and power jacks and they you’re usually ready to go. The time it takes depends on your level of skill and the complexity of a circuit, but a simple one or two transistor booster or fuzz shouldn’t take more than 6 hours for somebody who has never touched a soldering iron before.

There are a lot of resources on the internet that explain the process very well. I’ve learned practically everything about pedal building off the net myself. Some of my favourite sites as a novice were:,,, among others. 

IMR: Do you have a particular sound in mind when you set off making something new? Or is it just something that comes along during the process?

It depends, really. Sometimes I do start with a sound in mind. Other times, I start with a specific circuit in mind and hack it apart to rework it. Not so often, they’re just happy accidents. Sometimes it’s a very formal set of requirements I write out for myself – the pedal should do x and have y features. I’m really experimenting at this stage, so I’m letting the creative process and bursts of inspiration guide me rather than set rules to constrain them. 

What I love doing is actually coming up with a name first and then designing a product that sounds like the name. That ups the difficulty level in no small way, but is definitely more rewarding than making yet another Tube Screamer clone and calling it the Green Driveway or something idiotic like that. 

IMR: Where did you acquire the skill-set and knowledge required to make intricate circuit designs and pedal casings?

A lot of it was learnt by doing and experimentation – I’m fiercely opposed to unnecessary wiring, including inside tube amps. I learned how to lay out PCBs while designing circuits during my undergrad studies in biomedical engineering – a good design makes all the difference, and is pretty critical in physiological signals. Those are a lot smaller than guitar signals, and clean design rules are paramount.

With the pedal casings, it was all self-taught – I’m really big on aesthetics because I don’t see any reason for a good sounding pedal to look meh. I think I was mostly inspired by medieval woodcuts and old inlay work. It was pretty hard to get things right earlier, and a metric fuckton of work at that. Thankfully, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting my processes down, so things are improving 

IMR: Do you do the entire work yourself, or is some of the work outsourced to someone?

For the most part, it’s only me as far as research, design and prototyping is concerned. The only thing I don’t do in that department are the actual illustrations. I’m not an artist, and can’t draw for nuts. I’m very interested by different illustration styles, so I bookmark artists that I like and commission work from them. What I do outsource is the bulk of production work (which I’m not particularly exceptional at anyway) like drilling, soldering etc., so that I can focus on doing the more critical stuff – i.e. designing circuits, sounds, final assembly, testing/tuning and quality control. 

I etch the limited edition pedals individually by hand though. That’s a process far too sensitive for me to entrust somebody else with at this stage.

IMR: Obtaining the parts must be really difficult.

Yes and no – a lot of passive components in usable quality are easily available in the local market. For everything else, you have to look for suppliers from overseas and import stuff, which can be a huge challenge. Almost every component in my tube amps are imported, down to some of the screws. That’s how hard it is to track down good materials here. 

What does help is the fact that I buy in bulk quantities, which improves the chances of getting better quality parts locally. The pricing doesn’t change, but I’m pretty much done with the idea of putting super-cheap crap in my pedals. I usually go for the higher priced alternative, both with components and service suppliers. If I can get components in manufacturer-sealed bulk packs, I’m glad to pay more to avoid counterfeit crap. Quality and reliability come at a cost. 

IMR: What is the future of AFA? When can we expect to see AFA’s pedals sitting next to the Korgs and Dunlops?

To answer the second part of your question first – at this stage, my gut says “Possibly never.” No disrespect to either of those companies – I love and have a lot of respect for them - I’d simply like to see AFA grow as a brand that focuses on identity and individuality. I don’t create my pedals according to public demand, or what’s hot on the market, or to make the player sound like the guitar god du jour. I’d much rather like to see people explore sonic possibilities and push their limits of creativity with my products. That’s AFA in a nutshell.

That being said, my products will be available for sale with short lead times starting October 15, 2014. I’d highly doubt they will ever have the mainstream appeal that Korg and Dunlop do to share shelf space in retail stores, but stranger things have happened. 

The future of AFA, in terms of products, looks fairly exciting. DSP and digital effects fascinate me to no end, and the good news is that it’s getting easier to develop DSP-based pedals with open-source hardware and pre-coded chips. There’s also something else in the pipeline that I’m not ready to talk about just yet, lest I jinx it before it materializes – it’s giving me a serious case of butterflies in my stomach. If it does happen, I’ll probably be announcing something within the next 6 months, so stay tuned on the Facebook page for updates!

In terms of growth, I’d like to see AFA be more than just a gear manufacturer. I aim to see it drive innovation and creativity, and I’m honoured to have a very healthy music scene in India that I need to create quality products for. The DIY scene is growing too – AFA grew out of DIY and sharing, and we’re going to give back and develop that community as well in various ways. 

IMR: What has been the response of users/music fans/critics/people with shared interests so far regarding your creations? 

On the whole, unexpectedly good. It’s surprising how many people took to Chemical Burn – it’s a vicious, heavy, scooped, gated fuzz that you simply can’t tame or get a soft sound out of. I was pretty shocked to see a few shredders change styles and pull out some muscular, crushing riffs. Watching my friend, ace singer and musician Sid Basrur, play with it was a revelation. Niko from the Cypriot band Rawbin Cult messaged me raving about how good it sounds on bass. 

I guess I like pedals that makes you take a different approach to how you play. The very skilled Gaurav Shah from Grasshopper told me after two weeks of testing a couple of my pedals: “I didn’t play your pedals, your pedals played me.” I couldn’t ask for more! You’re not going to use them on every song, but when you do turn them on step, people will know you’re in the room.

A defining compliment I got was from producer Costatino Francorsi, who saw one of my hand-etched Big Muff clones and told me “I don’t know what it is, I haven’t heard it yet, but it looks so good, I want to buy it.” That was a pretty important moment for me in understanding what makes AFA tick. He eventually played it and loved it, and now owns it.

IMR: What inspires your work- sound itself or music that can be created from it? 

A bit of both, really. I’m more of the kind of guy who revels in drones and spacey sounds, so I’d like to hit a chord and let it sustain or reverberate around and just hear the textures change over time. 

However, I find it equally exciting though when a musician constructs music around a sound – say, for example, Billy Corgan’s fuzzed out riffs on “Zero” or Kevin Shields’ reverb work on the epic “Loveless” album. The Edge playing the Way Huge Big Cheese in “Discotheque”. Deadmau5’ mastery of sidechain compression. You get the idea. 

IMR: What’s your favourite sound effect?

It’s a very, very tough fight between fuzz and delay for that position. Not a nice, disciplined fight either, but an all-out eye-gounging, groin-kicking street fight. If you made me put just one pedal on my board at gunpoint, I’d probably have to go with a more extreme fuzz. Why be quiet? 

In general though, I find one without the other incomplete. Time for me to develop a combination fuzz/delay, perhaps? 

IMR: What all cool stuff have you made till now, and what are you working on at present?

Oh, I’m not going to ruin any surprises here! So without saying too much, I’ve developed around six different circuits to various stages of completion over the last year. I’m almost ready to roll out three, the other three are being fine-tuned and prototyped further. 

My first product Chemical Burn – an almost-clone of the Univox/Shin-Ei Superfuzz FY-6 - has gotten VERY positive feedback so far, and I’m ready to take orders right now. The next product will be another fuzz with a very different character and one very, very unique feature. The third is a bit more mainstream, by popular request – a rich, fat bluesy overdrive/distortion. The other three are distortion circuits of different sorts, all with their own special thing going on.

After that I’ll be looking into other effects – there’s delay, reverb and modulation waiting to be explored. And let’s not forget tube amps, but that’s still quite some time away. All with a twist or two written in, of course. I like loud, noisy, nasty things and sounds with character. Smooth tones and predictable results can take a break. Embrace sonic artefacts, let them embrace you and find your own voice.

]]> (Siddhant Tiwari) Interviews Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:02:30 +0000
Parikrama-The Indian Gods Of Rock & Roll!

Parikrama Interview IMR 2014

22 years- this is how long Parikrama has been carrying the flag of Rock music in India. They have seen the industry inside and out. To commemorate this long and eventful journey, the band recently embarked on a multi city Parikrama @ 22 Tour. In Indore for their gig, IMR had an insightful chat with Subir Malik, Keyboard player and manager for the band, on all things Parikrama.    


IMR: Welcome to Indore! How does it feel to be here?

Subir Malik: Thank you very much. It feels good. As a band we have played here several times in the past and each time it was a different experience. Parikrama has played in Indore for Levis and RSJ, and many shows besides that. Personally, I have been visiting the city for over 20 years now. 


IMR: Oh! How is that?

Subir Malik: Yeah I have been coming here since long as we have a family business here at Maharani Road dealing in automotive parts. Parikrama was actually a 4 months project. I was supposed to play for 4 months and then join the family business. I just wanted to have some fun and that’s why Parikrama was formed. I used to come to Indore every 2 months to Maharani Road. So I have been visiting Indore even before Parikrama was formed. Even today we have 50 year old ties with shop keepers in that area.


IMR: How has the Parikrama @ 22 Tour been so far? 

Subir Malik: After Indore only 2 shows are left. Indore is the 12th city of our tour. There was a gap between the 1st leg and the 2nd leg but the next time we want to have them all together. The 1st leg included Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. 2nd leg had Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Jaipur. We want to take Rock & Roll to places where it is not much established. The idea is to establish this tour as an annual property. There are still some barriers. Like this venue is allowing only couple entry. They don’t understand that Rock & roll does not work like that. These are thing we have to sort out in the next edition. This venue is intimate though and that is good because it allows the band and audience to bond together. The idea is to have fun, not make it an elitist thing.


IMR: You were just awarded the Dewarist title, which is given to those who have made a difference to the Indian music industry. What are your thoughts about it? 

Subir Malik: Frankly, awards and functions don’t really affect me too much. You will never see us asking for votes or likes for a competition or something. We don’t do that. So yeah it’s good but after you have been in this field for over 22 years, you stop thinking about such things. Its good but it never gets into my head. 


IMR: 22 years is a long time to have been around. A lot of your fans are not even 22 years old. What have you observed about the Indian music industry in all these years, and what would you say are the good things and bad things about it? 

Subir Malik: Overall, what is good and bad is what you make out of it. Thing is that now there is not much of radio, and airplay especially for indie bands. But you have to look at things from the point of view of radio and TV channels. They have to make money as well. If they don’t show what people want, how will they earn money? India being a Hindi speaking country, there is simply no market out there for English bands.  They are doing our job we are doing ours. We are happy with the 100 people who come to our gigs because they are dedicated fans, not like the Bollywood fans who go to concerts to see the stars, instead of listening to their music. So even though the fan base and market for rock music and even English music is small, it is much more dedicated and true to the music itself. 


IMR: Parikrama hasn’t launched a single album till date. Why is that?

Subir Malik: All our music is free. You can download it from our website. The idea is to make music, not money. In the sound check that we just did, we played 6-7 songs that were never recorded or even played live. We write regularly, but we don’t like going to studios. If I make a list of songs that we have done live, there will be 80-90 songs. 9-10 albums can be made out of that right now. A lot of fans constantly ask for our albums. A lot of people say we want to see your artwork, we want to hold your album in hand. We have given out 85,000 albums for free. The thing is that, we always considered ourselves to be a live band. For Indore specially, we are doing a couple of covers. 


IMR: What are you covering today?

Subir Malik: Highway to Hell by AC/DC and Baba O’ Reilly by The Who. Covers are important. You have to play something familiar for the audience because many people are probably listening to you for the first time and they don’t know your original compositions.


IMR: Are record labels relevant anymore?

Subir Malik: Labels are dead now. Most have gone bankrupt. You can’t stop piracy in any way. No matter which label you are associated with, in a few days your album, your songs will be on internet for free. It’s human nature. That means there must be some flaw in the model. People don’t know what Intellectual Property is. Many people don’t even know that piracy is illegal. Moreover, labels tend to constrict the creativity of an artist, as they want them to make what the listener wants, not what the musician wants. That is very destructive for both the artist and eventually the audience.


IMR: So have you been approached by a label?

Subir Malik: Yes, many times, but we preferred to stay away. As I said, It constricts you. Parikrama is not a commercial band. We play for the love of Rock & Roll, not to earn money. If you come down to selling, you have to do a lot of hard work. You go to a major label and record an album; that will cost around 10-15 Lac rupees. You’ve got to recover that cost right? That puts an additional burden on everyone. Imagine how much additional marketing and gigs we would have to do simply to make that much money. Instead, why not give away music for free? That way we are saved the headache, and the fans get to listen to us for free.  


IMR: There were rumours that you are the official opening band for Iron Maiden. What was that all about?

Subir Malik: That is a rumour. There is no written contract or agreement between us and Maiden. Even though it’s true in principle, it’s not true professionally. We have played with Iron Maiden but there is no deal as such.  We are in touch with their management. In fact we just had a talk with them before coming here, about another tour this summer. So we are at good terms with them and in constant touch, but we are not their “official” opening act.


IMR: Which song is closest to the band?

Subir Malik: There are many. Till I’m No One Again was the first song we recorded in ’95 so that is special. In The Middle, Tears of the Wizard, Am I Dreaming are all close to our heart.


IMR: Is it true that Am I Dreaming is based on a Lord Of The Rings character?

Subir Malik: Yeah Nitin loves Lords so yes it is based on the series. Tears of the Wizard is based on the character of Gandalf. 


IMR: What are your plans for collaborations in the near future?

Subir Malik: There are lots of plans. Parikrama and Friends Tour is a huge collaboration. In the 1st year we worked with 54 artistes who bought in different styles and varieties. This year we collaborated with Rahul Ram, Agnee, Ehsaan Noorani, Rabbi and Vir Das to name a few artistes.


IMR: Parikrama your main source of income?

Subir Malik: No not at all. The reason this band was made was to enjoy music, not to earn money. In summers when there are no shows we get busy with our jobs or businesses or whatever. In 1991, just 4 months before Parikrama was formed, I was about to join my family business. I thought let’s cover some legacy bands in the meanwhile. The idea was to jam for 4 months and then go on to sell motor parts. 


IMR: So what happened in those 4 months?

Subir Malik: We did our 1st gig was in Delhi which was a super hit. Next day our photos were published in the papers. In those days, it was a very big thing to have your photo coming in the papers. Everyone came and congratulated us and from that we got one show after the other. We did our 1st gig on 15 Sept 1991 for 500 rupees. By 18th march, 1992, we were charging 18,000. Demand for good music was very high, but there were only a few bands to fill that void. That worked in our favour. Being from a business background, I knew marketing skills which I used here. Morning to evening I would attend my office and in the evenings we would jam. In 2006 I left my family business. Karte karte 22 saal kab ho gaye pata hi nai chala!


IMR: What are the bands that have influenced you?

Subir Malik: I used to be a bass player. Steve Harris is my biggest influence. I learnt slap pop from a Madonna song (Get Into The Groove). So you can say I’ve had a pretty wide range of influences.


IMR: Has Parikrama got offers from Bollywood?

Subir Malik: We have, but we will never accept any of them. We don’t want to sacrifice our style of music for the sake of just one or two songs for a movie. Our style simply does not suit the tastes of Indian cinema goers. Nitin and Sonam have done a side project right now for a parallel movie industry. But as a band we will never do it.


IMR: What would be your message to aspiring Rock & Roll bands?

Subir Malik: Start small and build up. Don’t expect overnight stardom. In fact, as an Indian band, never expect mainstream stardom. Be true to your genre, and don’t get into the field for money or fame. In the world of Rock & Roll, you can survive only if you are in it, for the love of it.

]]> (Siddhant Tiwari) Interviews Wed, 22 Jan 2014 04:51:25 +0000
Interview With Chinmayi Tripathi (An Independent Musician From New Delhi)

Chinmayi Tripathi Interview IndianMusicRevolution 2014

Indian indie musicians never have it easy. There are vicious stereotypes and fundamental issues with the mindset of people that need to be tackled. Battling all these, Chinmayi Tripathi, a singer- songwriter based in Delhi, has proved that it is only talent that matters at the end of it all. She is also one of the co-founder of Songdew, which is India’s largest online platform for musicians. Chinmayi tells us about her experiences as an independent musician and her association with Songdew in this candid interview with IMR.      


IMR: Please tell us something about yourself. 

Chinmayi Tripathi: Hi, I’m Chinmayi Tripathi. I’m a singer-songwriter based in New Delhi. I compose and write my own songs and I have trained in Hindustani classical singing for almost 7 years. I’m also an MBA by profession. I finished my studies around 2009, after which I started writing my own songs. I was approached by a record labels after they heard one of my songs on the internet. The song got good reviews on MySpace as well. So they decided to record an album with me and that is when I wrote more songs and worked on the composition part. Unfortunately, that album never got recorded. But this episode made me realize that I had potential as an independent musician. So I recorded my album Sun Zara in 2012 on my own. Recently I recorded my second album called Mann Bawra.


IMR: Songdew recently launched Aircel Free The Music campaign. What was the motive behind it and how did it turn out? 

Chinmayi Tripathi: Free The Music is the 1st initiative of Songdew to help talented musicians find a bigger and better audience. Five Indian bands and 1 Pakistani band were selected for this campaign. There music has been released in a very unique method, as we wanted their music to actually reach out to the listeners. We selected these musicians from Songdew on the basis of the quality of their music and popularity amongst Songdew users. We chose Tungzten from Pune- which is one of the best bands In India, North East Breeze from Guwahati which is an Assamese folk group, Pratigya- a Sufi rock band from Delhi, Joel- a terrific singer-songwriter from Kolkata, and Badnaam, which is a heavy Sufi rock band from Pakistan. And one of the artists is me. The campaign was successful as not only did we get a good response and praises from the fans, but even the corporate and several big names pitched in their support. More such campaigns are planned in the future. 9X Media was our TV partner, Radio City came in as the radio partner, and several good venues like Ten Downing Street and Hard Rock Café ensured that we got a good place to start off with. The Idea is to make this event bigger this year onwards. 


IMR: What was the idea behind Songdew and how did you get associated with it?

Chinmayi Tripathi: Songdew was conceptualized around two years back. A lot of research went into it. Based on that, we decided what features should be included on the website. It was in beta mode for a long time because we wanted to be hundred percent sure about our idea. In January 2013, Songdew was formally launched. Today, Songdew has over 25,000 artistes and bands from India and around the world.  It is a small number compared to the actual number of artistes in India and the neighbouring countries, which is in millions. We have just started off and we are growing rapidly. We don’t want to be just another website that promises a lot but delivers nothing. Instead, we have big plans and we want to do something big. Social networks are the next revolution and it can be easily said they are also an independent musician’s best friend for promotion. Songdew is the brainchild of Mr. Sunil Khanna. I joined Songdew because I had always wanted to do something in the field of music. What better place could have I have asked for besides Songdew, a place where I can utilize my knowledge of music and MBA degree at the same time!


IMR: Is Delhi a good place to be for an independent artist? How is it in comparison to the rest of the country?

Chinmayi Tripathi: The time that we are currently in, is awesome for an indie artist. There are a lot more opportunities now then there ever were. In Delhi and NCR, new venues are opening up every day. The ‘scene’ is getting more and more vibrant with the addition of newer artists and fans. And it is only going to become better. I feel things are on the right track. Bollywood still rules the roost though. At some point of time, all musicians would somehow be like to be associated with it. But even without that, an artist can thrive. There are lots of them doing that, like Parikrama, Raghu Dixit and Indian Ocean. All you need is an avenue, a stage. It does not matter if you are a rock band or a Ghazal singer, people will listen to you if you are good. It’s just that you have to create avenues, or platforms for such talented and independent artistes to rise.


IMR: Since you just mentioned Bollywood, one could think of it in two ways- that Bollywood has given an opportunity to lots of people, or that it has killed off the career of many others. Which view do you support?

Chinmayi Tripathi: I definitely agree to the first view. The only thing is that Bollywood will always remain movie centric, not music centric. Labels are happier selling ringtones because they are making money off it. So they don’t really bother to help indie musicians. This is the thing in India. Outside, it’s the other way round- labels promote music, and new musicians, not movies. There, movies are made on music. Here the opposite is true. Bollywood is not the problem; it is the labels that are money minded. They have never dared to look beyond film music as a source of income. Despite that, I don’t think any country has such a musical variety as India. It is our cultural heritage. The flip side is that here musicians cannot really express themselves. They are almost always limited by the movie script, budget, audience taste etc. Despite that, they are making pretty good music.


IMR: Do you think reality shows really help in creating new artists and showcasing talent?

Chinmayi Tripathi: Reality shows are good as far as the singers are concerned.  Such shows go on to prove that India is full of talent. But people should realize that simply participating or even winning in such shows is not going to change their lives. That’s never going to happen.  You can get a platform, but you have to make it on your own from there. These shows are just sources of TRP for a channel. The participants should look upon reality shows as a stage to present themselves, not as a ticket to fame.


IMR: What kind of music do you like to make?

Chinmayi Tripathi: Whatever I have done is fusion basically. Since I am a trained classical singer, you will notice the use of classical vocal styles in all the songs. So there is a lot of classical element. But the music is all contemporary. There is a song, Parinda in which I have used dubstep. There are a couple of songs with Arabic elements in them. So you can classify my music as a rich fusion of Indian Classical and modern music. And I think that is important for any musician. You have to be true to your culture and at the same time embrace modern trends to stay relevant. 


IMR: Do you write your own songs? Who all have you collaborated with till now?

Chinmayi Tripathi: Yes, I write and compose my own songs. I find it to be a lot more comfortable to work on my own songs. But I am always open to collaboration. In the album which I recently released, there is a song Aali which was produced by Gaurav Dayal. There are a couple of songs which were produced by a really talented duo Deepak and Nihar. In the album Mann Bawra, there is a song that was produced by Joel, who is a singer-songwriter from Kolkata. The song Fakira is sung partly by Rahul Ram.


IMR: What are your songs mostly about?

Chinmayi Tripathi: Music is always an expression of who a person is, and what he or she has gone through in life. Mann Bawra is about freedom in life. The song Fakira is inspired by my childhood dream to become a ‘fakeer’! As a child I’d always think what a great thing it must be to roam around and have no tension in life. Somehow that thought turned into a song. The title track Mann Bawra came in my mind when I was travelling in Delhi metro. I looked at people and thought, why do we run around every day looking for god knows what? Whatever we are looking for is inside us but we still choose to run. So such day to day philosophies are what inspire my music and lyrics to a great extent.


IMR: What are your and Songdew’s future plans?

Chinmayi Tripathi: Songdew aims to become the largest social network for musicians in India. It already is, but we want to make it bigger. We want to help as many indie musicians as possible. Our target is to have a million plus registered artists on Songdew by the end of 2014. We want not just Indian artists, but also musicians from other countries because music is after all a global language. Eventually, we plan to make Songdew one of the biggest music networks in the world. As for me, my plan is to keep writing and recording more and more music. I also want to keep learning because you can always be better then you were yesterday. Performing regularly is also a high priority task for me. Live music gives you a kick like nothing else.

]]> (Siddhant Tiwari) Interviews Mon, 20 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Baiju Dharmajan Speaks About Mindstreet, India On Guitar & Antaraka

Baiju Dharmajan Mindstreet Tour

(Photo Courtesy: Gaurav Tophakhane)

Baiju Dharmajan recently started Mindstreet Tour with his band – Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate. Here is an interview to know about the tour, new projects and few more things! 


IMR: Hello Baiju Chetta, thank you for doing this interview with IndianMusicRevolution.

Baiju Dharmajan: Hello Indrajeet!


IMR: Recently you announced Mindstreet Tour. So, tell our readers more about the tour.

Baiju Dharmajan: Mindstreet is one song that put me and of course my erstwhile band Motherjane on the map of Indian rock in 2003. RSJ released it as a part of the Great Indian Rock Compilation album back then, which used to go to every RSJ reader. In 2013, it completes 10 Years since its release and the tour by my current outfit Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate celebrates that moment 10 years ago. In our set, among other songs, we have also included Mindstreet. The Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate plays three cities as a part of this tour – Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. We’ve already played the Mumbai and Pune gigs and the Hyderabad one is on December 5th at Hard Rock Café. 


IMR: You also announced the release of ‘Motherjane: Baiju Dharmajan Diaries’ depicting your journey with Motherjane. Can you please give us a glimpse of it? 

Baiju Dharmajan:  Why glimpse man? Take the whole of it. It’s for free download at . The book captures all that I remember of the wonderful 11 years spent growing with Motherjane.


IMR: You currently have 2 active projects and I can see lots of music is on the way. Enlighten us about both the projects. 

Baiju Dharmajan:  I have one project that’s alive and kicking – Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate. The band’s live concerts have been received well till now. Second project Antaraka is like a dream project and I hope this dream becomes a reality in 2014. We’re looking for a talented vocalist right now. So if you have someone in mind, please do let me know.


IMR: Could you please explain what Antaraka plans to unleash in coming time? Been hearing a lot about the project!

Baiju Dharmajan:  It’s a usual run-of-the-mill music project. Nothing special :D Haha! 


IMR: Few months back you along with Surjo did a contest to find a guitarist featured on your album and received fantastic response. Any more contests launching soon?

Baiju Dharmajan:  Yes. There’s a contest coming up this 26th of January called the “India on Guitar” contest. I’d be requesting upcoming guitarists to record their version of Jana Gana Mana on guitar against my backing track and hopefully through the contest I’ll get to know some great young guitarists in our country.


IMR: Lots of collaborations happening at various fests along with renowned musicians like Bryden Stephen Lewis and Harish Shivaramkrishnan. How is the experience of jamming with these people?

Baiju Dharmajan:  Absolutely fantastic! Harish is undoubtedly one of our country’s finest vocalists and Bryden is technically so perfect. Also had the good fortune of Warren joining me for the opening gig of the Mindstreet Tour at Mumbai and that was really mindblowing. Hopefully Warren and I can do something together in times to come. 


IMR: So, here we come to the end of the interview.  Looking forward to listen some great music from both the projects! Thank you!

Baiju Dharmajan:  Thank you!

]]> (Indrajeet Deshpande) Interviews Thu, 05 Dec 2013 03:43:52 +0000
Interview With Howard Pereira (Overhung)


Overhung Howard Pereira Interview 2013

Very rarely does it happen that you get smacked in the face by a song; and I mean that in a good way. Overhung did just that. Even before the EP was released, the very unique EP promotion campaign that the band set off to do was worth noticing. It put the band on the map, got people involved. The build up to the EP, wittily called ‘E4P’, was in every way, successful. The promotion wasn’t random either. It matched the band’s sound and blended perfectly with the band’s approach to music.

Now with the album recordings in the pipeline, the curiosity to what the band would do next is extremely high. Be it their music or their promotion! So IndianMusicRevolution decided to get in touch with these boys to kill the ‘Waiting’.


IMR: To begin with, tell us about the band. How was it formed, the ideology?

Howard (Overhung): Well there was no real idealogy behind the formation. It really was quite accidental. See… Sujit asked the three of us (Sheldon, Melroy and me) to help him re-record one of his old songs. During that jam I just randomly started paying a riff that Sujit started to sing over. That turned into a great melody and we recorded that song the next day instead of Sujits original plan, hahaha. But yeah I was not too keen on being a part of a new project since I was really busy at the time but somehow I was drawn to the weirdos in the band and decided to give it a go. Sheldon and Melroy were looking for a new project after Dream Out Loud had called it quits and Sujit basically convinced us after promising us a lot of wine and women. J He hasn’t disappointed us yet. ;)


IMR: The music is a wonderful blend of various genres. ‘Waste’ almost leans on classical while the others borrow elements from funk, hard rock, etc. How does the band work during new compositions?

Howard (Overhung): I’m glad you noticed. Well each member of the band comes with his influences. I’m primarily a blues guitarist and that’s what comes through in my playing. Sujit comes from a classic cock-rock background while Sheldon is a metalhead. Melroy is a bass player. :P No I’m kidding. Melroy like most bass players brings the funk. So I guess that’s why you hear everything you do in the music. The album will have some Dub-step and Djent if that music is still cool. :P


IMR: The lyrics! They definitely catch your attention! Who writes the songs?

Howard (Overhung): Ah ‘The purveyor of all things perverse’, that’s Buster Kumar himself. Sujit is a chronic songwriter. He writes at the desk, he writes on the road, he writes in the toilet, while he’s taking off a load. See I’m pretty ok too right? :P . Sujit and me have written all of the songs on the album. And we’ve even co-written some of the lyrics. But most of them are written by either him or me.


IMR: The T-shirt Campaign! Tell us more! How did the band get such a unique idea of promotion?

Howard (Overhung): Ah. My favorite musical exercise. Well you know… after playing live on stage… or partying after a gig. Bleh. What I mean to say is… I’ve been in so many bands since 2007. The scene has changed so much in a short time and bands and musicians need to buck up to cope with it. A music fan nowadays has a million options before him. If your music grabs their attention purely on merit, then lucky you. But the fact is that you need to create buzz and excitement and get people to want to know what your

doing all the time. The most successful band do that. The T-shirt campaign was designed to include our fans and it paid off really well. We were averaging 16k hits a day during the 2 week promotion that we did by uploading a picture everyday and it helped us get enough attention to release our EP. And yeah Overhung Tshirt wearing hotties… its not rocket science. :P The original idea was to ask our fans to send us hot pics wearing out T shirt. We received an amazing response where we got pictures from all over the country and some of them were too hot for us to use as well. :D I’m not kidding, come home one day and I’ll show you. But yeah we asked fans to vote and we were gonna turn the winning pic into a Poster. But the winning pic is now the cover for our EP. Thank you ladies! Muahhhh!!!!


IMR: The album recordings are underway with Midicore Studios. What can we expect from Overhung? More face-smacking music? And when do you plan on releasing the album?

Howard (Overhung): The album has some songs that are old but just never heard on CD before. ‘Must Drink’ is a fairly popular song that I also play differently with Dischordian. ‘I am I’ has a catchy 7/4 blues riff that will knock your socks off. We taking some liberties with recording now that we’re at the guitar tracking stage trying out multiple tube amps and fancy gear and guitars that I’m not qualified to talk about. But we’re hoping to churn it into something special. Face, back, bum… everything will be smacked. :D oh yeah and we are hoping to release it by September when Sujit is back. He is currently busy in the US with multiple bands and being a sex guru.


IMR: I hope there would be a sufficient build up leading to the album! Does the band have a promotion campaign in mind for the album? What are you boys planning?

Howard (Overhung): Well it's too early to say. But yeah I think people have come to expect a weird crazy promotional campaign everytime we do something. So yeah we do have something really cool planned which I can safely say has never been done before. All we’d like to say for now is…’Use a Condom”. 

We are definitely looking forward to what Overhung has in store for us! Given their past records, we know we won’t be disappointed.

To download their EP for free visit Overhung's official website. 


]]> (Vaidehi Palshikar) Interviews Tue, 09 Apr 2013 03:44:26 +0000
Suraj 'The Singing Sensei' Mani Talks About His Upcoming Album



Suraj Mani The Tattava Trip

Being on a hiatus from indie scene, ex – Motherjane vocalist Suraj “The Singing Sensei” Mani is all set to release his first solo album ‘The Tattva Trip.’ After diagnosed with ruptured disc in his lower back last year, he had no option but to retire from Motherjane and it was a huge blow for all Janiacs.

During his operations and therapy sessions he was almost isolated from the outside world. In that time he wrote some tunes and now will be releasing 9 songs + a novel along with the album. The album speaks of his personal experiences, likes and issues that came along with his journey.

Here, in this interview he talks about how the songwriting process came about, future plans and how to cut through all the crap life throws at you and keep doing the things that you are passionate about!

IMR: Hello Suraj Chetta! Thanks for taking out time to talk to IndianMusicRevolution. Before starting the interview, we all would like to know, how is health been treating you? We really missed you because of you going on a hiatus because of back pain.

Suraj Mani: Hi indrajeet, thanks for asking. As of right now I have good months and some bad days, so I guess you could say my health is good and can definitely get better. I’ve missed you guys too.  Shall look forward to doing well planned appearances as the fates allow me.

IMR: Okay so, you are all set to release your first solo album. Can you just give a glimpse of what we can expect in the album like the title, theme, concept etc?

Suraj Mani: Well, I have gone off the beaten path with the concept and delivery of this album and it is definitely different by todays standards. While the name of the album is still under wraps, what I can tell you is that it captures what I have been going thru over this challenging phase in my life.   

IMR: How the lyrics writing, songwriting has come about for the album?

Suraj Mani: Oh well, I’ve always been the type to write about my life in my songs. Most of the time I explore my psyche, issues and likes through my music and that is what I have done again. The thread is a journey that I have taken and how the songs lent themselves to it.

IMR: Your back pain forced you to leave Motherjane. Stupid question to ask, but how much do you miss Motherjane as the band must be like a family for you?

Suraj Mani: Well I still have a ruptured disc in my lower back and hence lifestyle challenges. One of the hardest was that my 10 year association with Motherjane came to an end with finality. You see the band lives in Kerala and I in Bangalore, guess 10 years of bus ride for practice took its toll on my injury and it is no longer a viable or doable option. I miss the guys and what we did together, but I’m glad we did all that we did, bcos I’m proud of all that we achieved as a team.

IMR: Can you tell us the other musicians who have worked on the album?

Suraj Mani: Sure (smiles). I’ve always been blessed to have worked with some amazing musicians and this time around God’s been good to me. This album has me as the singer/songwriter & composer along with the genius of Alwyn Fernandes (guitars/addl percusions/arrangements & music producer), Aman Mahajan (keyboards/piano), Cajetan Dias (strings), Keith Peters (bass), & Suresh Peters (drums). We had a blast and I was awed to see how much we achieved in the time we spent together.

IMR: Here comes the toughest question for you… could you tell us what is the genre of the album?

Suraj Mani: Ha Ha. Not really. But I have had to move away from the frontman of a super rock group into a singer songwriter mode and so maybe that would give you a clue. One thing that notably happen was that the songs have become the real heroes as does tend to happen with singer songwriter types.

IMR: Have you got any record label deal for the album? And what are your thoughts on record labels as most indie artists prefer releasing music on their own.

Suraj Mani: Well I am an indie artist with an indie label – Aum-I Artistes. I’d rather deal with my fans directly rather than some corporation that brings nothing to the table. What an artist needs first is recording facilities, packaging, administrative help and most importantly money to create his/her art, put it out there and recoup investments. With conscientious fans it is possible and once you really reach that fan base you’re set.

IMR: You are known as Sensei. So, could you please tell us your influences who drive you write lyrics, compose music.

Suraj Mani: Life inspires me. I write about things as I see them and sometimes how I’d like to see them. I tend to read a lot of stuff and veer towards zen, art, human psychology, marketing etc. I guess all that shows.

IMR: How Suraj Mani is different from Motherjane vocalist and a solo artist now?

Suraj Mani: Well like I said, I’ve accepted that I’m no longer the frontman of a rock supergroup and gotten into a simpler singer songwriter mode. I do play the guitar now and I know how to play exactly 17 songs from start to end (which includes new stuff that I have composed). Just 17, as of today. (Smiles). In fact I would struggle to do a christmas carol.(laughs)

On a more serious note, having an instrument to noodle around with adds a new dimension to one’s songmaking abilities. So expect my new album and with god’s grace, many more to come  

IMR: As you have mentioned in the Motherjane Rocumentary that you like reading. Can you please tell us your favourite authors, books?

Suraj Mani: It is not the author as much as the subect that interests me and hence I read everything from Osho,  to John Gleick to JK rowling. I just picking up books. I’m a compulsive book buyer actually, if I walk into a book store I’ll walk out with one.

IMR: Any new music you have been listening lately?

Suraj Mani: Frankly no. And I’ll tell you why. The more I’ve wondered about it I’ve realised it must be because of how music is popularised these days. Songs are promoted on visual mediums like Youtube and Facebook and hence what society really consumes as music today are just videos which have a viral quality. I’m sorry to make a general statement, but remove the video and you’ve got really poor stuff floating around.

In fact I was just telling a friend of mine as we were listening to some old favorites that none of those songs really lent themselves to great videos. They were ‘viral songs’ and the visualisation was left to the imagination. With regards to music I wish things would go back to the days when people would recommend a song that could stand on its own without the props of visuals etc etc.

For me, the main dish is the song and people are spending more time designing the menu card than the food. The result? : people like me have stopped eating out. (smiles)

IMR: You are a professional musician past 12 years (I guess). So how Suraj Mani is evolved in these years? And what do you aim to achieve in future?

Suraj Mani: Well yes. I have done 2 albums with motherjane and now I have a solo album coming up in the first week of december 2012. As I said I have another 8 songs which are to go into the next album and many are being written as I go thru what I go through. It is nice to live a bit before releasing music because then the music becomes an expression of what is important to you.

IMR: Well, here we come to the end of the interview. It was really pleasure talking to you. Looking forward to experience some great music that we have been craving for a long time!

Suraj Mani: My pleasure and my regards to all your readers out there. The action for my next albums starts on my Facebook page , so be there. I promise you something different!



]]> (Indrajeet Deshpande) Interviews Sat, 08 Dec 2012 10:48:10 +0000
Nolan Lewis Talks About Kryptos Journey, BOA & More

Nolan Lewis Kryptos BOA Interview 2

Formed in as early as 1998, "Kryptos" is perhaps the only true to the bone Thrash Metal band in India. Though the sound of the band borders on Melodic Metal to some extent, the main essence is that of 1980’s kick in the ass Thrash Metal. Conceived in Bangalore by vocalist/guitarist Nolan Lewis and Ganesh K (ex-vocalist/bassist), the band has released three hugely acclaimed albums till date. "Spiral Ascent" in 2004, "The Ark Of Gemini" in 2008 and the more recent "The Coils Of Apollyon" in February 2012. Their debut album was not only a rage in the Indian Underground, but also spread to U.S and parts of Europe, thus resulting in signing a deal with Old School Metal Records (California, U.S) in 2008.

Come June, and Kryptos will be setting the Bangalore Open Air stage on fire, alongside Iced Earth and Kreator, one of their major influences.

IMR: "The Coils of Apollyon" was long due, since your 2nd album came in 2008. And it opened to rave reviews. How has the response been?
Nolan: The response has been great so far. Everyone who bought it and who got in touch with us after that have had some really good things to say about it. Once the album is released worldwide we should see the album get a lot more attention.

IMR: Kryptos is perhaps the oldest and the most true to its sense Thrash Metal band in India. Do you take pride in this, or are you disappointed at the dearth of Thrash outfits in India?
Nolan: We aren’t a thrash band. We have elements of thrash but we aren’t a pure thrash band but any stretch. It’s just that no one is really sure what to call us so thrash seems to be the most convenient but our music is so much more than that.

IMR: 14 years into the scene, Kryptos has seen many lineup changes and you guys have matured with time. How do you manage to retain the essence while going through these changes? How has your sound evolved?
Nolan: It isn’t too difficult because everyone who has been in this band, both past and present, has always been on the same page when it comes to Metal music in general. We all have pretty much the same influences and we all grew up listening to the same music so the essence of what we do keeps carrying on regardless of who is in the band.
Over the years we’ve gradually found our own sound and right now we’re at a point where we can let whatever we write flow naturally and not worry too much about where to fit things in and stuff like that. I’d say we’ve found the right balance between our influences and our own sound.

IMR: Kryptos was the first Indian Metal band to extensively tour Europe. How was the experience?
Nolan: It was just 5 gigs actually across 3 countries but yeah it was a brilliant experience. We got to play alongside some great bands and made a lot of friends there. The atmosphere there is so very different from here and that was what we loved. New faces, new places, new beer haha.

IMR: Since you don’t play many gigs, distribution of your albums becomes important. How have things been since you tied up with Old School Metal Records?
Nolan: Things were great with OSM Records. They have always been supportive of us from day one and it’s due to them that our last album reached countries in South America, Europe and many part of North America. With our new album we’re looking to sign onto a European label, which is currently on the cards so once that is finalized we’ll have a much larger distribution network to get our music out.

IMR: Kryptos endorses Mapex drums and ESP guitars. How did the deal happen? How important are these gears to the band’s sound?
Nolan: The deal was worked out through Furtados Music and Sahil Makhija from Demonic Resurrection. I think it was limited to just a few Indian bands but it was pretty good to get some really good equipment and gear from both Mapex and ESP. Of course the better the gear the better you’re going to sound so that’s pretty much the case with us as well.

IMR: What are your lyrics based on? Has it got something to do with Kryptos not playing covers?
Nolan: Ummm we haven’t played covers in our sets for nearly 10 years now. Lyrically we deal with a whole load of things ranging from the occult, to conspiracy theories, to sci-fi concepts, extra terrestrials, war, religion, magic, mythology etc. Basically whatever interests us.

IMR: You had supported Iron Maiden, one of your major influences, in 2009. And in Bangalore Open Air, you guys are playing alongside Iced Earth and Kreator, again a band you look up to. How excited are you?
Nolan: We’re thrilled of course. We’re big fans of both bands and both of them have influenced us in some form or the other so it will be fantastic to share the same stage with them.

IMR: BOA will see five major Indian Metal bands alongside two international acts. Is it going to be competition or brotherhood amongst the Indian bands?
Nolan: Neither. We don’t look at anything as a competition and the whole "brotherhood" of Metal is just BS. There’s no competition and there’s no brotherhood. It just is what it is. We’re just looking to have a good time with all our buddies there and listen to some good music. That’s about it.

IMR: What can we expect from Kryptos at Bangalore Open Air?
Nolan: What one can always expect from us. Lots of denim, leather, foul language, sweat and beer haha. We’re going to play almost our entire new album with some older songs as well and there should be some great visuals to back up the music.

IMR: Well, that's it, thank you for taking the time in answering our questions and best wishes from Team IMR for BOA!
Nolan: Thanks a lot. Cheers!

]]> (Soham Skyfire) Interviews Sun, 27 May 2012 07:52:32 +0000
1833 AD Discusses Their New Album, Black Metal & More

1833 AD Interview IMR 2012

India’s pioneering Black Metal act, 1833 AD is on the verge of releasing their first full-length studio album, "My Dark Symphony". The band has gained huge numbers of followers, and garnered accolades from musicians and critics alike, since it’s formation in 2004. The Delhi based quartet comprises of Nishant Varghese on vocals and guitars, Rahul Mehalwal on guitars, Sushmit Mazumdar on bass and Raghav Sehgal on drums.

And 2012 proves to be huge for them – right from their move from underground to the music stores, and playing in Bangalore Open Air alongside Iced Earth and Kreator. In this interview, 1833 AD speaks about their upcoming album, the Black Metal scene in India, the journey of the band and the massive BOA. Read on!

IMR: Hello 1833 AD, thank you very much for the interview. So how are you guys doing? So many lined-up, you guys must be really busy. Isn't it?

1833 AD: Our pleasure. After a slow start to the year we finally have things moving along. Apart from the album and merchandise coming out, we have shows lined up in Delhi, Bangalore and Nepal as of now. More cities would be added as part of the album tour but it’s too soon to talk about that.

IMR: How has the journey of 1833 AD been, since the inception in the year 2006?
1833 AD: The journey has been long, tiring, testing and rewarding. We have progressed and learned a lot over the years. We are overjoyed to finally release our debut album this summer.

IMR: You guys have been labeled as the "Pioneers of Indian Black Metal", how does it feel? Is it a blessing or a burden?
1833 AD: It feels great, no doubts about that. It is of course a blessing to be at this place where we can take pride in this fact and we strive to live up to this honour.

IMR: You are trained in Carnatic music. Does that come in the way of 1833 AD’s genre, or does it help in composing? (for Nishant Abraham Varghese)
1833 AD: Other than my breathing techniques it hasn’t done much for me. I keep them totally separate so there is no question of it coming in the way or helping in composing. If I wake up and do my Riyaaz today I might wake up and cover a Dark Funeral song tomorrow. I love that I can touch such extremes, gives me a personal high(...laughs).

IMR: The teaser to your upcoming debut album, My Dark Symphony, got quite a number of hits. So, you have expectations rising. What has this album got to offer for the fans?
1833 AD: Yes, we are very happy with how that went. We do not want to spoil it for you guys by giving out even the slightest detail. It has taken months for us to come up with the whole package that exists today and we would like you all to experience it first hand without spoilers.

IMR: What are the lyrical themes on your upcoming material dealing with? Any new horizons explored with time?
1833 AD: Many themes are explored like existence and predominance of evil, tales of lust, malice, waning of faith, etc. Again, it’s better you experience it once you have the album.

IMR: Wasn’t this album long due? Are you guys looking at an International release, considering the fact that you have listeners in Nepal, Sri Lanka and parts of South-East Asia?
1833 AD: Oh yes! But there is more to releasing an album than writing the songs. Factors we cannot help. So it takes time and we’re glad that it finally turned out the way it did. We cannot comment on an international release at this point of time.

IMR: One thing I am really exquisite to know about is, where did the ideas for your new logo and album artwork come from (really appreciable)?
1833 AD: Based on the direction we were taking we had a rough concept of what we wanted it to be like but the credit of course goes to Reuben from Visual Amnesia who brought our vision to life.

IMR: As mentioned on your FaceBook page, you guys are currently "looking for a label" so what kind of label are you guys eventually looking to sign with?
1833 AD: We definitely plan to sign up with an international label but again, too soon to comment on that.

IMR: The scene in India is mostly ruled by core/djent bands. And sadly, we have few takers for Black Metal, and fewer guys playing Black Metal. What would you attribute this to?
1833 AD: Speaking strictly of Metal, youngsters obviously take a liking to aggressive forms of music especially those that are moshpit friendly. Black Metal is not something that everyone would enjoy. It is more than just aggression, most times, not even that. It is a very emotional form of music which I feel is an acquired taste and doesn’t just happen overnight.

IMR: Lots of ups and downs in the scene – the passing away of Mr. Amit Saigal, Mumbai coming up with Black Metal Krieg – anything you guys planning to do for the BM scene?
1833 AD: That definitely was the worst news for everyone in the Indian music scene. Mr. Saigal’s contribution has been immense and almost all bands in this country owe a part of their success to him. Many bands, including us, got their first gig thanks to this great man. We will miss him deeply.
Black Metal Krieg is a great initiative and we hope it picks up and becomes a nationwide event in coming years. We at our end can only try to spread the music as far and wide as we can. It will be a slow process and with more bands coming up, we are positive that Black Metal will pick up in India, in the next 5 years.

IMR: Black Metal is not just a form of music, it’s a philosophy, a lifestyle, an art – comments?
1833 AD: Agree. Black Metal is a very diverse form of art which has so much more going on than just the music. Each artist has a different approach to it. It is amazing how vast Black Metal is and how many directions you can take with this genre. It is a great experience both as a musician and as a listener.

IMR: You guys never make use of "corpse paint" onstage during your live performances which many of the BM bands do to have a good visual impact, why? Any plans to incorporate any "traditional" make-up in future?
1833 AD: Not really. Perhaps bands that do it are able to relate to the whole concept of using corpse paint. We do not and it is pathetic that you would do something you don’t believe in.

IMR: DSBM is one neglected Metal genre. Does 1833 AD plan to tread those grounds in the future?
1833 AD: It is almost as if you were secretly present at our band meetings (...laughs). Well not exactly but we do have something planned but that is only next year. We did however include few DSBM worthy parts into this album but the tempo might work against it. Nishant, especially has great interest in the sub-genre and is always trying to add such parts into our songs.

IMR: Upcoming Black Metal bands in India look up to you guys. Any tips or advice for them?
1833 AD: Stay true to your beliefs and just make music. Don’t worry about the stereotypical behaviour expected out of you.

IMR: We’re all looking forward to Bangalore Open Air. Aren’t you guys excited? What’s going to be on offer for the followers there?
1833 AD: Of course! We are looking forward to playing in Bangalore again especially along with these great names! We would be playing a lot of new songs and our album and merch would be on sale. See you there!

]]> (Soham Skyfire) Interviews Wed, 23 May 2012 05:47:21 +0000
Horror Metal Band Albatross Talks About Bangalore Open Air & More!

Albatross Interview BOA IMR 2012

Albatross, the Heavy/Horror Metal band from Mumbai, Maharashtra which was initially a solo project of Riju 'Dr. Hex' Dasgupta, the bassist who wanted to create a healthy fusion between literature and Metal. Later he was joined by his other band mates which led to the birth of Albatross.

The band has already released and E.P, Dinner Is You which was mastered by Swedish producer Andy LaRocque in September 2010. They recently released a split with American Occult Metal band Vestal Claret - The Kissing Flies/Black Priest via Roadcrew Records in 2012. They are one of the bands from India to play at Bangalore Open Air, In fact, they were one of the very first band to be announced by BOA. IndianMusicRevolution was elated to catch hold of the band and have a chat with them regarding BOA and their views towards it.

IMR: Hello Albatross! Glad to catch you guys up before the massive Bangalore Open Air. How are the boys doing currently?
Vignesh: We’re doing great. It has been about 2 months since the album launch, and we are all very happy with the response the new album is getting. We’ve had live shows succeeding the launch and it has honestly been a blast going from the bottom to the top of the country. Chennai and Bangalore were fantastic, our home ground Mumbai was awesome and last but not the least, Guwahati was really kick-ass. So we’re currently back in the jam room rehearsing for our future gigs.

IMR: So what's new coming up from Albatross? Anything you guys planning to release/launch before BOA for the fans?
Dr. Hex: Nah, we're taking a small break now. I'm currently working on a plan for the future, which we shall unleash shortly. But nah...nothing before BOA for sure.

IMR: Any shows you have coming up before BOA?
Dr. Hex: We have a show in Mumbai, which should be announced any day now.

IMR: Is Albatross happy with the promotions of BOA? Do you think BOA would be able to bring an alteration in the Indian Metal scene? What are your personal views on the battle of the bands (a fair chance enough for a big oppurtunity)?
Dr. Hex: I think we can unanimously agree that the promotions have been great. My friends from Australian band Lord, who shared the stage with Iced Earth before this gig told me how much they were looking forward to this show. And sure, if this show becomes an annual property, I see nothing but an alternation in the Indian Heavy Metal circuit. I think any fest which allows you the opportunity to reach Wacken is pretty much worth it. I'm quite curious to know who'll win the battle this is another aspect of the fest which has kept me enthused.

IMR: How's been the fans response about Albatross playing in BOA?
Dr. Hex: We were the first Indian band to be announced, after which I had a lot of congratulatory and adulatory messages pouring in. I think a lot of people are happy because Iced Earth has influenced our music, and sharing the stage with them is truly a dream come true for us.

IMR: What level of personal excitement do you possess with less than one month of BOA?
Vignesh: The excitement is a mixture of thrill, anticipation and a bit of nervousness. It’s a real big honour to play in BOA after all. When we first heard that we got selected, we were pretty surprised. We can’t wait to be on stage at BOA, especially with our friends at Bangalore, who are sharing stage with us and of course – Kreator and Iced Earth.

IMR: What would be the most appealing thing for Albatross in BOA except the presence of mighty Kreator & Iced Earth?
Dr. Hex: Well, this is the first exclusively traditional Metal fest in the it's going to be a thrill even watching the band from an audience POV. All the bands are good friends, and in the words of Vikram Bhat from Dying Embrace - the alcoholocaust will be something to watch out for.

IMR: Do you think the participation of Albatross in BOA means upliftment of the Mumbai Metal scene?
Dr. Hex: Haha, we're not representing Mumbai or anything. We're just coming out there to play Metal and have a blast doing it. But yeah, fests like these are opening doors to the world and we can only imagine better things in the times to follow.

IMR: What can the audience anticipate from Albatross in BOA? Anything special that you guys have planned for the fans?
Vignesh: Well, we are hoping people come early enough to watch us perform as we’re playing pretty early on the day. Apart from that, we are hoping to have a really good time at BOA with everyone present over there.

IMR: Any thank you list?
Dr. Hex: For BOA in particular? As usual we're very thankful to Salman, Nolan, Ganesh, Srikanth, Michael and gang for giving us opportunities on a regular basis to play in Bangalore, allowing us to garner a fanbase there which eventually led us to playing this fest. Also, a big round of thanks to Salman and his team for handling the media aspect of this fest really well. My aching hands from doing all the interviews bear testimony to how much effort he's put into the media/publicity angle.

IMR: What message can we get from Albatross to all the fans and the readers at IndianMusicRevolution?
Vignesh: Listen to the music that you truly believe in, whether it be of any genre. Don’t listen to something just because you want to ape your friends, or belong in some social group. Listen to the type of music that really calls out to your soul \m/.

*Thank you Albatross for your precious time and we wish you good luck for your future and a huge Metal orgy at BOA!

Photo credits: Kushal Das.

]]> (Rupsa Das) Interviews Tue, 22 May 2012 10:32:11 +0000
The Great In The Sky: Interview With Ryan Thomas(Jumpstart India) & Dischordian

The Great Gig In The Sky 2012

Just the simple action of looking at a photo album of a gig like this one, can suck you into a wonderful psychedelic atmosphere and leave you there, starry-eyed, for several moments. I talk from a very subjective point of view here, of course, but this is exactly what happened to me after gaping at the frames from The Great Gig In The Sky with Dischordian.

The Great Gig In The Sky, a name aptly borrowed from a Floyd song, is an initiative by Jumpstart India, Akul Tripathi, Dhiren Talpade and Ryan Thomas to be precise; The co-founders of Jumpstart India. It was aired for the very first time on the 30th March 2012 at 9 pm on Big CBS Spark.

The primary idea behind The Great Gig In The Sky is to harmoniously combine music and nature. To achieve this, bands or artists venture into the woods on the outskirts of Mumbai and sing into the night under a mesmerizing starry sky. It is hardly a gig; it's an experience. My description cannot, in the slightest, do justice to this phenomena. Thus, IndianMusicRevolution thought of getting together with Dischordian and one of the minds behind this other-worldly concept, Ryan Thomas (Jumpstart India).

IMR: In the midst of so many gigs all over Mumbai, this is something extremely avant-garde that I have seen. Tell us Ryan, what made you think of a concept so unique?
Ryan Thomas: We always had a professor in college who would make us listen to songs on nature and would send us messages through music. We thought, why not do this to support local musicians and hence we didn't think too much, we just started off. Since I used to work with a music firm before, I kind of knew the music scene and knew musicians from there. So it’s been great fun so far.

IMR: The first time The Great Gig In The Sky was aired on the 30th March 2012 at 9pm on Big CBS Spark right? How many times a month does it go on air? And would it be something that would continue throughout the year?
Ryan Thomas: It’s a yearlong thing. It’s divided into 3 seasons, all of 4 episodes. Once a season is over for the next 2 months the episode runs on repeats and then a fresh set of episodes go on air.

IMR: How many bands/artists have played this gig so far? Which ones? And how do you decide the band/artist?
Ryan Thomas: Well we have had 6 artists come and play The Great Gig In The Sky. We really aren’t looking for loud music; we look at music that doesn’t really disturb the ambience of the place. We prefer more acoustic based musicians/artists. The artists we have had so far have been Nikhil D’souza, Ankur Tewari, Swanand Kirkire, Sidd Coutto, Airport and now Dischordian.

IMR: How often are the excursions into the woods? And given the woods, I’m sure you must face a few difficulties?
Ryan Thomas: As jumpstart we do activities every weekend, we are weekend getaway specialists. We are more of an outdoor and adventure firm. The GGITS happens once a month and there are a lot of challenges we face. I mean right from finding the right location, the adventure activity, the safety of people...many things. But I think the toughest thing is finding the right location, coz we do a lot of research to find that right location.

IMR: How has your personal experience been? Whatever you had in mind, do you see it taking shape?
Ryan Thomas: Oh I have been really happy with the experience so far, it’s pretty much what I had in mind. However there is a lot of fine tuning to be done. I am hoping with more such trips that will happen.

IMR: Any more future projects of similar nature?
Ryan Thomas: There are many things in the pipeline. We have plans on working with various other art forms, nothing concrete yet but wait and watch is all I have to say for now.

IMR: Tell us Dischordian, how did The Great Gig in The Sky happen for you?
Garreth: Ryan and I had been in touch over a year ago, for some other gig, which, I think, never really worked out. When he started working on The Great Gig In The Sky, I guess he thought we’d be a good fit. As for me, I’d seen the promos on Tv, and I pretty much jumped at the opportunity when he called me about it. After that we just had to get together and work out the details.

IMR: So you spent a night in the woods, is that right? A night where you played music under the moonlit sky! Tell us, how was the experience?
Garreth: It was beautiful...and difficult to describe...the photographs will do much more justice to it. And the episode will do even better I’m sure.
But basically we got there around lunch time, lay around waiting for the murderous heat to subside, had a swim in the river, then dinner, and then got down to the gig. There was a kind of party in the village to celebrate the retirement of some guy who’d worked with the railways for 44 years. So there was a procession and a band and a whole lot of noise, and we delayed our gig by a couple of hours while they finished with theirs – but Aggi joined them for a while on a kettle drum or whatever it was...quite a racket, but great fun. One of the campers had also carried his ukulele, so me and Howard got him to give us a quick class. We learned a handful of chords from him and then jammed on a couple of songs.
So finally we got down to the gig at around 10 was lovely...the three of us sitting on rocks under a tree in an open field, with a million stars above us, fifteen or so people sitting on the ground around us, and a couple of kerosene lamps for a little extra light. It was a wonderfully intimate, casual one knows where the time went...we had no setlist, but we ended up playing for over two hours. It was one of the most satisfying gigs ever. After it was done, Howard and I sat at the edge of the field for a couple of hours, talking and sipping on some whiskey or feni, I don’t remember which...and finally crashed a couple of hours before sunrise.

IMR: Howard, you said that you almost forgot it was a performance. Anything else you may want to add?
Howard: Well it really wasn’t. It was more like sitting and playing for your friends on someone’s terrace...only we had just met these wonderful people and it was the largest terrace view ever. Even after our petro gas lamps died out (we played that long) the stars kept the mood going and we jammed some more. Also got a quick lesson about the north star, the big bear and orions belt.

IMR: This is the first time I have come across something so wonderfully different. In what ways, from a bands point of view, was it different from a conventional gig?
Garreth: Lots of ways. The venue first of all was so relaxing and serene, the sky, trees, soft wind, and natural reverb created a very unique stage for us. Also sitting less that 2 feet away was the audience, totally caught up in the music as well as the ambience. Also what was nice was that we didn’t have to bother with a sound check, get mic tests done, etc. Infact my guitar and mandolin stand for the whole gig was Kitu who was in the audience right in front of me.

IMR: What are Dischordian’s plans for the future? Another album this year? More gigs like these?
Garreth: We’d love to do more gigs like this! If these guys call us back, we’d be only too happy...or even if someone else wants to hire a band for their camping trip or picnic – we’re on!
Album – not this year, I don’t think so. We’ve just about started writing again, working on new songs, digging up discarded or incomplete stuff and tweaking it. The past year or so has been really packed with other things, mostly our other bands and work. So we hadn’t worked on any new material for Dischordian, hadn’t even jammed very much. That’s the main plan for now – write new songs and play them, gig some more, let the new songs breathe a bit...another album will happen eventually, maybe next year.

More pictures(The Great In The Sky):

]]> (Vaidehi Palshikar) Interviews Tue, 15 May 2012 04:08:02 +0000