ISSN 0974 – 9128
Vol 05 Issue 03 - April 2012
www.highonscore.com ` 50/-
India's Pan-Genre Music MagazinE
MODI DIGITAL’S Band of the Month
Fame Calls at
Rahman + Babelsberg Rehash!
The Colours of
Kailasa INDIPOP MEMORIES #2: Saagarika, Devang Patel & Suneeta Rao
the edit PAD Editor-in-Chief Nikila Srinivasan
Strategy and Planning Ajay Prabhakar
Business Development Pragash VM
Marketing Manager Sneha Ramesh
Operations, Mumbai Siddharth Mehta
Madhav Ravindranath CK Vignesh
Content Advisor Solomon Porres
ssues come and issues go with editorials barely seen, but I want to make this one count. An interview of our co-founder in Yourstory. in recently got me thinking about how far Team Score has come. This is the era of startups, a time when entrepreneurship is finally synonymous with ambition in the public eye. The Score journey began five years ago when, as rage comics would say, “Y U Start Risky Business?” was the instant reaction. But two young guys barely out of college went ahead and did it anyway. I will never forget my first meeting with the magazine’s founders, in a semi-functional microprocessor lab in our college. They had big dreams and so much gusto. Our team has changed over the years, the shakeups being for the better, and we’re in our best shape ever. Entrepreneurship is not risky when you’re passionate enough, and being swept away in a common passion for music, good writing and great visuals keeps this team together. In this issue, we’re reliving indi-pop eras past, musing about ethereal dance festivals, introducing the world to Kailasa, a band with breathtaking talent and taking you along on a blind date with stoner rock. I tip my [insert name of most fashionable type] hat to our brilliant team! Are you Scoring?
Nikila Srinivasan Nikila Srinivasan has been a columnist and contributor for several reputed national publications and has authored three books. She has had the honour of being one of India’s Olympic torch bearers at the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.
Content Support Shresht Poddar Mahima Mathur
Design Support Sudipto Nayak
Parizad D Bharath Chandrasekhar Srii Rama Santhosh George Vedamanickam http://www.motherteresafoundation.org.in The Score Magazine is proud to support the Mother Teresa Foundation and urge our readers to join us in giving back a fraction of what we have been given. Don’t use logo with box
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DISCLAIMER: Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustrations without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and illustrations. Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publication and accordingly no liability is assumed by the publisher thereof. Advertising copy and artworks are the sole responsibility of the advertisers.
We would like to apologise for the use of the image which was clicked by Mr Tushar Dhanawade on the 41st page of the February 2012 issue of The Score Magazine. The credits were wrongly given to Ms Parizad D for the picture. We regret the inconvenience which has been caused to him and his company Crank Up INC.
“The Score Magazine” is wholly owned and published by Registered Office: 38/23, Venkatesa Agraharam, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004.
The mammoth musical ensemble is ringing in 2012 with a world tour. An exclusive on the band, the new album & the musical direction
Sri Kumaran Stores Artiste of the Month
22 MODI DIGITAL’s Band of the Month Hindi rock goes progressive with Coshish
Playback singer Janani Madan is our muse this issue!
INDI-POP SINGERS #2
Part 2 of the blast from the past series. We stir 4 more stars from their sabbatical.
MADONNA WANTS SOME LOVIN’
QUIRKS n QUERIES with SHWETHA PANDIT
The queen of pop reclaims her throne but we have our reservations about the formula used
Born into a family of music maestros, Shwetha Pandit gives you a whirlwind tour of her life as a prodigy.
Thermal & a Quarter are all set for a fancy tour! We talk to them & unearth more.
COLLEGE FEST ANALYTICS
Are they positive or negative? What’s the inside story? Find out the full plot as we interview bands, organisers and the audience.
SUNSHINE ON ADVAITA
Delhi based Advaita reflects on their new album & the tricky trails of fusion music. You aren’t a global phenomenon until you’ve pitched your flag in India. The messiah of dance in mainstream – David Guetta!
Holds a diploma in Urdu & eloquence
Full of floral analogies
Lead vocalist & Co-founder # 1
Rangeele Favourite: Babaji
Guitarist & Co-founder # 2
Bassist & Co-founder # 3
Rangeele Favourite: Yaadan Teriyaan
SANKET ATHALE NAIK Percussionist
SAMEER CHIPLUNKAR Keyboardist
TEJASVI RAO Sound engineer
Harmonium / Violin / Mandolin
Allah Ke Bande
Jhoomo Re (2007)
Chaandan Mein (2009 Rangeele (2012)
Lean as a runner bean
Rangeele Favourite: Albeliya
KURT PETERS Drums
THE COLOURS OF KAILASA Their music needs no introduction, but the band maybe does. Here’s everything you need to know off hand about Kailasa, the fusion band fronted by singer Kailash Kher, before you read on about their latest musical pursuits!
ailasa stands for ‘heaven’ in Sanskrit. This Indian fusion band is the brainchild of playback singer Kailash Kher and musician brothers Paresh & Naresh Kamath. Their music has generous doses of Indian, Sufi and Western music - blended together into a scintillating hear. Kailasa’s first international claim to fame was when they performed live in concert with Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder. After a 3-year hiatus, they return in 2012 with their 4th album release – Rangeele. Currently they’re touring as an 8-member band along with Sanket Athale Naik, Kurt Peters, Sankarshan Khini, Sameer Chiplunkar & Tejasvi Rao.
Cover & Article Photography by Kanika Nagpal – www.SleepyMaggie.com
SHRESHT PODDAR & NILANKUR DUTTA
We’re not trying to break away from Sufi as such. It’s about breaking the stereotype.
The first time I heard Kailash Kher was when the Soprano wannabe in my school suddenly started singing this song obsessively. It was called Teri Deewani and - his ambiguous effeminate vibes notwithstanding - I was riveted. It was, to my untutored mind, nothing like the staple boy-meetsgirl-bushes-tremble-violently pop-fare that the Hindi music industry seems to export in gigatons. That was Kailasa at its inception, with their eponymous album, rocking the hearts of dejected girls and pedantic boys everywhere. It has been some time since then and a bevy of new bands have taken this fusion thing beyond all semblance of sense. And in this time Kailasa did release three more studio albums; being in the news intermittently but mostly spending time under the surface of our collective consciousness. Jhoomo Re, Kailasa’s 2007 outing into deeper explorations of their Sufi roots, was generally well received. One long forgotten reviewer called it the finest use of Sufi undertones amongst commercial albums in recent times. And it had the track Ba Bam Bam, which according to me is perhaps the embodiment of all the chaos and colour of an Indian Bazaar, captured in verse. (As an interesting aside, has anybody
noticed that a lot of Kailash Kher’s best songs contain a female narrator? Strange.) Their next album, Chaandan Main, best remembered for Chaandan Mein (Aao Ji) is mostly a collection of love ballads. As distasteful as I’d find to continually listen to songs in which people pine away like pine trees all the time, this album too won critical and commercial acclaim. Kailasa was the people’s darling; which is pretty good news if it means that our collective barometer for musical taste is rising above Himesh Reshammiya’s sometimes-bald head. This album had many hummable songs like Piya Ghar Aavenge and Bheeg Gaya Mera Mann (Cherrapunjee), which I confess I like at least partially because of the cool geographical nod in its title. My only gripe against Kailasa at this point was the over use of the word Saiyyan. It is a Kailash Kher patent word now, and I think it is time to send his Saiyyan into sabbatical. That was then. Coming into now, Kailasa has a new album out ‘Rangeele’ whose assessment I will leave upto you, at least until next month when The Score Magazine publishes a review. The
Score Magazine April 2012
Indispensable to a still grappling indie scene, we welcome Kailasa back to the spotlight and get better acquainted with the band, the making of their new album, their world tour & more. So, how did Kailasa (the 8 member band) form? Tejasvi: We’re all old friends. I know Naresh & Paresh since our college days. Few years later, we met Kurt. We had several bands before and dabbled with various formats. Over a period of time as the band grew, we needed more and more elements so we got more musicians on board. No one is an outsider as we’re from the same circle of friends.
How does such a huge band co-ordinate? Sanket: It’s truly a nightmare. All the credit goes to our logistics manager, Vipul Vashi. He’s the main point of contact and the man is a genius at coordinating us. How & when he does it - we’ve no clue. But all our operations are smoothly carried out thanks to him.
Tell us about your upcoming first ever world tour. (Consensus): This isn’t the first time we’re performing abroad but it’s our first prolonged tour. We will be performing in Europe, America, Australia - basically most of the continents. We’ll be touring all of April till mid-May. When you do a new album, the music is fresh and it takes a minimum of 25-30 shows to become absolutely comfortable with the songs and exhaust it. E.g. songs like Teri Deewani & Saiyyan have to be performed at every show since they are such hits. But with Rangeele, we’ve newer songs to play and spread the joy.
Yes, ‘Rangeele’ - your new album! What’s in the name? Kailash: Our band consists of members with varied colorful characters. They’re full of life and together, we enjoy a lot. There are 2 kinds of music - one which entertains and one which you connect with. Our fans are more genuine and sincere. In that sense, our fans are also rangeele. From here, Rangeele arose.
How would you define the music in Rangeele? Paresh: After our last album, it’s been bugging us that our sound and approach has been typecast (as Sufi). We’ve painted
ourselves into a corner. When our albums used to come out, they would expect it to be full of acoustic guitar covers or the tablas. We wanted to break out of this stereotype and not be known as one-dimensional. Our aim was to try and change our sound completely and take it into the new century and we really think we’ve accomplished that. Naresh: The first album was loved by all because it was different. For us, it was very important we rejuvenate our music and make it interesting for us. Enough of folk stuff now and make it more contemporary - which is like a backyard for us.
The music video of Rangeele has a very subtle charm to it using 3 characters – Shankar, Malcolm & Arvind. Any memorable incidents during the making? To be honest, none of us like being in front of the camera! We are behind-the-scenes people and I’m sure the music video team found it very difficult to work with us. We can play together on stage but we suffer from stage fright. So it was funny and fun overall!
You’ve worked with Mr.Amitabh Bachchan as well as your 2-year-old son Kabir in this album. How did that happen? Kailash: Yes - one’s the eldest and the other is the youngest! It was a fantastic experience. Generally, because of my workload, I’m unable to dedicate enough time to Kabir. So I take him alongwith me to the studio for my recordings. In fact, his timings have become similar to ours! In the studio, he used to observe a lot and sing along. So we took him to the mic and made him sing which took more than 5 hours because he just wouldn’t sing! With Amitabhji, I had done Kaun Banega Crorepati’s song. There were many motivational lines in that which gained wide appreciation. Finally, we acquired the rights from Sony TV and after Amit ji’s approval we included him in the album.
Is it true you compiled this album in less than 2 months? Paresh: Actually, the album was to be released within 2 months of its inception i.e. by October. We worked very hard for the first month and a half. In fact, we intended to make a TV announcement but things didn’t work out as we’d planned. We barely added 2 notes in the whole of October. Plus, we didn’t have any deadlines to work with then. Combining that with our shows, we all got busy. Suddenly one day, we were told that the only available window for release was between December 20th and January 10th. And then things got chaotic because the detailing and finishing touches were left. Everything worked out in our favour and now we’re here.
Kailash, you’ve penned the lyrics for the entire album. What was your vision? How did you go about it? Kailash: I believe lyrics reflect the lyricist’s personality as well as his persona. My lyrics aren’t methodic - I don’t think of a theme. First, I delve into my ocean of thoughts and create my own personality. Then, I write from my heart.
There has been a 3 year difference between ‘Chaandan Mein’ & ‘Rangeele’. Why? Kailash: We had delivered 4 albums before Rangeele - 3 in India and Yatra (Nomadic Souls) in the USA. We were bogged by commitments such as tours and live performances. Since our inception, we’ve done around 800 concerts. We are one of the busiest acts from India, having performed at some of the most prestigious venues. Also, I’ve done some private work such as the KBC song and playback for Bollywood. That’s why there’s been such a long gap.
What is it like to work with Kailash Kher? Paresh: He’s a damn good songwriter; very into what he does. He pulls out all the stock from his lyrics - e.g. if it’s emotional stuff, he’ll churn out words like ‘praan’ and ‘mar jaoon’. For me, more than the lyrics, it’s the tune. It’s very well
We want the audience to experience music which isn’t being giving a chance because it isn’t particularly associated with films as such - e.g. music by talented independent artists. We want to make music that is commercial, in the sense it sells, but will stay true to our core music.
divided since we handle our ‘departments’ very well. We don’t interfere in each other’s departments. His lyrics are Sanskrit to me and my music is Greek to him. It’s perfectly cool. There’s full creative control. And Naresh marries both of us. Naresh: I’m the matchmaker. I will check out the music and will take a look at the syllables Kailash chooses. Sometimes there has to be familiarity; that’s where I come in. With lyrics, we tell him to use a few words that are hardcoreKailash and some that even a layman will understand.
The Kamath brothers, how different are your styles of music? Is it easier to work together or are there creative clashes? Naresh: Earlier, at the start itself, when we planted a seed, we could say that plant isn’t going to flower. Now, we are more of pilots of our own ship. We set up and introduce an idea. Everyone gives their opinion and then we cut, paste, mold and refine it.
Finally, hum oak se kyun peele? (Metaphorical meaning: living life as it comes - unadulterated and unfiltered) Kailash: Many a times, under a pretentious disguise we fake our way through life. Let’s not live like that. The entire thrill of life lies within you. Don’t judge anybody. There are hardly few moments when you really live your life. When something exciting comes by, you always leave it for a special occasion. You never know when such an occasion will come. If I’m gifted an expensive pen, I will use it right now so I can truly appreciate and value it - otherwise I might forget it. We should live our life NOW. The
Score Magazine April 2012
WHAT’S THE WORD ON
INDIAN HIP HOP? Is Hip Hop the most underrated genre in the indie circuit? Let’s try to break it down with help from some in-house pioneers!
When a group of young guns wants to stick it up to the man, they gather round in holy numbers (4 or 5), grab their instruments and start a band. Usually, it’s a band where the lyrics are barely heard and riffs and rhythm patterns are in a league of their own. Over a period of time, they hone their individual aggression and make some good music. More often than not, these feelings always translate to rock - Indie/Alt. Rock, if there’s a keyboardist in the band; Hard Rock if the singer is good with manly groans, Metal if singing just ain’t his thing. Can it really be that most average Indian youth that are of the band-forming age and mind-frame are ALL inspired exclusively by Rock? Technically, it is harder to achieve musical bliss with four members to coordinate and all the rigs that come with guitars & drums. But that seems to be the norm. Even in competitions, the music fraternity is always represented by hordes of rock & metal acts, the lone female a capella group and some acoustic trios. One would in fact think it easier to form a Hip Hop act, considering one just needs a bandana sporting fellow willing to rhyme and perhaps a crony to beatbox those smooth flowin’ words, but Smokey from Machas With Attitude makes an interesting point. “It’s easy to pick up an instrument and learn it through classes or something. You can’t learn Hip Hop. It’s not just rhyming; there are metaphors, punch lines… There is a lot of complexity. The most plausible reason why not too many bands of Hip Hop come out of India is because India doesn’t see Hip Hop as Hip Hop is to be seen”.
Pix: Bobin James
THE IMAGE OF HIP HOP : BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Oh, these are shady, comical and misunderstood alleys. The average Hip Hop video throws light on a hooded community (quite literally) called ‘gangstaz’. Who dat, you ask? NOT rednecks. Overweight guys - mostly due to the sheer kgs of bling - with eyes that are rarely seen without swanky shades. They strut in packs; wield guns in one hand, hos in the other. They like picking up goods in the neighborhood (and by this we obviously mean groceries) in their Bugattis and Porsches. They sit with their homies by the poolside and discuss who got shot the most while high-end champagne flows incessantly, as does urbane eloquence. And to add some scenery to this woeful exchange, there will always be wellendowed women energetically paying tribute to what momma gave ‘em. Yes, the involuntary reaction is to point fingers and laugh your derrière off. But that being said, is it this booty alone that still makes you grudgingly stay in touch with what Pitbull or Snoop Dogg are upto (No? NO?!). This is mainstream Hip Hop that MTV (when not massacring egos with redundant reality shows) feeds you. Even when that one socially relevant track that makes it to charts every now and then, when rappers occasionally remember their roots, it is a rare occurrence today. American Hip Hop is a cruel tease to the peeps of third world countries where such ‘higher things in life’ are out of the common man’s league. Nobody can relate to harems, be they Akon’s or Fiddy’s . But that is not what Hip Hop is all about, elucidates Bob Omulo of Bombay Bassment. “It is just one type of hip hop which unfortunately TV has promoted. Hip-hop in India hasn’t taken a character of its own yet; it is heavily influenced by foreign images received on TV. Most local artistes who try to emulate that are instantly unable to connect to the locals. You are not portraying anything they can relate (to).”
MAKE SOME NOISE FOR THE DESI BOYS! But it’s not like rap and Hip Hop doesn’t sell in India. Far from it. Every Bollywood/Kollywood track in recent times has at least one track in the OST that features at least a rap refrain. The best thing about a Hip Hop song is the hook; it’s catchy as hell and is the perfect embellishment for mass produce like filmi music. But that is as far as it goes. “Rap in Bollywood is always going to be a feature,” reflects Bob, “It’s never going to be a full rap track unless maybe it’s Hard Kaur, and nobody else has been able to do that. The indie music scene is where Hip Hop would fit here. My advice has always been to look at how the rock music fraternity has done it. Today they have respect from the mainstream, even from Bollywood.” South India, interestingly, has a strong following for most things Hip Hop . There is evidently some sort of linguistic and sociological connect that would explain why its been lapped up very openly not just in the mainstream. The Malaysian connection in this regard cannot be overlooked. Yogi B, Natchatira and Sheezay are some names that come to the mind who not only have solo careers but feature in many Kollywood OSTs. Fashizzle. On the home ground, one act that’s been very successful is threepiece act Machas With Attitude. Bigg Nikk, Smokey and Brodha V came together through online battling on Orkut way back in 2006. “We never thought we’d be a crew; it started out as fun but became big”, says Sumukh a.k.a Smokey. These ‘controversy makers’ operate from Bangalore/Chennai and wear their Iyer-ism on their sleeve (“We got to our performances in veshti and shalya). They have a debut album coming out later this year called Red + Green = Brown. “It’s coming along amazing… We are trying to feature some huge names but it’s too early to talk about it!,” explains Sumukh. Bombay Bassment is yet another act that’s grabbing a lot of eyeballs these days. Their brand of quirky Hip Hop recently scooped the JD Award for Best Emerging Act. About their music, frontman Bob Omulo says “We’re a mixture of a hell lot of stuff. You will hear reggae, dancehall… We are Hip Hop but we do not restrict ourselves from borrowing from other styles of music. We’re not all about preaching (because) at the end of the day, we know people want to dance when they come to the club. For us that has worked but that’s not to say this is the only thing everybody should do.”
Check out www.highonscore.com for an essentials list where we introduce you to more homies from the indie ‘hood’!
The future for Hip Hop survival and appreciation will definitely be via the worldwide web and things look promising with the launch of Zomba.in. This Hip Hop online portal is the brainchild of Sony with able guidance from Bob Omulo, aimed at uniting all the Hip Hop talent in the country under one single domain. There have been various such initiatives before, but this one hopes to be T HE one stop junction for all Hip Hoppers to jam.
Score Magazine April 2012
go the singers!
A huge part of growing up in India in the 90s was the pop music of the time. Led by a crop of male and female artists, their songs were a mix of folk and classical music with western beats. It was non-conformist, fresh & eclectic! We queried 4 such singers - Anaida, Raageshwari, Hema Sardesai & Jaspinder Narula - in our Feb issue, but it wasn’t enough for us! Here’s Part Two of 90s nostalgia with Devang Patel, Sagarika & Suneeta Rao!
SUNEETA RAO The paree of the music industry, Suneeta Rao rose to fame with classic hits ‘Paree Hoon Main’ & ‘Kesariya Hai Roop’. She started her career way back in 1989 under the moniker Sunita Senorita.
Hitmakers of a more recent yesteryear, you can’t have gone by the 90s without catching them! We stir four such stars out of their sabbatical with a few queries! DEVANG PATEL Truly the ‘king of parodies’, his music was a genre in itself. This gutsy fellow entertained millions by ripping apart the most famous of songs; from Vengaboys, Ricky Martin, Boney M. to Kishore Kumar, Alisha Chinoy & A.R. Rahman. Where is he now?
SAGARIKA One of the most underrated performers in the scene, Sagarika Mukherjee had her heyday in the 90s but vanished in the 2000s. Along with her brother, playback singer Shaan, she released albums such as Q-Funk, Roop Inka Mastana and Naujawan before going solo with Maa. Remember her rendition of ‘Disco Deewane’?
WHERE’VE YOU BEEN? Devang:
The past 5 years have been terrible with music companies shutting down thanks to piracy. Digital music is our only bright future. I lead a simple life. It’s the best way to derive humor from the world! Bollywood playback singing isn’t my cup of tea. I haven’t accepted the innumerous offers to star in hopeless reality shows where all artists go just for the sake of publicity!
Sagarika: Musically, I wasn’t progressing. I rode the wave till Indipop went on to become full-fledged Bollywood. I was disappointed and disillusioned. By the end, it all seemed to be about the money. So I took a break from music, got married, had my first child and shifted to London for a while. I even branched out into the restaurant business with Olive in Mumbai. Suneeta:
Yes. My last album was in 2008. But isn’t that what I’m know for long gaps and great comebacks? Moreover, a lot of people haven’t even heard all the songs on that album thanks to insufficient promotion - so I’m still working on that! I am enjoying motherhood after having devoted myself to the Pop industry for 25 years. Music has taken a back seat for a while - but not for long!
I will explore the digital world by putting my work on the internet. I need no mediators to reach out to my fans! Al Yankovic’s website has impressed me enough to create my own website where all my ‘mad work’ will be available hopefully on the 1st of April, 2012. I’m going to compose parody songs for 9xm Retro Channel and my next album is ready as well.
Sagarika: I’m conceptualizing a live concert right now but it will definitely take a year. In London, I sang in Bengali for a Brazilian band. However, I miss recording a lot and will definitely be back in the studio soon. Suneeta: My music will be available on Artistaloud. com. I am working on a new stage act with musicians that I respect and a sound that is more what I am today - Classic meets contemporary - as I will always be.
Indipop music was there in 90s and has disappeared today though I like Kailash Kher’s unique style. Indian music, aside from being commercialized & westernized, has become too ‘weird-nized’ today.
Sagarika: Amongst the current artists, I don’t see any one leading the indipop genre. The time is right for experimenting and to make a comeback. Experience counts. More and more of us should make a comeback by churning out more music. Artists should exploit the power of the internet. Suneeta: Whatever pop music exists today is tentative and seldom found outside of films. Hindi Rock seems to be faring better. My contemporaries and I - we did whatever we felt like with full abandon and expressed ourselves with no restrictions. We had the luxury of time and undivided attention from our audience today there is too much clutter with no one really standing out. I do like Euphoria, Junoon… Monica Dogra seems interesting.
DEAR FANS… Devang:
I have lots of fun enough to last till Patel Scope 10 to deliver to you and I’m just finding the right channel. Too much humor can be derived from the likes of Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali and songs like Munni, Sheela, Chikni, actors like Hrithik, Farhan, Ranvir, imran and politicians like Manmohan singh and Digvijay Singh! So don’t go anywhere and till then enjoy Bollywood’s item world.
Sagarika: I promise to become more active with my music. It would make me happy to see my fans happy. I’ll definitely be heard and seen more. Suneeta:
Thank you for being with me all these years - and still waiting patiently for my new sound. This Paree is here to stay.
MY INSPIRATIONS Devang:
All sorts of music except typical mushy hindi songs though they’re perfect to rip on. A few names include Black Eyed Peas, Eminem and lots of hip hop.
Sagarika: I grew up with 1980s pop music. I was really inspired by alternative music, world music and by the time Maa came out, by world folk music too. Suneeta: Carnatic and Hindustani classical vocalists (M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi, Rashid Khan), Soul/Blues and Pop singers like Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel as well as Bollywood playback singers, Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar.
Score Magazine April 2012
a rtiste of the month
South Indian playback singer Janani Madan is our Artiste Of The Month! Hawk www.highonscore.com for an exclusive interview & a compilation of her works!
Photography: Srii Rama Santhosh Stylist: Vijayanthi Rajeswar Wardrobe: Sri Kumaran Stores Accessories: Jhillmill Hair & Makeup: Page 3
CHENNAI • PUDUCHERRY • BENGALURU
#61, Usman Road, T.Nagar, Chennai 600 017. PHONE: 044-24342744 Plot #190, Villupuram Main ROAD, JAWAHAR NAGAR, PUDUCHERRY - 605005. PHONE: 0413 - 2201616, 2202626 #517/41, 3rd Floor, 7th Main, 46th CROSS, 5th Block, JAYANAGAR, BENGALURU - 560041. PHONE: 080 - 26631300 The
Score Magazine April 2012
How I Learnt To Stop Worrying & Love
Madonna The core of pop culture and everything that’s sprung out of it has a hint of Madge. It is ironic then, that with this latest release, she finally settled for inconsequential.
o word is that Madonna has a new single out? I am sure there are circles of insane cult following, but in the last thirty years Madonna has intermittently released singles on the tensile strength of confectionery to the state of ineffability. Compared to that, a song about girls going wild is quite jejune. I do not suppose there is anything in that song that is wilder than Madonna’s life.
You could have made Disco Zombies come back in fashion, and all of us could have enjoyed the ensuing hilarity.
All these hundred million songs have vanished without a ripple from my consciousness, and in the end the only things I can say about Madonna with absolute assurance are a) That she is quite heavenly as long as she keeps her mouth closed. b) Her incisors seem to be drifting apart as slowly and as inescapably as a glacial drift. But the conflict of living in a hole is that the world doesn’t live there with you. While I spent my adolescence dismissing Madonna’s music as fluff pieces, apparently she took over the world; becoming a sort of Times Square of culture. If you look at Madonna close enough, eventually you will be able to extrapolate everything in the world.
MADONNA’S SUCCESS - BORDERLINE MUSICAL INJUSTICE For instance, how many of you are aware of the fact that Vanilla Ice, him of the baggy jeans and the gravity defying hairdos, actually dated Madonna for eight months back in 1990. Yes, there is no justice in the world, but that’s quite the point. The point is that the phenomenon called Madonna has an overwhelming importance in the world, and though any ‘serious’ reviewer would banish her into the inartistic land of pop pastiche, she continuously influences more people in more bizarre ways than a serious rock band. A Madonna song is not just a song. It is a statement. Take for example, the first Madonna song that springs to mind: Like A Virgin. Back in the 80’s, when the world was only just recovering from the decade-long drug haze with both hemispheres of the brain firmly fused together, people used to dance to it. Quite simply, it is crap. However, it is not just music. It is, in itself, a feminist movement. A rejection of traditional mores. A half-brick in a sock flung firmly in the direction of Church. It has been the subject of numerous scholarly articles, which went into pages of intolerable drivel to tell the world what
it already knew: being Madonna is the height of cool. Even people so badass that they may only be described by colors have waxed upon it on length before causing permanent auditory trauma to policemen. However, most surprisingly it caused the Macy’s in New York to dedicate an entire floor to those atrocious neon green vests, rubber bangles and lacy leggings that Madonna wore in the video. People were not only tolerating it, they were coming back for more. Her mediocre music with radical underpinnings had become the rage, as did gloves with the fingers cut-off. Anybody who can have people buying gloves that do not fulfill the sole raison d’être of gloves, that is keeping your goddamn fingers warm, has passed beyond mere musical judgment. Phew, that was a big paragraph there. To keep things going swimmingly between us, dear reader, here’s a fun Madonna fact: there is an entire subculture of people called Madonna Wannabes who, according to John Skow, wear, together with the monstrous clothing already mentioned above, “white lace tights that cut off at the ankles and black tube skirts that, out of view of their parents, they roll down several turns at the waist to expose their middles and the waistbands of the pantyhose.” Quite delectable, that.
MADONNA GONE MUNDANE Not surprisingly, almost every Caucasian female pop-star who has gyrated her hips since Madonna falls conveniently in this bastion: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Rihanna, et al. Even Lady Gaga, to whom we offer incense to every Tuesday at the Score office, to keep her appeased has been called a Madonnabe. It’s a pity that she took Madonna’s bizarrely hot and turned it into her own brand of bizarrely disturbing. Like I said, Madonna is the total perspective vortex. Start with her, and you eventually get everything. And so the only question that is left to be asked is why. Why would you, Madonna, take your brilliant, provocative, alternately terrifying and hilarious years, and in the end, make something like Girls Gone Wild? From Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue and Stephanie Germanotta I could have tolerated and even expected this. But not from you. Why would a person who has made out with a lion
in the pre-CGI era purvey a video that keeps asking the audience in a down-right dull manner to get down to the dance floor? As horrid as your music is, was, and has been, the spontaneous reaction of the brain-dead populace has always been to dance to it. You, Madonna, the voice of the unmusical, unwashed and occasionally unclothed masses, could have made wearing nothing but bright neon-pink stop signs the vogue. You could have made Disco Zombies come back in fashion, and all of us could have enjoyed the ensuing hilarity. You did not need to dilute the purity of your sublime absurdity by saying the same thing that effin’ Pitbull is saying. And you certainly did not need to involve Nicki Minaj in the secret fantasies that all of us have for you. The moral here is, I suppose, like an errant child, we shall always continue to love Madonna. And for the same reason, we shall always continue to worry about her. The
Score Magazine April 2012
MT Adit ya Srinivasan
Recently super group Remember Shakti took the stage countrywide as part of their 2012 Tour. Reliving the concert experience & tracing the legacy of the sound that we last heard in 1997â€Ś
Shakti The Power of
In 1975, an up and coming English guitarist joined forces with a brilliant but then lesser known violinist, a prodigal Tabla player and a shy young genius from South India. This happened at a time when popular belief held that no classical forms of music were going to be game changers. Pundits deplored this haphazard idea of fusion and such attempts at catering to the western audiences. This was the time when western musicians and purveyors, though entranced by the likes of Pt. Ravi Shankar, were still imaginatively stunted in exploring greater musical possibilities. Nonetheless, driven by their united beliefs, our young turks of the 70s broke all boundaries, musical, geographical and cultural. Sparks were surely flying, for in two years, they were headlining Woodstock, The Montreal Jazz Festival. They started commanding encores at the Royal Albert Hall and filling the Kennedy Center twice over. This phenomenon was none other Remember Shakti.
Sir John McLaughlin (guitars) Ustad Zakir Hussain (tabla) Vikku Vinayakram (ghatam) L Shankar (violins)
Myths were broken and Grammys were won; Remember Shakti scaled great heights. But after giving this project a mere few years, they each decided to focus on their individual careers. And focus they did. We all know about their individual accomplishments.
Still a Shakti We Remember
20 years and more than a thousand concerts later - sometime in 1997 they decided to get back together. Unfortunately at that time, they were missing an integral piece - L. Shankar. Nonetheless, they armed their arsenal with the next generation of genius - Mandolin Shrinivas, Shankar Mahadevan and delightfully, V. Selvaganesh (Son of Vikku Vinayakram). In a parallel world of cricket pitches and knee britches, this was akin to Sir. Vivian Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Clive Lloyd joining forces with Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Shane Warne, but thatâ€™s simply putting it lightly! Remember Shakti became even more formidable than their original lineup. That was 5 years ago. Switch to 2012. Claiming that theirs was the most anticipated concert tour of the year is not an understatement.
Photography: Sudhin Prabhakar
TheShakti Tour 2012
In December last year, I met Selvaganesh at his studio where he told me how impatiently everyone was waiting for February. “Svenny (Sound Engineer) is coming this time along with Mujeeb - these are the two best sound engineers anywhere. This tour, every single one of us is looking forward to it. We haven’t played together in a long time and its quite a long tour - Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune - and then we’re off to Palestine.” It was thus no surprise that the tickets for their Chennai concert were sold out within days of the announcement. In fact, crowds gathered at the venue 4 hours prior to the concert!
Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I went to meet them - Ustad Zakir Hussain, Mandolin Srinivas , Shankar Mahadevan and V. Selvaganesh rolling with laughter in the corridor between the two green rooms at the Music Academy. With Zakir Hussain directing proceedings, they were taking turns to go into the 1st green room, smile at Sir John - making him wonder what was happening - and then duck into the other green room before he could follow them. Each time, he would come out looking bewildered and then go back inside and recheck his attire, to check if something was amiss. The remainder of the time was spent mocking Indian mentality in general for their fascination with air conditioning (the hall was freezing). They even took the time to gift Ustad Zakir Hussain with an iPhone 4S for his birthday in advance (March 9th). This childlike enthusiasm in seasoned, world-renowned musicians is a different kind of inspiration altogether. They say music is ultimately a reflection of one’s personality and this vitality bubbles over in their music, without a doubt.
Spotlight on Shakti Reinvention one time around is nothing short of a struggle. Imagine doing it over and over again for forty years… and never falling short once! I had heard every one of their songs a fair few times before and yet they all seemed entirely new upon fresh hearing. Due to time constraints, they do not actually rehearse together; they gather onstage and just let their creative juices flow in unison. In a way I do wish there was a refresh button on the repertoire of songs. But it’s a good feeling, the nostalgic chord that tugs with a familiar song – I mean, the band IS called Remember Shakti. For all I care, they could be called the ‘Backstreet Boys Revitalized’, and it would not make a hint of difference to me; music speaks, in more ways than one would care to think, and this transcends beyond a band’s nomenclature. Shankar was at his entertaining best. His breathless dishing out of swaras were a real treat. As far as new material goes, there was some experimentation, evident in their rendition of Giriraj Sudha, by breaking out of the typical Carnatic mould to sing a thumri and Sakhi - one of the new additions to the repertoire. Ustad Zakir Hussain had the most interesting of setups at this concert - tablas, a snare, a book with a pick up mic for the bass drum, an ancient holy text for a bass drum, a splash cymbal and some software for special effects to jazz it all up. Age was no barrier for this maestro. His strokes were crisp as ever. Combined with V. Selvaganesh on the other end of percussion, it was an explosive evening. Much to the audience’s delight, they even engaged in rhythmic exchanges. Without compromising on the emotive quality of their instruments, U.Shrinivas and Sir John both engaged in sudden bursts of highspeed slides. Sir John improvised using the latency of his guitar to his advantage and drew a lot of ‘aahs’ and ‘ohs’. But having said that, it would have been great if he had also played his trademark acoustic guitar; the original raw sound of his strings that resonates on numerous Shakti albums was certainly missed. At the end of it though, I did miss one other irreplaceable aspect - and that was the genius of L. Shankar. The most outstanding factor at this concert was the complete absence of ego issues - a lesson for aspiring musicians to take home. The band probably won’t be Chennai-bound for a while, but the wait will be worth it. Attempts are always underway to recreate the magic of Shakti with several collaborative efforts but it will be very hard to surpass the one that began it all. The
Score Magazine April 2012
She is the fourth generation of vocalists in a family of music maestros. At the age of 5, she worked with legend Ilayaraja. At the age of 12, she made her foray into commercial Bollywood with Mohabbatein. A rather premature start to a promising career, Shweta Pandit tells it like it is on…
DISCOGRAPHY Mohabbatein, Neal n Nikki, Yamla Pagla Deewana, Partner, Welcome, Naach, Sarkar Raj, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Mere Brother ki Dulhan, Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl to name a few.
WW My musical lineage incudes my great grandfather - Hindustani Classical legend of the Mewati Gharana - Pandit Motiram and his younger brother Pandit Jyotiram. My great-uncle is Pandit Jasraj. My father, Vishwaraj Pandit, is a tabla player and was a music director in the 70s. My aunt Sulakshana Pandit is a playback singer and so is my sister Shraddha Pandit. My brother Yash Pandit is a TV & film actor. I learnt a lot from my elders especially my great-uncle, Pandit Jasras ji. Classical music is inherent in my roots. However, being the youngest, my parents were skeptical of me entering this industry but this is what I was born to be! WW My most memorable performance was at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, 2011, which was hosted by Hollywood superstars, Denzel Washington and Anne Hathaway and attended by the King of Norway. I performed Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire with Mr. A.R. Rahman. Initially, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to Anne Hathaway. But this aura disappeared with her humility. She spoke for nearly an hour & even sang for me! WW In school, I always excelled in academics. My teachers would wonder how I managed both - my studies and singing. I was even in the innings for the head girl of my school. In contrast, I was blacklisted in college. When I went for my final exams, everyone was wondering who this new girl was since I’d almost never attended. WW I’m a complete saver. My mom handles my finances. I don’t shop for clothes in India but splurge abroad since I don’t get my size here. I’m not really brand conscious but Guess is one of my favorite brands. My most recent indulgence was an Audi A4 for myself, even though I’m not that fond of cars! That surprised everyone. WW I’m good at photography. Well, at least that is what people tell me. WW Ill-treatment of women and children irks me to no extent. A few months ago, I was at a theatre for a late night show. While parking my car, I noticed a drunken man banging his wife’s head against the theatre’s entrance. Surprisingly, there were just a handful of people around who couldn’t care less. I was alone, scared and didn’t know what to do since he could’ve been armed. I immediately took off my shoe and threw it at him. He then started to abuse me but in the process, he lost grip on his wife who ran away. Hopefully, I helped that lady that night. WW Three things I’d like to change about men (Only 3?!) - A lot of men are very indecisive, kiddish and they think only women play mind games - which isn’t true! Men can blast a woman’s head with the games they play. Also, when it comes down to taking a stance, men tend to take the safe route. WW I find music reviews interesting. I occasionally read a few reviews like those of Joginder Tuteja. And now I shall read The Score Magazine’s reviews too!
@ShwetaPandit7 I feverishly Follow Amitabh Bachchanji, Will Smith, Hugh Jackman, Shah Rukh Khan, Ram Gopal Verma & Shirish Kunder for their funny tweets!
Photography: George Vedamanickam / PR
FUTURE PROJECTS Chaar Din Ki Chandni, Raakh, Joker to name a few. A lot of Telugu & Tamil movies like Billa 2 also.
Quirks Queries with
coshish Premier Digital Mastering Studios, Mumbaiâ€™s premier music Mix & Mastering facility. Inaugurated & blessed by AR Rahman.
Band of the Month
MODI DIGITAL, Distributors of RME, SPL, Neumann, Reference Laboratories, Tube-Tech, Rosendahl, HHB, Da-Cappo, Merging-Pyramix, Violet Design and dealers of Genelec, Sonodyne & Gefen.
Score Magazine April 2012
nlike many bands that come and go within the bur`geoning music scene of Mumbai, there exists a marked sense of revelation with Coshish – it is a present full of promise and a future that makes one impatient. Musically, they are progressive; influences ranging across Tool, Meshuggah, A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Radiohead and many more but without really sounding like any one of them in particular. What’s more, their music is in Hindi and their debut release is a concept album. “It tells you the story of our protagonist on his path to find inner peace,” says drummer Hamza. The metaphors they talk about are evident from their song titles - Mukti, Maya, Rehne Do, Bhula Do Unhey, Behti Boondein, etc.
THE MOTHERBOARD: Breaking Down The Sound In case one wishes to embark upon an introspective trip, Coshish’s music is the perfect vehicle. Every individual listen reveals a new layer of notes. Hamza doesn’t fail to engage one’s attention with his progressive drumming, adding a solid groundwork for Anish’s syncopated bass lines. With the lower ends of soundscape firmly in order, focus shifts to the interplay between the lead and the rhythm guitars, with Shrikant reinforcing his vigor in every single bridge and solo, dominating the mid range. Mangesh’s brighter rhythm sections complete the balanced sound. One no longer has to delineate each star to see how their music just comes together, like a constellation. But then they add a fifth dimension - the vocals. Mangesh’s clean and calm singing style allows focus on the meaningful lyrics, which when combined with their mellifluous music, can easily transcend through one’s soul. Their songs, when in the order of their debut album, follow a particular train of thought, which takes the passenger on a philosophical journey of considerable mental anguish, strife, redemption and self-discovery. And despite being quite complex in terms of songwriting, the music doesn’t alienate their listeners. Coshish manages to achieve that rare cosmic balance between easy listening and technically complex, enrapturing one and all in their audience.
DO’s & DON’Ts at a COSHISH Convention!
When in need of yoga lessons, DO consult Mangesh. He is Baba Ramdev’s stunt double after all. But DON’T question him about chugging honey.
When riding with Anish, DO confirm that he has managed to house every single strand of his hair securely within the car. DON’T ask him why.
When at a loss for words, DON’T look at Shrikant for he will complete your sentences for you and will not give you a chance to speak again. To distract him however, DO ask him if you can see his guitar.
When dealing with Hamza, DO ask him his opinions on ‘playing the fool.’ If by chance he seems unfazed, do tell him that Meg White is better than Danny Carrey. Then, DON’T run. You cannot outrun a raging bull.
DON’T mention overrated & Opeth/Porcupine Tree/Meshuggah in the same sentence. DO so, and you risk your life.
A band that is particularly instrumental in creating their brand of progressive music and equally particular about their instruments. A band so full pros, that it is difficult to find cons. Without further ado, lets meet the enigma that is Coshish.
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THE CoSHISH ODYSSEY: How They Came Together
THE PRO-CODE: What Makes Coshish Align
Once upon a particular position in the space-time continuum, two celestial bodies, Mangesh and Shrikant, gravitated towards each other, propelled by their overlapping influences and their propensity for Blade Guitars. They stopped just short of a head-on collision and started orbiting each other. Along came a veteran voyager, Hamza, who had been a part of many local orbits but hadnâ€™t yet found permanent ground to land on. But now, setting one foot firmly on each of these planets, he assembled his Mapex Drum Kit, tightened his Paiste Cymbals and started sending out sound waves in deep outer space.
Progressive: Drawing inspiration from various confines of the musical cosmos, their songwriting continues to evolve with each passing moment.
Profound: Their lyrics delve into the philosophical realms, but are prosaic enough to be accessible to the common man. Despite debuting with a concept album, they sing in Hindi, allowing one and all to appreciate the poetic beauty of an otherwise overlooked medium. Prolific: Impeccable drumming, intricate rhythms, intense solos, inventive harmonies and very impressive bass lines (did we mention Anish sports a 6-stringer?)
Photography: Bharath Chandrasekar
And within half a light year, the stars aligned. A grooveriding alien, drifting around the cosmos with his six-string Greg Bennett bass, picked up their signals. On casting aside his long curls and picking up on the existent wavelengths, Anish found his niche. A new binary system by the name of Coshish thus took shape with a resounding supernova, the shock waves of which are about to take planet Earth by storm.
Proficient: Their passion for perfectionism combined with their collective instincts has made their music unquestioningly fluid, despite being quite technically challenging at the same time.
Premier Digital Mastering Studios, located in the heart of Bollywood at Andheri, Mumbai is dedicated to delivering very high quality services to the Music fraternity. Mixing, Mastering & Overdubs being its mainstay, PDMS is also into music production from scratch, Scoring & Sound designing for films with itâ€™s talented The Score Magazine team of Musicians & Engineers. Equipment, Acoustics & Ambience are a state apart from the rest! April 2012
It’s A Blind Date with
! k c o R r e n o St
In 1997, Roadrunner Records put out a compilation album titled Burn One Up! Music
for Stoners. This is roughly the time when the ‘Stoner Rock’ label began to be used.
BASS, FUZZ, GROOVE? SOUNDS LIKE STONER ROCK!
Broadly speaking, the sound is anchored by a massive, throbbing, bass-heavy lower end, a fuzzed out, scuzzy and grimy guitar sound with Psychedelic and Doom Metal influences, and a relentless, hypnotic, internal-organ-rearranging groove. While the vocals are usually not too alarming, the production is, in many ways, quite retro – Stoner Rock musicians use different combinations of vintage tube amps, fuzz-boxes and effects pedals. All these elements come together to create a hulking, lumbering and lurching monster of a sound, which, according to popular claims, is most enjoyable when ‘stoned.’ Hence the moniker! But we think it’s a great concept, regardless.
FITTING IN: THE GENRE JUMBLE Influences can find their roots in the times of the Mississippi Delta Blues and artists of the 60s & 70s, like Tony Iommi – with his huge and evil earth-moving riffs that characterised Black Sabbath; Blue Cheer – one of the first to heavily use distortion and seizure-inducing volume in their live performances, and Hawkwind (mainly in the Lemmy Kilmister days) who incorporated psychedelia into their overall heavy sound. There were plenty of young and impressionable musicians who developed the sound further, and this transition period (in a manner of speaking) represents pre-metal or proto-metal. There were a whole lot of bands who were a part of this phenomenon - bands like Uriah Heep, Jerusalem, Pentagram, Atomic Rooster, Highway Robbery, Bullet etc. However, their popularity was limited to local, regional and/or cult audiences. Metal developed with bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Slayer, etc and spawned subgenres by the bucketload. However, some late 80s and subsequent 90s bands took a slightly different musical route; they retained traditional influences but in a parallel movement, spawned a new subgenre of their own. These forefathers of what is now considered to be Stoner Rock were disinterested in the faster, all-out attack approach of thrash metallers and the ‘New Wave of British heavy metal’, focusing instead on slowing things down while trying to make it even denser and bottom-heavy. Doom metallers like Trouble, Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General, etc. made decent records and had a reasonable amount of success. Other bands which came after them, namely those of the likes of Sleep, Bongzilla and Electric Wizard, melded elements of Doom Metal and Stoner Rock to different extents.
A MILESTONE WITH MELVINS
The formation of The Melvins in 1983, in Montesano, Washington (USA) by Buzz Osborne (a.k.a. King Buzzo) is an extremely important milestone in this whole Stoner Rock business. They were heavily influenced by Black Flag, Flipper, etc. initially, and by the time their first album - Gluey Porch Treatments - hit the shelves, it was evident that these guys could not be bracketed into any specific genre. They influenced genres from Stoner Rock to Grunge, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, etc. Other important pre-stoner rock albums were Soundgarden’s Screaming Life EP (1987), The Screaming Trees’ Clairvoyance (1986), Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988).
CARRIED ON BY KYUSS…
Going south from the state of Washington to The Palm Desert in California, we come to the birthplace of Stoner Rock titans, Kyuss. There were no clubs out there in the desert and bands like Yawning Man and Katzenjammer (which morphed into Sons of Kyuss, then to Kyuss) would just take their equipment out to open spaces in the evenings, hook them up to diesel generators and play; sometimes for hours on end to small crowds which would gradually build up around them. Of course, copious amounts of beer, barbecuing and marijuana were also involved. This scene was a decisive factor in shaping the sound of the Palm Desert bands, something that Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme asserted in an interview - “There’re no clubs here, so you can only play for free. If people don’t like you, they’ll tell you. You can’t suck.”.
The Kyuss sound was characterized by Homme’s utterly brilliant guitar giving that distinct, bottomheavy sound that defines Stoner Rock. Their Blues for the Red Sun is arguably THE greatest Stoner Rock album of all time. Three other Stoner Rock standard bearers of this period were Sleep, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet. None of these bands ever attained the kind of popularity that some Grunge bands of the 90s did, despite their music being sometimes staggeringly impressive.
Post Kyuss To Present Day Kyuss disbanded in 1994, following which its members went off and became part of other bands. Of course, Josh Homme is now a part of the mega-successful Queens of the Stone Age, who have evolved from the Stoner Rock sound of their eponymous first album and now have a sound that has elements of Hard rock, Psychedelic rock and even Punk. John Garcia, ex-Kyuss vocalist went on to form Unida; Brant Bjork (ex-Kyuss drummer) joined Fu Manchu as their drummer, a role he fulfilled till 2003, when he started touring Europe with Brant Bjork and the Bros. Today, Kyuss has been revived, rechristened Kyuss Lives! (albeit the fact that this has happened sans Homme) and they have been on a world tour since March 2011. They plan on releasing a brand new album this year.
NAVIGATE YOUR STONER ROCK TRIP The founding of the online store All That’s Heavy in September 1997 was another important milestone. Initially, it sold some of the erstwhile elusive releases of Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet. Gradually, they broadened their catalogue and put up music of artists who were sonically similar to these bands. Consequently, MeteorCity Records was formed and the compilation called Welcome to MeteorCity: Desert Rock, Sludge and Cosmic Doom was released in May 1998, featuring the then upand-coming bands like The Atomic Bitchwax, Sixty Watt Shaman, Sheavy, Goatsnake, Demon Cleaner, Lowrider, etc. The website StonerRock.com was quite popular among fans of the genre until 2010, when it shut shop. Since then, websites like The Soda Shop and Stonerrocklives have tried to fill the void, with varying degrees of success. Also, Stoner Rock isn’t an exclusively American phenomenon – bands (and may I say, very accomplished bands) like Electric Wizard (England), Palm Desert (Poland), Colour Haze (Germany), Sheavy (Canada), Sgt. Sunshine (Sweden), Los Natas (Argentina) etc. are all proof of that. Closer home, be sure to check out the sounds of Bevar Sea, Djinn & Miskatonic and Shepherd for varying degrees of Stone-age!
NOW GO LISTEN TO THESE: Dopethrone ~ Electric Wizard Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop ~ Kyuss Dragonaut ~ Sleep Boris ~ The Melvins Grendel Snowman ~ Fu Manchu The Score Magazine April 2012
unky name, yes? Makes you think it’s inspired by powerful, mind-blowing explosions of music, and then some. Which is not to say their music isn’t like that but the name comes from the fact that the original lineup of the band had three Malayalees and one quarter Malayalee. So, with a little imagination and some bad pronunciation, you get, that’s right, Thermal and a Quarter.
Based out of the confusing one-way streets of Bengaluru, TAAQ now features Bruce Lee Mani (Yes, that’s his real name. You are now free to die of jealousy) on guitars, Rajeev Rajagopal on percussion and Prakash K.N. on bass. They call their sound ‘Bangalore Rock’ - their own genre to defy all genres. And thirty seconds into the first song of theirs you listen to, you understand why. It’s not quite rock n’ roll, and it’s not ‘hey let’s show the world how Indian we are’. Their music has its own flavor - it’s not aspiring to be anything, it’s not trying too hard; it just is.
We spoke to the awesomely named and very lucid frontman Bruce Lee Mani (BLM) on everything TAAQ. Q:
Here’s a classic - Who influences you? What inspires you?
BLM: Our influences are pretty wide-ranging; everything from poetry by Emily Dickinson to prose by Tom Robbins to music by Steely Dan, Blood Sweat & Tears, Sting, Dave Matthews, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Phish, John Scofield...We could go on. Our chief inspiration, however, is the city we live in. Bangalore Rock isn’t an accident; it’s the soupy confabulation of all the unique compromises, contradictions, beauty and beastliness of this great city of the world. India is the most interesting country to be in, and Bangalore is part of its evolving modern identity. Q:
‘Three Wheels Nine Lives’. What went into it? How did you start writing it?
BLM: Actually, the song is called ‘Meter Mele One-anda-Half’ (One and a half times over the meter, for the uninitiated). The first line is ‘Three wheels, Nine Lives’. The title, we’re sure, you already fully identify with (wherever you live in India). The story - well, it’s about a Regular Rajesh (your desi Average Joe) who one fine day decides to use public transport to get to the office. He misses the bus, has to take an auto and despite mad three-wheel antics, gets to work late and is fired. Regular Rajesh, being a stand-up guy, takes it in his stride. He has a hot date tonight (at a ‘shallow soiree’) BUT come the evening and his car won’t start and he shows up at said date’s door in - you guessed it - an auto! Hot date being, er, hot, absolutely refuses to buy this three-wheeler con and dumps poor Rajesh. Not so stand-up anymore, bewildered and browbeaten, Rajesh gives his auto-man the wrong directions and ends up lost, in a cell phone dead-zone; he stops three chaps for directions and ends up getting
mugged. What a day. And, to top it all, he’s still got to pay Meter Mele One-and-a-Half! Q:
Tell me about the tour you’ve got planned to take TWNL (Three Wheels Nine Lives) worldwide.
BLM: What’s special about this tour is not so much the dates and the locations - it’s the fact that an Indian, English-singing mixed-up rock band is getting this opportunity to connect with a predominantly American audience. Indian musical exports, so far, have mostly been limited to Bollywood, Classical, Fusion, Folk and so on. We’d like to think we’re among the pioneers in a movement to showcase this side of modern, urban India - a side that recognizes its roots and celebrates a global identity. Q:
You distributed your previous album under a creative commons license and later withdrew it. What are your views on piracy? Do you think album sales are still a viable source of income?
BLM: Erm, we didn’t ‘withdraw’ it. I think it’s still up there on BitTorrent somewhere. The whole paradigm has changed now; old notions of piracy and album sales are just that - old and outdated. We’re at a stage in the evolution of music and its consumption that seems to make it incredibly difficult for the old top-down methods of distribution and economics to work. And we all know the various ways in which artists now have to work to make ends meet - it’s harder and easier, impossible and incredibly achievable all at the same time. Go figure. Q:
So what are your plans for the future?
BLM: To be present. In the Future. [The puns are killing our readers. Slowly but surely.]
TAAQ recorded their first album in 2000- Thermalandaquarter.com for Rs. 1000. Their fourth album ‘T his is it’ cost 700 times as much to record. Their crowd-favourite is ‘Brigade Street’- based on Bangalore’s fun, throbbing, youth infested Brigade Road.
Pix: George Vedamanickam
All said and done, this is one Indian band we should all be supporting as they go international. Go stream their videos (We suggest ‘Mighty Strange’ and ‘One Small Love’ to begin with) and then go out and buy their albums. There are four so far, if you haven’t been paying attention, and they’ve got some cool cover art to sweeten the deal. We’re hoping that when they’re done with their fancy foreign touring, they’ll come back to our local stages and blow our minds again. t
We start with two dates at the prestigious Mosaic Festival in Singapore; a festival which has previously hosted acts like Pat Metheny, Don McLean, Tower of Power, Manhattan Transfer and more. This year, apart from us, the John Butler Trio, Elbow, Pancho Sanchez, Toe and more are on the bill. We leave Singapore on the 17th and get to New York on the 18th. We play a few dates there, including a special ‘Artist Showcase’ put on for us by La Bella Strings - a company that signed me on as an endorsee some time ago. They’ve been totally great to us, putting this together, and we feel truly honoured to work with these folks. We head to Dallas on the 23rd to play at the Granville Arts Center and then to Seattle, to play at the Kingcat Theater on the 25th. We’re back in NYC 27th onwards, playing a few more pub gigs before heading home on the 30th.
It’s never too late to discover Bangalore’s own veterans of rock. Thermal & A Quarter on their sound, the inspirations and their overseas tour. The
Score Magazine April 2012
Are college fests a really good platform for upcoming music acts? We work out the pros & cons. And watch out for some wacky add-ons! A couple of decades ago, dingy bars with flickering light bulbs, high profile Gujarati weddings, 2nd cousin’s 5th birthday party, B grade Tollywood films, were few of the places and events upcoming bands could display their mettle. However, college fests, like sparkly wormholes, opened up and showed the light which every metaphorical tunnel boasts of. Music fans didn’t have to follow bands and be treated like untouchables and hang out in shady basements of a shady somewhere. Bands finally started getting some visibility and got nagged a little less by hovering parents to become software engineers.
Stepping stones to stardom? Sort of. Ameeth Thomas, lead vocalist of Junkyard Groove says “When we started, there were not many venues to play at so college competitions were our way of gaining a reputation. We played most of the fests and won every single one of them. But this is just one piece of the puzzle. There is a lot more to it.” Junkyard Groove is one of the decent number of bands which used the fickle platform of college level band competitions to thrust themselves into being one of the most successful acts in the country. They, being of a very likable genre, took home the trophy at every college and went on to conquer bigger and greener pastures. You could rattle off a list of impressive bands that were given that crucial push by such college fests and competitions to become familiar names in the music arena.
Ritanshu Kashyap, committee member at Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay’s mega fest affirms stating that “Fests serve as a good platform for upcoming bands. Consider Parikrama, Vayu, Pentagram, Something Relevant, Goddess Gagged etc. The success of these bands after winning competitions in college fests kind of speaks for itself.” But then again, you could also produce a list of bands that never made a mark at college competitions, but still managed to become giants of the music scene, thus negating the whole theory of fest winners making it big. So what it really comes down to is that these fests give that vital exposure which bands need - regardless of how big or small.
Aniket Patni from Noiseware, an upcoming metal band from Pune, says “At the end of the day it’s all about getting a chance to play in front of a bunch of people without having to make the effort to land the gig”. Pritesh Prabhune from Chronic Phobia, another beginner metal outfit from Mumbai agrees, ““I think playing at college fests is a platform that bands thrive on. We (my band Chronic Phobia) have observed sudden increase in fans on our fan-page after we have played at some colleges.” However, as Uncle Ben would say, if Spiderman would’ve chosen to grow his hair and play in a band - With great exposure comes great price.
When you’re starting out, any place you can play is great. Be it a college competition or a smaller thing. A live show is as good as ten jams. College competitions are a good way to boost your game.
Pix: A Pensive Polaroid, Navneeth Balachandran, George Vedamanickam
Is such slapdash visibility a good thing? Colleges have students of all kinds and just a measly 30 per cent actually listens to the kind of music that doesn’t come with Salman Khan taking off his shirt. Out of the 30 per cent left, there are people who like rock and roll, some who want nothing but metal, and then there are those who’re into pop/rap/trance. So now, imagine a college level band competition. Bands of different genres, are thrown in together competing for the same prize in an audience of people who all have different likes and a panel of judges who again, prefer their own thing. It’s like speed dating gone awry. Once the judging starts, you have no way of knowing just on what basis are these variety of bands being judged on Genre preference of the judges? Fans? Another major wart is that most of the fests toss in semi- professional bands and amateur bands to compete against each other. This in turn becomes a highly unfair affair for the wayward amateur bands that have just started. “Semi-pro bands already have a name to themselves, excellent stage presence and a sense of how it’s done. They have good equipment and gear which makes their sound even better and plays a major role in keeping them tight.” elucidates Harish Iyenger, secretary for the Music Club at VIT. “Amateur bands are at the very beginning
of their music career comprising of lack of presence live, low grade equipment or very little knowledge of using them, not very tight with the music they create and a lack of awareness of what is expected from judges.” VIT’s fest Riviera was built as a platform only for upcoming college bands. IIT Saarang, IIM Bangalore are some of few other colleges that that are implementing this method of segregating the competitions for Amateur and Semi-Professional bands. What can be done to nip the tender bud a little, is to set apart band competitions at fests according to genre and experience. With that done, the bands can be judged fairly and properly. It may not solve the case of the bias, but that never was elementary my dear Watson. What it is, is a darn good start. Like the voices in your head, there are always two sides to a situation. There’s the white pretty side which Demonstealer Sahil Makhija sums up bluntly “College festivals are the life line of any Indian band, they are the shows that have budgets to pay bands their fee.” And there’s a black eyeliner wearing ugly side which rears its commercial head now and then. But the life and lies of the music industry is just very catch-22 like that!
TYPES FOUND AT COLLEGE BAND COMPETITIONS Band events at college fests, are like twisted Freudian experiments. Overly charged students of every kind breed there like bacteria in a successful culture. The students, even though not really big on music, will come with unwashed hair, shiny make-up and pointy shoes for various purposes - to score, to feel macho with the violent headbangers, to score and occasionally for the music. Therefore, you overeager peeps, we bring you the wonders which make Forrest Gump look like good marriage material:
The STONED The violent one The violent one is an incensed soul who hates the world and things with fur. Like in the jungle, he’s the lion of the mosh pits. He, at the end of every set, let’s out a roar loud enough to send the gentle scrawny long haired souls scurrying away. The shows end with him eating them up.
The devil horned screamer The devil horned screamer or the hormonal one, is an excited young ‘un. Having no musical talent whatsoever, he’s just generally elated to be in the presence of people who do! He will scream and thrust horns in the air, even during the lost and found announcements. Bless his soul.
There are at least thirty of these at every gig. They take off their clothes by the end of the show. Good men.
The omniscient one, occasionally known as anything from Buddha to prick, has crossed all levels of Maslow’s pyramid and is at the crux self-actualisation. The knowit-all usually stands hands crossed in the centre of a large adoring crowd and talks loudly about the acoustics of the room, the number of pick-ups on the guitarist’s guitar, the sexuality behind the lyrics, the solution for world peace, the reason why the lead guitarist’s chest is so smooth.
The boy toy This type has a ladyfriend attached to one of his arms. She’s usually wearing something which looks like black lingerie with black lipstick. Needless to say, he’s not really into the music. However, he’s the only type who gets some action in the end.
Score Magazine April 2012
FEST FOCUS: IIT Saarang & VIT Riviera Down south, two mammoth fests recently took place. January had IIT Madras’s Saarang which was followed by Vellore Institute of Technology’s Riviera. It wouldn’t be fair to draw comparisons (as tempting as it is), so we shall give you a fair rundown. Saarang over the years has built a stellar reputation in terms of performance standards & organization. Did it live up to those standards this time? Not quite. It was a metal meltdown at Decibels (semi professional bands). Powerchords (non professional bands) & Taarang (light music) had very few notable acts. Telugu/Tamil music director Devi Sri Prasad entertained in true Southie style on Day 1. A rather bizarre ambi djent concert by Sweden’s Vildjartha was the prime event on Day 2. It was salvaged by the Indian bands Inner Sanctum, Blind Image & Scribe – they put on a deadly show. The finale, however, was a blast – music director duo Vishal & Shekar crooned some of the biggest Bollywood hits in recent times over 2 scintillating hours. It was a big evening for Chennai, a bigger evening for IIT. Riviera, in terms of student body at least, seemed more enthusiastic. I guess that is automatic when your campus is isolated from the hustle bustle of city life. The starry lineup of proshows saw Suchi, Aalap Raju, Rahul Nambiar, Shreya Ghoshal and Neeraj Sridhar take stage. SuidAkra with their brand of folksy metal were a runaway hit. Resonance, Raaga Reggae & Acoustic Vibes all saw a fairly good turnout with bands like Iterate, Paradox, TWKC among others.
singer today is only as good as his/ her producer. Music production might have started as a means to improve reach of music (recording & distribution) but it has come a very long way. One of the impacts of the digital age is the over-dependence on sonic quality. It’s an era where even a 30 sec ad clip on the radio is processed to sound futuristic and astonishingly clean. Now everybody, especially the pop tarts, wants some of this jelly and that’s when you hail to the DJs. A successful musician is one who makes his own opportunities. And concurrently, that is exactly what music producer/DJ David Pierre Guetta was doing. ‘My mission was always to create a bigger platform for electronic music. I am one of the producers who represents this, my personal goal was for EDM to be as big and respected as hip-hop or rock’.
While you were lamenting the sorry state of music today on your guitar, David Guetta was laying the tracks for world domination.
He executed his plan over a period of time. His earlier tracks like Money, Distortion & Summer Moon were typical dance house. It was only with Love Takes Over featuring Kelly Rowland that possibilities of going mainstream with a club sound ignited. Every track off his 4th studio album One Love was larger than life and Guetta got Grammy recognition at this point. It was standard for pop tracks to become chartbusters and then be remixed at clubs but the process was now tweaked. Guetta was the catalyst that made the track commercial fodder. Like with chartbuster I Gotta Feeling. Talking about the track, Guetta says, “The Black Eyed Peas had discovered EDM when they were touring and had heard Love Is Gone. Will.i.am called me because they wanted that sound.” Nothing But The Beat with all its big names (Usher, Jessie J, Will.i.am, Taio Cruz, Akon, Nicki Minaj, etc) proves the point that David Guetta & the power of club music are taken very seriously. “This album bridges the divide between electronic music in Europe and urban music from America,” says Guetta about his latest. The movement may have been spearheaded by him somewhat and it is picking up well and fast. House moguls Avicii, Nicky Romero, Afrojack, Axwell, Hardwell even Tiesto are no longer restricted to a niche underground. They have their own fancy collaborations coming to the top and as a consequence, their sets are exposed to a new demographic. Guetta is how you discover the underrated world of dance music. He’s the tip of the iceberg for a hardcore house meltdown.
March 11th was when David Guetta completed his 2012 tour with the Bangalore leg of Eristoff India’s Invasion Festival. A day ago, Pune had just seen a cameo by AKON and expectations were soaring in Palace Grounds. It was by far one of the best concerts in terms of organization. Punctuality, good sound and the eye-popping, positively electrifying stage lights show made it an unforgettable night. The epileptic display really made Guetta look like he was from outer space, coming in peace, on his motherboard of cool. He started with Sweat & weaved in a host of his other hits including Getting Over You, Love Is Gone, T itanium & some creative spins on Sexy Bitch & I’m in Miami Bitch that very memorably became ‘I’m David Guetta Bitch.’ I’m not sure if sound deteriorated or if it was excessive audience chanting or if I was going a little deaf but the last half hour had a sudden fall in volume. All was salvaged however with the high octane ‘I Gotta Feeling’.
Score Magazine April 2012
A Musical Calling from the
Abode of Rudra
Music, unbound by beliefs, breaks barriers and brings people together. Here is a look at Yaksha – the Isha Foundation’s Music and Dance Festival.
rue to its name, it was as though celestial beings descended to the sacred space of the Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple in the form of maestros from across India to perform at Yaksha, Isha Foundation’s Music and Dance festival held for a week in mid-February this year. This festival was started in 2010 as a means of reintroducing yogic culture into day-to-day life and to preserve the classical art forms of India. “Yoga is often understood as impossible exercises. We define it as a way of life. Right now, the way we live, your inner experience of life is connected to your external situation. If one thing goes wrong, you lose your cool and temper. Irrespective of your external situation, if one is able to create the inner experience then the person is in a state of yoga,” explains the spokesperson from Isha Foundation.
YAKSHA 2012: ARTIST LINE UP With this spiritual connection in mind, Carnatic and classical music are also seen as influencers of the yogic way of life. Thus, Yaksha emerged as a common platform for both, artists to perform and connoisseurs to enjoy and appreciate these ancient art forms. In its 3rd edition this year, the festival saw Padma Bhushan Pandit Channulal Mishra, Padmashri Shubha Mudgal, Ravikiran, Tarun Bhattacharya, Padmashri Padmabhushan Dr. L.Subramaniyam, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Neyveli Santhanagopalan and Alarmel Valli perform in grandeur as thousands watched these great artists on stage. Each artist added their own special touch to every evening. Pandit Mishra performed Raag Shyam Kalyan and, notably, gave an endearing description before commencing the Raag - how Shankar was Natraj and Krishna was Natwar. While Shubha Mudgal dedicated her performance to Bhakti poets and saints, Ravikiran began his performance by describing the principle behind the Chitraveena and how it earned its name; ‘the singing instrument’. Neyveli Santhanagopalan went on to perform Naada Tanumanisham in Raag Chittaranjani, describing Shiva’s form as the primordial naada or sound and his body being nothing but nadasareeram. As a summation of all spiritual thoughts, Ustadji began his performance by explaining that music does not belong to any religion, and his family has always felt connected to every soul and all kinds of music in the world. The concert was followed by a vibrant spectacle every evening – a procession of the Linga Bhairavi Utsava Murti around the parikrama of the Dhyanalinga Temple. Beginning at the Linga Bhairavi Temple, the highlight of the procession was the fire dance. This procession symbolizes Bhairavi wooing Dhyanalinga and the Lord responding to her. It erupts into the fire dance performed by them together at the end of the procession.
THE GRAND FINALE: MAHASHIVARATHRI At the Isha Yoga Center, each year, Mahashivarathri is the last day of the festival and is celebrated with great exuberance and spiritual intensity. Over 8 lakh people gather from all parts of the world on this night to participate in a nightlong Satsangh (spiritual gathering) with the Sadguru, interspersed with music recitals by celebrated, world-renowned artists. This year, it was Kailash Kher, Colonial Cousins and Wasifuddin Dagarhas who kept the crowd awake and engaged with their scintillating performances on the darkest night of the year. Over the last three years, Yaksha has seen a growing and involved audience, as have other similar music festivals. As Isha Foundation sees it, “The response to this festival is not something that can be seen over two or three years. Festivals like these are a platform. Many more platforms like Yaksha should be started around the world.” It is essentially a celebration of the deeper, spiritual connect that lies with music; much beyond religious barriers. Let’s welcome home more festivals of this kind and experience this musical bond!
THE FINAL CHANT Rahman & Babelsberg
Composers, artists and dignitaries of both nations joined forces at ‘Classical Incantations’ to celebrate the centennial of Indian Cinema and Babelsberg (the German Film Orchestra).
OVERTURE It all started when Dr. Marla Stukenberg, Director of the Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai tabled an idea of converging Indian and German musicians on the occasion of completing 60 years of Indo-German relations. The specific idea that she had in mind wasn’t any ordinary collaboration; it was on the lines of a redoing of Indian tunes by Babelsberg. But this presented a predicament - how would a German symphony orchestra, attuned to its own style of playing, do justice to Bollywood compositions? It is more than just differences in meter, time signatures and scales – one also has to consider the sheer variety of indigenous instruments that Indian music incorporates! There seemed to be only one man who could possibly lay the drawbridge between these two entirely different cultures. And when approached by Dr. Stukenberg, this maestro - a man of few words but endless accomplishments – said, “Lets make it happen!”
ASSEMBLING OF ELEMENTS: CHOIR, ORCHESTRA & CONDUCTOR That man was none other than A. R. Rahman. A fine opportunity it was for him to show firsthand the process of scoring, the sheer number of different instrumentalists involved in an orchestra- a window to the world of orchestral music for the musically inspired Indian youth. For that purpose, he scrupulously selected a set of 28 students from the KM Music Conservatory on the choir, to accompany the German musicians. He even brought in Matt Dunkley - a worldclass orchestrator and arranger from Great Britain with whom he had worked for Bombay Dreams and The Rising. When we asked him for his thoughts on the same, he smiled and explained “… the joy of hearing an orchestra on stage is something people have to experience at least once in a lifetime. Sadly, they don’t have exposure to such music … when you have around 80-100 people performing live together in synchronous harmony, it moves you.” Nonetheless, this whole concept wouldn’t have come to fruition without the undying support of Mr. Andreas Lapp, the Chairman of the Board LAPP HOLDING AG. As Honorary Consul of the
Pix: Tapan Pandit, Parizad D
Republic of India for Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, he makes it his responsibility to bring Indians and Germans closer together.
THE MAIN ACT In a span of 2 hours, the whole ensemble of musicians and choir rewarded us with a full-bodied musical experience of beautiful vocal harmony and instrumental diversity. The intricate arrangements and the sheer variety of percussion were most pronounced in the Warriors of Heaven & Earth Suite and Elizabeth: The Golden Age Suite, whereas the choir outshone all other sections within the more patriotic sounding Theme from Lagaan and The Rising Suite. Vocal soloists Kavita Baliga and Arun H. K. were resplendent in The Passage Suite and The Lord of The Rings Suite. All musicians in the Babelsberg Orchestra as a whole were particularly enrapturing when they played a medley, aptly titled Tribute to Indian Composers. Here, they played beautifully arranged sections of popular compositions by notable Indian musicians like Madan Mohan, Ilayaraja, S.D. Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal and others, including A. R. Rahman’s father, R. K. Shekhar. In addition, the instrumental soloists who played their parts certainly made their presence felt, and how. In Cry of The Rose, Navin Iyer played the wooden flute with such finesse that it provided a very admirable replacement for the otherwise dominant vocal aspects on the original title song from Roja. Similarly, Asad Ali Khan, sitar player par excellence, together with A. R. Rahman himself on the piano, impressed the audience beyond measure with a stupendous performance of the Slumdog Millionaire Suite as a final piece. Viewing this live collaboration live was close to witnessing the foundation of a major historic milestone - musical and otherwise. For now, we can all but try to immortalize the memories of Classic Incantations in images and words. Nevertheless this is perhaps only the beginning of greater things to come, from both Germany and India. The
Score Magazine April 2012
An INDIAN SUMMER with Advaita Delhi band Advaita’s rise from our deep conscience to talk to us and tell us more about them and their musical journey so far.
laying Miliha on a constant loop, vaguely hoping to imbue the essence of what makes Advaita them, all you can tell is that it’s more than what can be communicated through any one song or genre, no matter how inclusive they may be. I continue listening to the song, but now more for pure joy than in search of any ideological tangibles.
happened right after MTV Unplugged last year, so that was really a double bonanza. But when you’re making an album, timing is only about taking the time to produce something that satisfies everybody; you, your producers, your fans”. Of such fanciful twists of fate are great stories made, one supposes.
Breaking Ground In 2009
There is also a greater sense of propriety about the new album, since it’s the first to be composed and recorded by the current line-up. While they were also the ones who recorded Grounded In Space, it was composed by a different set of musicians. Walking through those details gives you an idea of the clique within which independent musicians subsist - a wholly disparate group of individuals with intimate knowledge of each other’s art who by virtue of constantly rubbing shoulders in a fairly confined circle, eventually wind up jamming together.
This is from Grounded In Space in 2009, Advaita’s debut album, which left so many beliefs and stereotypes stripped in its wake. Before this, Hindustani classical was a niche reserved for orientalists who came to India eager to lap up anything exotic or for the indistinguishable elitists; not something that real, everyday people on the street could relate to. Anindo Bose, the band’s articulate and thoughtful keyboardist, still believes it was a little late in coming. “But it was the first time we were making an album and pretty much doing it ourselves, so there were a lot of lessons to be learnt”, he quips, as we collectively rummage through their past to find clues to their pop appeal, hidden in this moodily lit corner of Blue Frog. Two hours on, and that history would further be embellished with the launch of the band’s second studio effort, Silent Sea.
Sailing On A Silent Sea Even before its launch Silent Sea has already generated enough positive vibes. Some of it was down to Advaita’s dazzling performance at the NH7 Weekender Festival, where they played a 35-minute set. By popular consensus, it was one of their best. Anindo also figures that “it was a real eye opener for us, since we’d never played Pune before”. The band duly penciled in Symbhav 2012, Symbiosis Law College’s annual cultural jamboree, as a date on their touring schedule in the immediate aftermath of the launch of the album. Nothing was planned, they want us to know. It’s just happened to work out the way it has. “Coke Studio
This Is Us
Advaita was originally founded by guitarist Abhishek Mathur and Anindo after their progressive rock band from college fell apart. Much like Incognito, the other band that eventually gave them their Saarangi exponent, Sohail Khan. A new series of jam sessions got underway and the shell was erected. This was 2004, but the chopping and changing continued till finally an eight-man line-up emerged that was almost cosmically ordained to play a brand of music that would make you think up oxymorons like Hindustani Rock. Or, Classical Pop even.
Like A Glove How does this work? “It’s God’s gift to us, man”, is drummer Aman Singh Rathore’s trusty encapsulation of their chemistry. They readily acknowledge they’re living a dream, but it’s one they’ve dreamed for long; supplemented with the want and the need to play their music. This is why it doesn’t bother them if people can’t fit them into a genre or if critics miss the ‘rustic’ charm on their new album. When your instincts serve you this well, Advaita know all they have to do is follow them.
Pix: Khushali Shah
ADVAITA ON BEING DEEMED THE ‘TRUE INDIAN SOUND’ Can’t say that. Don’t call us fusion – that’s like abuse now. ‘Oh you play ragas with drums? You’re fusion’. But there are a lot of people doing new things and in their heads, they might be the ones doing it right. For us, it’s about playing music that comes to us the most naturally. Like sections of our music do sound like Massive Attack. But when people come up and say things like we never knew Hindustani music could be so enriching, we take that as a real compliment.
BOLLYWOOD Would be interesting if it were to happen. But only if somebody had a script that suited Advaita’s music.
Artists UnlimiteD Artists Unlimited was an organization founded by a friend. It’s a freebase for musicians from all over Delhi to exhibit their talents. There are elements of acapella, jazz and Broadway which is great!
ALBUM COVER ART All credit goes to Dev Kabir Malik. We’d actually never seen his work until he sent us some. Then we sent him the CD to listen to our music and the image that you see was the image that he first came up with; barring some very subtle differences. No stories behind it, but it is meant to encapsulate the lost love and longing.
MUSIC BASTI Sohail was the one originally into it before Abhishek decided to go along one day. The vibe was great and suddenly it became a band project - teaching underprivileged kids music). This was so much better than giving them money and clothes. We felt like we were actually adding value to their lives. Music Basti recently released their first album.
FUTURE PLANS Well, after the launches in Mumbai and Delhi, we’ll have an idea of what people think of the album. We’re looking at playing more shows, hopefully internationally too. The album will, of course, be released online on iTunes. ADVAITA: Chayan Adhikari, Ujwal Nagar, Aman Singh Rathore, Anindo Bose, Suhail Yusuf Khan, Abhishek Mathur, Gaurav Chintamani, Mohit Lal.
Score Magazine April 2012
Each of our writers check out the latest indie albums to hit shelves & get their critique on!
BLEK: Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons For Evacuation GENRE: Alternative
REVIEWED BY: Mahima Mathur
hoosing to call themselves Blek, was like giving an open personalised invitation with decorative lace to every smartass to come and destroy them. But when you give their EP a listen, you wonder if they knew exactly what they were getting into all along and were merely milking our fickle mentalities? Their music is like their bass lines - subtly distorted under the radar, occasionally surfacing to shake things up. The five track EP begins with Hexes + Drama, an electric riff opening the song right into Rishi pushing you over the edge about Jolene. Reeling from the ways of Jolene’s lover you run into ‘Running Into Walls Occasionally Helps’. Jared’s flighty bass surfaces into a jumpy rhythm, waltzing with some loose catchy riffs. Just when you’re done running into walls, things get real with ‘Minus The Makeup’. Varoon kicks up the drums a notch, stripping it of the frills and fancies. Then from a shady corner Rishi enters with the guitars, gripping you by the collar and pulling you under into the mellow ‘Life Aquatic
With Steve Zissou’, thus affirming their love for Bill Murray and strange names. Fog + Strobe, the last track is a breather which you can dance to at a club with flashy lights where you plop yourself and recover from this unreal journey, right before you hit play again. Punk is a genre that you have to handle like your great grandmother’s crockery. There’s a very fine line between the good stuff and the black eyeliner heavy oddities. These guys have somehow managed to balance it in the first go. Although still not fresh enough to make fancy font headlines, they sure are on the right path.
TOP PICKS: Hexes + Drama, Fog + Strobe
SPLIT: Counting Perfume GENRE: Alt/Hard Rock REVIEWED BY: Mihir Sinha
On their debut album, Counting Perfume, Split sound like the veterans that they are. It has every bit the irreverence and artistry that makes Split the most engaging and relevant hard rock band in the country. The subtle design overtones on the album sleeve add to the aura of free thought that beautifully sculpted ballads and searing guitar binges across these 13 tracks seem to endorse. Soundgarden and Alice In Chains find mention in the honorary thanks at the end, laced with Mel’s witticisms, but it’s a fitting tribute forwarded by those who’ve done their bit to keep that alt-rock sound alive. Split benefit from the terrific coalescing of formidable talents from Garreth especially stripping your thoughts with his sublime vocals, Mel playing a fitting Izzy Stradlin to Aviv Perriera’s Slash. Zorran Mendonsa, producer extraordinaire, probably worked to give the sound a multi-layered guitar
overhaul, which is great for the ambience, though it does obliterate Shekhar Mohite’s wonderful bass lines a bit. So this is it, then; independently produced, groundbreaking, sarcastic hard rock - yours for eternity for 300 bucks! Now, you know what to do.
TOP PICKS: Holy Ghost Machine Gun, Build (Higher), Counting Perfume - best intro to an album since Led Zeppelin IV opened with ‘Black Dog’
KRYPTOS: The Coils Of Apollyon GENRE: Thrash Metal REVIEWED BY: Madhav Ravindranath
Probably one of the most touted metal releases in recent times, Kryptos carries the flag of traditional heavy/thrash metal high with their 3rd studio release - The Coils of Apollyon released on the brand new Bangalore based Iron Fist Records.
underneath. At some point, the album resembles a rehashed Kreator but that’s never a bad thing, is it?
This album is a lot faster and heavier than their previous releases. The first track ‘Mask of Anubis’ kickstarts proceedings with a very Dark Tranquility-esque riffing standard, leaving no doubt of one of the band’s greatest influences. The title track comes next, which continues in a similar vein. ‘Nexus Legion’ marks the entry of that hint of melody in the album, melding licks that Iron Maiden would be proud of and layering them over riffs that Teutonic thrash bands in the 1980s would be proud of.
The lively, raw yet hardhitting production gives the album an edgy feel musically. Nolan’s raspy vocals perfectly compliment the rest of the sound and while I’d have liked a better bass presence in the mix, that by no means takes the sheen off this album. This is Kryptos going all out, all guns blazing with their new release and is far superior to anything coming out of the Indian thrash metal scene today.
The melodic riffing continues into ‘Eternal Crimson Spires.’ There’s severe emphasis on the word ‘melodic’ because right through the album, there is a tune; a running guitar lead that demands your attention regardless of the intense riffing
TOP PICKS: The Mask of Anubis, Nexus Legion, Visions of Dis
SONIC FLARE: The Final Beginning GENRE: Rock
REVIEWED BY: Madhav Ravindranath
Who is Sonic Flare and where have they been all these years?! Their debut release ‘The Final Beginning’ which was released a few months is a testimony to beautiful, simple music and I’m slightly annoyed that I took so long to discover this Bangalore based band (which incidentally was formed under a different name, way back in 1996) The music is like nothing I’ve heard coming out of the country in a long time. With a very stripped down ‘Dave Matthews Band’ vibe, sans the complexities and intricacies, Sonic Flare’s album is the perfect music to unwind to at the end of a hard day’s work. The defining factor, of course is the depth, substance and emotion exhibited in every track. ‘Me And You’ is propelled by a gentle beat, supported by subtle keyboard chord, while ‘I Me Myself’ takes off with an uplifting guitar solo. ‘Weight of the World’ is the band displaying their social conscience, singing about teenage suicides due to excessive
pressure. Through out the album, the shifting vocal harmonies compliment each other perfectly and sound beautiful with the backing keyboard melodies. I repeat, it’s hard to believe this band slipped my radar for so long. Maybe at some point, the songs meander and lose their way by not completely holding the audience’s attention but for an EP that’s less than 25 minutes, it just works. The album provides the perfect aural accompaniment to your late nights at home, and comes highly recommended.
TOP PICKS: Weight of the World, Stay
Score Magazine April 2012
HASHBACK HASHISH: The Grinning, Naked Bunch GENRE: Electronica meets Techno meets Acid Electronic
REVIEWED BY: Mahima Mathur
When you see so much hash in a name, your expectations are raised to inebriated heights. Then to cherry it up, you chance upon the name of the LP - ‘ The Grinning Naked Bunch’ it says. Just the kind of bunch you’re into. The album begins with Analog Air. It takes you to a hot ethnic nightclub with women in gold jewellery and men with long beards. Bodies glistening with sweat, gyrating collectively to the ethnic toe curling tunes sprinkled with some mood killing synth parts. The second track, Bring Her Back is rich with techno beats and other effects that people in high end clubs love so much. Connextion, just like its spelling, reminds you of 14 year olds trying to make music. There’s a telephone operator’s voice thrown in for good effect, just so you know what Connextion is really all about. Crystalline Nightmares sounds like the previous two. Next up is Cascade, which starts with some sweet atmosphere setting arpeggios and something which sounds like waves cascading over each other. But then it moves on to the darn synth again. The synth solo sounds like those pre-recorded
midis in those tiny Casio sets. Gin and Sex, the sixth number is a decent percussion-heavy track. It may not get you drunk or orgasmic, but it will get you shaking that thang. Infinity, is an psychedelic affair filled with disco balls and neon lights. The album ends with Lather, Rinse, Repeat, which ironically defines the whole album. In the final analysis, the album is perfect for parties, where all you’re looking for is something that goes with drunk and stoned rather than soul stirring. It may not be something you can play at those candlelit dinners, but it is pretty effective while gyrating with a stranger at a club.
TOP PICKS: Analog Air, Cascade
VEENA IN VIENNA: Compilation GENRE: Instrumental Fusion
REVIEWED BY: Brindaa Lakshmi
Strumming the strings of the veena to touch the western chords in Vienna, this is a fusion album attempting to experiment with different strains of western and Indian music. With seven different composers, including popular musicians Illaiyaraja and V.S.Narasimha lending their names and works to this album, Veena in Vienna tries to offer something different to its listeners. To start off, the title track Veena in Vienna is a neat composition. But the track’s radio edit sets a better tone as the perfect starter for those not too familiar with instrumental/ western classical music. The composition Metamorphosis is true to the name; skillfully fusing western classical and Indian music. Mad Mod Mood Fugue, a composition by South Indian maestro Illaiyaraja, starts off like a classical piece with an interesting guitar progression that reminds you of the signature notes from his film compositions. But the better take on this composition is again the radio edit. It jazzes
up the piece with a few more beats and cuts it short by a few minutes, giving it neat with the ecstatic Raja touch. Global Gear leaves you feeling familiar at different points with the vocals in the end giving you the ‘Aha!’ moment while recognizing that South Indian musical touch. Hot Winter is that track you miss the first time but respond the second time to the Arabic and Spanish touch. While each track triggers wonderful nostalgia of Tamil 80s film music, you might just be left feeling the lack of that one defining piece that usually speaks for every album.
TOP PICKS: Veena in Vienna (radio edit), Mad Mod Mood Fugue (radio edit) and Global gear (radio edit)
PATROL Citywide picks of upcoming bands that you MUST sample on www.highonscore.com. These bios will pique your interest in their sound & will make you look up the multiple drug references. ALL in light vein, of course.
Highway 2 GENRE:
TIC HERE : Alternative Metal
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Heretic is a 4 piece alt-metal band from Kerala - where everyday life consists of dire threats of elephant-trampling. They are a product of their environment, totally metal, if slightly misguided.
Why? These guys have no idea what the
word heretic actually means. To compensate, they are like the rainman of good metal. .
to Slaves of the System Noteworthy Songs? Listen to Reprise. Listen lorazepam over-dose. And Recover. Listen to Bleed to Heal. Like a parrot on a Showdown. you shall scream, like an old lady at the Ultimate Bingo
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HAL AHKUH GENRE: Thrash Me tal
TAIE:LRoSckON FIR E
“The name ‘Halahkuh ’ is derived from the arch aic Hindi word ‘halaku’ whi ch means fallen angels. These angels disobeyed god and were damned forever. Now they lurk in brimstone and fire wai ting to torture your souls, slow ly rising from the thro es of feeble denial and mis ery, a monstrosity, the Halahkuh.”
Why? Their Facebook profile , for one. It goes on in a ridiculously self -aggrandizing fame pse udo-existentialist post-tr disorder tone for severa aumatic-stressl paragraphs. Quite ent ertaining. However, metalheads will listen to anything sufficiently depressing guitar solo. Excellent wor with a fast enough k on both counts, and also on sounding like an geriatric version of Tom even more Waits.
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Don't le you ou t the random checkin t! These ban ness freak g out. A d udio s are worth on www .highonvisual eviden ce score.c om
GUWAHATI Compiled by Nilankur Dutta
Score Magazine April 2012
MAHINDRA BLUES FEST It was a 3-day blast at Mehboob Studios with blues acts working the spotlight. Buddy Guy, Soulmate, Blackstratblues, The Taj Mahal Trio, John Lee Hooker, were among the brilliant line up.
ERISTOFF INVASION FESTIVAL David Guetta brought the house down in Delhi, Pune AND Bangalore in the 2012 edition of Invasion!
HENNESSY ARTISTRY INDIA: BANDISH PROJEKT Mathew Jonson and Mayur Narvekar of Bandish Projekt were the highlights of a great initiative by Moet Hennessy – ‘The Global Art of Mixing’.
Photography: Parizad D, George Vedamanickam
March in Music
Score’s pick of shows you shoud not have missed! Check out more photos and videos at www.highonscore.com
Star Rock. 8pm. All Fridays. Score’s throwback to the indie scene! This time’s acts:
Tails on Fire
Gnarl + LiQuid Measure
Open Mic Night
GETTING GIGGY WITH IT
Great gigs we attended in Mumbai! (Blue Frog/Hard Rock Café)
Score Magazine April 2012
Swarnabhoomi Academy Of Music
Y OF M
BE L O V JO
REL A V S RCO
L AEL RAPH
ERR EL GU
CHE O R B E
NOR GA OFER
LIVE YOUR DREAMS
p u g n i m o C
e v i s n e t n I Day ormance Perf p in Music er Cam this Summ
and Admissions Open for
Diploma Program in Music Performance
Apply online at www.sam.org.in
Commencing August 2012 Find us on