ISSN 0974 – 9128
Vol 05 Issue 04 - May 15 - June 15 2012
www.highonscore.com ` 50/-
India's National Pan-Genre Music MagazinE
THREE simple STEPS to become a viral sensation! An expert step-by-step guide.
The legacy of
Manna Dey Relive his finest moments, as he celebrates his 70th year in the industry.
BAND OF THE MONTH
Horror metal gets literally literal. Grab the center spread poster!
Some are born leaders
Swarathma kicks up our social consciousness with their new album. A personal take, in this month’s issue.
Old school resurfaces
Their journey to Evolve wasn’t easy. Find out how Indus Creed became mainstream and a household name.
Hitting It Right with
Exclusive scoop on her new album on Page 10
M.A.D Festival: what you missed AND Palm Expo 2012 : what you shouldn’t miss.
the edit PAD Editor-in-Chief Nikila Srinivasan
Strategy and Planning Ajay Prabhakar
Business Development Pragash VM
Marketing Manager Sneha Ramesh
Regional Marketing Manager, BLR Subikka GS
Madhav Ravindranath Apoorva Manichandar
is’ the season of comebacks, be it musically or not. Now what really goes into making a successful one? An idea, a game plan and importantly, some loyalty from fans and subscribers! But most of all, I’d say it’s the right attitude because more often than not, the case is once bitten, twice wry. At Score, we’re making a resurgence of our own. With the onset of the new financial year, the clocks have been reset and we are ticking towards better visibility, newer grounds and touching base with the original sentiment – to be that one force that gives Indian music an identity. The times are trying as We are at a point where even defining Indian music is tricky with the kind of burgeoning home talent. And what pulls us through our hardest times is some good ol’ feedback. Like a recent unexpected phone call from a magazine retailer up North who rang us to convey that he was getting sizeable requests for subscriptions! Thus pleasantly making us cross our retail boundaries by leagues. Our cover girl Hard Kaur resonates our predicament with panache - UK roots but largely Indian fame. At the end of the day it is talent that is the true determinant and not roots. So can we now expect you, our loyal readers and subscribers, to wholeheartedly support us in this campaign of showcasing Swadeshi talent? Happy Reading!
SANDHYA RAMACHANDRAN Editor
Content Support Nilankur Dutta Mahima Mathur
Parizad D Praveen S R S. Sriirama Santhosh HIGH LIGHTS www.highlightspro.com
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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Hitting It Right With Hard Kaur
Hard Kaur The Queen of Hip Hop’s Bollywoodian Rap-Story
Be a part of the fellowship.
24 MODI DIGITAL’s Band of the Month
Albatross. India’s only operatic horror metal band. Curious? Flip pages to the center!
And come over to Palm Expo. The Score Team will be there to greet you too!
The age of resurgence
Indus Creed, Resurgence of the Rock giants after 17 years! Pumped by Universal!
MOVERS & SHAKERS
QUIRKS AND queries with Nandini Srikar
The stage is just an elevated platform. Which side is the performer on? It’s harder to detect than one would think! Examining artists & stage presence.
Manufacture sensation like a pro
By throwing away some conventional scales of measuring success and getting some basic marketing lessons, independent musicians can pretty much manufacture viral success!
Blind dates can be exciting
From Carnatic renditions to international collaborations. Nandini Srikar has stories to tell.
Intelligent Dance Music to the rescue. From what? From mediocrity of course.
Fusion music fuses consciousness
Some our born leaders, some are porn leaders, Swarathma is back to kick some socially conscious butt!
We are nuts about MAD. Find out what you missed, or didn’t at the 2012 edition!
talent If you’ve got u can and a brain, yo ccess, achieve great su where regardless of you’re from.
May 15 - June 15 2012
R U A K D HAR Hitting it hard with
does she play it well; be it y bo nd d An .Y. .A P.L , um alb 2 r with he Hard Kaur is back in the game the first lady of Indian Hip Hop. m fro ice ju e siv clu ex e m So . rapping, acting or dancing
Bollywood with its frills & flaws - all said and done - provides wholesome, up-to-date entertainment, be it with storylines or special effects or even music. Anything hot globally makes inroads through B town and once endorsed by this fraternity, your work is assuredly hitting millions. That is how Indians got their own Swadeshi versions of rock, Abba ‘inspired’ pop & more recently hip-hop. Rap is a consistent add-on to the average Bollywood OST today and most often, it’s delivered spunkily by lil’ Miss Hard Kaur. We all remember Tanda Tanda Pani & a few other Hindi rapisodes. But with the coming in of an actual MC, a female MC with a focused sense of swag (read: style) and an actual persona, the genre by consequence found it’s place in commercial sound. Hard Kaur made an intelligent foray into the scene with one of her first few stints being the Johnny Gaddar song ‘Move Your Body’ with Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy. The lines were catchy and even the shuffle was! Hard Kaur was hard to ignore. She kept at it with a slew of Bollywood projects like Talli Ho Gaya from Ugly Aur Pagli, Bachna Ae Haseeno’s Lucky Boy, Chaar Baj Gaye from F.A.L.T.U and most recently featured as not just a collaborative artist (Rola Pe Gaya) but also an actress, in Patiala House
FOREIGN GOODS, LESS TAX(ING)? It is tempting to write her off as a model example of just making hay while the sun shines. I’ll admit; we are always skeptical about this ‘talent’ from NRI folk who ‘have it easy’ and just pull a few strings to garner Bollywood presence. I can think of more than a few desi acts that have caused more cringing than talent appreciation. The Indian audience mindset cuts a tough deal for local talent. It’s surely happening; international branding particularly in Bollywood from imported artists becoming the face of Indian cinema to the Russian back up dancers in most flicks. The NRI tag is convenient for a launch pad and Hard Kaur recently acknowledged this in statement. But there’s more to it. “When I said NRI’s are preferred in India I was being very sarcastic. What I meant was it’s a shame. We have beautiful and talented women of our own and of course it’s a trend so it’ll pass. There is so much talent in this country it’s AMAZING. I was born in India but if I had not come from the U.K I don’t think I would have had the same amount of success. Well maybe - not sure.” She quickly follows it up saying, “If you’ve got talent and a brain, you
can achieve great success, regardless of where you’re from”, but the story of Hard Kaur would get one thinking. Whether or not NRI artists have it the easy way is a debate for another time. But as far as her story goes, it was not always easy being Hard Kaur. Taran Kaur Dhillon was born in Uttar Pradesh, but left Meerut with her mother and brother when she lost her father to the 1984 Sikh riots. For a while, the three of them stayed in Ludhiana, but in the early 90s, things changed drastically for Kaur. Her mother remarried and life shifted to Birmingham, U.K. where she first discovered her calling. “The plan was to go to the U.S and live and breathe hip-hop everyday. Before ‘Glassy’ I never really did any fusion tracks. I only concentrated on real hip-hop and fell in love with the music, the sound and the lifestyle. I started mastering my art, writing and going to open mics and battles. Growing up in Birmingham had a major influence on me with rap music. In the beginning it was a bit of a shock to my community, as I was one of the first Indian female rappers. At the same time, many people supported it. Here was an Indian girl doing something that was against the typical Asian mentality and changing the assumptions that non-Asians have about us.” Getting down to the sordid details of her success story, Hard Kaur barely shies away from telling it like it is. Racism, stigma, betrayal; she has seen - if not all – a lot. “The only person that’s helped me out in my struggle, day and night is my mother. Yeah, many times during my teens, but thanks to my mum’s training (trust me I’ve given her my share of hard times - sorry Mum!) and support, I’m still here. I thank her for teaching me hard work and how to make positive out of negative. She’s the real Hard Kaur, I’m just a franchise.
BOLLYWOOD EXPRESS: The ingredients to make it big were skillfully recognized by Hard Kaur in the very beginning of her journey. Most musicians have a love-hate relationship with Bollywood but she sees it in wider perspective. “I don’t think singing for films overshadows one’s musical talent but yes, it is definitely a quick ride to success if used right. I for one am extremely thankful to the industry and music producers who believed in me and have worked with me; big thanks goes to Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy and Pritam who have always given me so much love,” she gushes. The Score Magazine
May 15 - June 15 2012
Your new album is going to be called…
- P.L.A.Y My new album will be called r. Yea All d Lou ty – Par
My last album was called my Supawoman and it reflected s. This ggle stru and life experiences there is and m albu ce dan a album is I’m ty! par to make people happy and not and life my at a happy place in t it’s struggling so that’s exactly wha . tion bra cele a it’s ut; abo
Memories from ‘the making’…
‘The When I was writing the track g to goin is Alcohol Anthem’ - which -I m albu the from le be the first sing of type t wha ide dec to ng was tryi and song to make a comeback with fast e som just I didn’t want to do ided tempo track for the clubs. I dec r the ano p dro to e tim was it t tha for one ter bet glassy anthem but a y ver a in g son the te 2012. I wro am Mumbai street slang way and it! love to sure people are going
It’s definitely more of a dance rap. album but there will always be gs son the of e som on ing I am sing any n take ly ous seri er nev I’ve but s lessons. I’ve just trained my ear it n whe and rds cho according to comes to rap, there’s no school . you can go to, as it’s a street form
“I feel you should be able to sing for films and still make independent music the way you like it. And plus as they say in Hindi “Jiss thaali mein khatey hai, usmein ched nahi kartey” so artists should be happy if they are getting work. I have been doing music for over 18 years and have had number one hits before film songs. Nothing can overshadow talent because if you are talented, you are talented. Nothing can change that.” Pop-locking down memory lane (obligatory hip hop lingo yo!), Hard Kaur’s very first claim to fame was in fact the single ‘Ek Glassy’ from her debut independent album, Supawoman. You probably didn’t hear of any other tracks from that CD for that was when concurrent plans of Bollywood happened. Before you had time to say ‘where did that Punjabi sherni go?’ she roared in a slew of Yash Raj flicks & you moved your body like this. And that! Hard Kaur’s liners in songs become the USP making the tracks and her, instantly recognizable. That and the fact that not many people do what she does. “The reason why it (hip hop)’s not exploited in the industry much is because living in India, Indian music is always be number one.. I’ve been lucky enough to educate people about rap and hip-hop through my music. There is a big following for hip-hop in India but the market doesn’t cater to them and so these followers have to enjoy it via internet or whenever an artist comes down to perform here (which is hardly ever).”
P.L.A.Y will be Hard Kaur’s second album; a follow up to 10 2007’s Supawoman. On this with s rate track CD, she collabo (of Mika, Lehmber Hussainpuri i Gal i Sad – u Man ds We u Tan fame) and international act D12 among others.
on the hot seat The
May 15 - June 15 2012
Which Bollywood face would best suit a Hard Kaur rap? Don’t know but Dimple Kapadia did a good job! (The track Laung Da Lashkara from Patiala House opens with Dimple rapping centrescreen)
She modestly puts further facts across - “On the positive side you have me! And good collaborations that have happened recently; for example Ludacris and Snoop Dogg featuring on Akshay’s film tracks and Akon on Chammak Challo with Shah Rukh Khan.”
everybody works harder and we start seeing better quality of work on TV. I have to say Jhalak has been one of the highlights of my career because people really started to get to know the real me and I received lots of love and blessings from so many people around the world who watched the show.”
In a commercial setting, a ‘feat. Hard Kaur’ is as hip-hop as it gets. The genre is used at its base level, engaging listeners with catchphrases and hilariously simple rhymes. Full-length rap songs with path breaking lyrical potential aren’t given a fair shot. So is the ‘hiphop’ in Bollywood always going to just be arm candy? “Anything is possible in the future so may be one day we’ll have all types of genres of music representing in films but for now we can only wait and see,” reflects Kaur. “I recently had huge success with the track ‘Party Abhi Baaki Hai’ (from F.A.L.T.U) produced by Jigger & Sachin. It was sung and rapped only by me and still became one of the biggest hits of the year. Now, we might not get awards for doing these tracks but we get so much love from the public. It was the number one most played track of 2011 across all radio stations in India. So, there is definitely a chance of full rap tracks in the future. And my friends Jigger, Sachin and I will make sure that’s happening!”
That’s an interesting way of doing her bit to keep the motivation levels soaring and it definitely led to good things. “My first love etc.) “My first love will always be music. I really enjoy doing TV and did have a one of a kind experience doing acting. So there’s no lowdown really, that’s just how it is. Music and performance is my life,” she says. It was a smart career move for after Jhalak, came the acting offer in Patiala House. India’s own JLo? We shall decide once the lady brings out her own clothing line (shouldn’t be far, we’d say)!
I SEE YOU BABY, WORKIN’ THE MASS! With great power comes great visibility, in celebrity realms. And fittingly, Hard Kaur dons some seriously fancy pants. One cannot afford to slacken in the glam department in this era and Kaur with her bling, funky hairdos and loud makeup understands this. As a female artist, image is one of the pivotal determinants of market life. ‘Expressing sexuality’ has long been the female musician’s answer to a kickstart and a comeback. Speculating closer home, true, Bollywood sells. But with sexuality on the posters.
KAUR IS QUEEN, A CARING QUEEN As one of the most notable women spearheading the entertainment industry today, Hard Kaur supports some philanthropic initiatives too. “I support the Fight Back Campaign and Anti Nazi League/Love Music Hate Racism campaign. I love animals and just launched my new Ad for the PETA Campaign for boycotting animals in circuses!” she enthuses. It is the age of over-the-top & multi facets. And if someone’s got that & got that right, it’s Hard Kaur. With talent, showmanship & strategy on her side, she’s raring to go and in course of the journey, she is leaving no stone unturned; maybe a few barricades broken but hey, you can never hold a bad ass down!
“The circle of music is just like the circle of fashion or life etc. There will always be different trends and we will react differently to them,” explains Kaur. “I don’t think talent ever stopped speaking in the first place. There have been so many great artists year after year such as Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Lauren Hill, etc. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with using your sexuality in a video like Rihanna or doing crazy styling like Gaga. There are all types of female artists. To each their own.”
IPL or EPL? And which tea m do you support?
IPL. I support India.
And in her own way, she understands and exploits the power of exposure! Kaur had a stint on Sony TV’s dance reality show Jhalak Dikhlaja in 2009 which exposed her to a whole new demographic. “When I did Jhalak I really thought they’ll just get rid of me after two or three episodes but I got to stay till the end. I just LOVE dancing so yes, it was one of the main reasons to do the show. But the most important reason was to learn so many new styles of dance and also educate and entertain the public. I just wanted to raise the standard higher so that
Same as all boys around the world.
Accents Don’t try it… People know.
30 is the new 20
Age ain’t shit. It’s what you do with your life.
Slutwalks There’s other ways to protes
A badass never reveals his/her secrets! You call it misdemeanor, I call it life.
Have you ever given yourself a makeover? How did that work out? The hairstyles you see are makeovers. I give myself one every month. And that’s me being calm. Imagine if you knew me when I was 19.
Any star struck stories?
The person that I’ve been star struck by when I met them first is Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan but the one I get most excited by is Dharam Ji (Dharmendra). Now all that’s left is the one and only Amir Khan.
A little known skill you possess My close friends Masterchef (hehe)
May 15 - June 15 2012
Vintage 90’s Starts With an ‘M’ In the mid 90s, we did have MTV, which we watched on our fat convex tv screens. And, mind you, that incarnation of MTV was completely unrecognizable from what it has become today. Back then, there was no functional retard trying to teach you about the finer points of the dark arts of seduction and peeling oranges. Neither were there two angry-looking, identical bald guys with unresolved childhood issues screaming at individuals whose selfesteem is clearly leagues below sea level. MTV-India was actually a music channel. However, the music scene itself was not in very good health – Bollywood music (unsurprisingly) dominated, but this domain was the personal fiefdom of Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan during this period and Anu Malik had only recently found out he wanted to hear his own voice in songs. And in the indipop whirligig, we had the usual suspects with Magnasound contracts and to put it mildly, rather interesting music videos. Baba Sehgal with his Hindi vanilla-icing, Daler Mehndi whose songs became tub-thumping shaadi/baraat staples, Alisha Chinoy using her music as a means to show her tremendous faith in the Indian manufacturing industry (whose top-of-the-line product was a topless Milind Soman) immediately come to mind.
Indian Rock Starts With an ‘I’ However, we also had Rock Machine, which became Indus Creed in 1993. For about a decade, they were the pre-eminent Indian rock band and while they were at it,
May 15 - June 15 2012
I C EPIC They were the first Indian group to be featured on MT V Asia To perform at the WOMAD Festival To perform with Bon Jovi And one Saul Hudson who came down to Bangalore and jammed with them at the MT V India launch in 1996 Their album Rock’n Roll Renegade was the largest selling (and massively pirated) Indian rock album.
In 1997, Indus Creed had decided they had had enough of record companies bossing them around; trying to get them to write songs in Hindi, thereby catering to a ‘mainstream’ audience. And so they disbanded with frontman Uday Benegal and guitarist Jayesh Gandhi moving to New York and creating their indo-rock funk project Alms for Shanti. Then Uday moved back to Mumbai and teamed up with Mahesh Tinaikar (Indus Creed’s guitarist) to form Whirling Kalapas, their acoustic side project and played a lot of venues across the country. Unsurprisingly though, the idea of an Indus Creed reunion was floated and soon enough, Benegal and Tinaikar regrouped Zubin Balporia, hired Rushad Mistry (bass) and Jai Row Kavi (drums) and Indus Creed 2.0 was up and running.
Indus Creed takes the stage after 17 years with a brand new record Evolve. Dear 21st century punks & 90’s nostalgics, join us as we trace their jouney!
And that which is epic, Starts with an ‘E’
Uday was at one time training to be a Room Service Captain.
Zubin is banned from eating grapes on tour coz they make him fart.
Mahesh was a sailor on a cattle feed ship.
Jai & Rushad were on the school “Synchronized Swimming” Team.
1. Pretty Child 2. Fly 3. Celibate 4. Top of the rock 5. Ode to Scooby Doo
Indus Creed Essentials The band is currently putting everything into touring and promoting Evolve. The Whirling Kalapas will also continue performing. The band confirmed that there are some shows planned shortly after the Indus Creed Evolve Album tour. Go see them live. Please.
This year Indus Creed is putting out a brand new album, Evolve, which is going to be released by Universal. Most of the second half of 2011 was spent in the studio, creating it. Why was it christened Evolve though? “I wouldn’t want people to read too much into the name, but I think each Rock Machine / Indus Creed album has been an evolution of sorts from its predecessor so – Evolve!” It has been mixed by Tim Palmer, who has worked with (among others) Pearl Jam, Robert Plant, U2 and Porcupine Tree. It comes as no surprise when they gush, “It has been an experience on another level of musical professionalism and sophistication. T he man (Palmer) is sheer genius. A true mix artist, he understood our music both sonically and creatively.” What can we expect from the new album? “Our trademark BIG rock sound blended with a mix of 8 brand new contemporary tunes.” After seventeen long years, how did it all come together? “T he break was good for all of us. We had individual things happening for each of us. But at the end of the day when Uday moved back to Bombay from New York, the seeds were sown for a comeback.” They add, “And let’s face it – we really don’t know how to do anything else.” Did Jai and Rushad have a little trouble meshing in? “T hey fit in perfectly. Great sense of humour, great to hang with and serious pros on their respective instruments. Couldn’t have asked for a better team to hold up bass and drums.” And how has the second innings been so far? Pretty damn good! “T he reception has been great. We’re playing to a lot of new young fans along with some old die-hards. Arenas are great coz there’s nothing like a few thousand people singing your songs but the more intimate club settings are awesome too.” And they are happy to be a part of the music scene today: “It’s quite rocking! Enjoyed Blakc’s performance with us at Blue Frog. Tough on Tobacco always rock the audience. Shaa’ir + Func are a good act to catch, as are Pentagram.” The
May 15 - June 15 2012
Manna Dey The love of a lifetime
As the music maestro completes 93 years on May 1, we stroll down memory lane to get a glimpse of his lifelong affair with music. T
he flirtatious Ae Meri Zohrajabeen that makes you fall in love again, the exuberant Aao Twist Karein, the heartwrenching Ae Mere Pyare Watan, the impish Ek Chatur Naar that leaves you in splits or the unassuming Lapak Jhapak Tu that leaves you amazed – there isn’t an emotion Manna Dey’s voice can’t elicit.
Geet Hai Ye Zindagi Childhood is a time for fun and games and it was no different for little Manna. The boy excelled at wrestling and boxing and was a practical joker. But music entered his early life surreptitiously. Manna would often listen in while his uncle Sangeetacharya Sri Krishna Chandra Dey rehearsed with Ustad Badal Khan Saheb. On a fateful afternoon, Ustadji heard the boy imitate a few notes from his taans and sent for him – and that’s where Manna’s journey with music began.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Aa Mumbai Che KC Dey’s influence had nudged Manna Dey into the direction of music forever. At 23, he took him to Mumbai in order to explain how a singer must weave his emotions into a song to breathe life into the lyrics. In the city of dreams, Manna trained under the legendary S D Burman for five years, continuing his training under Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.
Manna From Heaven Manna Dey’s voice may have been trained, but for his fans, it’s nothing less than a gift from God. As a tribute to this voice, here are a few of his best renditions
Although with the Tamanna OST (1943) Manna had a chance to come into his own (with his duet with Suraiya), he was yet to make his presence felt amongst stalwarts like Rafi and Kishore.
Poocho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitayee While it is true that S D Burman had Manna sing Upar Gagan Vishal (Mashaal, 1950), all he wanted was to revive K C Dey’s style. Ironically, Manna Dey’s proficiency in classical music clipped his wings, for he was pigeonholed as a classical singer. Manna was always the first choice for bhajans or songs like Kaun Aya Mere Man Ke Dware (Dekh Kabira Roya, 1957) – songs that were based on ragas and immensely difficult to render. As if this typecasting wasn’t enough, Manna’s voice remained restricted to older characters in films rather than younger heroes like Raj Kapoor or Dilip Kumar. Even as he broke out of the mould, he only sang for secondary heroes like Balraj Sahni, Pran and Mehmood. Pained as he was, Manna graciously accepted whatever came his way and continued training rigorously, extending the range of his voice. With a lot of hard work and a little luck, the tides eventually began turning.
Chutti Kar Doonga Mai Usko, Abke Jo Awaaz Lagayi In his autobiography Memories Come Alive, Manna Dey credits his success to the unmatched duo, Shankar and Jaiksihen. His career took flight with Raj Kapoor’s Awaara (1951), followed by unforgettable compositions like Lapak Jhapak (Boot Polish, 1954), Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala (Shri 420, 1955) and Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi (Chori Chori, 1956). After a spate of hits, he began receiving a slew of offers to sing for Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna and others. Manna’s ease of versatility had reached a zenith. From romantic duets like Aaja Sanam (Chori Chori) to the heart-breaking Poocho Na Kaise Maine (Meri Soorat Teri Aankhein, 1963) Manna Dey could do it all. Finally, he had arrived.
Tu Pyaar Ka Saagar Hai… A soul ruled by compassion and a persona defined by simplicity – these are the values that have endeared him to one and all. His wife Sulochana Dey once said, “He sings with his heart,” which is possibly why Rafi once admitted listening only to Manna Dey’s songs. Manna’s humility becomes apparent in his unabashed praise of his contemporaries such as Rafi and Kishore “Their voices are God’s gift, mine is a result of training.” In the attempt to know more about him, one also understands why there can be no one else like him. Wish you a very happy birthday Manna Dey! We hope you have many more to come.
Special Thanks to Mr. Gautam Roy & Manna Dey Sangeet Academy
The pain and yearning in Manna Dey’s voice are unmistakable, amplified by the lyrics that haunt you long after you’ve listened to it.
Ae Meri Zohra Jabeen Waqt, 1965:
Manna lends oodles of charm with a dash of panache to the wonderfully romantic words. One can’t help but imagine that he must have pictured his wife Sulochana while singing it!
This song was chosen simply because it showcases his versatility. A melodious rock and roll number in which Manna injects his funloving spirit to give us a delightful song that is sure to get you jiggying!
Tu Pyaar Ka Sagar Hai Seema, 1955:
Ae Mere Pyaare Watan Kabuliwala, 1961:
Aao Twist Karein Bhoot Bungla, 1965
A little melancholic, a bit hopeful and complete surrender to the Almighty. After recording the song, Balraj Sahni hugged Manna and said, “You lived that role as you sang the song!”
Only a singer of his calibre could butt heads with Kishore Kumar. For sheer talent and the fact that this song will last forever in the minds of music aficionados, it has made this list.
Ek Chatur Naa, Padosan, 1968
May 15 - June 15 2012
AN EXPO-NENTIAL MUSICAL STAGE
Long have the musicians been scattered around the country and long have they waited. But 11 years ago, a light was spotted - the shiny beacon of PALM Expo, which like the one ring, brought the fellowship together.
India is on a gig, and the fever to have a stage and shake a leg is driving the pro sound industry at all levels, more distributors and more retail, more product exposure, moving up the quality chain, grabbing the technology advantage, using state-of-art techniques, more event organisers, more staging, which means more lighting, and spreading across the heartland.â€?
May 15 - June 15 2012
- Anil Chopra (Managing Director, Diversified Communications India, Organizers of PALM + Musician Expo)
nt across to promote tale Also this year, atures fe it s of music, various sphere icians us m g promisin seven selected Best d an st ri Guita to win the Best Pianist.
ormance Harman Live perf own artists, kn Arena - Where and lighting bands and laser state-ofshows backed by hting and the-art sound, lig blow your musical gear, will minds.
Every single major brand that you can imagine, ranging from Fender, to ESP to PRS Ibanez!
a ighting udio, L r the A o r P l o Globa chnology - F Te Sound techies.
Major exh ibitors like Furtados, Gibson Gu itar Corporatio n and man y more.
tition - For PALM DJ Compe the mixers. d the spinners an ! rs ve And the groo
Laser & Lighting Show - For the oohs and the aaaaahs. Indian Recording Arts Awards, 6th edition - Where the technical and creative achievements by leading sound recording and mixing engineers shall be awarded.
All you have to do to get people to come to a place, they say, is put out a nice spread with some cold cuts and fancy lighting. That’s exactly what expos aim to do. A delectable spread of workshops, clinics, instruments, face offs and some good ol’ glamour is just what the burgeoning music scene in our country needs, to grow and flourish. One of the biggest gatherings of the audio and music industry, PALM Expo together with the mainstream events, mainly focuses on crucial technical aspects; stressing on how important the behind the scenes business for the musicians is. Killing multiple birds with panache, expos manage to spread awareness, sell products and put on a good show - all at the same time. PALM + Musician Expo 2012, in just three days, will be bringing together industry giants, experts, musicians and brands to give you the experience of a lifetime. There’s a place and event for everybody - from the tech junkies and aspiring amateurs to experts and upcoming bands to already established musicians! Due to the major increase of footfall and the strong possibility of a stampede at the entrance, Musician Expo, co-located with PALM Expo, has an independent visitor registration this year.
XPO XCITEMENT! Arjun Dhanraj
The PALM Expo is a wonderful experience as musicians from all genres and ages come together and witness the biggest musical trade festival in the country. We not only get to explore the latest and fanciest musical instrument releases, but also get to learn from experts and endorsers about the instruments and their specs. I represent Furtados as a Brand Manager and I get to check out my favourite instruments first hand before they are even released. With fests like the PALM expo, every musician has that luxury!
Palm expo is always a good time of the year for musicians and music related companies both. For me, I get to hear about and check out new equipment - both for my own use as a guitarist, as well as band related stuff for live shows. Definitely gives me an understanding of where I stand sonically and how I can improve and what those improvements could sound like. Their live show last year on the big stage was cool, hopefully they’ll continue that this year.”
Vocalist for NerveRek, Furtados
Guitarist for Blakc
Vocalist for Demonic Resurrection
As a musician the Palm Expo is one of the most looked forward to events; you get to see all the gear available, so much new technology, meet industry people and most important, get to watch some amazing live acts, demos, clinics and other amazing events!
Solo artist, Radio One jockey
“I think expos are awesome, because that’s something I would do! Get a whole bunch of us and show off each other’s stuff and make it all professional so that people take our industry seriously - especially for small indie producer/artists!”
May 15 - June 15 2012
Each of our writers check out the latest indie albums to hit shelves & get their critique on!
Reviews Modern Mafia: Random Sheep (EP) GENRE: Rock
REVIEWED BY: Ashwath Nair
The tracks on this EP aim to tap into unpolished emotion going by raw lyrics like ‘GET IN ZE CHOHPPAH!’ (from the first track on the EP, Arnie). So… Rugged! And then almost immediately, they drop a track like Whokay that reminds you not to let the fairer gender get you down. Each of the songs stands strong and represents a musical phase that the band might have gone through. The next track on the EP, Daylight, snared a good deal of my attention. It’s a modern day love song highlighting how one person can make you feel like you can achieve anything which, upon failing at-least gets one laid (Must. Try. Immediately.) All along this musical journey however, Modern Mafia seems a little unsure about themselves. I know it’s not a concept album but take the example of The Foo Fighters. Each album’s tracks vary from each other but the album itself projects one
ambiguous sound. The quality of music is astounding for a band that has just entered the scene. The album art is stellar and not unnecessarily dabbed with a myriad of colours. Just plain, simple lines that show you exactly what the band is about. Pure music without wax is their motto and that is exactly what this album is. I’ll recommend this album for anyone who loves working-class rock with elements of Arnie and Sheep thrown into the mix.
TOP PICKS: Whokay, Arnie
The Mavyns: From The Tree Of No Ledge GENRE: Electric 60s
This album sees so many influences at play (or jamming if I may) with each other. I see The Smiths, The Beatles, a lot of Roxy Music but underplayed and the Blue Öyster Cult. And that’s not really such a bad thing. If I had to search the haystack for a reason not to give the album a perfect score, it would be that the band needs more cowbell - plain and simple. You need to listen
REVIEWED BY: Ashwath Nair
I’ve been waiting for this Three Mal and a Goan Quartet (see what I did there?) band to bring a record out for a while now. What does it sound like? - Like a soundtrack for a home movie made on a 16mm camera from the 60’s, actually. That’s what I like about these blokes; they strive to keep the spirit of the 60’s alive through their music and not the extra baggage that led to the era’s sad demise.
May 15 - June 15 2012
to this album in its entirety to really understand and partake in the journey back to a better place and time. There is so much good music packed into this 80 minute CD that I wouldn’t mind shelling out money that I’d have wasted on a new Nickelback album for these guys. I suggest you pick this one up, or at least give The Mavyns a good listen online.
TOP PICKS: Bad Milk, Soul Friend, The Dawn Is Here
Nandini Shrikar: Beete Pal GENRE: Semi-Classical REVIEWED BY: Shresht Poddar
In Beete Pal resides a part of Nandini Shrikar’s heart; evident in the overflowing emotion every track exudes. A host of prominent musicians - from Kai Eckhardt and Prasanna to Michael Pope and Atma Anur – feature in this debut release. Opening with the melancholic Beete Pal, she tugs at heartstrings with her classically trained voice triggering tears. The idiosyncrasies of being in love are highlighted in the moving Madhosh. Following this is Raaz Ko Raaz, which plays with the mind. It is arguably one of the best (and toughest) songs on the album although multiple plays maybe required to truly appreciate it. With brilliant programming and harmonic arrangements, the inspirational Kyon Maane reaffirms faith in the potential of Indian musicians. Sawan Beeta Jaye is the most interesting track of the lot owing to its thumri-meetsrock quality. Nandini renders this modern classical track with aplomb. Maula Mere brings the much-needed fast-paced respite from the slow, haunting predecessors. Dominated by the sound
of kanjiras, Nandini proves her versatility with this relatively commercial track. The soft Ud Jaa doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The sole reason to listen to it would be the wellwritten lyrics. Her Carnatic proficiency is displayed in Naina Baan Padi - a modern age Carnatic rock track with a brilliant guitar riff. The album closes with Duniya - a simple track with Scottish overtones, which presents a reality-check for the listener. At the end, you’re left wanting for more and that to me is the mark of a good album. A special mention for the amazing lyrics by Sanjay Divecha and Nandini herself.
TOP PICKS: Kyon Maane, Sawan Beeta Jaye, Naina Baan Padi
Hundred Octane: Delusion Is No Illusion GENRE: Hard Rock
REVIEWED BY: Ajmal
The name ‘Hundred Octane’ hints at a typical metal core band, with loud riffs and intense screaming. But this band offers more than what meets the eye. The album is a medley of sorts, at times reminding one of early Metallica but also of the somber Nirvana with a few slow numbers. The album begins with a slow, country-esque track ‘Holocaust’, which starts quite well but gets a little monotonous by the middle. Deep but clear vocals add to the magic of this moving song. ’Delusion’ starts off with a grainy voiceover describing an oath, whereupon the song erupts into a loud riff and what follows is the stereotypical loud bass and snare; a treat for fans of the golden age of rock but nothing quite special. ‘Might Not Be Tomorrow’ & ‘Surrender To The Victory’ both seem to start off similar but they branch out in their respective
Coalescence: Paradigm Shift GENRE: Progressive
ways with slow and fast beats. ‘Mr. Masquerade’ is a noteworthy number cuing a return to hard rock roots. With fast leads and insane drums, this is one track you can smoothly head bang to. But the vocals leave a lot to be desired. ‘You and Me’, another slow track, reminds you of the heartbroken, yet manages to hit your inner metal head. All in all, the band has put in a good effort. But other than a few solos, the music is ordinary at the most.
TOP PICKS: Holocaust, Mr. Masquerade and You and Me
REVIEWED BY: Nikila Srinivasan
There’s something raw, fresh, hopeful and exciting about listening to a debut album. Paradigm Shift, a Mumbaibased progressive rock band, manages to retain most of those elements in its 8-track arrival on the music scene - Coalescence. It’s the (almost) seamless fusion of Indian classical music with progressive rock themes, that stays with you long after the drums fade. With a strand of Alaipayuthey weaved into its lines, Khwabon me Teri is a solid start, with the tracks following suit not letting the listeners down. Vocals aren’t necessarily the forte of Coalescence, settling for a supporting role to a stellar violin, guitar and drums cast. The alluring music often drowns out the voices, especially in Zindagi, and attempts to lend a classical touch to English lyrics sometimes seem a tad forced. Getting to the two-minute mark on the title track, Coalescence almost made me forget any of the slight cons with the album.
Nikhil Nandakumar on the violin is electrifying and the progression of the track with seamless fusion of sounds and consistently foot-tappable tempo make for a fitting titular number - effortless coalescence. Despite moments of ennui, the sheer diversity of sounds - each with its own tale to tell - make one root for the band with talent that seems fresh in a scene where it seems like we’ve seen it all before.
TOP PICKS: Coalescence, Khwabon Me Teri, Sapna The
May 15 - June 15 2012
Skyharbor: Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos GENRE: Progressive Rock/Metal
REVIEWED BY: Siddharth Raghunandan
The hype that trailed this album ever since its announcement has definitely done good for there are even more people looking into the Indian metal scene than ever before. Starting off as a bedroom project by Keshav Dhar in a hostel room to attracting collaborations such as Sunnieth Revankar (Bhayanak Maut), Daniel Tompkins (ex-TesseracT), Vishal J Singh (Amogh Symphony) and even Marty Friedman (exMegadeth) seemed impressive as hell on paper. The album is split into two, Illusion and Chaos. As a whole, the album gives a good first impression; Dots serves tremendously as an opener with some of Keshav Dhar’s signature chord progressions and crushing riffs. Daniel Tompkins’ clean vocals and screams are equally tasteful. Order 66 and Aurora have exceptionally catchy choruses with Keshav’s progressive rock roots from his AVR days coming out brilliantly in the songwriting. The only setback might be the inorganic feel of Dan’s vocals in some places bombarded with harmony, reverb and delay. Catharsis and Celestial are two of the longest tracks in the record, with solos by Marty as well as Vishal doing justice to the songs. Maeva along with ‘Dots’ and ‘Order 66’ are the strongest tracks of the album in the long run, and best exhibit the glory of the band as a whole.
Sulk Station: Till You Appear GENRE: Trip-Hop
I shall not attempt to do a track-by-track review of the album because to me, Sulk Station is all about the ambience. And attempts to dissect the dark, brooding atmosphere that they create would be self-defeating. However, some high points of the album are the smoky, surreal track ‘Take Me Home’, the achingly beautiful ‘Splendor’ and the haunting ‘Confession.’ This is still immaterial because the songs just sort of blend into each other after a point, and the album is cohesively brilliant.
The Chaos disc features the technical and aggressive Cloudkicker-esque riffing with Sunnieth’s complementing guttural screams. While Trayus and Aphasia fair well as decent renditions of the same songs from the Hydrodjent (Skyharbor in its nascency) era, Insurrection lacks stupendously in songwriting with its random shift into a major-tone clean passage which has nothing to do with the atonal off-time passages that dominate the rest of the track. Illusion does extremely well with its radiant textures of sounds and soaring vocal melodies, Chaos is just a 3-track burst of aggression and adrenaline which doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The Illusion side is very atmospheric and layered with definition, like an ensemble of guitars and macbooks. Skyharbor, for the most of it, have righteously delivered an appreciable debut offering whose songs may stay in your playlist for longer than you reckon.
TOP PICKS: Maeva, Dots, Aphasia
REVIEWED BY: Nilankur Dutta
There is something about Sulk Station’s music that makes it a perfect accompaniment to the cloudy skies and the windswept days that plague our city now. Their music seems to have been built to contemplate long silent afternoons staring at the gloomy skies. It’s about nothing in particular but everything in general. ‘Odd, but in a good way.’ Somewhat akin to Florence Welch trying her hand at dark psytrance.
May 15 - June 15 2012
The singer slips effortlessly from English to Hindustani without breaking a step. The only fault that I can attribute to it is that the whole haltingly atmospheric business becomes a little drab after a point, especially for those of us who like our music hopping on speed. Having said all this, the highest compliment I can attribute to Till You Appear is it is perhaps the Indian contemporary to Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials.
TOP PICKS: Downdrift, Take Me Home and Wait
Kailasa: Rangeele GENRE: Sufi/Fusion
REVIEWED BY: Nilankur Dutta
The good thing about Rangeele is that it is an impossibly happy album, evoking the kind of optimistic, cheerful stupor that would make other people want to shoot you in the head. Let us take, for example the eponymous first track. In four and a half minutes, it talks at least twenty-two times about flying, dancing and getting drunk. (And once, memorably, about shining like a firefly whilst doing the above things.) A lot of people have been calling Rangeele one of Kailasa’s weaker outings. But the question is, what does that matter to a band that can take a song about betrayal and heartbreak like Tu Kya Jaane and make it sound like butterflies and rainbows? And so goes whole album: Daaro na Rang and Albeliya and Samvaad (which features Kailash Kher’s toddler son). The last track in particular is a gigantic romp, making fun of everything including the band-members, via a faux
news-bulletin. Any album that involves this degree of fun deserves a listen irrespective of musical quality. Which is not bad, and shines through especially in the tracks ‘Kathagaan’ (which sounds like the Indian equivalent of a bluegrassy mo-town song) and in the final track, ‘Ujaale Baant Lo’, which explores the more sombre side of Kailasa. So give this one a listen. Detractors aside, it will at least leave you with a massive infusion of endorphins, and you can irritate serious people for one more day.
TOP PICKS: Rangeele, Kathagaan, Samvaad
Albatross: The Kissing Flies GENRE: Heavy Metal
REVIEWED BY: Mihir Sinha
Mumbai based heavy metal quintet Albatross’s second album is a split EP with seminal American doom metallers Vestal Claret. This release continues in the vein of Albatross’s sound carved out during their debut ‘Dinner Is You’ while introducing a host of new musical elements; most noticeably the blisteringly fast, twin lead guitar onslaught spearheaded by the new guitarists - Vignesh and Nishith - and also, a more traditional thrash metal approach to the music.
where the town of Raptorsville has been consumed by the flesh eating flies. All in all, a terrific EP. The band has seamlessly melded China Mieville and Stephen King with King Diamond and Black Sabbath into a tasty aural delight.
The eerie intro ‘Wither’ bursts into ‘Uncle Sunny At The Tavern.’ Leading in with a fast riffing section as the band kicks in, the song sets the mood for the rest of the album and introduces the listener to the dying town of Raptorsville - the setting for the horror story upon which this concept album is written. This song also features an appearance by Niklas Stalvind, the vocalist of Swedish heavy metal Wolf who cameos as the enigmatic Uncle Sunny and warns the protagonist about the terrors that plague the town. The title song comes in next keeping the intensity going, this time with an element of overwhelming doom introduced. My only qualm with the track is that it clocks close to 10 minutes, dragging on in the name of fine story-telling. The EP ends with ‘In Ashes,’
The end of Albatross’s track does not mark the end of the album though. The final track is by Vestal Claret, the other band on the split. Titled ‘Black Priest In White Chapel,’ the song tracks the life of a depraved pastor, perverting the lives of those in his care. At 17 minutes long, this magnum opus is built upon a strong rhythm section and arpeggiating chords, heady with a heavy 80s doom vibe, reminiscent of slower Black Sabbath tracks. Although in complete contrast to the aggression and horror of Albatross’s music, the track still holds its place in the split and provides the perfect ending theme to the album.
TOP PICKS: Uncle Sunny At The Tavern, Kissing Flies
May 15 - June 15 2012
We definitely love the work that singer Nandini Srikar does. You might have heard her on collaborations with Trilok Gurtu, Leslie Lewis, and Ranjit Barot . Her Bollywood repertoire includes the melancholic Bhare Naina from Ra. One and the peppy Dil Mera Muft Ka from the Agent Vinod OST.
Any chore is terrible. e I think housework is th . reason why I go to work
Here she is on QnQ, dishing a little about her debut album & a lot about herself! age of three & I started playing the veena at the at the age of four. e anc orm perf gave my first public When I was a kid, if my mother sang a raga I would immediately name a krithi (Carnatic composition) in that raga and I would say what notes she was singing in the sargam. The other stories were totally unflattering ones of mischief and rowdyism!
ie - wouldn’t As a kid, I was in awe of ABBA: The Mov ed lights color fancy with stage on go it be wonderful to and sing in front of a huge audience! I love Physics! I hold an M.Sc in Pure Mathematics and a degree in Information and Systems Management. Surely You Are Joking Mr. Feynman is one book that completely changed my perspective on Physics and Maths and approach to things in general.
Some films I find inspiring are A Be autiful Mind, Amadeus & Life Is Beautif ul - there is a deeply touching human story of pa radoxes, of reality and imag ination in all thes e films.
Staying one age forever? I think Mark Twain puts it elegantly! – ‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’ I worked on my album Beete Pal for over 5 years using my own little resources - composing, writing, programming, producing, performing, promoting and featuring some amazing musicians both on the record and live. The album in a way represents the musician in me. 15 years ago, I came into the industry to do my own album and make music the way I felt and sensed it. I’ve managed to accomplish that task now.
l h 9 songs featuring severa Beete Pal is an album wit and e Pop ke Mi dt, har Eck amazing musicians. Kai bass, Prasanna, Ed Steve Zerlin have played Atma Divecha played guitars, DeGenaro and Sanjay ek Viv and ms Bennetton dru Anur and Marc Layton . jira kan the h d wit Rajagopalan contribute The
May 15 - June 15 2012
QQuiureksr& ies with
N a n d i n i S r i ka r
Photography: Parizad D
Band of the Month
: s s o r t Alba 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.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Premier Digital Mastering Studios, Mumbaiâ€™s premier music Mix & Mastering facility. Inaugurated & blessed by AR Rahman.
May 15 - June 15 2012
I live the irony in what Vignesh told me about metchul-heads – They’re actually the nicest dudes in the world, man – while I work my way through ‘Dinner Is You’, Albatross’ maiden EP foray back in 2010 that took its time penetrating niche circles, but it ascended into cult hood once it did; detailing a laughing cannibal malady.
Delirium’s A Friend O’Mine
We should be talking about Kissing Flies instead, the follow up split EP released now, also featuring American naysayers, Vestal Claret. This is just part of an elaborate plan to chart the metamorphosis of probably India’s only operatic horror metal band. (I haven’t heard anyone else produce concept albums with such attendant intricacies in this country, so sue me). But ‘we aren’t mainstream’ is the refrain, when the journalistic needling prods them to reveal some – any – hidden desire to conquer the word via MTV. In fact, Kissing Flies is deemed a step further down underground; what, with it’s extended, guitar bled harrowing over what happens to Raptorsville, the godforsaken town bassist and storyteller-in-chief, Riju ‘Dr Hex’ Dasgupta - thought up as the central motif to the EP.
Dreaming Up A Nightmare: Birth of The Kissing Flies EP Vignesh Venkatraman explains the process. “Basically, Riju had a talk with Phil (Philip Swanson, frontman – Vestal Claret) who wanted to do this split EP, which was exciting because we really like them. So, Riju got the concept ready and we began composing the music”. And two months later, most of the album was ready, sans the postproduction detailing. This is where Niklas Stalvind, lead singer of Wolf, stepped up to the plate, doing most of the mixing and final mastering. He features alongside vocalist Biproshree Das on ‘Uncle Sunny At The Tavern’, one of the edgier lead singles from the new EP. Even Sahil ‘Demonstealer’ Makhija guest appears on Kissing Flies, belting out his trademark growl section, which is an acquired taste we have learnt to enjoy.
Carpe Diem: With a new EP & tours! The euphoria of a new dawn (an EP, actually) not with standing, all grown men must acknowledge that Indian metal still haunts dark woods, where few daring souls hide when mum and the city become too much of a drag. And the pessimistic ones dismiss chances of a reprieve either.
: s s o r t Alba
is o n e r s T a k in g N o P0r10 S in c e 2
May 15 - June 15 2012
Photography: Raunaq Mangottil
Mihir Sinha “The thing is, man, no one wants to pay for metal. There are teenagers out here who love our music, but we’ll probably have to wait for sometime for it to become commercially viable”.
orchestra on a theatrical stage; something to dwarf all the Leela Bhansalis and Chopras and Punjabi Weddings in sound, scope and impact.
Quitting India isn’t an option either, so there goes my big career advice. But Albatross have put tours abroad on the anvil, on the lookout for somebody of repute who can arrange for a showing overseas, cushioned by sound finances and a guarantee to reach them to their crowds.
All of which is a part of their native pop culture that they’ve disowned – the flashy, the sugary and the fake – probably one of those ties that bind them. For them, that farce also extends into regular life and they can see it, feel it, and it fuels that fire, which births despicable truths, gnawing scales, authentic Albatross.
What’s holding them back?
For starters, they haven’t found the Bob Geldof prototype outlined above. Besides, they have a long list of domestic gigs rearing up on the horizon. After playing Chennai and Bangalore in quick succession, following the launch of the EP, Albatross repeated the trick with a great big Hallelujah! at Wither 2012, which was also the Mumbai launch for the EP.
And then some upheavals are self-made and self-endured. In the 2 years between the EPs, Albatross have seen their own sound make the leap of faith, with Vignesh and Nishith joining in with their virile modern prog-rock influences on the guitars within a space of six months of each other. It meshed uncomfortably at first, but it was the coat of paint the crumbling edifice of the old school so desperately needed.
That, of course, is almost the beginning; with Albatross then going on to play their first ever shows in the North-East, sledgehammering their way into Shillong and Guwahati. It’s a salivating proposition for the band, for they’ve been told of the rabid love they hold in their hearts for their chosen metal gods up there. “More than anything, we just want to make all those fans happy. We want them to remember us, to talk about us, till we finally go there again”.
Not Without The Gory Past… But you remember where you came from, seeing how Riju revisits his King Diamond fantasia repeatedly with horrorstruck concept albums, even though Nishith is told “not to go too progressive and modern on the album”, they still let him finally “do exactly what he pleases”.
The Road To Damascus, Line Ups & Identity In Tow
It all pales in comparison to the vision of their own turning point; The Kissing Flies EP - a full fledged operatic opus, that brings to life Riju’s horror filled littérateur nightmares, set against an original Albatross
Biproshree, he of the gruesome vocals and taunts, has his share of old loves – Dio, Iron Maiden, those pioneers with dodgy haircuts. At 28, he’s almost half a generation ahead of 17-year-old Nishith, but at the end of the day, the physiology works in tandem for these bandmates.
That’s how they become a band, sharing music and all the ideology that defines it. Together they disavow trends, empty commerce and pretension; upholding old school in more ways than one.
Not all horror stories will kill you
Out here, we don’t say things that shouldn’t be said, so we expectantly sit up and listen when someone dares to. Especially as tastefully and vividly as Mumbai horror metallists, Albatross.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Music festivals in India have definitely been on the rise. All of them sport some characteristic features - a Woodstock-ish vibe, overflowing alcohol, fresh music! And this summer was the month of M.A.D – Music, Arts and Dance they said - but I’d just rather say MAD because that’s what it was; a festival that saw all the insanity, hooliganism, camaraderie and joy within music & its aficionados in a stunning location - Fern Hills, Ooty. The concerts were maddening in their own way with skewed timings and sound checks and two stages separated by a forest. I think I speak for many when I say I heard most of most of them, half of half of them and nothing of a couple of them. But big props to the sound crew for doing a fantastic job; the music was clear enough for me to bring you this purely musical rundown!
SOUNDING OFF Avial and Motherjane were two of the most anticipated acts of M.A.D, especially since the whole of Kerala was pretty much at the fest. So when Motherjane came on stage, expectations and excitement were running high! And oh boy did they reduce to smithereens. Motherjane looked listless without their original lineup and lost most of their audience through their performance. There were some good points to the concert but collectively the performance was downright banal. It was still only the second most disappointing performance by a band with such good reputation. Avial were arguably the champion duds. After enthralling the audience with half an hour of nothing (they sound checked half an hour into the performance time), they piled on the agony by ruining crowd favorites. Even the die-hard Mallu Avial fan couldn’t deny that the traditional kerala curry was devoid of spices and lacking in some basic ingredients. Close on the heels of these two was The Electric Konark Band. Yes, they had issues with their sound, a sudden change in slot and their performance time was shortened BUT what they put on stage was sub-standard, no matter what the reasons. Indialucia was a personal disappointment. I was looking forward to them the most - Flamenco with Indian classical music and a Polish Kathak dancer; I thought it was too good to be true! It was. Thanks to some rescheduling, the Electric Konark Band performed in Indialucia’s original slot and I was flabbergasted that Indialucia could be so ordinary because hardly any of us knew that it wasn’t them. When they actually performed the next day, for me it was like being let down by the same band twice over.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets seemed at the outset to have things right - the name spells cool and they are certainly a bunch of talented musicians. It was unfortunate then that onstage, there was little sense of occasion and charisma. Indian Ocean, The Sanjay Divecha project, Emergence and Skinny Alley were tame but not particularly memorable.
EYE POPS! Pure musical brilliance seemed elusive but I figured that wasn’t really the point anyway. Yes, the music had to be good, but there had to be more. The festival was the coming together of pretty much all that is weird about artists from around the world too and I wanted some serious onstage loony. Take this band for instance, their music was frankly ordinary but what actually happened onstage was not. Why? A band called Kundalini Airport. Take a French guy on a sitar, banjo and a mouth organ (all simultaneously), a bass guitar mounted on top of a stand, a tent atop a drum kit and a tabla player who’s recitation of rhythmic chants sound like my kid sister spouting swahili. Then have this band perform a song that has the French guy shouting and whispering alternatively ‘Ramseshwara Siva, OM Nama Shivaya’. THAT’s an inkling of how rivetingly insane Kundalini Airport were on stage. The Krar Collective claimed to be Ethiopian folk tradition from the heart of London. The genre confusion wasn’t really a matter of concern for long. At the end of their performance, the organizers were squirming, some old men in the audience were hiding from their wives and everybody had well and truly gotten erm exposed to Ethiopian culture.
MT ADIT YA
Fest Focus on
A Mind Boggling Affair! MELODY + MADNESS:
Score’s Cut of The Musically MAD! La Pongal was truly fantastic. Dressed in crazy costumes, they sang traditional Tamil folk songs, offered free pongal to those who danced enthusiastically and had a front man, Antony Dasan (code name Antony Jackson) who was the perfect mix of comedian and musician. They started with thapattam players playing from the audience followed by lively crowd interactions and really got the crowd going. Add unmatched energy, enthusiasm and some superbly arranged music and I thought they were the craziest act that MAD could possible have.
TUNING IN All was not lost and my patience bore fruit eventually with musical brilliance coming in the form of these acts: Right up there were The Raghu Dixit Project and
Swarathma. The musical brothers (Raghu and Vasu Dixit) and their respective bands came up with incredible performances. Spud In The Box, a bunch of teenagers from Mumbai proved to be a band to watch out for. They didn’t make it to our MAD Cut only because they didn’t have vampire fangs for teeth or fire spitting out of their guitars! Really, I can’t think of any other reason. Thermal & A Quarter, fresh off their Three Wheels Nine Lives tour, dished out such fantastic music that even heavy rains could not dampen their performance. Add to this, Papon & The East India Company with Assamese folk rock, Agam - a band that looks like Iron Maiden playing Carnatic Rock and Soulmate whose Rudy Wallang is without a doubt one of India’s finest in fretwork. But there was one performance that very unexpectedly transcended it all - the finale by Isha Sharvani & The Daksha Seth Dance Company. I was expecting a bunch of airheaded Bollywood numbers but I could not have been more wrong. Staggering intensity emanated from this dance choreography par excellence, set to some stunning music arrangement. Isha Sharvani’s stunning beauty was not distracting enough for her grace, acrobatics and sheer stage presence to go unnoticed. The North Eastern traditional drum dances and the kalari kept us all in rapture. Not to forget the jaw dropping stunts; dances had performers being suspended 20 feet in the air without a safety harness, holding onto ropes with just their toes. The tension in the air could have been cut right through with a blunt knife!
Photography: Praveen S R, George Vedamanickam
That was until I saw Live Banned perform. I remember hurriedly finishing my ongoing interview and running towards the stage when I heard the opening song. It was a fusion of the Swat Kats theme, Nakku Mukka, Independence Day and Ringa Ringa! The crowd reaction was epic - whistles and cheers at every pun and joke, circles, trains, mosh pits by even crazier drunk dancers; you name it! One look on stage and at the audience and I knew this had to be it. This had to be the band that defined MAD. It was one member with a polka dotted hat and SpongeBob shirt, the drummer wearing a high visibility construction jacket and wig (at times a shark doll on the head) and the front man in his pink dhoti, star shaped glitter pink glasses, coloured canvas shoes and a wild brown wig. It was a case of blissful MADness where the mix of crazy and great music was seamless.
Which bands truly got the essence of M.A.D right? Which ones left more to be desired? We bring you both ends of the spectrum & everything in between!
It really was the perfect anti-climax to the festival. M.A.D 2012 saw a genuine effort by the organizers, good musicianship by artists and a very sportive and satisfied audience. Here’s hoping for a more loco M.A.D Festival 2013!
May 15 - June 15 2012
SHAKE A LEG WITH THAT i SOLO . Musicians were never meant to be just musicians and it never was just about the music. weâ€™re not talking high profile love but onstage antics!
May 15 - June 15 2012
OH YES THEY DID. ON STAGE-
Nobody likes half-assed efforts; not in movies, not in relationships, not at work, and especially not in music. So when people pay and give your show a couple of hours of their time, they darn well expect you to give them it’s worth. They want you to blow their minds; they want you to make them spend the rest of their lives in the afterglow of your show. They want you to make them tell their future auto-tune loving brats that ‘kids, they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore’. They want you to be the musician who inspires that lone kid from Haryana to pick up a guitar.
For instance, Slipknot, known for their trippy masks, goat heads and the whole works, have a smashing thing going on. Rage Against The Machine is another example of the raw power that a good stage act can unleash. If it’s a laid back blue-sy gig, keep up good banter, engage the listeners, be confident enough to believe that you’re worth listening to. Buddy Guy for one, even after being well, old, has one hell of a stage presence. He makes you laugh, does orgasmic riffs, makes weird noises and does everything in his power to make his show the best goddam show you’ve ever been to! Pink Floyd’s lights, Marilyn Manson’s flexibility, David Bowie’s Ziggy stardust, Tina Turner’s legs , Ozzy Osbourne and his bats, Lady Gaga and her extravagance, Steven Tyler’s screeches, Bono’s… something, are factors that make these people what they really areperformers. There’s a reason why the nagging mothers were so anal about our expressions and hand gestures during the kindergarten competitions. Those were the things that made the judges go aww and put us down for the prize. Years later our stage antics may have changed to abuse, taking off shirts and pelvic thrusts, but they still remain the things which make people notice and (now and then) like us.
Now, you don’t always have to look like drag queens to get people’s attention. What you do have to do, is let people know that your music is what they need at that instant. Don’t just self-consciously pump your hands up in the air now and then or stare at your shoes while making half-hearted jokes on the mic. Focus on the crowd; if it’s a metal gig, be energetic enough to get a freakin’ mosh pit to happen - the kind of pit from which people come out smiling with broken bones and ripped clothes!
IF YOU DONiT HAVE IT, WE DO:
Eric Clapton, who has been killin’ those sets since before you were in nappies, would frequently show up on stage drunk. Once, memorably, he recalls doing a show where he was so drunk that he did it entirely horizontally. As in, he lay down on stage and presumably rolled about quite a bit with mic in hand for the whole thing.
We as human beings are drawn to loud, colourful and shiny things. Hence, it should only be natural that we like our musicians that way! The humongous success of the Glam metal era proves just that. Like brightly colored bees, bands like Poison and Twisted Sister descended upon us with their red lipsticks and spandex outfits. They flashed toned, waxed legs at the world and danced like the stage was their personalized strip club. And even though they made pretty ok music, they played us and our repressed conscience by the sheer charisma they exuded on stage - even when dressed like women.
The bat (and presumably the pigeon) eating incident are now quite famous, but it takes more than biting a couple of animal heads off to understand the Elder-gods raising levels of madness that is Ozzy. During Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ tour, a giant catapult designed to look like a hand was set up to fling raw calves’ livers and pig intestines into the audience. At one gig, the projectile fell short of its target and landed on Ozzy’s head.
Musicians by birth are performers- good and bad. They feed on attention, groupies and 109318292187 fans on Facebook.They aspire to be that loud, obnoxious, funny guy who everybody hates but secretly wants to be like. However, your riffs may be the talk of the town, your music may be a Grammy winning effort, but if your show looks duller than a Sunday mass you might as well give up now because people will forget you in 2..3..1...eh?
The kings of onstage antics are of course, The Who. Keith Moon & Co. were famous (notorious?) for decimating entire dynasties of musical instruments on stage as they played. Take the incident at The Who’s debut on U.S. television on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967, where Keith Moon decided to put friggin’ explosive charges in his drumset. The ensuing mayhem left Townshend with a ghostrider hairstyle and caused Bette Davis to faint. It is fondly remembered as one of the greatest moments of rock history.
Bassist Krist Novoselic was aiming to do a ‘The Who’, at the 1992 MTV VMA awards by throwing his guitar up in the air. The supposedly ground breaking Townshend mimicking epic performance fell flat on its face, however. The bass guitar that is. It fell on his face.
OUTTA SIGHT, OUTTA PLAYLIST
What’s a show without histrionics? We pick 5 top runners here who do just that. For more, it’s highonscore(.com)!
This one’s my favourite, if only because of the sheer poetic justice. At Woodstock 1994, wannabe punk rockers and all time purveyors of putrescence Green Day, took advantage of the rains and started a mud-fight with the audience. The result, was that the bassist Mike Dirnt had his teeth knocked out by a steward who mistook him for a member of the audience. The
May 15 - June 15 2012
So next time, remember to put up a show and not just show up.
THE RAGHU DIXIT PROJECT
Comfortably clad in airy lungis, Raghu Dixit and his project own the stage with their energy and general bonhomie. To add to the peppy music, they rock chunky jewellery and colourful kurtas like no secure men ever have. You cannot help but dance like a crazy octopus at their shows.
Soulmate is one band that everyone must experience. They will grab your fancy and take it for a trippy ride. Lead singer Tipriti ‘Tips’ Kharbangar, holds all jaws by her string of vocal wowow’s and sheer sensuality. The magnetism and chemistry between her & Rudy Wallang adds that extra spark to their sets. To add a personal touch, they have pretty paper butterflies wrapped around the mic.
A relatively new band from Mumbai, Modern Mafia puts up the funniest and the fun-est of performances. Using absolutely mundane props like bubbles, bottles of hummus, mascot dressed as an Arab and such, they keep you laughing and your head bobbing.
May 15 - June 15 2012
In a move not unlike Bowie’s Ziggy, Riju Dasgupta has created an onstage alter ego called Dr. Hex. One associates Albatross by the creepy mask and blood splattered lab coat wearing doctor, with a creepier backstory. Not to forget, their pre-performance ritual of silence, grim expressions & folded arms. It is all. So. Horrifyingly. EXCIT ING!
Ameeth Thomas, the forever inebriated(with performance zeal, we’d like to believe!) frontman of Junkyard Groove is this eccentric,loud and flashy thing who puts up random stoned pictures and takes off his shirt halfway through every gig. You may not like him very much, but you cannot ignore the genius music or the power he has, to get the crowd dancing to his whims and fancies.
Watching Bangalore’s Live Banned live is something you can never recover from. All you’ll remember the next morning will beflashes of colourful jumpsuits, a lot of yellow, wigs,spiral glasses and you shall chortle and pass out again. Their latest video, true to their style, induces seizures with an alarmingly high pitched plea to ‘AUTO’s.
IS SUCCESS JUST A ARE YOU USING SOCIAL MEDIA RIGHT? There are some signs that are oh-so-telling of the times we live in. We are in the ‘Social Media as the be-all and end-all’ times, aren’t we? With the advent of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, primarily, every person with the slightest clue now considers him/herself a pundit, and cacophony and opinions are often interchanged. It seems like we wake up every morning to ‘How To’ tutorials ranging from ‘How To Leverage Your Twitter Presence to Win the Presidential Bid’ to ‘10 Ways YouTube can Help You become the Next Rebecca Black.’ At its core, social media marketing - for brands, products, job seekers or bizarre celebrities - is not that different from social media marketing for the independent musician. The common strand in all successful case studies is mastering the art of manufacturing virality. All it takes is to get anyone minutely rooting for you to hit the ‘Share’ button (way easier said than done). It’s the stuff that Black-Bieber-Dhanush stories are made of. It’s also the stuff that Gaga-Perry-Minaj stories are partly made of. In the world of music video marketing, I’ve observed two ways to replicate viral success: a) Confound/amaze with unbelievably pedestrian, but catchy/ genuinely amazing talent or b) Conquer the virtual world with a combination of offline and online antics. In other words - be as catchy as Kolaveri, so-bad-it’s-good as Rebecca Black or a consistently mesmerizing performer like Lady Gaga. Again, easier said than done, but this is reflection and not a how-to-succeed-in-life tutorial.
NICHE OR NUMBERS – WHAT’S YOUR FOCUS? While a song with vocals by an amateur singer with mainstream Tanglish lyrics from a masala Tamil movie literally made international headlines, independent artists in India (and internationally, to a large extent), have not been able to follow in footsteps of this magnitude yet. It surprises me why this is viewed as a failure on the indie artists’ front. The first rule of marketing is: understand your audience. More often than not, independent artists manage to capture the attention of audiences with the same niche interest in music as theirs. If yours is a band that is progressive metal for instance, you only need to consider the aficionados with perhaps a fringe of 5% that are just discovering the genre as your focus. It’s the genres garnering broader audiences that suffer in the world of myriad choices. So, what must one do besides waxing eloquent about already apparent observations; just wait to answer when the proverbial opportunity knocks the door, perhaps? Virality is a phenomenon no one has quite understood just yet. Just ask Charlie’s dad. Despite what the pundits may tell you and history may show you, the rules that apply to virality are quite the same as marketing everywhere else: ü Understand your audience ü Make great content that is simple and prompts one to share ü Make your work visible everywhere relevant in the virtual world ü Create buzz, reiterate and yes, please follow up! Whether you are looking for a job, promoting a soft drink, looking to make your Instagram duck face become the most shared mug shot of the century or an indie artist seeking mainstream virality, the steps are pretty much the same when you think about it. It’s the estimation that seems to be slightly off.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Following the success of ‘Kolaveri Di’ and the birth of Beliebers, everyone is eager to board the Virality Train. But, is this the same as becoming a global phenomenon? We stop over to clarify the definition of ‘viral’ and how to reach this elusive destination.
TAP YOUR TOOLS & LISTEN TO YOUR FANS! The downside to overexposure is that the value of a medium (YouTube) is often skipped in favour of the more obvious skeptical bandwagon (Facebook, most often). It is only content that truly crosses borders, genres and tastes that goes viral to the ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ levels. Social media is but a tool at the end of the day. For the independent artist, all the tools in the social media suite may not apply. Take, for example, YouTube. As the most tactically overused and strategically underappreciated medium in the now-vast world of social networking, YouTube is the content generation platform, which left on its own, will do little to help them succeed. Simply uploading a video on YouTube will not make it go viral, but coupling it with the power of the nth degree connections through Facebook may just give it a fighting chance. I do wonder how successful an indie artist can get through Twitter - there’s only so much one can say in 140 characters and if the right folks aren’t listening, there’s every chance that it’s all gone with the microblog wind.
SOLUTION SERVED UP FRONT! Instead of analyzing what different permutations of fancy hashtags could do to “make you go viral,” maybe spend some time in user research. No, really, get some fans together, have a focus group or two, understand your users and take your music to those who will appreciate it, pass it on and find more people to acquire a new taste for your work. Going viral isn’t about getting everyone to see/hear your work, it’s about reaching every possible person who matters. Trust me, I’ve never watched a video of or heard a Bieber song yet and it’s affected neither of us. True story. Here’s to going viral... if you know what that really means now!
May 15 - June 15 2012
It’s a blind date
Elitist Fare or Egalitarian Wonder-genre?
Scratch your glitch, not your crotch reads the bold statement on a popular website that hosts an Intelligent Dance Music radio station 24/7. What is this genre all about,you ask?
We shall enlighten you in funky FAQ fashion
You can’t stand the thought of going to a club. The crowds suck, the alcohol is overpriced and the music isn’t great. BUT you still like the idea of listening to some dance-y electronica; even while just chilling at home.
The Solution Is… Intelligent Dance Music! The IDM movement was named so in the United States back in the early nineties by musicians who felt electronic music isn’t only to get drunk to at a club and that it can sound equally good in your living room. In the UK, experimental forms of dance music emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with artists such as Squarepusher, Bogdan Raczynski and The Suburban Knight, who were supported by labels like Peacefrog, Rephlex and Warp Records. The style fused ambient music with house and created a new genre called ambient-house or ambient techno, later known as Intelligent Techno.
If it’s Not IDM, Is It Stupid? Not at all. Over time, as technology has evolved, so has the music to suit it. In the 1950s, bands embraced electric guitars and amplifiers and we got good ol’ rock n roll and its various sub-genres. IDM producers seem to have simply embraced the next big technological leap: digital audio workstations and music production. The name of the genre originated not to sound superior and elitist, but because of the compilation ‘Artificial Intelligence’ released by Warp Records, that featured artists such as Speedy J, Musicology and Autechre creating this new style of electronic music that wasn’t just techno or house. The album cover featured an android asleep in an armchair with Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd albums beside it - to suggest that it was electronic, but didn’t have to be danced to.
How does IDM actually sound? Good question. The music varies from lounge and chillout to glitch, loopy samples, synths, bits of drum and bass and sometimes even vocals – all thrown together in a big fat mix and baked to perfection. It sounds a lot like electronica, downtempo and ambient music – meaning it might not always be that danceable, but it definitely made me want to move more than any Pitbull song ever would. The music is generally great to listen to at a party, at home with friends or when you’re travelling. So uh, just about anywhere and anytime then! The excitement and emotion created by it sound contemporary, like an awesome soundtrack to our everyday lives.
Who calls themselves IDM? Not many artists, as you might’ve guessed. The backlash against the name of the genre has been so intense that no artist would be comfortable suggesting even slightly to his/her fans that if you don’t enjoy the music – you are automatically not intelligent; which is invariably the popular undertone conveyed. Artists such as Aphex Twin, Spoonbill, The Glitch Mob and Autechre have all been correctly labeled (music wise) as IDM. Aphex Twin has however gone public stating his disgust for the label saying, “I just think it’s really funny to have terms like that. It’s really nasty to everyone else’s music. I don’t use names. I just say that I like something or I don’t.”
May 15 - June 15 2012
The label can go, but we’re digging the music. Keep it coming! Initiate The IDM Trip With These!
The Glitch Mob Drive it Like You Stole it
Mangle Boogie Bangle
We see ourselves as representatives of millions of folk musicians who never make it to bigger platforms and stay bound within their villages.
The Swarathma Story “The day I heard Vasu playing his guitar in a remote corner of the college, I couldn’t resist. I found the classroom and joined him by playing on the table. Swarathma was born like that,” says Pawan, percussionist and fellow founding member of Swarathma. The band began in 2002 with Vasu Dixit (vocals and rhythm guitar), Pawan Kumar (percussionist), Abhinanth Kumar (bass guitar) and Arjun (violin) while they were studying in college. Montry Manuel (drummer), Sanjeev Nayak (violinist), Varun Murali (lead guitarist) and Jishnu Dasgupta (bass guitarist), joined Vasu and Pawan in 2007 to form the Swarathma of today.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Live Recall On a packed floor at Hard Rock Café, Bengaluru late month, a carnival unfolded. Two hippies with colourful clothes played the drums and the rhythm guitar while the lead guitarist was dressed like the love child of a metalhead and a fashionista. The bassist was a colorful version of a Bhojpuri filmstar (yes, THAT much colour!) and the violinist was definitely on the wrong stage with his tailcoat. A bell-bottom clad 80’s hero was the other percussionist. These guys didn’t just play music; they performed. And how the crowd roared!
Stories & Social Sentiments, Set To A Tune Dear readers, we are talking about Bangalore based Swarathma - an Indian folk rock band; each of whose members contribute to the band’s diverse identity, from Carnatic to western. “Coming from diverse musical backgrounds, Swarathma has this subconscious understanding about agreeing to disagree about what works and doesn’t work for us as a band,” says Vasu Dixit, vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the band. This band goes old school by packing a story in the music, seasoned with a unique style of performing that vaguely reminds you of Harikatha performances in villages. The band over, leverages this & thus goes beyond just rendering music. “We see ourselves as representatives of millions of folk musicians who never make it to bigger platforms and stay bound within their villages,” says Pawan Kumar, the percussionist of Swarathma. Swarathma has been featured on (British Council’s) Sound Pad (2009) and was seen in The Dewarists with Shubha Mudgal last year. Duur Kinara was the track that came out in the first season of The Dewarists in collaboration with Shubha Mudgal. Unlike the 6-month time frame that is usually taken by the band for compositions, this song was finished in 4 days. It was a big turning point for the band in terms of popularity. Reflecting on the experience, they confess to being more inspired by their interactions with Shubha-ji as an individual, compared to the musical experience. This year they’ve brought out their second album, Toppiwalleh, which they call a snapshot of their current state of mind - emotionally and musically. The title track of this album, Toppiwalleh, talks about the state of the country with leaders who cheat the people. Ghum is one of the tracks that tackles a theme rather unusual for an emerging independent band: child sexual abuse.
Swarathma Live, An Emotional Ride “Watching or listening to us perform would be like reliving any day a person goes through, with its ups and downs,” explains Jishnu Dasgupta, the bass guitarist. Swarathma uses music to voice opinions. Going beyond their quirky and casual mask, they usually leave their audience with a message to ponder on. “We don’t claim to know better. We are also guilty of inaction, but we are sensitive and use music as a platform to express ourselves,” Jishnu elaborates. Swarathma’s unique fusion of Indian folk with other genres like rock, reggae and jazz has enabled them to take these western elements of music to even remote villages in Uttaranchal. “The approachability with which you play creates the connection. We like to play music like it is your music,” says the band. The band decided to take this connection forward through a series of selffunded shows called ‘Action Replay’. They specially organize these shows for underprivileged and differently-abled people in different parts of the country. Like any other band, they envision to be one of the top bands in India. “We want to take our work to represent contemporary Indian music by making more meaningful music that would go beyond language world over. What really matters in music is what you are passing on emotionally,” says Vasu. While contemporary fusion/global music today is considered niche, here’s a band that is creating fusion music for the masses. It will be interesting to watch them evolve over time, experimenting with more kinds of music for all audiences alike as they perform to drive home a message.
They Wear It Like It Is!
om to make “What you wear on stage gives you the freed d the tappe has a athm Swar u. Jishn says ent,” a statem es naliti perso their t reflec hidden power of costumes to ! stage well on
From left to right: Sanjeev – The Dressed-up-to-match-the-violin, Montry – The Hippie, Pawan – The 80’s Filmstar, Vasu – The Bohemian, Varun – The Macbook Look, Jishnu – The Desi Farmer
Kanjera, Gattum, Bongo, Jambe, Dolak, Tamate, Khamok, Didgeridoo, an Australian Aborigine instrument and even mundane objects like metal sheets, are used to make Swarathma’s brand of music. “When we travel, I pick up any weird instrument I come across and play it,” says Pawan.
music, r ei th in ce en ci ns co & ur lo co A band with g a huge impact, in ak m to e ut ro en a, hm at ar Sw tertaining en d an s rie da un bo ng ki ea br is thoroughly while at it. The
May 15 - June 15 2012
People want the Agnee sound. And that’s what we give them. Selling out doesn’t come in anywhere
We catch up with rockers Agnee, fresh after their Avengers theme release & find out what makes them click! In the quiet year of 2006, Agnee sauntered into the independent music scene and planted their flag. One of the few bands to be grabbed by a label as big as Sony BMG so quickly, they blazed through the years never looking back or getting comfortable in a particular niche. From generating huge hits to composing MTV’s Splitsvilla theme to venturing into Bollywood and then eventually, Hollywood, they’ve done it all.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Photography: Shantanu and Manish Photography
Delicious and just in time for the new issue, our fateful tryst with Agnee started with an unexpected message from Mohan asking me to drop by at the Yashraj Studios. This was the consequence of them having read my article on www.highonscore.com that (tenderly) mocked the lack of bassists among other things, in an upcoming movie for which they’re the music directors. On the phone, they definitely sounded amused. Or did they. I shakily(and overexcitedly) accepted. Mustering courage (and for some reason, pepper spray) by the horns, another fanboy writer and I entered to Koco in his 6 foot something moustachioed glory, smiling ominously at us. Their Avengers track playing in the background seemed almost fitting to the situation.
It Was Fire At First Sight! “Hi, Koco!” He introduced himself, his eyes glittering. We, like socially challenged nervous wrecks, shoved some magazine copies at him in reply. Just then Mohan entered, and shook hands with us enthusiastically. He pronounced that they “loved the article and were still laughing about it!”. Phew. That’s Agnee for you. When you expect them to zig, they’ll zag, when you expect them to zag they’ll zig and when you expect them to zig again, they’ll zig just to throw you off track and shake things up. Musicians spend their whole lives trying to find the right people to make music with, to be the Slash to their Axl Rose, to be Belle to their Sebastian and in the case of Mohan and Koco, they are two peas in a pod. It’s hard to find musicians who look out for each other in this cut throat world, but they remain two fiercely loyal friends who refuse to so much as give a quote without the other present.
A Walk In The Woods They’re the music directors for Aalaap, an upcoming Bollywood film. Set and shot in present day Chhattisgarh, it is based on college students with a passion for music. We plopped happily on the couch as Mohan cranked the band’s compositions for the film and blew us away, track wise. Even with all the commercial-ness they still manage to keep the feel which one would associate with Agnee. “Working in Bollywood has been a fun experience”, they agreed unanimously, dispelling our views on Bollywood being the land of selling out in plenty. “People want the Agnee sound. And that’s what we give them. Selling out doesn’t come in anywhere” Mohan added. But wait! Amidst all the heavy duty selling out business, an item number called Chadti Jawani (part of the Aalap OST) hit us…Hard. We looked round with betrayed expressions as they chortled at us. “This was a last minute add-on actually and was pretty crucial for the movie, and…not bad” explained Mohan, not explaining much. “An item number was a different kind of challenge as we’d never done anything like that before.My mom and I refer to it as ‘kasi yatra’ song.” Mohan grinned as Koco let out a booming laugh in the background. “Whatever it was, it was a blast” They’ve been on fire with their recent string of projects. Being signed up to compose The Avengers’ theme song has to be the right on top of that towering pile of wistful dreams. “Hello Andheron”, although being shaky on the name front, is something you’d want to associate superheroes with.On projects closer to home, they have a brand new album in the pipeline besides the aforementioned soundtrack to Bollywood flick, Aalaap. “The lyrics for the title track” gushed Mohan referring to Aalaap’s viral ‘Pa Para Pa’, “were something that everybody tried their hands on. We had suggestions so weird and funny that I finally took it upon myself to write something which will be catchy and appeal to the kind of demographic we’re targeting. And somehow ‘pa para pa’ stuck.” Like two slightly eccentric overlords, they’ve made a sizable dent in the country’s music industry and now comfortably rein on it. Even with all that jazz and awards they still remain two of the most fun musicians we’ve met who know how to handle their fame. Conversations about serious music making were punctuated with Mohan egging Koco to get home and entertain their guests. “Our social life depends on this Koco! Much important than work life!” (Hear hear, we scream to our employers.)
Plea to all Bo movies with ‘Rock’ Bands!
Rock Accessories Please do not call everything that boys with bandanas and tight jeans play, “rock music”. Lead guitarists in your rock bands do pelvic thrusts on top of cars/bikes/ buildings while a guitar randomly hangs by his neck, not serving any purpose to the music really. WHY?!
Rock and emoti
You harbour uncommon misconceptions like everybody who joins a band joins it because he/she is angsty. Musicians are happy people too.
Rock and sex Maybe now is the time to let the little kids in guitar classes know, that there’s something called the bass and it’s awesome. Also, that in the end it’s the bassist who gets all the girls. Well, THIS girl anyway.
May 15 - June 15 2012
! ack b ome C l The Kalasa
OF L R ESWARI
While Bollywood is reeling to the tunes of Chikni Chameli and Pritam Pyare, Kollywood is basking in the magic of L R Eswari’s Kalasala Kalasala LR Eswari’s distinctive voice is considered best suited for peppy numbers - be it a dance tune, folk song or a devotional track. Her devotional songs on Goddess Amman are hugely popular amongst the Tamil community and played across temples in South India notably numbers like ‘Chellatha’ and ‘Karpoora Nayagi’. While songs such as Varavendum Oru Pozhudhu and Vandhaal Ennodu, made her the queen of jazz, she portrayed the right attitude in folk tunes too, such as Aadai Kaatramma and Kattodu Kuzhalaada. Her voice, which reflects a deep pathos and a haunting quality, demanded the attention of music composers even for a few seconds of humming. While her repertoire consists of many happy and frisky songs, she was also the singer of choice for the unusual songs that expressed frustration, bitterness and sarcasm. Versatility & verve, she’s got us convinced that talent doesn’t age but in fact re-surges rather infectiously. Just listen to the song already & you’ll understand our daze!
May 15 - June 15 2012
L R Eswari - also known as Lourde-Mary Rajeshwari Eswari - is a veteran Tamil playback singer who has made a mark in the Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu and even the English music industry.
Post the 80s, L R Eswari took a sabbatical from playback singing and after nearly a decade, she recently wielded a vocal lasso on enraptured audiences with the spicy item number - Kalasala. Part of the soundtrack to 2011’s Osthe - the Tamil remake of Bollywood blockbuster Dabangg - the stakes were high and people were skeptical if this track would pull in the same reaction as the Hindi smash hit, ‘Munni Badnam Hui’. Mallika vs. Malaika notwithstanding, the kutthu avatar crooned by L R Eswari indeed created a frenzy in no time.
Born in Chennai in 1939 into a simple middle-class household, she possessed no particular musical lineage or formal training. Her mother, Regina Mary Nirmala, was a chorus singer and as a child, L R Eswari used to accompany her for all performances. In 1958, during one such performance, her penchant for music was recognized by none other than Sri K.V Mahadevan when he was composing tunes for the movie, Periya Idaththu Sammandham (1958). She sang her first solo song, ‘Ivarey Thaan Avarey’ for the movie. But popularity and recognition came manifold in 1961, when she sang the famous ‘Vaarai En Thozhi Vaarayo’ under the banner of Vishwanathan-Ramamurthy. Over the next 20 odd years, the composer duo tapped her musical abilities to the maximum extent possible. From then on, there was no looking back for this songstress who went on to vitalize the work of several composers like M.S Vishwanathan, Illayaraja and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan.
Even when melody queens P Susheela and S Janaki ruled the roost, L R Eswari was in good stead with her hits from Muthukulika Vareergala and Singapore Machan. Today where a singer’s market life is barely 2 tracks, it is commendable that she has managed to remain relevant. The heavy AutoTune in the track, however distracting, is perhaps just keeping with the times. She is slated to continue her 2nd innings with yet another fast number for the same composer (as Osthe) Thaman, for the film Thadaiyara Thaaka. Titled ‘Poondhamallithaa’, rumour has it that the hero Arun Vijay, has also sung bits for this song.
PATROL We pick acts from around the country that are hot right now & present them to you, loaded with idealistic metaphors. Audiovisual evidence on www.highonscore.com!
S e he r
GENRE pop. A:l Indie-Pop ( so Inde a pendenst in Indian )
s B’star ds Jas The: Rock/ Popular music
WhAT? They don’t play jazz and they are not
bastards, rendering their whole name an exercise in futility. But what they do do is take inspiration from poorly translated Chinese take-away menus, and go “big bowl flavor vegetables pigs livings bowel” on stage. And I mean that as a compliment. Because, by their own hapless admission, they set-list. And good Jazz bands are are the heppest of the hep. And, possess a pretty radical And because the last time I heard hard to find, even if they are in a state of self-denial. astral projection of myself back to people referring to other people as cool-cats, was in this. trip, a of the sixties. Bit
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peach cigarettes, gently wHEN ? The next time when you are smoking yourdrunk on your alcohol-free beer, your unpublished screenplay and inexorably getting gramophone. put on the mellow tunes of The Jass B’stards on the vintage
SOLDER Gir ish And The Chr GENRE: Blues/Hard Rock
onicl e s .
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? Because, man, Bon Jovi! They have the same echoed, delaye d guitars, shimmering keyboards, and spaciou s rhythms. The same stir ring rock anthems. How can you not love that?
wHEN ? When one of those dep ressing new Bon Jovi vide listen to these guys inst os are on the telly. Mu ead. te and
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Don't let the randomness freak you out! These bands are worth checking out. Audio visual evidence on www.highonscore.com Compiled by:Nilankur Dutta
May 15 - June 15 2012
When itâ€™s sporting season, musical inspiration strikes & HOW! A convenient time for that feller to strike because everything sounds good amidst loud team chants. EVERYTHING! It starts like the beginning of an extremely bad joke: a neurosurgeon, a movie director and a radio jockey walk into a bar. And what emerges is the latest theme song (i.e. 2012 edition) for the IPL team, Chennai Super Kings. The reason for this extremely curtailed band profile of CSK fan favourite anthem Va Macha Va is a demonstration of how extremely different people have the same reaction when it comes to their favoured team: overwhelming stupidity and discovery of a hitherto unplumbed musical ability.
May 15 - June 15 2012
CASE STUDY #1: IPL And it is that time of the year again, IPL season. Eleven people stand in the sun squinting at each other and sweating profusely and the rest of the nation pretends like it is a sport and erupts into insanity. Ties are forged between states, friendships are irrevocably broken over patriotism, Ashish Nehra is universally maligned and all kinds of heroic antics bloom like poisonous mushrooms. And with IPL, of course, comes the different IPL anthems. Most popular of which, at least to somebody of my genetic predisposition, is the impossibly crappy KKR song: Korbo Lorbo etc. Throughout the country us Bengalis are jeered via dramatic renditions of this nonsense after the usual humiliating defeat. No doubt each IPL state also has an equally annoying equivalent.
a significant increase in performance (And there. This is the first, last and only time a scientific paper shall be quoted in this magazine. We have now officially fulfilled all our duties to the society by making you’re a little smarter.) In a lot of technical gobbledygook that I am helpfully deciphering for you, the paper says that music basically makes you perform better by letting you focus on something else other than how tired you are and thus making you psych-up pre-game. It also improves the “attainment of flow” which sounds like something Kung Fu Panda would need as opposed to Murali Karthik. This basically means that you can sabotage a match by playing some Justin Bieber music over the stadium through a helicopter. Also explains why Deccan Chargers are doing so badly. Their theme sounds like EDM. HAH!
(As a postscript, lest I be accused to Jingoism, my favourite IPL song is Whistle Podu. Nothing beats that sublime combination of cheerful stupidity and whistling.)
WE SPOKE SCIENCE. MIGHT AS WELL TRAIL THE HISTORY TOO.
EVERY SPORT HAS ITS TUNE
The connection goes back to centuries ago. Back in the day when your aristocratic oppressors were hunting foxes, the likes of Vivaldi and Johann Strauss were writing the score for them. Refer to Strauss’ Tantivy Towers for an example and also for instant sophistication. At various times Victorian ballrooms resounded to the strains of Cricket Bat Polka and Merry Cricketers’ Polka. At many times rendering dancing to these tunes more strenuous than the actual sport of cricket (which is not to say that is an achievement. Many things, including listlessly swatting a fly, are more strenuous than the sport of cricket).
Sports and Music have had a long and unfortunately loud marriage. Take, for instance, the 1945 showtune “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. In 1963, the memorably named Gerry and The Pacemakers released a cover and it quickly became the anthem for Liverpool Football Club. Since then, supporters have sung it loudly and mostly unmusically on every possible occasion - at the start of matches, during sporting events of every kind, as the conclusive final argument on why Liverpool F.C. is better than every other team (once, two of my friends hoarsely yelled “You’ll Never…” and “Glory Glory...” to each other from across the room to each other in the middle of a sporting argument). Through all this time, though I never stopped wondering why the Liverpool guys don’t fall asleep while singing their anthem. It is actually quite dull. If you take my advice, people should just replace all their sporting anthems with AC/DC. The increased levels of testosterone and overwhelming need to participate in lifeendangering heroics after anything performed by Angus Young are well-documented scientific facts. (Turns out, baseball pitcher Trevor Hoffman does actually use Hells Bells as his entrance music. Man’s a genius.)
INGREDIENT X TO VICTORY… AND VANDALISM?
Ron Goodwin’s The Trap seems inseparable from the London Marathon. Edward White’s Tour de France can represent cycling, Roger Biscotti’s Motor Sport - the perils of Formula One; yachting is evoked by Jack Beaver’s Yacht Race and Simon May’s tune for Howard’s Way. The noble tradition has been followed down the lines by football chants such as Hi Ho Silver Lining by Jeff Beck or our very own De Ghuma Ke. And more notoriously but perhaps more interestingly, in Brighton and Hove Albion, the popular chants include “Does Your Boyfriend Know You’re Here” and memorably “Does She Take it up The Arse.” Now that you know all this, pray, do not restrict yourself to just listening. Arm yourself with a pair of tin drums and a Vuvuzella, and go unleash hell on Earth. With such loose standards and any amount of luck, you’ll find some fans of your music too.
So what is it, with sports and music? A thesis in 1997 by Karageorghis & Terry found that music can potentially elicit
May 15 - June 15 2012
Submerge Supernova 2012 The one day EDM festival got Bangalore pumpinâ€™ with national & international headliners bringing in the best of trance, techno, house, dubstep & electronica!
Bandstand Revival (Mumbai) Bandstand seating & some kick ass music, tradition was pleasantly revived in Mumbai with a sea view!
HENNESSY ARTISTRY INDIA: Arjun Vagale & Sasha Perera Pebbles Bangalore witnessed some great dance music at the finale of Hennessy Artistry Club Series.
May 15 - June 15 2012
Photography: George Vedamanickam, Parizad D, Swathi Chatrapathy
May Month of 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:
83MPH + Albatross
Iterate + Eccentric Pendulum
Distortion + The Family Cheese
GhostNote + Solder
Blind Image, Deviance, T WKC & IBorg
Filter Kaapi + East Coast Road (E.C.R)
GETTING GIGGY WITH IT
Cool concerts we attended in Mumbai & Bangalore!
May 15 - June 15 2012