ISSN 0974 – 9128
Vol 05 Issue 07 - Nov 15 - Dec 15 2012
India's NATIONAL Pan-Genre Music MagazinE
When Rock ‘N India brought down SLAYER they brought down hell itself!
And they’re back!
CARNATIC MUSIC will benefit you
Band of the Month HIP HOP TAMIZHAN A fresh mix of old and new
after a decade for Once More Get Engineered with
Audiophilic We talk to acclaimed
sound engineer Sreejesh Nair, courtesy of Muzik Lounge!
The Bottom Line: 3-day long Octoberfest sends Bangalore into a tizzy with its ups and downs.
Last month, We put out a message we strongly believe in and I am proud to report we’ve followed up. From the month of November, ScoreNights are now in two cities. Chennai and Bangalore. We will bring you insane Gigs, week after week, In two cities.
Band of the Month
Hip Hop Tamizha: 5 dudes who have really found their own niche
TRIP. colonial cousins 2012
So come join us. Let’s make it magical.
The return of the highly successful fusion duo.
the desi blues
the edit PAD
24 MODI DIGITAL’s
partners an insight into the origins and motives of a very old genre
Quirks N Queries with Shilpa rao
16 Managing Director Ajay Prabhakar Director, Business Development Pragash VM Editor in Chief Nikila Srinivasan Associate Editor Siddharth Venkat Marketing Manager Sneha Ramesh Regional Marketing Manager, BLR Subikka GS Creative Director George Vedamanickam Designer Vaishali Support Don’t use logo with box Menon Event Use logo like this Siddharth Raghunandan Content Support Nilankur Dutta, Shresht Poddar Illustration Kappansky Photography Praveen S R, Sarvothaman Vishnu, Vaishali Menon, Subhash Chandrashekar, S. Sriirama Santhosh (HIGH LIGHTS - www.highlightspro.com)
The Bollywood heart throb and her soulful voice
Fest Focus oktoberfest 2012
28 http://www.highonscore.com For Advertisements and Feedback firstname.lastname@example.org
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COVER STORY Hariharan and Leslie Lewis came together one night in 1992, never intending to perform together or form a band for that matter. Yet, after that fateful night, the world soon came to know of the sparkling duet known as the Colonial Cousins.
Colonial Cousins It was during Lewis’s jingles career that the idea of Colonial Cousins was conceived. Lezz had called Hariharan into the studio one night to sing a jingle for him. Restless because the jingles were late in their arrival, Lezz began to hum something while strumming on his guitar, Inspired by the melody, Hari joined in with an alaap, and the result: the seamless fusion of Eastern and Western sounds that has become the quintessential characteristic of the Colonial Cousins. Little did the both of them realize that their foray into popular vocal fusion would make them the hottest act in town.
Coming from a family of Carnatic musicians coupled with being raised in Mumbai, Hariharan is well versed in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. At the start of his career, Hariharan did the concert circuit and also performed on TV. He sang for a number of TV serials like Junoon. In 1977, he won the first prize in the All India Sur Singaar Competition and was promptly signed on by the late music director Jaidev to sing for his new Hindi film Gaman (1978). His debut song Ajeeb Saane He Mujh Par Qarar in that movie became such a hit that it won him an Uttar Pradesh State Film Award, as well as a National Award nomination. He later went on to sing in blockbuster Tamil films like Maniratnam’s film Roja and Bombay, both of which were scored by none other than A.R. Rahman. In the span of his career, Hariharan has sung more than 500 Tamil songs and nearly a hundred Hindi songs. He has also sung hundreds of songs in Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, and Hindi. Hariharan is one of the foremost Indian ghazal singers and composers with more than thirty albums to his credit. In his early career, he cut several successful ghazal albums, writing most of the scores Many albums such as Aabshar-e-Ghazal, his debut album with Asha Bhonsle, went gold in sales.
Leslie Peter Lewis inherited his artistic inclinations from his father P. L. Raj, who was a film choreographer. As a youngster, Lezz was exposed to the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. With these diverse musical influences, Lewis soon began plucking guitar chords at the Cafe Royal, Oberoi Towers. Later, he had the opportunity of recording with renowned film music directors such as Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal, R. D. Burman and Louis Banks. In 1987, Lewis launched a music company and began carving out a career in jingles composing. He composed for some of the leading television networks and picked up nominations for the awards handed out annually by the Indian Academy of Advertising Film Art (IAAFA). After four consecutive nominations, in 1989, Lezz bagged the award. Lewis’s other musical credits include doing the remix job for Asha Bhosle’s Rahul and I album and writing the musical scores for Janam samjha karo album. He also composed and produced the music for Suneeta Rao in Paree Hu Main, Alisha in Bombay Girl and for KK in Pal. In 1998, Lewis cut his first solo album, Haseena, which was a success.
When we jam together, we bounce ideas back and forth. It’s an action-reaction experience. If I come up with something, Leslie immediately responds to it”
The Dual Duel Together, the two have released a total of four albums. Their first album titled Colonial Cousins, broke all records and went platinum in India. They went on to win both MTV Asia Viewer’s Choice Award and the US Billboard Viewer’s Choice Award as well. Their second album was even edgier than the first. Low on the lyrics but with rich musicality, the album offered a softer sound from their first album. Two and a half years later, they came out with their third album, Aatma, and fans got a taste of impeccable Indian vocals with contemporaryinstrumentation. While Hariharan offered a rich baritone effect, Leslie Lewis kicked in with a pop feel to the album. As one would imagine, as a duo, they are an explosive combination of Western and Classical Indian music. “When we jam together, we bounce ideas back and forth. It’s an action-reaction experience. If I come up with something, Leslie immediately responds to it”, says Hariharan. Together they’ve cut three albums. Their new album titled, Colonial Cousins, Once More will be their 4th album. Upon asking why there was such a long gap for the duo, Lewis responds, “We never split up. We just did our own thing for a while. Aside from that fact, there was no platform for independent music a decade back. Companies weren’t interested. Now, the scenario is different. There is a platform and an incentive.” And just like that, the Colonial Cousins rise once more.
Right now the focus is to get the band back and perform a lot and we hope to come to Chennai! Fusion Bands and More
When asked about the current scenario of the Fusion Scene today, Leslie says, “A lot of times I go to concerts with an open mind but often I find more confusion than fusion”. Keeping the balance between the various genres involved in a fusion band is very important. It is also a challenge that requires discipline. The singer says the goal must be definite when attempting fusion as two people jamming does not necessarily equal “fusion”. So what advice do the artists have for upcoming fusion bands looking to make it in the industry? Learn your music, work hard, know your genre of music, listen with your heart and mind. But most importantly, always follow your heart.
Trip. Colonial Cousins. 2012. These are the words that the Colonial Cousins use to describe their latest album set to release this fall. Going back to their roots, the overall theme of this album is, “more Indian based” according the singers. With the increasing acceptance and appreciation of both Western and Classical Fusion music, the singers are confident it’s got edge and will be a catch to the ears.
Q&A with H&L What were your impressions on Indian fusion music before becoming the Colonial Cousins? H: Before Colonial Cousins, there were a lot of Classical musicians doing fusion. But in a song form, I think the Colonial Cousins were the first to do this. So we were the first to really introduce fusion into Indian Pop Culture.
What is the creative process for the Colonial Cousins? How do you form ideas, put music to the lyrics, and make your music? L: It’s basically like block building. Hari comes out with something and I add to it. Then I do something and he adds to that. Then we keep adding as we go along and we keep adding. There is no set formula; it’s an action-reaction for us.
Who is your influence for guitar? L: I have lots of people who I really love. James Taylor, is one I’ve heard a lot. He’s an underrated player. But for me now it’ become so organic and it’s the way I’ve heard Indian music that everything just gets mixed into one package!
What is different according to you about this album in comparison to your previous releases? Is it everything you imagined it would turn out to be? L: Absolutely, it’s exactly what we had imagined it to be. I think we knew that before going into the studio and it’s different from two points of view.
It is 2012 not 1993.
What do you think of the Fusion Music scene in India today? L: What we did in 1996 has been repeated over the years in various ways. And very often, I have gone to many concerts and although I am very open-minded I hear more confusion than fusion. That is how it seems to sound but there are a lot of good bands out there. H: There is a difference between jamming and fusion music. You can’t say that two musicians with different genres play together and call I fusion. There has to be an understanding and they have to be linked together. It’s not like a plays, b plays, then a and b play together. Jugalbandhi is not fusion.
What kind of ‘sound’, production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio? The sound is more Indian. You’ll find plenty of India in this album and tracing back to your roots.
What are 3 words you would use to describe the new album to your fans? Trip. Colonial Cousins. 2012.
You’ve worked on soundtracks for films such as “Modhi Vilayaadu” and “Chikku bukku”. What do you look for in a film before deciding to set music for it? Will we be seeing more film soundtrack collaborations by the dynamic duo? Right now we are into CC, the band. Right now the focus is to get the band back and perform a lot and we hope to come to Chennai!
H: We’ve tapped back into our own roots and where we came from, the kind of music we used to do. The organic Indian sound is there and it is in a new and modern format for the younger generation to enjoy.
This one line says more about the influence of the blues in shaping the trajectory of popular music over the decades than any book can ever say.
The blues, primarily an American tradition which is now almost a century old, came from the spiritual and work songs that the black slaves of America used to sing while doing back-breaking, soul-destroying work in conditions which were, needless to say, very oppressive. Musicians from different parts of the country developed particular styles, and the music, particularly the Delta and Chicago Blues, became properly popular only when those British invasion boys took it and ran with it, introducing it to a whole generation of listeners globally. Ironic, isnâ€™t it? Illustration: Kappansky
- Willie Dixon Eventually, the blues did find their way to India. Bangalore’s Chronic Blues Circus and Pune’s Contraband had been, more or less, the only bands flying the blues flag during those days. This was the pre-Internet, pre-Youtube era – and they started out by listening to whatever they could, courtesy the radio and tourists who came to India and brought their vinyls along and had absolutely no issues with sharing their music. These guys would spend hours figuring out the riffs and licks of the masters like B.B. King, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Peter Green, Eric Clapton et al all by themselves, and creating some originals in the process. While there was definitely an audience for the music, its popularity has, over the years, waxed and waned. If one were to look at the music scene in India post-2000, one finds an overwhelming number of bands who are, as I like to call them, metalists. Off the top of my head, I cannot recall a nonmetal, non-‘prog-rock’ act headlining a typical engineering college fest. That is weird, since we have so many of those (engineering colleges) in the country. Now, I am not implying that is it is a negative thing in itself. It is just that this has meant that the blues in particular, and old-school rock ‘n roll in general, haven’t really been able to figure in the grander schem e of things of the live music scene in India. Another issue is that it is tough to be truly original and inventive whilst playing the blues – after all, what can one do that hasn’t been done before? Having said all that, though, there’s no denying the fact that there is, most certainly, a niche audience for the blues across Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi as well as the northeast, where some of the most respected blues acts have come forth in the recent past. Take Soulmate for instance – they started out in in Shillong in 2003, playing a festival held at Umiam’s Water Sports Complex. Since then, they have come a long way – one of the highlights of their career thus far being that they represented India at the 23rd International Blues Challenge
that the Blues Foundation of America had organized in Memphis, Tennessee in 2007. Saturday Night Blues Band of Kolkata and Stoic from Guwahati have been around the block as well, bringing the blues to a whole new audience which is slowly, but surely, taking to the music. Chronic Blues Circus are still around, having gone through several lineup changes over the years, with the music being the sole constant. By 2 Blues are another such outfit. Chennai’s Blues Conscience claim that promoting the blues in the live music scene of the country is their aim. And they are doing alright – they recorded a demo EP towards the end of 2010, won the 2010 edition of the Chennai Live Band Hunt, and have been criss-crossing the country, playing in different venues and generally showing their audience a darned good time. A debut album is in the works and should be out by the end of this year. Perhaps the most important development with regard to the promotion and proliferation of the blues in India is the Mahindra Blues Festival, started by Mahindra and Mahindra with the aim of bringing some of the superstars of the genre to India, and most importantly, giving the up-and-comers a platform by way of which they can bring their music to the youth. The first two editions of the Mahindra Blues Festival, held at Mumbai’s iconic Mehboob Studios, have seen performers like Matt Schofield, Shemekia Copeland, Jonny Lang, Ana Popovic, and the living legend of the Chicago Blues, Buddy Guy, who has been a major influence on guitar gods like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, no less. One of the finest moments of the festival was when Buddy, the consummate showman, decided that he wanted to jam with all the artists who were performing at the festival. And so he did. And apart from all this, Blackstrat Blues, Soulmate, Saturday Night Blues Band, the Luke Kenny Mojo Jukebox also performed sets, and were extremely well-received by the crowds. So, go and catch these performers live and buy their music – most of the Indian bands are touring or recording right now. At any rate, their music should be the ideal gateway drug for you on your way to the heart of the blues. And once the blues get a hold on you, they will never let go.
Perhaps the most important development with regard to the promotion and proliferation of the blues in India is the Mahindra Blues Festival, started by Mahindra and Mahindra with the aim of bringing some of the superstars of the genre to India. The
The store is currently running its annual Guitar Marathon where you can avail upto 20% off on guitars, amps, processors and lots more! So do visit the Furtados Showroom at Koramangala or Hypercity, not only for the amazing deals but also amazing performances and clinics that have been put together for all musicians to end their weekends in the best possible way.
Nestled amidst lush green trees in one of the central locations of Bangalore is the Furtados Music Showroom at Kormangala, the largest musical instruments showroom in the country. One look at the outside of the store and you know all your musical needs can be met within this store.
You enter inside and you know why this is the largest musical instruments showroom. The showroom spans three floors, has a zoning system for every category of instrument and even a performing stage for small performances. The entire ground floor is filled with pianos and music books which cannot be found anywhere else in Bangalore.
The first floor is where you can find guitars of every brand, drums and percussion, wind and brass and keyboards. There are three demo rooms, one for acoustic, one for electric and one for wind and brass. The performance area was specially made to entertain and educate customers with live band performances, workshops and clinics by musicians, but most importantly it is a space created for all musicians to just hang out and jam together. The Furtados showroom is an invitation to all music lovers to hone their skills and encourages them to spend their time amidst the best musical environment.
2nd floor: The second floor houses the music teaching premises where you can learn the piano, keyboards, drums and guitars in acoustically treated music rooms. And if that was not enough, there is also a Pro - Audio room to provide demos of recording equipment and pro-audio gear.
Branding and Mission Statement The showroom houses the most respected international brands in all categories. Brands like Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, Gibson, Korg, ESP, PRS, Taylor, Fender, Ibanez , Zildjian, Laney, Vox, Latin Percussion and many more, which give the customer the complete freedom to choose his/her favorite brand of instrument and walk out as a satisfied customer. Quality, Relationship and Service are Furtados abiding core beliefs. Their legacy of 147 years has helped them build a service standard that is second to none. No wonder the staff at the showroom surprise the customers with their expert advice and exemplary knowledge. The store has its share of music loyalists visiting from all parts of Bangalore and beyond to buy their favorite gear. The Bangalore store ships to all nearby areas and as far as Trivandrum and Cochin.
GLAM ROCK SILLOHUETTE
This is the world of Glam Rock. I have often, in the pages, lamented the sad demise of good music. But nothing is sadder than the death of all enchantment, except the retail kind. That is why we so badly miss Glam magic. (And, for the record, David Bowie had a lightning bolt on his face way before Harry Potter did. So expelliarmus, ye.) (Also Gary Glitter will not be mentioned in this article. We don’t talk of him anymore.) WE ARE TOO SURE OF WHAT SEX OUR SINGERS ARE. It is a sad fact of life that our generation will never realize the confusion of not knowing what sex their favorite singer is. We know so definitely the presence of all the equipment or lack thereof, in the pants department. To put it in a modern perspective, wouldn’t it be awesome if Nicky Minaj suddenly upped and said that she was actually a guy. Besides a lot of things suddenly starting to make sense, I for one would actually look at Dirty Hoe in an entirely new light. It hard to believe that once upon a time, that there was once a time people didn’t actually know if the stars of the day were men or women or (in David Bowie’s case) even human. Remember I Want To Break Free? Freddie Mercury and gang in miniskirts? Remember Ziggy Stardust? There’s an entire era when Bowie pretended like he was not of this plant and people bought it, and came back for more. If that is not democratizing music based purely on talent, I don’t know what is. Alas, the day will probably never come when we shall see Flo-rida in a little pink tutu.
This is a tale of rather epic proportions. When men were men and also women, when hair defied laws of common sense and physics, and when pants were so impossibly tight, that they’d often implode under pressure. ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW AND SPINAL TAP. When the last time in a movie was somebody rode out of cryo-freeze in a motorcycle to destroy their partial clone? Yeah, that actually happens in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, together with other magnificent weirdness including transsexual aliens and flying castles. All set to perhaps the most glammiest of all glam rock soundtracks. And since the death of Glam, all Susan Sarandon has done is acted in Enchanted and pissed of the Pope (and, in all honest, won an Oscar, but guys: Transsexual Transylvania!) Another movie when nobody talks about in reference to Glam is this is Spinal Tap. Now, for those of you who are uninitiated, Spinal Tap is the best band that never existed, and if you don’t know about them, you’ve had a shameful education and go listen to Lick My Love Pump right now and cry. Spinal Tap, while mainly influenced by heavy metal and hard rock, actually captures the heart of Glam quite neatly. It’s all there, the shimmering guitar riffs and the obscene quantities of hair and the leopard print leotards. And, there’s nothing quite as awesome as a spontaneously combustible drummer. Yeah, it was a different age. An age where people watched B flicks and listened to good music about gods and aliens and Victorian literary styles.
ELTON JOHN AS DONALD DUCK This one it pretty self explanatory. Go and google that shit. But it could only happen because of Glam Rock. The year is 1972 (better known as, ‘mama, we’re all crazy now’). Slade is ruling the charts and Marc Bolan is rock n’ roll Jesus in the UK. Elton John, quick to spot a trend, but not so good in the execution of said fact, decides to make a translation from sensitive singersongwriter-sissy to Glam. This road would eventually lead him to a Donald Duck. And it all started from Rocket Man. The song is, in true Elton trend is quite effete. But, and I cannot stress enough on this: duck costume. And he had some dope fine sunglasses.
THE MUSIC, OH THE MUSIC. These are the lyrics from T.Rex’s King of The Mountain Cometh, widely acknowledged as one of the best glam rock songs of all time: The Wild-Witch Wizard of Esher. Was a changeling son from Mars.He learned his song from the Cosmic Throngs. And played them on a Fender guitar, oh yeah And played them on a Fender guitar. Listen to this song. Listen to it. It’s like watching a falcon on the wing. The best we can muster today is pigeons. Constantly pooping pigeons. Like somebody on YouTube very eruditely put it, ‘Modern music is full of depression and shit(sic.)’ After the death of Glam, we got Grunge and then Kurt Cobian went and shot himself and we, collectively as civilization forgot how to be happy.
Starting off The Early Years Music started at home. My dad’s life revolves around it. My childhood days in Jamshedpur would start by listening to songs of Ustad Amir Khan, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia & Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma. He would take me to classical concerts in Calcutta. Funnily, as a kid I never thought I would end up becoming a musician.
When I was a youngster, I suffered from low self-esteem. Other than my family, no one really pushed me to polish my singing skills. I never thought I had it in me to become a singer.
One word that describes me as a person inconsistent!
I never encashed my first salary cheque (Rs. 500/=). I remember it was for some jingle and immediately, I handed it to over to my dad and he still has it.
o a R a p l i h S gers, breed of sin
he new rved a a c ly d Amongst t e t b has undou o a R such as a s p ie il v h o S m h erself. Wit h r o f tail in her e k h c ic o n C & u ur Ekk T g the most in Ek Main A m o c e b , she is e had to w , e s r repertoire u o c singer. Of r e t f a t h tid-bits. g g in t sou s e r e t r in grill her fo
I have a hugeeeee collection of music CDs. I’m super proud of it and I’ve lost count of how many I own. As a child (and till date), I love being gifted music CDs. You can call them my indulgence too.
SHRESHt poddar My embarrassing moment! I’d gone to Hyderabad to meet M.M. Kreem. I reached the venue at this scheduled date & time. At the end of this desolate corridor, a man was sitting at the reception with his laptop. Thinking of him to be some clerk, I asked him the whereabouts of the washroom. After using the loo, I met with Mr. Kreem’s manager and asked him where Mr. Kreem was. Imagine my shock when the “clerk” turned out to be M.M. Kreem. I’d failed to recognize him.
My younger brother & I were misfits in Jamshedpur. Jamshedpur is a highly academically competitive environment where an 80% score was considered to be average. In contrast, at our home, my parents wouldn’t scold me if I secured less marks but I would get a nice thrashing if I did not do my riyaaz.
One misconception is that Hariharan uncle is my dad’s friend. He isn’t. Once, when we were visiting Mumbai, my mom got his number and we contacted him. He was gracious enough to meet us and I sang one of his ghazals to him. Immediately he pointed out that I have a serious knack for music and I should pursue it seriously. Then he put me onto his guru, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan & as they say, the rest is history. This was at the age of 13.
Experiences • I don’t have a tattoo but if (and when) I do get one, it would be a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet “to your own self be true” - this is my mantra in life. • The most romantic a lover could do for me would be to sing to me. • The worst pick-up line ever! My school friend & I were sitting at Bandra Bandstand (a prime suburb of Mumbai) when these 2 wannabe guys walked upto us and told us, ‘We want to be fraaandships with you’. We told them to hold on and moved a bit further to laugh out loud since we didn’t want to laugh on their faces. • I really want to go to Kashmir. I’ve been all over Europe but I’m dying to go to Istanbul. One of my most memorable travelling moments was on the flight back to Mumbai from a gig at Barcelona. The Indians from the audience happened to be on the same flight & we started talking, swapping stories & enjoying a lot of drinks. • When we went to Kanpur for a gig, we were put up at some hotel. There, my keyboardist & my guitarist pretended to be a gay couple and shocked the receptionist by saying stuff like ‘Baby, can you take the keys? I’ll see you upstairs’ etc. The hotel staff didn’t know how to react. I didn’t bother clarifying either. :P • Give me hardcore Indian food and I’ll be at my happiest best. The weirdest thing I’ve ever consumed is adrak wali coffee (Coffee spiked with ginger). Ugh! I want my coffee to be straight up filter coffee. • If I could make an alternate profession out of watching movies, I would. Not a film critic, mind you. I am too lazy to be a critic but I can watch movies till eternity.
Shefali (Alvares), Harshdeep (Kaur), Nandini (Srikar) & I keep discussing how reluctant we were to think about music as a career. All of us have similar startups in music since the opportunity just presented itself without us chasing it. I think this thought process of ours has helped us in having more meaningful careers.
Criticism & future plans
• The one “skill” which people don’t know I’m good at is cracking really bad jokes! Sample this: How would you send a rose to the moon? Ans: Say Gulab Jamun. If Agnee’s Mohan & Koco play Angry Birds, what would you call them? Ans: Agnee Birds. • The best and worst piece of criticism I ever received came together from some RJ, right after Dhol Yaara Dhol (from Dev D) released. She said, “Either you’ve been through a lot in life, or you are a good actress since you emote so well vocally.” I didn’t know how to react. My favorite songs would be Aap Ki Yaad Aati Hai from Smita Patil’s Gaman. Also, I love the line ‘battiyaan bujha do ke neend nahi aati hai’ from Pyar Humein Kis Mod from Satte Pe Satta. These tracks would be on the soundtrack of my life. • Music critics help me understand my singing from a third person’s point of view. An artiste generally has a skewed judgement of one’s own recording since you end up believing what you want to believe. I love reading music reviews. Negative criticism does upset me but I get over it. • I’ve never splurged in my life on unnecessary materialistic stuff but I am dying to purchase the Volkswagen Beetle. I last splurged on a grand piano for my brother. • I religiously follow Lord Voldemort (the spoof handle) on Twitter. Ain’t I a geek? Also, I love reading the hilarious conversations that take place between Vishal Dadlani & Sujoy Ghosh. • My forthcoming projects - English Vinglish, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and a few more untitled movies.
Adam & fish-eyed poets - Songs from an Island The third effort by Kishore Krishna has some fantastic ideas incorporated into it. From dynamic album art, to free online downloads, to catchy and short songs, this album is truly a benchmark. The album is just one half of a set, with the second record More Songs from an Island scheduled to come out in December. The album tells the story of a 21st century arranged marriage between an ego dystonic lesbian and a software professional by presenting the thoughts of the characters in several crucial moments along the timeline. With such an intricate plot, songs like Wartime Mornings and Shanti’s Last Stand really stand out as good local/indie stuff! The album has also been professionally mastered as opposed to Kishore’s first two efforts, Snakeism and Dead Loops, which lacked the tonal clarity of Songs from an Island. With tours already underway for the album, and a solid 4-pice lineup, it promises to be a definite hit over the coming months.
Top Picks: Wartime Mornings, Entreaty, Shanti’s Last Stand
Limit Zero - Gravestone Constellations The Bangalore based Djent band has been releasing samples of their album over the past few months. Now, however, it is finally ready. With collaborations from Toxic Grind Machine’s Trevor Marks and Goddess Gagged’s Siddharth Basrur, the album was mixed and mastered by Skyharbor composer Keshav Dhar, assuring everyone of top-notch sound quality. Within the Beyond, with some very unorthodox rhythm sections is a really interesting song, but songs like Focus and Portals seemed to have been redone a little less well than their initial versions which were not on the album.
Top Picks: Within the Beyond, Portals, Gravestone, Constellations
With some intense connections and similarities in sound to Tesseract, the dynamic of guitars vs vocals vs drums has been beautifully mastered especially with reference to Sunnieth Revankar’s (Bhayanak Maut) vocals. Arcturus sees some really fancy interchanges of distorted and clean patches and the whole album has a beautiful tone to it which makes up for certain song segments which are almost too complex to grasp for the layman music-lover.
Chronic Xorn - From Mercy The debut album from Kolkata’s Metal heads promises to be a good stepping stone for upcoming local metal acts looking for inspiration. Released under Rooh Records, the 11 track record features some heavy headbanging and guest solos too! The 2007-formed band is reminiscent of international Metalcore, and influences of bands like As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage. With their first EP Death Destruction Sermon, we saw a promising tracklist of almost mathcore intricacy that set the band up as the only one playing this kind of music in the North-East. The new album features a tighter sound and also features Travis Montgomery from Threat Signal who plays a wicked half-minute solo in the middle of the title track From Mercy. The guest solo is available on YouTube and has really helped them promote the album through social media in the past month or so.
Top Picks: Mercy, Deliverance, Death Destruction Sermon
Agam - The Inner Self Awakens With a clarity of sound that is just sublime, Agam have broken through into professional territory. The Inner Self Awakens is a diverse and entertaining mix of local and global ideas, of fusion without barriers and of multitudes of sounds. 6 tracks that invade through one ear and burst out the other, the dynamic between the members, and indeed, their instruments portray their depth. Harish Sivaramakrishnan is immediately recognizable by his crooning, yet strong voice that rises on top of the rhythm section. Guitars, drum and bass all meld into a single unit that backs up and complements some of the more “Indian” sounds beautifully.
Top Picks: Dhanashree Thillana, Swans of Saraswati, MalharJam
Dhanashree Thillana is Agam’s take on an older number, and they have incorporated so many types of sound into it that it is an audio treat. Likewise, Swans of Saraswati(albeit the mythical analogy) is so diverse in terms of the sound mixing that listeners feel like they are standing right next to the band playing live! Brahma’s Dance, their first song, is reinvented as the album opener, which stays true to the vibes of both Carnatic and Rock. With some changes from the Coke Studio version, Malhar Jam nevertheless is a good closer, with the keyboards taking over most of the dominant leads that were initially on Sarangi. Also check out the killer jugalbandis that are going on at different sections throughout the entire album!
Thermal and a Quater - 3 Wheels 9 Lives The biggest release by any Indian artist to date, this triple CD album packs a heavy punch with 28 songs, most relating directly to the city of Bengaluru and autorickshaws. The song Meter mele one-and-a-half has already become a hit among Bangaloreans and the record is most definitely a prime buy for the season. You can order the album on Flipkart for Rs.300/- Billboard Bride is another number you must watch out for. With a sound reminiscent of their Plan B licks, the intensity is further driven up by a powerful bass backing and some really neat jazz sections.
Who Do We Have Sex With?, If Them Blues, Meter mele one-anda-half, Billboard Bride
With no record label for their first 4 albums, this last one is under EMI and just as typical of “Bangalore Rock” as any Thermal fan would expect. For the Cat, a piece dedicated to Cat Stevens portrays their depth of feel and respect for the ones who inspired them. If Them Blues, probably my favourite track on the album, is a really jazzy number with some intense guitar work by Bruce Lee Mani which again brings back their early sounds. With bassist Prakash fitting perfectly into the dynamic, they only look to make better and better music!!
a girl with Dreamz
Giselle Greyson leads an awesome, albeit, surreptitious campaign. While you werenâ€™t looking, this girl from Texas is well on her way to conquering the R&B world. She first popped on the map when she opened for A-listed hip-hop acts like Sean Paul and Young Jeezy, and her first industry album is in progress as we speak. Her name keeps popping up in Google more and more often these days. Like I said, it has been a secret conquest, and she is currently leading her march through India, as she stars in Dreamz, a Bollywood movie about the entwined stories of femininity and abuse. We caught up with her with a few questions about what makes Giselle Greyson tick.
From music to acting and co-scripting, cowgirl Giselle Grayson has done it all. She is definitely on her way to bigger international stardom, and in multiple fields of entertainment. Watch out for her latest album when it hits stands near you, and check out her upcoming Bollywood feature debut Dreamz. Model, actress, entrepreneur, singer, you wear a lot of hats. How do you manage to fit music into what looks like a very full calendar? Music is the center of everything I do in some way. It is the very core of my being. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a supportive family and team of people who keep me doing what I love to do. YES I am very very busy, but blessed to be so. My dad would say I’m a serial entrepreneur, and I would agree. Even from a young age I’ve always done many things at once. It’s my joy to be busy and productive. For those of our readers unacquainted with your work, can you tell us about Addicted and Fallen Angel? Fallen Angel was my first indie album. I wrote and co-produced the entire project, and luckily I was met with a great deal of fan and industry support. I went on tour with T.I., Young Jeezy, Lloyd, and Sean Paul only 8 months after my first album dropped. It opened a lot of doors for my career and I’m grateful for the pain behind the album that allowed me to speak so honestly and openly to people in a way they could relate to. Addicted is my first industry album, with big-time industry producers like Jaylien Wesley who has worked with Quincy Jones, Ciara, Akon, and many more. The album, releasing in Spring 2013, is a departure from who I used to be and who I am now as an artist and more importantly as a woman. The music is inspired by my own life and the journey I’ve had in music, life, and love. The music is already being picked up for film, TV, and radio placement so again I feel that this will be a blessed project for me, and I’m thrilled to bring new music to my amazing fans! You’ve said previously that you’re born to be an entertainer. But why do you write the songs that you do? Please tell us the story behind one of your songs.
The songs I write are all experience-based. My whole first album was pretty much about one relationship gone bad from beginning to end. Addicted is more about my personal journey of empowerment. I’m A Barbie is one of the main singles from the new album and it’s basically a contradiction in title. I’m a curvy girl, and proud to be, and whe moved to Las Vegas I was met with an overwhelming amount of industry pressure to fit in and be more like a Barbie. It’s just not who I am. I’m a curvy Barbie (LOL)! I think it’s sexy to have curves and be a womanly woman, and that’s what the song is about. Be who you are and embrace your curves, your style, yourself and not feel the pressure to be someone you’re not. That’s a message I’m proud to represent, as I feel there are many women who need to hear that! What does it feel like to be compared to Adele? It’s amazing to be compared to a music legend like Adele. I’m proud to be considered among that level of talent. It’s quite humbling. I would love to work with her and her team at some point. Until then I will continue to strive to honor the comparisons and make great music in my own voice. Tell us a little bit about Dreamz? What motivated you to come to India? Dreamz is a film project from Bollywood director Sumana Mukherjee; following the lives of 7 girls as they struggle to overcome the obstacles of their past. The film is quite deep in theme as it deals with everything from drugs and promiscuity, to abuse and same-sex relationships... the message alone had me completely enthralled. But the amazing team behind the film, especially Vishal Desai (writer) and Sumana’s footage of the pre-trailer really got me on board to come to India. I could tell that the way they saw the script would make for a powerful movie. I wanted to embrace the opportunity to be a voice for women and underprivileged girls in such a unique way. I also wanted to experience the culture here and be a part of Bollywood. The
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It is with the same breathless energy that the 23-year old and his equally talented fellow musicians have taken the world by storm with their pioneering feat of creating the genre of Tamil hip hop. Hailed by many as the first Asian hip hop sensation, Hip Hop Tamizha has come a long way into the music world from the immensely popular Clubbale Mabale track to the multi-singer starrer Election Commission anthem Ezhuvoam Vaa. The latest event was the release of their first album Hip Hop Tamizha, including artists Anusha, Joshi Vivian, Susan, Harini, Sri Chitra, Sas and distributed by Think Music. The music, directed by Zha Factory, has eleven tracks including one on stopping piracy. Adhi talks to us about the source of his inspiration and the journey of Hip Hop Tamizha.
n takes off in a string of Adhi, the lead man behind this phenomeno ne. ‘Hold on, hold on’, I breathless Tamil as I say ‘hello’ over the pho lish, I don’t know Tamil’. interrupt. ‘Can we have the interview in Eng
What got you into hip hop music? Did you study music or are there any musicians in the family? Adhi : No, there are no musicians in my family. One of my neighbours made me listen to Michael Jackson’s Jam when I was young and that was how I came to know about rap. Since the 4th or 5th grade I used to listen to heavy D and many underground hip hop artists- The Rudes, Jay-Z and KRS One. I fell in love with hip hop and used to make my own songs. I used to make my own rhymes but without any beats. Did you consciously choose to rap in Tamil or did it come naturally to you? Adhi : I did not consciously choose to rap in Tamil. Initially in the 10th and 11th grade when I started out it was a mix of Tamil and English. Since my school days, I was always good at writing poems and songs. Hip Hop is all about lyrics and I had a way with words and beats. Later I started rapping completely in Tamil as English makes you sound like a wannabe. I wanted people to understand my songs and I wanted to show them Tamil rap. Even the Clubbale Mabale song is written in the Coimbatore slang. Tell us something about your musical journey. Adhi : My first song, even before the success of Clubbale Mabale was Nee Enu Sendralun, a 4th minor beat song initially made for the Malaysian and Singapore hip hop following. I found my first audience in these countries as there was already some awareness for this kind of music. After I met Yogi-B, I had more exposure to Tamil hip hop in Malaysia and Singapore and we went on to create Hip Hop Tamizha. Tell us something about the new album Hip Hop Tamizha. Adhi : Every rapper has a point of view. Through this album, I wanted to emphasize the importance of Tamil as a native language and the pride that we should feel because it is our language. The first track uses classical Tamil and is in the form of a skit. We researched for a month for this track and the language because there is a recent trend in our society to forget Tamil as more and more people use English to be ‘cool’. Apart from the language theme, this album is also about the struggle that Hip Hop Tamizha as a group went through while trying to put Hip Hop on the world map. It is aggressive as hip hop is meant to be and reflects what we have gone through.
How has the response been so far? Adhi : The response has been great so far. The Election Commission contacted us for the anthem last year and we even performed that for Anna Hazare. Our new album topped the flipkart best-seller for four weeks and we have been invited to perform at many shows here, in Singapore and even in London. Remy Martin signs up with hip hop artistes across the world and recently it has collaborated with Hip Hop Tamizha. This is the first tie up with an Asian hip hop band. Adhi’s advice to aspiring musicians is simple: “Call it my luck, my talent or God’s grace. After my engineering, my dad gave me one year to struggle and to make something out of myself. In spite of the struggle, I have come this far. My advice to young people is to complete their education first and then go ahead with their music. If you fail, you will still have a backup plan.” Adhi is, in fact, currently pursuing an MBA. “Many parents push
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If you are clueless when I say ‘Hip Hop Tamizha’,
then you might want to sit up and take notice. Hip Hop Tamizha is a band that you’d definitely want to know about if you are into hip hop
their children for higher studies but I have found the interest because I wanted to learn how to market my own music. The interest to study has come on its own.” Any plans for the future? Adhi admits that getting into the movies is a possibility but first the band is aiming to create a space for hip hop outside films. “We would like to do one more album, with English and Tamil. We are also signing up our own distribution label to develop a platform for hip hop,” he chirps. For their next project, Hip Hop Tamizha’s second album is featuring the Billboard artist Sol. This time it will be for a global audience and the themes will be more personal.
One of my neighbours made me listen to Michael Jackson’s Jam when I was young and that was how I came to know about rap. Photo credits : Srirama Santhosh
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SIDDHARTH V | SUPRIYA T
Due to new laws passed on Bangalore’s Palace Grounds, the gig turned out to be at the inconveniently located Jayamahal Palace instead. A nice venue, full of greenery, the first day saw it smashed to bits by sounds emanating from everywhere.
Four stages in close proximity to each other made it nigh impossible for one to hear anything at all but a cacophonic mix of noises, especially when artists were made to play simultaneously on all stages. The absurd lack of management seemed not to be too evident amongst the hordes of inebriated crowds, which was probably the only saving grace. Management aside, the band list, which was put up a few weeks before the event, did not disappoint. A huge array of diverse musicians performed varying styles of music. It was just up to one’s fancies as to which stage they wanted to watch. With beer flowing freely off the tap, the air was definitely livid with energy. Acts like Jekyll and Hyde, Divine Raaga, and Thalavattam really setting the tone for the 3-day festival.
Shantanu Pandit Interview: We sat down with Shantanu Pandit, an upcoming folk musician from Delhi. His Dylan-esque style of playing is plain and obvious, but is not the only driving force behind his crooning vocals and spot on harmonica. An insight into his personal opinions shows us who he really is: (Q&A’s) Q: It has been quite a ride for you since this is your first Bangalore gig and there aren’t many folk artists out there either: A: Well it’s good you know. I’m able to carve a niche for myself. I’m really excited to be playing at such an event, and it will be great for my music. Folk is all I really know when I play alone. It’s like the first thing I feel comfortable playing when I pick up the guitar. Q: You have been compared to Bob Dylan a lot because of your style of playing. Is he one of your influences? A: Of course he is, but that doesn’t mean that he is my only driving force. I write based out of emotion and personal experiences. Just because I sound like him doesn’t necessarily mean that I have the same tastes in music, or have lived a similar life Q: Is there a different creative process involved when you are playing with a band? A: Yes there is. Actually, our newly formed band is looking for a bassist. We have composed some stuff and I’ve found a very different kind of feel while playing with other people. It’s nice to groove to a common harmony, but while playing alone, there is a certain feel that just comes automatically. Q: Naturally you have been inspired the Blues a lot. What artists have really pulled your trigger? A: Watch the movie Cadillac Records.
The Flea Market
saw several stalls that have of late become identifiable with music events (and the last Comic Con!) With artwork, hair braiding and clothes lines, there was definitely a wide assortment of over-priced goodies that one could purchase at the venue. The gaming centre was simply awesome! With virtual racing and boxing, the Kingfisher beer coupons actually availed you to free games. Beer pong seemed to be one of the best picks, along with the rodeo, a huge bull model in an inflatable pool. Although not really connected to the music at all (but obviously connected to the beer), the gaming arena really helped make the festival more fun and eventful.
Was it a success? As good as anyone’s guess: Yes and no. The main commodity here as aforementioned was the beer. That was had dime a brazen dozen. But musically... well, there’s the lag. Music, arrangement of vibrations meant to blow our minds and dissolve our being. Of slowing down moments to a halt of mere breath, or raising
Day two had some of the best acts ever. Even if that sounds a tad bit too pompous. When one looks at the bands list, it may seem Oh well, oh well. That’s how like the organizers wanted my cookie crumbled. to cash the living hell out of this Saturday. There was (to name a few) Agam, Gray Shack, Indian Ocean, Papon and the East India Company, One Nite Stand, Karlton and the group, Bhayanak Mauth, Demonic Ressurection, and (the most curious addition) Sunidhi Chauhan. Which brings us to the road block number#1. When the wise said that there is such a thing as too much good being bad: well, that was wasted on the conceptualisers of stages. There were moments where a very fey-like quality could be experienced because music from all the stages clashed. It was especially amusing when on one stage Indian Ocean crooned away ruefully while Bhayanak Maut was actively fisting away at one’s level of comprehension. Special love to the Quicktree Arena or the little bomb of a stage with little bombs of singers. Super, it was! The second was the whispers in the wind about money blowing away with no satisfaction in most bands pockets. True to almost every industry, promises are meant to be broken. But that’s a different story altogether. our energy limitlessly. And thus comes the dreaded pause. This didn’t really happen on day two. Primarily because the shows could’ve been organized better. It took away from the washing clarity of listening to ones favourite sounds. It leaves one wishing that the music high was sustained as much as the beer stocks were.
Day 3: The final day of Octoberfest began festively with the season of beer nearing its end. The air was consumed by a clutter of sounds, which seemed inseparable from one another, thereby granting it some cacophony. The ritual of drinking took its course with a variety of concoctions, games and events, all so appropriately for the purpose of getting drunk.
There were bands situated on four different stages, and the EDM stage was strangely empty throughout most of the festival! All in all, there was much mediocrity in the music that played on the rock stages, with bands sticking too tightly to genres. The part of distress was when it started raining and didn’t stop till 8pm. During this time, only the EDM stage could be heard, pumping out its heavy bass. Regardless, it didn’t curb the party enthusiasts, who continued to drink and socialize through the rain.
AGAM interview : We asked Harish (the lead singer) questions, as decently as possible. And we love the lot. Decency is out the door. Also, so taken in was this spaced out writer that the conversation has now come to a verbatim phase of recollection. Q: Will you guys try using instruments with a more natural sound to them- say the Dholak perhaps? A: Yes! Definitely. We have thought about it but it’s a little hard to adjust the sounds systems to incorporate certain instruments while playing live. So, that’s the thing. Q: Do you guys experience altered states of consciousness when you’re up playing? A: Again, yes. It’s such a great feeling to be up there, in front of some many people. It definitely puts you in a different state altogether. Q: Most obvious. Who/what inspires you? A: Oh, many things. Like Indian Ocean. We look up to them. The things that matter to them; the things they believe in are things that are important for us to. We all have our day jobs and to come here to do something that we value- it such a great feeling. It was quite amazing to see Rahul (Ram of Indian Ocean) standing in the front and listening to us.
Insufficient organizing meant that the rock bands couldn’t play during the downpour, with some bands trying, and wetting their equipment. Many bands didn’t end up playing at all due to the discouraging circumstances of the rain and poor management. Although there were rumours of the show being cancelled, The Hatecrew, the Children of bands’ fans, were all into the Bodom finally cultural practices of headbanging, came on moshing but appreciating the music and what a nonetheless. After playing a set of 7-8 show it was! songs, giving a great crowd response, They lacked the bands went offstage, but not before a little tightness Laiho credited the organisers with the but made poor management and planning! up for it Thus ended 3 days of booze, by playing music and social interactions. famous numbers like Needled 24/7, Are you dead yet, and Everytime I die. The
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An album is a true statement of an artist’s work” - Steven Wilson
Origins the moody blues
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Without a doubt this has got to be what we have all been waiting for. Salvation and symphonic violence to all those who spent their respective days praying, thinking and wondering. Wondering why? And when would India, our benevolent little nation see something of such chaos and controlled chasms of musical genius take stage? And now we’ve got ourselves a sure treat, with NH7 and Guns n Roses lined up to close off this year it’s bound to be an evil one. They’ve lived up to what they represent, even ‘The Great Indian October fest.’ Us, the ever enthusiastic, leather wearing, foot tapping, head banging, finger blazing, rebellion raised individuals that we are. But most importantly? That music loving megalomaniacs that we all are, it’s been inbred and inculcated into most of us. Like a cancer it’s slowly spread and surely it consumed. To have all those emotions take life for three whole days, to lose your-self in a world of chaos and controlled commotion where no one’s up on their respective pedestals looking down around or at you. That is what a live performance act has given us. A world. A place for us to lose ourselves in our own unique, sick and twisted little way, which clearly makes sense. It’s liberating if anything. Three days of liberation depending on which part of the country you find yourself in. Three in Pune and two days in Delhi and Bangalore respectively. This year we’re looking at a lot of notable performances. With Megadeth without a doubt being the biggest performing act as they headline Delhi, said to have performed their Countdown to Extinction in entirety. Yes, entirety! Dave Mustaine fest for almost an hour plus. And Speaking of big performances…..
When one thinks of the late eighties and early nineties it really doesn’t take long to look you up and down and whisper or bellow out to you what the most radical, dangerous, explosive and hands on ballsy band out there was. In a time when club and pop rock was at its peak and rock and metal looked like a dying candle they took it all on headlong in true ‘Guns’ style. Headlong, straight. Neither to their, right nor left. 32
It’s Guns, it’s NH7, it’s Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. If one of you happen to be that person, the saint and the sinner, the librarian and the stripper, the devil and that angel; if answers always failed you and you were always that eccentric genius who found solace in his speakers and hid away inside your rooms, Come Out! They’ve heard you. This is for you. It’s for all of you. A ticket, a ticket to ride, is what you buy yourself. Cut down to literally half for all those college going lovers who are twenty one and less, how convenient. It’s perfect. Like a child. Or better yet a demon with his goals and priorities set out. From when they first started out as individuals they all knew what they wanted and how they wanted to get there. It was simply a matter of time before the four piece band came together. There’s a long story to how they came about and why and what they and that whole timeline and the time frame, needless to say the frame of mind they were coming from represented.
In similarity and when one thinks of Guns and goes to himself, which band out there in my country could probably make good and not have me think to myself, no. Not good enough. I think it’s unanimously echoed when one thinks of Parikrama. With they’re over the top performances that have always delivered. Even that very, hands on bluesy in combination with metal and rock feel from the guitarist. Throw in your Marshall and a Les Paul and he’s good to go.
I guess in a word. Holistically, and when looked at with complete transparency. They simply represented everything that was not L.A at that point. It just never worked for them. They needed to personally, themselves and choose to surround themselves with people who didn’t run in a heard and do what all were doing down in L.A.
We’ve even got NH7 hitting Bangalore for the first time in three years, with Delhi included in that “first for all” scenario. Although to have an epic show such as this to hit Bangalore is surreal indeed. It’s all a true blue-blooded Bangalorean ever thought or dreamt of when push came to shove on the musicality platform. Two days of complete, total and subliminal bliss.
When one mentions they’re coming to India after two decades and more. It is a breakthrough. It’s a crowd puller, pleaser, teaser. Most definitely with those vocals. I’m more than sure Axl still has a lot of miles left on him. Although minus the eccentric leather wearing top hatted Slash, which in mine and everyone’s opinion is the only drawback.
With American progressive metal band Periphery, known for their heavy, modern, and progressive sound. With soaring melody and high-gain, distorted palm-muted guitars. Along with French progressive metal band Gojira and a sure treat for all those thrash metal fans are Testament, set and ready. It’s a storm. In a way, its retribution and judgment day.
With just four albums. Two of them reaching No.1 on the U.S billboard. With Appetite for Destruction being the most successful début album in history. A lot of you’ll out there might sigh and frown at the fact that there’s no symbolic slash up on stage but you’ve got to understand this, a band as crazy and volatile as these guys? It was honestly just a matter of time before they hit that zenith and simply….exploded. So smile, smile that they happened. Scream and screech. Sweet Child ‘O ‘mine without a doubt the bands most heard song. Also Slash’s most hated and under-appreciated song. Funny, poetic justice much? Which in totality the song took less than a day to come up with. The band currently consists of eight members. With Axl Rose and use your illusions keyboardist Dizzy Reed being the only former members of guns n roses. Dj Ashba and Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal on lead guitars along with former guitarist for The Eyes, Richard Fortus on rhythm, bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Chris Pitman.
Retribution to all those people out there who’ve craved and crazed after everything that defined a ‘music’ festival and performances at their zenith. And judgment day to all those bands who ARE put up there and have their platforms to finally show and take stage. Not the ones that have already arrived, naturally. That’s just being daft, but the latter and lesser ones. So we stand and judge and we’re all of a sudden part of the system that we love and believe in so much. We’re part of the musical rush and the head banging. We’re part of it all. It’s sick and twisted in a way I guess, with us mere mortals at their feet looking up as they have us move and crave, yet it’s poetic, simply because they’re up there for us and us alone. Its more than instruments and festivals, its more than having a blast and waking up with a story to tell, or one to tell for months and a year later as you’re at it, all over again, and before you know it you’re a veteran at another one of those ‘things’ as you bellow out to your former peers and friends, you’ll look back on it all and tell yourself what? Simply that you were part of the system. One that was devious and wicked and rocked. It was all you all ever needed. Then again maybe I’m just a dreamer. It’s just Music, or is it? The
On nike This is not your first time scoring for Nike commercials. How was the experience different for you and why was the music so radically different from the previous ads?
Whose idea was it to make the advertisement’s soundtrack purely out of voices? Does your voice feature in there somewhere?
Abhinay Deo and I have a long working relationship having worked on many commercials together. My involvement in this film was longer (by Advertising standards) and I had the luxury of 4 days (which is rare) hence more room to experiment and try different approaches. So I guess having that kind of time is always better for the final result. Nike has a long history of creating some really iconic commercials and for me Nike represents ‘Purity’ in sport. Taking that thought forward I decided to try a pure approach – A single instrument. The most powerful instrument is the human voice and the only person I could think of was Taufiq bhai! I think the purity of the idea is what makes it radical.
The original idea was to use ‘Konnakol’ a traditional South Indian rhythmic system. The idea quickly developed from there into something much bigger and more visceral and very soon we had something that captured the rawness of the images. Yes, the voices you hear in there are Taufiq some of his students and myself.
What was it like working with Taufiq Qureshi? Taufiq bhai is a real master. We have collaborated on many projects over the years, most recently on “Arjun – The Warrior Prince “ that I had scored the music for.. Having him in the room is always exhilarating and a lot of fun. It was essential having him on board to create this music.
Having composed commercial music a plenty, do you feel the need to differentiate in terms of identifying one type of sound with one type of advertiser? Every commercial is unique. Every story is different and every director has his own method and style and my job is to creatively interpret his vision for the film. So every commercial brings a new set of parameters that one has to adapt to… There no rules as such, it’s a constantly evolving process.
On Film scoring What is the thought process that goes on before scoring a video? It’s different on every assignment. Typically I’m given the film in the morning and have a brief chat with the director on his expectation for the sound. I’m then left alone for most part and by day end I have something to play them. Though, often I’m called in before the film might even be shot to create a song/ piece of music that they might shoot to…a recent example is the new Fevicol track that I had recorded with a Baul singer Kartik Das for my album. Prasoon Pandey heard the music and decided to base the film in Bengal.
How is Scoring several movies like Drona, Bombay Boys, White Noise,Arjun and the English movie Broken Thread, different from scoring for commercials like the latest Nike: Parallel Journeys? Scoring for films requires stamina and patience as you live with the project for much longer time – anywhere between a few months to a year. Scoring for advertising requires you to be very versatile. You have to be a musical chameleon, but the principals of music are the same. The big difference is the process of reinvention is far more in Advertising. It can be an extremely stressful environment to work in as the turnaround time for projects is quicker (often every other day ) but I enjoy the challenge. You are only as good as your last and it’s important to not look back much…
On musical jams As Director of Blue Frog, what, in your experience, is required by an artist to effectively and successfully put out?
How are you able to maintain the perfect dynamic between direction,jamming, scoring and production?
Firstly the music has to be unique and interesting. Presentation is also very important. We live in an age of DIY. As a musician today you have to think of yourself as your own CEO. You have to set your own standards very high and execute on them. It’s a long process studying analyzing music and then finding your own unique voice that is different from your idols/heroes. Buckets of patience and perseverance are essential.
It’s never perfect; it’s a constant battle! I do my best to steal time for my practice and performance, but it’s far from where I’d like it to be :-) In an ideal world I would like to tour for 3 months and vacation for 1 and work for remainder. That would be perfect ;-)
What is your personal favorite style or genre of music? It’s terribly limiting to classify music by genre, there’s so much great music out there! I’ve been listening to a lot of European composers recently. I was touring Norway last month and had the opportunity to listen to some amazing music that’s coming out of there. There is some great music in Madagascar and West Africa as well. I watch about 20 films a month, mostly foreign, and I spend a lot of time listening to film scores as well…Interestingly, there’s also a lot to learn from Dance music as well…
We saw you return from MI and Berklee and collaborate many great musician in the country. The sound of Chakraview and Usual Suspects very different though. Have you tried incorporating these kinds of sounds into commercials? They sneak in all the time... But I never force fit it. Creating music is an evolutionary process. I try and listen to a lot of music and treat every assignment on its own merit. When performing I’m focused on being in the moment, and being in the studio I’m required to tweak each and every aspect to every frame of picture, so the disciplines are quite different, almost like Yin /yang !
Dhruv Ghanekar has been in the spotlight recently for his acclaimed score of the Bollywood hit Drona. However, this powerstar has way more under his belt than one might think. The director of Blue Frog this time around has created a unique background for Nikeâ€™s new advertisement, Parallel Journeys.
events galore For more gig reviews & pictures, hawk www.highonscore.com!
Mark Atkins Didgeri - who?
Ziro Festival of Music 3 days of peace love and music!
the ligthyears explode
adding to the explosion
groving it out
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu aboriginal perfection
Anoushka Shankar elegance of the sitar
THE RIOT PEDDLERS Arun’s crazy Mohawk
boomerang band BFlat – Boomerang band entertained a sufficiently drunk crowd for the better part of 2 hours!
spud in the box
feelin’ the vibe!
HARD ROCK CAFE
Last month saw an array of awesome shows and an album launch
Little Wing , Agam , Distil Soul , Half Step Down, Rhapsodise , Opus , Adam & the fish-eyed poets & Galeej Gurus
ZIRO FESTIVAL OF MUSIC 3 days of peace love and music!
Tails on Fire & Skrat
with some melodic Carnatic rock & a Halloween special, Star Rock saw an intense month of ScoreNights! Karmic Blues and Krimson Blend & Tails on Fire and Skrat
an epic pre-Halloween special which saw hardcore ScoreNight fans in their scariest costumes!
Boomerang band entertained a sufficiently drunk crowd for the better part of 2 hours!
Control ALT Delete
A positive change towards self funded gigs!
Blakc , Split, Spud in the Box , The Lightyears Explode e.,The Riot Peddlers
the 3 month long festival celebrating Australian culture kicked off with some scintillating traditional performances at the Purana Qjla. Anoushka Shankar, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu, Mark Atkins
BLAKC losing it on stage
Adam & the fisheyed poets new songs: from an island!
Karmic Blues & Krimson Blend
Unplugged with finesse!
a gorgeous blend of east meets west
Soulful blues for a peaceful night
blue agam Album launch with Swarathma and Indian Ocean! The
AUDIOPHILIC All about sound engineers & more
Sreejesh Nair Sound engineer with a difference
From the Desk Sreejesh Nair is one of the foremost qualified sound engineers in the country. Just the mere number of feature films and multi-national companies that he has worked with speak a lot. But his contribution to advancement of sound technology, especially in Bollywood, cannot be overlooked. Sreejesh has taken an active interest, thus received maximum exposure and has contributed wonderfully to the industry. Working for a decade in the same industry shows a high level of commitment and interest to the betterment of quality entertainment. Mr. Ranjith Menon General Manager, Muzik Lounge
He has worked for several A-Lister Bollywood movies as part of his company, FutureWorks. Having worked there for almost a decade, his experience in sound design is unparalleled in the Bollywood scene. We catch up with the hi-tech sound engineer:
What kind of collaborations have you been associated with internationally? I have collaborated with Warner Bros, FOX, and several other international production houses as a 5.1 Mix Engineer. How many Feature Films have you worked with? I have worked in over 200 features during the span of my career. My ten years at FutureWorks has been very educational, inspirational and motivational for me. What are the kinds of audio-visual projects that you have been associated with? Well, international projects, music videos, short documentaries, art installations, TV commercials, regional films, and commercial films, but now mostly commercial films. Do you also work with translations of foreign movies? Yes. I have adapted, translated and dubbed several Hollywood movies including The Dark Night and Transformers for Indian viewers. When young students leave the academic realm and venture into the industry, as you yourself once did, is it based on luck that they will strike gold? Well you need to network yourself well
and show an active interest in your field. I suppose that applies to everything. But you also need to know when to be at the right place at the right time. I have been working in the industry for a decade now, and in my experience, one must be committed to the task at hand. If people see you as a motivated person, there is a much greater chance of you building your own platform. What would you consider as your biggest success in your field? The biggest success in my field is not the recognitions, but the opportunities it opens up for me and my colleagues. One becomes successful the day he / she realises that itâ€™s not a job but passion. Can you please name a few of your recent movies? Recently, I have concentrated mostly on Mixing. My recent films are Stanley ka Dabba, Agneepath, Rowdy Rathore, Gangs of Wasseypur 2, Billa 2, and one currently sound designing and mixed by me in a movie directed by Sudhir Mishra. Can you share your experience visiting the Dolby Labs, and how special was it? I went to Dolby UK to get to know more information on the new Atmos format that they have launched. We are in the process of converting one of our studios into Atmos. It was an amazing experience
How did your B.Tech help you in your career as a Sound Engineer, when it comes to understanding the hardware and software? I am a B.Tech Mechanical engineer! Having a science or engineering based degree helps in removing the fear from technology. It is important to realise that technology is a tool, and we have to weld it to our use. There is nothing too complicated because it all stems from the same basics. Understanding the basics is imperative. Having an engineering degree helped me in grasping a better understanding of the basics.
Testimonial Student :
DIPLOMA IN MUSIC TECHNOLOGY
For me, MLSAT is not only a place where the destiny of a youngster is moulded, but also where it comes to reality. The training from MLSAT really enriched and equipped me in starting my career as a music programmer at Mumbai with great confidence. The encouragement I received from Stephen Devassy, Sam Devassy, Management and Teachers were outstanding, and I’m very proud of being a student of MLSAT. I’m now working as an in-house music programmer in one of the prestigious studios of Mumbai, with Composer & Singer Mr. Vijay Prakash. MLSAT was such a rich platform for me to get acquainted with the most modern audio/music instruments and technologies. During my course period I got many opportunities to meet with legends of the music industry in India and abroad.
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FutureWorks Media is India’s one of the most preferred digital post production company providing services in Digital Imaging, VFX and Sounds. FutureWorks Media is known for setting new benchmarks and delivering on time content for international projects, music videos, short documentaries, TV commercials, regional films, commercial films and so on. By delivering on-time, quality rich content and bringing the best of technology to the Indian shores, FutureWorks Media has had the privilege of working with top production houses like Fox Studio, Warner Bros, Paramount pictures, Universal studios, Eros productions, Dharma productions, Yashraj films and many more. They have proved their technical capabilities time and again in collaboration with their technology partners. Their smooth and seamless work processes are backed by a creative team of over 350 people working round the clock at 5 facilities across Mumbai and Chennai. Sreejesh Nair with the students of Muzik Lounge
What do you feel about the quality of education that Muzik Lounge imparts?
I like the brilliant initiative and the exposure that students receive there. There is a sense of creative satisfaction that the institution provides which is very important for the natural growth of students. They are not hidden from the real world, but rather, allowed to venture into real situations while still studying there. Srinivasa Murthy with the students of Muzik Lounge
to get to mix some of my materials in Atmos. In fact the first material from India in that format, although for a demo
T /MLSA unge /muziklo geindia n u lo ik z /mu
will benefit you
Whether you are a an aspiring musician of any musical genre or just someone looking for an outlet in your life, Carnatic music can do a whole lot of good to your mind, body, and soul.
I think in general a basic knowledge of Carnatic music is essential to sing other forms of music. It gives you a very strong foundation that singing or understanding other genres becomes easier With so many subtleties and nuances, learning the art form definitely helps with focus.”
Focus Rhythm in Carnatic music is immensely mathematical and has its roots in “Number partitioning” of Number theory. The complexity of counts, their various possibilities of arrangements in terms of allowable solfa syllables of a given Ragam with its own ascending, descending patterns and allowable phrases within the confines of a melody scheme throw enormous challenges to even the most creative performers. Unless utmost focus is applied and all possibilities and constraints are understood well, it is impossible to fathom the innumerable possibilities therein. Just by rote practices the most intricate nuances of the “Thaala” structure of Carnatic music cannot be fully comprehended. Both comprehension and practice require heightened amount of focus.
Singing with a percussion instrument that is playing to complement the rhythm of your chosen composition by either playing to the beat of the composition or trickier cross beats to create grandeur, is a skill that requires intense focus too. As a stage performer you are not just singing alone. You are part of a mini ensemble with whom you did not have the luxury of practicing in advance. However unnerving and impromptu it may sound, it is the reality of a concert setting. Every concert is an opportunity for your brain to really exercise its skill as your mind is forced to multi task and be alert and present there every moment of the concert, fully prepared for surprises. After all, studies have proven we only use 10% of our brain capacity. Why not challenge ourselves to push the limits?
Illustration: Vaishali Menon
Academics A structured curriculum where one learns grammar, logic, and rhetoric, is a standard way in which all human beings learn. First, we begin by memorizing the fundamentals, the grammar of the subject. Next, we learn how the fundamentals fit together, the logic of the system. Finally, we grasp the true meaning and beauty of the system and begin to contribute our own ideas. Those trained in Classical Music will have the skills required to excel in college or in the workplace. They will have learned how to learn. Musicians in general are known to be quick witted and good with words. The appreciation of all factors such as poetry, meter, choice of words, and content of the song, bring a holistic understanding of languages. Carnatic musicians in particular learn songs in almost all the South Indian languages including Sanskrit and even Hindi and Marati. A desire to understand the perfect diction, the word by word meaning of the song in a language not native to them, they pick up a lot vocabulary in different languages. Language skills is one of the primary skills for a successful academic pursuit. Music is an art of communication at various levels and planes, and carnatic musicians, by training and practice are naturally able to do that because of the intrinsic training with songs in multiple languages. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on “doing,” as opposed to observing, and teaches you how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multidimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another. Only through constant analysis and study does one learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.
Better work, better person. At its best, a classical education helps students to gain a broader view of life and of culture. Compositions by the great composers of past and present have the ability to instill high philosophical values. One learns to deal with the big questions of human existence and to place them in proper contexts. Classically educated students learn to value the things truly worth having, like wisdom and worldly knowledge. Students also are exposed to Hindu mythology such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, and intricate details of the lives of the characters in these stories depicted in compositions of Thyagaraja, Syama Sastry, Mutthuswamy Dikshatar, and more.
Creativity & Good taste. Manodharmam, a major aspect of Carnatic Music which entails creative improvisation of ragam and rhythm, is about as easy as painting a picture. It’s also as difficult as making a masterpiece. Any musician who has ever put even a slight thought into their practice and performance will tell you there is an abundant amount of lateral thinking involved in order to really get anywhere with his/her music. Music allows a person to create, in a limitless manner. The deeper you delve, the more possibilities you begin to envision. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions as questions about the arts do not have only one right answer. Students learn techniques as they study what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre concerts. These standards, when applied to a student’s own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.In the words of Ira Glass, “It’s that feeling of knowing you’re good but your taste and potential is telling you that you are capable of so much better”. The process that ensues is a determination to push your boundaries as an artist and strive for better.
Soul Value Music performance teaches one to conquer fear and to take risks. Anxiety in a way is a good thing and is bound to occur at different points in one’s life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. As for risk-taking, it is essential if one is to fully develop his or her potential. Music contributes to mental health for these reasons. A confidence booster, music allows you to be fearless and gives you the courage to be yourself and express yourself in the best way you know how. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression. Modern education often aims at merely producing “marketable skills.” By aiming at this lowest common denominator it can, at best, only achieve this lowest aim. Classical education aims at forming excellent and mature adults who have the skills to understand, appreciate, and act on eternal things. By aiming at this high goal, we seek to produce “marketable skills” and much, much more. By learning Carnatic Music one has an opportunity to reach greater potential and attain a higher state of consciousness.
Voices & Faces One actor, many voices In the late 80s Udit Narayan and Kumar Sanu were the undefeated kings of playback while Alka Yagnik ruled the roost on the other side. With the exception of few others like Kavita Krishnamoorthy, Sadhna Sargam, Abhijeet, Hariharan and Roop Kumar Rathod these singers enjoyed a long stint in the industry.
Picture this: You are watching the evergreen classic Mera joota hai japani (Shree 420) featuring Raj Kapoor but instead of Mukesh, the playback singer turns out to be Kishore Kumar – a bit jarring?
Imagine the foot tapping Baar baar dekho (China Town) with Shammi Kapoor sung by Mukesh! Why do these combinations sound odd? Not because The late 90s saw new singers on the block like Sonu you’ve heard them in their original ones before but Nigam, Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan, KK and Sukhvinder because right from the days of black and white, Singh while the last decade has seen an explosion of filmmakers and music directors established new artists - Richa Sharma, Sunidhi Chauhan, Rekha ‘pairs’ of actors and the voices that Bharadwaj, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Vishal, Salim Merchant, Mohit Chauhan, best suited them onscreen. It was Rahet Fateh Ali Khan, Alyssa these duos that worked so well Mendonsa (of Khwabon on celluloid that they became One actor, too ke parindeyi fame) the actor’s trademark voice many voices One actor, one voice and many, – Rajesh Khanna’s songs many more. Till the late 80s and even early Why was Mohammad Rafi the were mostly sung by 90s, the ‘voices’ of some actors were chosen playback singer for Shammi Kishore Kumar and unmistakable – Udit Narayan sang for Kapoor or Kishore Kumar for Amitabh Mukesh sang nearly Amir Khan and then for Shahrukh Khan. Bachchan? In the olden days, every singer was every song of Raj (Darr, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, chosen for certain qualities in his or her voice Kapoor. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – it’s a fairly long that matched the actor’s personality, their voice
onscreen and even age, especially for male actors. This doesn’t indicate that stalwarts like K L Saigal, Talat Mehmood, Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar were not great singers but just that a “Kishore-Khanna” or “Rafi-Shammi” pair clicked better onscreen.
This trend was not so rigid in the case of female actors like Madhubala, Nutan, Meena Kumari, Mumtaz, Sadhana, Waheeda Rahman and the later Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi. The two reigning queens Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle sang most of their songs but there were other luminaries such as Geeta Dutt and Suman Kalyanpur and before any of these there were Rajkumari, Shamshad Begum, Suraiya and Noorjehan.
list), but Khan’s earlier films featured more Kumar Sanu songs like Ye kaali kaali ankhen (Baazigar), Ae kaash ke hum (Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na) and Do dil (Pardes).
Amitabh Bachchan, whose most songs were sung by Kishore, switched to Sudesh Bhonsle, Shabbir Kumar or Mohammad Aziz. Aziz also sang many songs for Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Govinda and Mithun Chakraborty.
Voices, voices everywhere The ‘trademark voice’ trend is more or less extinct – on one hand it makes us cherish the jewels we had and the reality it lent to the artists to give us a truly unique experience. On the other hand, it leaves us to broaden our horizons and listen to innumerable voices, some better and some not so but all the while giving us the satisfaction of experiencing something new. For some of us, no one but Udit Narayan can be Shahrukh Khan’s true voice but it’s good to know that we can be entertained just as much by Akon.
The question Was it so important for an actor to have that one special voice? Take the case of the immensely talented Mukesh – he started off by singing for Dilip Kumar and it was Rafi who sang for Raj Kapoor in Andaz but after Madhumati, Mukesh was approached to sing for Kapoor in Barsaat and Awara and with that started a fail-proof partnership that audiences loved. After this, it was Rafi who started giving playback for Kumar and there arose another match made in heaven. The success of these professional relationships also spilled over into their personal lives, possibly a reason why they worked so well. In fact, when Mukesh passed away, Raj Kapoor grieved, “I have lost my life. I am the body but Mukesh was my soul”. And what better example of a perfect match is there than Shammi Kapoor and Rafi? Rafi was famous for not only his extraordinary talent but also for his ability to modulate his voice according to the actor, who we all know couldn’t stand in one place and sing. Rafi was so familiar with Shammi’s onscreen antics that he would record his songs exactly the way Shammi would want it. When the famed artist passed away, Shammi said, “I am incomplete without Rafi”.
Maybe no other actor has had as many different playback singers as Shahrukh Khan - Shafqat Amanat Ali (Mitwa), Udit Narayan , Kumar Sanu, Shankar Mahadevan (Pretty woman), Sonu Nigam (Kal ho na ho), Abhijeet (Mai koi aisa geet), Shaan (Mai hoon Don), Sukhwinder Singh (Chaiyya Chaiyya), Rabbi Shergill (Challa), KK (Ankhon me teri), Akon (Chammak Challo) and even himself in Josh.
However, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, Talat Aziz, Mahendra Kapoor, Yesudas, Shailendra and many others also gave their voices to all these actors at some or the other time. For instance, many songs of Rajesh Khanna that had a pure classical base were sung by Manna Dey, such as Bhor ayi (Bawarchi) and Gori tori painjaniya (Mere Mehboob). But sadly, only a few were counted as the actors’ ‘true voices’. While Nigam and Udit Narayan are possibly the best of the lot, one can’t help but question a few other choices – Rabbi Shergill really doesn’t cut it as Khan’s voice and the very aim of Chammak Challo was to induce a fun quotient and not to match Khan’s voice anyway. Neither Bollywood nor the audience seem to mind that our actors sound different in every film or even in every song in the same film. But the flipside is that more artists now have a chance to break their way into the music industry and sing for a star so it’s hard to find a fault with this new trend.
chronicles Amidst all the chaos and the cacophony of the mid 1970s, a new musical genre emerged from the dark, its essence so alienated from the rest that it was almost too bizarre for the eyes and ears of the time to comprehend. This was Punk Rock, an offshoot of music, expressive and straightforward both in sound and words. Punk had an inexplicable allure for the youth. It promised a sense of openness, a chance to break free from the shackles and perceptions of society. Ostensibly annoyed with the current scenario, a multitude of Punk bands emerged, many of them armed just with an arsenal of a few power chords. Fueled by no bullshit, uncomplicated rock and roll and blunt, clamorous lyrics thrown in with a nasal twinge, they seemed to have figured out the perfect recipe. The now famous DIY ethic was contrived, with many bands creatively conceptualizing their own records with nothing more than their gear and a tape recorder. A sudden realization that the corporate honchos were no longer needed to get their material across to the audiences emerged. And then, they took the world by storm...
To them, flamboyant guitar solos and complicated technical bass lines were just an intruding compromise. What they lacked in technicality and production, they made up in nihilistic insanity. There was a distinguishable swagger about the artists and the way they connected with their audiences was unconventional to say the least. Being a Punk back in the day had its fair share of tribulations. Having your records banned, getting thrown out of gig venues in addition to being chastised in general by the community was commonplace. Perhaps it was the unrest inciting lyrics, or the cheeky antics on the stage, some element about Punk definitely got on to peopleâ€™s nerves. Maybe hereâ€™s where the Punks got their amusement from.
Illustration: Rasheed Kappan
indian punk movement
There are people who don’t keep their professional life and personal grudges separate. The genre makes it difficult for gigs to come by and sometimes venues don’t pay their dues.”
Roughly three decades of diversification, decline, revival, and a turbulent ride later, Punk Rock finally surfaced on the Indian subcontinent. A mild inquisitiveness towards the genre, so far shrouded in mystery was sparked, reflected by Pop punk artists flooding the Indian Charts. Green Day, Blink - 182, Good Charlotte and the like became familiar names among music junkies. The Indian music circuit, so far dominated by Rock & Roll and Heavy Metal witnessed the steady arrival of Punk outfits, highly influenced by the stalwarts of yesteryear. With the Indian Punk revolution at a nascent stage during the early 21st century, bands like Tripwire, Messiah and Indigo Children paved the way for many to follow. Although a struggle, Indian Punk eventually garnered a dedicated fanbase. Messiah released their first self produced album, ‘The Antidote’ in 2005, apparently the first Indian adaptation of the genre. Tripwire followed suit, with ‘StandBy’, a remarkable revelation in 2007. Intriguingly, the Punk scenario in India somewhat mirrored the Punk of the past, encompassing the very same cheekiness and dilemmas. We caught up with Tripwire, a three piece band from Mumbai, who have been rocking the Punk circuit for more than a decade now. With their electrifying on stage performances, which would get the soberest of people to blow the lid off, few bands know the genre better. “The Indian punk rock scene is like a flower bud, pretty when small and instinctively intimidating when fully grown. Punk rock bands get distinctively less royal treatment compared to other communities like metal, classic rock and the likes. Venues are biased, organizers are helpless, and audience is mainstream.” reflects Tripwire bass player Shaggy. Misconceptions about the commercial viability of Punk and the reluctance of venues and organizers to experiment, hinders the growth of the genre. This sentiment is echoed by the relatively new and promising act Punk on Toast. The music and the words still have an overwhelming edge to them, with bands unafraid to juxtapose social issues and music. Humour blends with
distorted guitars, melodious bass and intense drumming in a bid to dish out more than just aural pleasure. Amey, responsible for uplifting tunes off his Fender along with his unique vocals interjects, “There are bands playing songs about the corrupt police, while there are others doing songs on sex, drugs and the likes. It’s a variety that you want, but you won’t choose it given a choice.” India’s rendition of punk soon began to embrace the fashion and the culture of their obtrusive western counterparts, with piercings, tattoos and mohawks in vogue among musicians and fans alike. But of course, that’s not what punk is all about, as Jack clarifies. “Punk rock is not only about the music and the thoughts that flow with the sounds, but it has been integrally knotted to the lifestyle of people. You will see a true punk, not in the style he talks in, but the manner that he comes up with and the way he deals with it. Mohawks are not hard to find here” Punk Rock in India, no doubt is being dwarfed by the other genres out there, but not because of the lack of potential. True, the genre faces certain stumbling blocks akin to what Punk artists in other countries faced over the years. But there’s where the beauty of Punk lies, opposition fuels its rebellious nature. Punk is survived by the vitality of the listeners and the artists, which is never found lacking in an energetic country like India. With acts like The Lightyears Explode, Lavender Carnage, Skrat and Pip of the Fourth Mother in addition to the hundreds more, grabbing more than just a little bit of attention, the genre is like a ticking time bomb, certainly waiting to take the world by storm...Again.
Tripwire& punk on toast will be releasing their new albums by the end of the year. Stay tuned for Punk mayhem!
However, unlike many other gigs I have been to of late (read Octoberfest), this has to be the best organised one. With vast parking space, food stalls and alcoholic sponsors, the management really provided a first-class venue for the thrash metal gods. A main arena, linked to a wide field of food stalls and drink, the security was also top-notch, and very few goof ups were witnessed as compared to earlier shows. Following the mash-up that occurring during the Enrique Iglesias concert in Pune, police were extra careful to screen everybody and the show went off very smoothly from that end. Enter the arena and 10,000 black shirts absorbed what little light there was. Intense mosh pits and head-banging fans stormed through the set list, screaming along with bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. Fans who knew his lyrics inside-out roared with him through the fast-paced numbers; there was a definite air of a significant event happening. Personally I hadnâ€™t ever felt this much of a sense of auspiciousness just emanating from the crowd at a metal concert. There was a sense of purpose as the crowd droned through many of Slayers older songs, which were received with much enthusiasm from hardcore fans. From Chemical Warfare to Hell Awaits, they were epic!
International gigs in Bangalore have increasingly been located outside the heart of the city. With restrictions on live music, fans have had to travel much further to hear their artists perform. Slayer was no different, with the venue quite far away from the city. 46
Photo credits : Praveen SR
The Background Earlier at the press conference, guitarist Kerry King said “there will never be another Slayer”. Read out of context, this may seem like the typical attitude of a decades-old contemptuous metal band. What he really meant was that individuality exists everywhere, and when you start tapping into that stuff, then you are able to get results that are brutal, but honest and pure. With several offensive albums taking jibes at money-makers, religious institutions and people in general, Slayer has long been known as “one of those anti-Christ bands”. Technically, they weren’t going against any religion, but any institutionalized systems in general. King himself stated that if his music failed to offend, then he was unsatisfied with it, but also, that he didn’t really believe in it to an idealistic level. “Satan’s just a good topic and everyone gets behind it, so it’s fun” Ultimately, they didn’t fail to offend, with screeching guitar tones and some mad double bass from Dave Lombardo. I could see middleaged uncles staring slack-jawed in astonishment at the four men completely destroying the stage, emanating loud intrusive sounds, and the hordes of people swaying to their rhythm. A Black Magic Cult is what an uninitiated person might have possibly thought. Jeff Hanneman, founding guitarist, has not been on tour with Slayer for the last year due to a flesh-eating bacteria he contracted which severely limited his endurance to play on stage. Filling in for him throughout the whole tour was Exodus guitarist Gary Holt. Even internationally, there was a lot of critique as to how he would be able to cope up and many articles were published stating outright
SIDDHARTH V that Holt would never be able to replace Hanneman. Interestingly enough, Holt blew everyone’s minds with some intense and highoctave guitar squeals that sounded out as distinctly and clearly as Hanneman’s might have done. Holt was also very vocal during the press conference at Hard Rock Café, Bangalore. His vision of promoting music was evident during his vociferous tirade supporting underground metal movements like the Plutonic German Thrash Metal movement. The band was cynical when questioned about a reunion of the Big 4 - Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. After decades of questionable vendettas, it was clear that Slayer, just like the other 3 bands, were still nursing age-old wounds. Holt also spoke about his early stint as a worker in a paint warehouse along with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. Countless hours just throwing paint cartons all over the place and spraying paint everywhere until he finally got picked up. “And I never had another job again”, he concluded. Now ripping through solos for Slayer in place of Hanneman, he’s just happy that he can play Angel of Death. With reference to their set list, Slayer displayed a very sensitive side at the press conference. “We know that you guys here haven’t gotten a chance to see us before. We respect that and we plan to play a good mix of the old and the new. Most of you metal fans in India have been tripping on the old stuff for quite a while, so we’re definitely going to play some of that.”
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On stage, they were glorious. A loud jarring cacophony of clashing sounds, screeching guitars, thudding drums and yelling vocals, all somehow molded and beaten into songs. With favourites like Seasons in the Abyss, Postmortem and Dead Skin Mask, the mosh pit went on and on. People ramming into each other because of pure energy was a supremely cathartic experience that culminated in their most popular song Raining Blood as the last song after the encore. Several post-Slayer fights promptly broke out in the parking lots, with numerous drunken people simply passed out in the wet mud. Definitely a gig that left everyone satisfied!
Published on Nov 14, 2012
Our November 2012 issue is out and loaded with the latest music to hit the country, including an exclusive feature with the Colonial Cousins...