Tejas

imageedit_2_7215265292

The beauty about singer-songwriters is that their songs are mostly based on a unique individualistic perspective but somehow everyone seems to connect to it, making it magically universal. Mastering this art of reaching out, Pune based Tejas Menon with his songs about love and life seems to connect to every listener with his boy-next-door voice and catchy, yet meaningful, lyrics. His songs can be packaged and tied neatly with a bow, but individually they simply seem to have separate aesthetics. In previous interviews he mentions how he doesn’t want to be a part of a particular genre and wants all of his influences, like blues, rock & bossa nova, to plug in. He does this gracefully in his EP “Small Victories” which apart from being mammoth win in itself, was produced by the legendary Warren Mendonsa. From the unique sounds in ‘Philosophy’ to guitar parts in ‘Brave’, this EP is fresh, vibrant, colourful and groovy. While his vocals and guitar patterns make for a  tremendously charming experience by themselves, his backing band simply takes it to the next level. The melodies will surprise you to the point that you never know what to expect from this young artist. With the sonic variations seen in tracks like ‘Until The End’, this talented singer-songwriter finds himself a new fan with every listener. A self proclaimed geek, he is invested in a lot of creative avenues which contributes to the musician in him. His live performances have wooed audiences  and he has opened for Farhan Akhtar and played with the likes of Uday Benegal and Zero. Surely, he is the ‘The Next Best Thing’.

We spoke with Tejas about his journey, the indie scene and more. Here’s how it went:

Q) In your own words, you started off playing to friends, family, disinterested audiences and the staff of restaurants when people didn’t show up. You’ve come a long way and clearly garnered quite the following. What’s the journey been like?

I started performing live in 2011 and though it’s been almost 5 years since then, the real bulk of my work began in 2013 after shifting to Bombay. Still feels super rushed though, things have happened so quickly since I’ve decided to make this a full time profession of sorts.

Q) Musicians are always asked about their international musical influences. One of your major ones being KT Tunstall, amongst others like Sara Bareilles and Paolo Nutini. But we want to ask you; who are your inspirations from the independent music scene of India?

I’ve always kind of mentioned Gowri as a strong influence for believing in your own style and uniqueness and making that the primary focus of your art. I’ve always enjoyed her music and her commitment towards the art form. Then obviously Warren from Blackstratblues has been quite a pivotal figure in my growth here in Bombay. When he produced my EP with me, he pushed my music in a certain direction which has really worked out well. Apart from that Uday Benegal, Zero, and the Cotton Press Studio boys Tanmay, Aalok, JJ and Stu have been really inspiring and influenced my sound.

Q) In the podcast of ‘Maed In India’, a while back, you talked about the Rolling Stone article and you ferociously argued that there is no dearth of talent in the scene. According to you, what lacks in the scene is actually the infrastructure to promote and support the artists properly. What’s the indie scene like now? Are there any other things that should change?

I was a little annoyed about the fact that there were two different points being raised; one being the lack of headliners. That may be completely true, and I do believe that criticism and good journalism in the community helps it grow and refine itself, but I completely disagreed with the fact that there isn’t talent here. I see it everyday in songwriters like Meera Shenoy, Maalavika Manoj, Easy Wanderlings, Aditi Veena. If I’ve found their music I think anyone can. Good acts here are waiting to happen, and they need to be fostered by publications (like Indie Bullhorn!) and journalists alike to help them grow. The one thing I’d like to see are more music videos (for myself included).

Q) You recently opened for Farhan Akhtar. What was it like? What are your views about the film industry’s influence on musical artists and are you open to performing in it?

Man, that was surreal. It felt bizarre in a sense to open for an act that was nothing like mine, but then music is music, and I played to young people who seemed to have a great time. I think the distinction between the kind of music and quality of music needs to be made. I think there’s some decent music in the Indian film industry, and I’m not opposed to doing it either. I just want, in the end, for it to all go into what music I really want to make, and what reach and access it helps me acquire.

Q) Even though you are a full time musician, you are creatively invested in a lot of other things, like your forum ‘Geek Fruit’. Tell us more about it. Also, do these avenues consciously or subconsciously influence your music? Or is it only your personal life?

Geek Fruit is a dream project I have harboured for a long time being a nerd, and never did anything about until the Force Awakened. It’s just about helping and creating indigenous Sci-Fi content and also being a complete fan boy and discussing and geeking out over things that my co-workers and I love. Sci-Fi has influenced my songwriting because of patterns and motifs I’ve picked up while watching/reading a lot of it. I enjoy the subject matter I suppose. Also I’ve been opening with The Powerpuff Girls theme song for a bit now! We even play the Imperial March in our cover of Kunj Gutka by my fellow nerds The Lightyears Explode.

Q) You’re also the man behind ‘Kadak Apple Records’. Could you tell our readers about it & your ‘Kadak Sessions’? Is there any way that an upcoming musician benefit from it?

My ex-manager and BFF Krish Makhija and I started Kadak Apple Records to help younger musicians benefit from the little experiences and contacts we have made over the course of being in the ‘scene’. Good quality videos are easy to make if you are committed enough to it, and so we decided to make our ongoing web series to showcase singer-songwriters exactly as they should be seen; in an immaculate setting with HD video and audio. It has really worked well and we get a good number of views for our videos which tells us that people definitely do appreciate quality of content. We’re busy with one of our new artist’s Short Round’s debut EP release. It’s a beautiful record and people are really going to love it.

Q) One of my personal favourites from your EP is ‘Until the End’. You apparently wrote this when you were having a tough time in the scene. Tell us about that struggle. What advice would you give to upcoming musicians?

Until the End was kind of the opposite way I deal with struggles now and then. I usually am pretty happy-go-lucky and self-deprecating about my situation and the trials that any artist goes through. And I’m fine with it, I feel like it’s a rite of passage for all musicians and it teaches you far greater a lesson. But then there are some times when things really get to you and everything seems to get muddled up. I began feeling that way about singer-songwriters and how they didn’t get enough importance in the scene, but that quickly escalated into how I felt as a citizen in an independent scene vs mainstream, and then as a person who is powerless in a country which has stronger forces that I can deal with. It started pretty defeatist and then moved into a space of an uprising. Hah, not usually my style but sometimes you feel things, and if you put it down quickly enough, it’s preserved. Until the End is that quickly preserved emotion.

Q) You were going to release your full length crowd funded album which is to be called ‘Make It Happen’. What’s the progress so far? What’s 2016 like for Tejas?

Well I was going to crowd fund it until the opportunity for being funded recently arose. So now I’m busy working out the details of the said opportunity. It may work out, it may not, but I’m committed to releasing the album this year, later if not sooner. The album itself is written and 80% complete in my mind, but as time goes by new songs start to fit the context of the theme, so I might just add some more tracks to it. I’m also working on a solo tour to visit cities I haven’t yet. So work is cut out for me.

Cheers to Tejas for having that interview with us! Do check out the links below and don’t forget to like Tejas’ Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube channel to get the latest updates.

 

 

Check out his website.

You can buy the Small Victories EP on:

iTunes

OK Listen!

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisements

30 Amazing Facts About Indian Music

standing-by-ConvertImage

What is Indian music? Most of us might imagine a guy in kurta pyjama playing a classical instrument or maybe even a lady in a saari singing harmoniously  That’s fair enough. But if I were to say, what about a rock band pumping up the audience with killer guitar solos and masterful riffs? Or how about a metal band head banging with long hair and dark clothes? Or even a DJ, doing his or her magic behind a electronic set up? Do remember, all of them are Indians and are playing original compositions.

The sad truth is that these examples often come last or not at all in the train of thought and it most definitely is not due to the lack of talent or quality around us.

If you aren’t ardent supporters of the independent music scene but still think that it’s totally cool for Indians to play music which is in the western form, be it the language they use or the instruments they play, I want to ask; why don’t you support them? You share music of foreign artists who are internet sensations. You line up to pay for artists from overseas and can’t even go for a free gig at a local club. See, I’m not aiming at anyone. All I’m asking you is what about the Indians who make music

As Indians, I sometimes feel, we have a major inferiority complex. Many of you might think music produced by people from India isn’t that good or maybe it’s ‘good for Indian standards’. That very thought holds you back from being open to any musician what so ever who is trying to make it. But what if I were to tell you Indian music is great? What if I tell you that there are some acts in the circuits that deserve to be on a worldwide platform?
This blog will cater to promote independent musicians and artists across the country but today I’m here to talk about something that has been hovering the internet over the past few months which might interest the few of you who have made it so far.

As you might have observed I’ve been calling it ‘Indian Music’, not alternative, not indie, not genre specific but Indian. This six episode masterpiece, ‘Standing By’ produced by Only Much Louder(OML) and Red Bull India, aims at redefining it’s meaning. It is a vast digital archive of everything that has happened in the independent western Indian music over the past century. It covers everything from jazz, rock, metal to dance and electronic music. It has something for everyone. To get you a teeny bit psyched about the our history and maybe get you interested in the booming independent scene, here are thirty awesome points (which we got from this very documentary) everyone should know :

 

1. Western music has been here longer than Bollywood when travelling musicians were called by the elite to do shows in India. The music travelled in railway towns via gramophones.

imageedit_35_8565771941

2. A Nepali man changed his name from Pushkar Bahadur to George Banks and his son is the legendary Louis Banks.

imageedit_2_4093173913

3. When Dave Brubeck chose a piano to play when he came down in 1958, he was surprised to see a bunch of Indian men carrying the huge instrument over their heads. Coolies were the most primitive form of roadies in India.

2

4. Many earlier musicians were heavily influenced by the western music offered by the Asia wide radio of Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka.

imageedit_1_5350722439

5. During the British explosion many of the Indian youth grew fond of The Beatles, because when Harrison started experimenting with Indian music and maharishis, it was heavily covered in the newspaper.

imageedit_3_9880541328

6. The 1970 screening of the Woodstock documentary had local bands playing in the theatre before the show. It later culminated to ‘Sneha Yatra’ in 1971 in which had 4000 hippies gathered in Lonavala to enjoy rock music and discuss poetry, politics and more all under the haze of fresh Maharashtra weed.

6

7. One of the earliest lady groups in India was a quartet called The Ladybirds.

7

8. Dilip Balakrishnan was the front man of The Great Bear (later changed their name to High) and was considered to be one of the unique voices of his time. He put melodies into The Lord Of The Ring soundtracks and was considered by the people who knew him a legend in making. He sadly passed away at a rather tender age due to cancer.

imageedit_37_4519027758

9. Instrument quality back in the day were terrible. In fact, things were so bad that The Fentones from Shillong had a ‘Tea Chest Bass’ which essentially was a tea chest box that you would block from all sides, have a small hole in the middle, a stick in a corner and tie a string. On adjusting the string you would get a bass sound.

9

10. There were many youth magazines back then like the Junior Statesmen (JS) and Dateline Delhi which promoted local indie artists. We also had one of our earliest fanzines called ‘Blue Rhythm’ started by couple of Jazz enthusiasts in 1952.

11

11. There were many beat contests over the years for bands to participate in. ‘Simla Beat Contest’ was one of the more organized ones which was sponsored by ‘Simla’, a brand of cigarettes.

12

12.  Park Street of Calcutta was one of the most vibrant streets of the country. The street was filled with musicians having jam sessions, cabaret, stand up, magicians, drag acts and much more.

13

13.  Bhaskar Menon was responsible of getting the freshest music to India. He was the man behind Gramophone Company which later changed its name to the legendary HMV records. He also has a picture with Paul McCartney of The Beatles.

14

14. When a band was doing a cover of Led Zeppelin in Slip Disk club in October ’72, they were a bit confused with the sudden gala surrounding two white guys who had entered the club during their set. As it turned out it was Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. They joined the band for a jam.

15

15. Earlier, there was a serious lack of musical instruments. Bands ended up buying all the instruments that foreigners and hippies left behind. People claim that some of the instruments were used by the likes of ‘The Who’.

10

16. Two Bombay bands, Mirage and Rock Machine, were scheduled to play at St. Xavier’s college. But one of the college’s faculty members objected to the gig being held in the college, so a student decided to move it to Rang Bhavan next door. But when the bands got to Rang Bhavan, this guy was no where to be found. Farhad Wadia of Mirage and Mark Selvig of Rock Machine decided to sell tickets for the gig and called it ‘Independence Rock’. Wadia kept running it for three decades and for many I-Rock is considered to be the cult festival.

imageedit_6_2742756418

17. Rang Bhavan was a legendary venue and people still consider it to be unparalleled. The Police played in Rang Bhavan. This was sadly shut down by the government owing to the ‘disturbance’ it caused in the neighbourhood.

imageedit_9_7151385240

18. In the 80’s, a concert was held to help the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy called ‘Aid Bhopal Concert’ in Brabone Stadium with a crowd of ten thousand and featuring artists like Remo Fernandez, Gary Lawyer and Rock Machine.

imageedit_11_4327224098

19. Lou Majaw of Shillong held many Bob Dylan tributes. He increased the value of lyrics and brought discipline in the lifestyle of the musicians of the now rock capital of India, Shillong. He was known for wearing mismatched socks and skin tight shorts.

imageedit_15_6776896022

20. Meghalaya Aids Control Society held a band competition called the Meghalaya Icon. The winning bands went to various villages in Meghalaya and spreads AIDS awareness. They sang for various people like truck drivers and workers of red-light area and simultaneously educated them.

imageedit_17_2822493750

21. In 1989 Rajiv Gandhi sent various bands and artists to the Soviet to change India’s image. Artists like Louis Banks, Leslie Louis, Gary Lawyer and Rock Machine were sent on private planes where caviar was served.

imageedit_19_2748752821

22. Rock Machine was going to be called Rock n Roll Machine but the promoter of their first event didn’t have enough money to have a poster with the whole name painted. They settled for this name which later became Rock Machine. Years later they changed in into ‘Indus Creed’ and won the MTV Video Music Award(Asian Viewer’s choice) for ‘Pretty Child’.

getimage.dll

23. In 1993, a young Amit Saigal from Allahabad was working the night shift in his father’s printing press when he decided to print 2500 copies of a fanzine called RockStreet Journal. This was the first publication dedicated solely to Indian rock. He then went on doing The Great Indian Rock festival (GIR) in Delhi and also made it’s compilation album of original compositions. Fondly called as ‘Papa Rock’ he is considered by many a legend and is sorely missed after his untimely death in 2012.

33449

24. In 1997 a man called Bhopal Navale of Bangalore held a freedom jam to celebrate the country’s 50th year of freedom. They promoted it by travelling in an open Jeep, playing at particular stops and distributing the pamphlets before the cops came. The crowd count transformed from 500 to 5000 over the course of few years until finally it was shut by the cops.

imageedit_21_6459498822

 

25.In 1999, IIM grad students set up a website called ‘GigPad’ as a part of a business plan for their entrepreneurship course. These forum threads covered topics from gig reviews to lookouts for band members. It made people meet each other and kick started a tangible sense of community online.

imageedit_24_5332387451

26. The synthesizer was fairly used in western Indian music. But a recording engineer by the name of Charanjeet Singh recorded a whole album with this instrument in 1982 calling it ‘Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat’. It is considered to be India’s first album in electronic music by many.

imageedit_26_8138392753

27.The Submerge night at Rock Bottom encouraged DJs to play whatever they liked and discouraged audiences from any request. It was the brain child of Nikhil Chinapa, DJ Pearl and Hermit Sethi. At the heights of their popularity, they managed to get Armin Van Burren for the first time in India when he was just ranked the world’s No.1 DJ.

imageedit_28_8188991922

28. Manipur’s Postmark  recorded India’s earliest metal album in 1989. The band Brahma released their album ‘The World Beyond’ in the I-Rock of 1998. Expecting to sell 2000 copies, they sold 27000-29000 copies over the course of three days for twenty bucks. The band Krytops, produced their entire album for eleven grand and embarked on a self-funded tour of Europe.

imageedit_31_8321912884

29. The Sunburn festival in Goa started in 2007. By the time it was 2009-2010 it was ranked the 9th best music festival in the world.

29

30. In the pre internet era, fans barely got their hands on new music from the world. They heavily relied on relatives, friends or got ripped off for a copy of a copy of a copy. There were some places like AudioCastle in Santacruz, Mumbai and National Market in Bangalore which used to sell entire discographies of bands for 80 bucks.

imageedit_33_4614819698

 

The series is really a great watch for both music lovers and people who want to know more about the scene. Even if you do not belong to either category, I urge you to watch it as it might change your mind about a few things regarding Indian music.

 

 

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment. You can also mail us at indiebullhorn@gmail.com if you have any requests or suggestions. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Punk On Toast

12006198_1064668540211280_8621304542281911022_n
All right a confession before the crime; there is going to be a certain sense of bias in this article which can be accounted to my sheer love for classic punk rock and my uncontrollable gravitation towards any sound that tries to replicate this underrated and unappreciated genre of music.  So as a fan boy, I get a real hard on when I listen to bands like Punk On Toast. Yes, this article is going to explicit and unapologetic and its sole purpose is to please its creator. Quite like any Punk On Toast song. There’s no way that there is a perfect set of words that may convince you to like this band. Like powerful riffs? Like really fast bass lines? Like thrash-y drum sequences? Great, you’re going to love them. It makes you happy and takes you to better place. That’s what POT does, and so does the band most of the time. Taking which might seem the most mundane, beaten to the pulp kind of topics and making sense of it all is in fact, excuse the term, ‘art’. The effort and energy put into each song is sonically evident. The most exciting thing is the progress from their EP ‘For Hire’ to their single ‘Shut Down’. The best part is they apparently don’t even play these songs live anymore signaling not only the undeniable potential of the band but also the pool of material yet to give long-lasting eargasms to punk-lovers.

We got to speak with this gem of a band on a variety of topics. Here’s how it went:

1) Punk On Toast has gone from a jam band that chose not to participate in college festivals to one of the acts that are at the forefront of the punk rock scene in our country. Your debut gig was at the Stupidities 5 launch back in 2009 and you’ve come a long way since. What has the journey been like?

The journey has been really great so far. College festivals were always a disappointment because bands never really got to play full sets. Setup, sound check and gig, everything in 15 mins is nothing but a joke. Lets not forget the 3 hour wait for your 15 mins set. We felt that such competitions were not at all worth it. The journey so far has been great but the real journey is just getting started.

2) For those who believe ‘Punk Is Dead’, what answers would you want to give them? What advice would you give younger bands and musicians who want to specifically venture into this genre?

Punk is something no one can kill. There are punk bands out there, which are touring from the past 30 – 40 years; they are keeping their music and their sound alive. And as long as the politicians keep playing their dirty games, the punks will always have topics to write songs about. An advice to younger bands would be to compose as many songs and practice as much as possible. There isn’t any punk rock scene in India per se, but the social situation is perfect to build one.

3) You claim to barely play the songs from your EP in your live shows since they are old. You believe to regularly work on new material and make you sets tighter. How important do you feel is it for a band to periodically change their sound and possibly, include different influences into their music?

It is very important for a band to keep on making new music it helps the band become tighter, We average two new songs every month, it makes jamming really fun because sometimes playing the same songs again and again is really boring. When it comes to the sound of the band, I think musicians grow from time to time. I personally can feel the change from the time we first started out till this point. I have grown as a guitar player and as a songwriter. It’s a true fact that people will eventually get bored of listening to the same songs again and again whenever they catch a band live. If not change the sound, bands should actually consider composing new ones so that there is some variety in their sets.

4) POT has made compositions on a variety of issues. From the illusion of freedom in democracy to the refusal of rickshaw drivers to ply. What’s the creative process like? Does the topic usually come first or the melodies?

It totally depends upon different situations. For example, our song MH 370 is about the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft. The Indian family on that flight actually stayed somewhat in and around the places I still hangout at. So I decided to write a song about that tragedy. But usually we come up with the melodies first, and the lyrics follow after the song structure is completely set.

5) The music scene is growing palpably. There are a lot more avenues for artists to express themselves now in comparison to the time you guys started out. Are there any aspects that you guys feel the scene is still lacking in?

Yes the music scene is growing but what we desperately is a venue that doesn’t depend upon selling just beers and burgers. The audience that usually wants to go for such gigs are college goers. They can hardly afford the entry to the clubs, plus the venues are always far away. We need a venue like a B69 or something on a similar model where the gig comes first and the person is actually paying for listening to the acts live, rather than spending on food and booze (That can eventually follow later, though).

6) Punk rock is the sound of anarchy. It is the embodiment of rebellion. In a country that yearns for this kind of music, why hasn’t there been a definite punk rock scene in India?

There aren’t many punk rock bands in India per se. There are hardly some 5-6 punk bands here, that we know of, and most of them have not had the opportunity to tour the country. The bands need to put out material and tour the country. The country’s political situation is a perfect melting pot for a good punk rock scene.

7) You guys have performed numerous gigs around the country, from the likes of Control Alt Delete to Independence Rock. Is there any one that’s especially memorable?

Control Alt Delete was a really memorable gig. It was our best gig so far. The sound was amazing, and the crowd was really supportive. The gig started at 5 and there were almost 200 people in the venue when the first band started to play. The Humming Tree is probably the best venue in the country. You don’t really get to see such things in Mumbai unless it’s a really big gig!

8) Your last activity was the release of your single ‘Shutdown’. You are planning to release your album and a music video. What’s can the POT-heads expect from you this year?

We always suck at this question (Hahaha). Anyway, this year, we are keener on playing at newer venues and expand our reach in the country. Shutdown was a single that we had to release, as that was one of the only old songs that did not get released. We are however working on newer material. As mentioned earlier, we have at least one new song written every month. Album and music video might take a while as we need to collect some funds (We’re a punk band, you see). We can only get money by playing more and more shows. So yeah, 2016 will be a year of more shows and more songs for us. Maybe we might be able to drop a video/ an album too, if things work out well!

Cheers to POT for having that interview with us! Do check out the links below and don’t forget to like POT’s Facebook page and subscribe to their YouTube channel for the latest updates.

Check out Punk On Toast’s Bandcamp page.

You can buy Punk On Toast’s music on OK Listen!

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Protocol

Protocol
Having gone into an indefinite hiatus two years ago, this Mumbai based progressive outfit left everyone in the lurch just as they were about to release their debut EP. It was especially saddening after having releasing a great track named ‘Abeyance’, that really gave listeners a taste of all the wonderful things to come. Now, quite like a phoenix rising from the ashes, this outfit has resurrected. With a lineup consisting of Sandesh Rao & Desikan Gopalan on guitars, Vivian D’souza on bass, Shweta Venkatramani on vocals  and Nachiket Karekar on drums, Protocol is back and for the good, as is clearly evident from their recent release ‘Alive’. Staying true to their core influences, the song is filled with a dark ambient tone and powerful guitar progressions with an overall charming prog-metal appeal to it. Shewta brings with her a fresh wave of intriguing yet chilling vocal melodies and noteworthy lyrics that touch the soul. There’s a palpable sense of excitement with the return of Protocol. The band feels strong, uniform and fresh with the new lineup. There have been rumors of new material on the way which has left me and their fans, both young and old, on the edge of our seats. I simply can’t wait for what this young band has to offer.

IB got to speak with Desikan on a variety of topics. Here’s how it went:

Q) Why ‘Protocol’? What are the origins behind the band?

The message that we wanted to send out to the people who listen to our music needed belief in a certain kind of emotional and physical transformation of oneself. This would be a kind of Protocol that one would follow to create (what we believe) an ideal world. The project was named by Swati, who was the vocalist who wrote the lines for Abeyance our first single release.

Sandy and I first met and we had Sujit on drums. Subsequently, we got Pratik to play bass for us. Swati would head the band back then. About an year back after performing various gigs with us as guest vocalist, Shweta joined as a permanent replacement. Varun Kodolikar was a part of the project during this transitional phase. We started jamming with Nachiket and Vivian about 5 months back and it finally feels like the band is complete.

Q) You guys had been inactive for two years. You guys are clearly back for the good. Will there be a conscious shift in sound with this return?

We are evolving as musicians and I believe sound is one of the most important prerequisites for creating an optimal product. The difference in quality between first and the second song that we have released is massive. As we continue in this journey, we will never be shy to try something new though it might be boldly experimental. The idea is to take each day as it comes but we would continue to stay progressive in our songwriting.

Q) You recently released your single ‘Alive’. Could you guys tell us about that song?

Alive is the story of hundreds around the world who are kept away from each other because of the unnecessary involvement of the society. The song aims to spread the message of humanity as the world’s greatest religion and creates a platform for people to make their own choices in life without thinking about the misgivings of the people around them.

Q) What is it like to be a progressive metal outfit in India? What do you guys think about the music scene in the country, especially regarding the genre?

Progressive music is quickly becoming one of the most interesting scenes in the country. There are a lot of bands that are moving close to modernizing the culture of progressive metal playing in the Indian metal/rock scene. There is adequate infrastructure and events happening all around the country to cater to the needs but there is no portal to help connect these events to bands like us where we can pitch ourselves and attempt to play gigs.  

Bands like Aberrant, Chronic Xorn, Undying Inc., Noiseware is what we listen to and consider as the torch bearers for our side of the paradigm.

Q) For a band who has returned after two long years, is there anything new about the scene? Are you particularly excited about something you’re your return?

There is a really good vibe about the new material that we are working on. The scene has better avenues for exposure but there is very less that can be done before we release new music. The EP is a challenge and one of the most exciting things to do and a first album is monumental for us.

Q) The independent music scene in general lacks female musicians, let alone in the progressive metal scene. Shweta, is there any advice you would want to give young female musicians out there?

Shweta:
I don’t know if it qualifies as advice as such, because it is something I am still learning- is to put yourself more out there, and talk to people. Many might also not have an extremely enthusiastic family, but there is no other way about it. Expressing views clearly helps, people will take much less offense to opposing views expressed rudely than somebody pretending to agree. Let’s not say we’re okay with things we’re not, and let’s not revolt against things we enjoy, not worry about offending people, and not take offense easily either. But all of this aside, more importantly, no matter what other priorities we may have, practice has to take first preference, people here don’t really put up with those who suck at their job, but try to charm their way through.

Q) How would you describe this ‘reincarnated’ band and it’s sound to old fans and new?

The changes that have taken place have been done to ensure continuous flow of material and our lineup is completely supportive of that. The inputs that are flowing in come from varied perspectives now, and have given us a completely new take on our original material. I think, overall, the goal has been to stick to some of our strongest core ideas, but we have attempted to approach it with a more matured mindset. We are attempting to make songs in their entirety, instead of parts that could ‘fit’ with each other.  We are dwelling on parts longer, ensuring they work well, and are not in a hurry to produce outputs forcefully. Also we don’t want fans. We want family.

Q) New line-up, new beginnings. You are also planning to release your EP this year. What’s 2016 like for you guys?

2016 began with a single release, after quite a long break, but we are hoping to keep the momentum going, and are working on our EP, that we will attempt to release in this year. We are planning to go live and will be playing gigs around the city soon. Hope to have a great year ahead.

Thanks to Protocol for having that great interview with us! Do check out the links below and do not forget to like Protocol’s Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest updates.

Check out Protocol’s Bandcamp page.

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Bombay Bassment

Bombay Bassment-1

So do you want to make a Bombay Bassment? The recipe is pretty straightforward. Take an emcee from Kenya. Make sure he slams it every time he has a mike. Got it? Good. Now take a South Indian DJ. Make sure he infuses different genres of music with every mix. Got it? Awesome. Now take a Goan duo. Both need to be stellar musicians. Remember, drum and bass always go together. Got it? Now mix all these ingredients. Spice it up with some killer live performances. Sprinkle some reggae and hip hop. Glaze it with funk. Finally, add a heavy dose of drum and bass. Do you smell that? Good right? Well, it’s now ready for the Best Emerging Band of Jack Daniels Annual Rock Awards’11, Gold for Best Hip Hop group, Silver for best Hip Hop song and a bronze in Genre bending category at South Asian IndieGo Music Awards.
With Levin Mendes on drums, Ruell Barretto on bass, Robert Omulo aka Bobkat on  the mike and DJ Chandrashekar Kunder aka Major C, that’s what you get. Bombay Bassment has left a mark on the independent music scene with its unique sound. There truly are few acts quite like Bombay Bassment. From the iconic songs ‘Hip-Hop [Never Be The Same]’ to my personal favourite ‘Midnight’, their self titled album, which they recorded with Ayan De, is filled with songs that’s going to make you dance. Attend one of their insane live shows, and I’ll bet you’ll be ‘Jumping’ and ‘Stomping’ your way back home.

We had a few questions for BB. Here’s what Lev had to say:

Q) You guys have one of the most unique sounds of all time. The Genre Bending award you won in South Asian IndieGo Music Awards is proof of this. It’s a really tough task to be true to oneself nowadays. How do you guys do it consistently?

It’s tough to be fake, takes a lot, we generally take the easy way out, so…

Q) The band’s name along with the track ‘Bombay Blues’ shows your love for the city that never sleeps. How has Bombay and it’s music scene affected your music?

I’m not entirely sure but to an extent the city has given each one of us something really really special, something that we’d always be indebted to and no matter how far we may go, we’ll always come back home after.

Q) One of the highlights of your band’s history was opening for Snoop Lion at Pune in 2013. Which other international hip hop acts you would want to see in India? According to you, is the Indian audience ready?

Jay Z is a spectacle to watch while Kendrick is hot right now. Maybe Drake would pull a crowd but the masses aren’t ready for a big, stadium size hip hop show right now. Not at least with the chart toppers at the moment.

Q) You guys have collaborated with a lot of artists. Apache Indian and Swarathma are a couple of them. What do you expect with each collaboration? Why is collaboration so important?

Collaborating actually means piggybacking on someone else’s success. You’ve already mentioned two renowned names in your question and I’m not going to say who asked whom to collaborate on who’s song  🙂

Q) The Indian audience consumes so much international hip hop music, but there seems to be no definite hip hop scene even though it has grown over the years. What do you think is the cause for this?

That’s cause the other scenes are clearly bigger than hip hop in the country and it’s easier to plug in a smaller scene into a bigger one. Apart from regular gigs, properties are built on genre basis. Entities own that space and try to build on that year on year. I’m sure in time there’d be enough hype for a hip hop music festival to arrive. We’ve just seen how the first time run-Reggae Sunsplash in Goa unfolded lately. Big things are happening sooner than ever.

Q) You all have other day jobs. Ruell, you’re a banker. Why is it still tough to be a full time musician in India? What do you think should change?

Surprised that you didn’t know Ruell quit being a banker back in 2013. But we must say that we loved him with his day job better than we do now.
Allow me to answer the other two questions too – It’s really tough to be a full time musician and you should read Ruell’s answer to that below.  
Firstly we’re not mainstreamers, we’re indie boys in our 30’s and 40’s, who chose and still choose to not play mainstream or with mainstreamers just for one reason – let’s build our own scene first, before we build someone else’s. Let’s make our own songs popular, before we make someone else’s. And whoever said there is no money, I say there’s no such thing. Nothing happens on the first day. You’ve got to dig in and scoop you way and moolah out, one way or the other. My first job, a decade ago, paid me 10,000 INR for 30 days. Now I make that in 30 minutes, being indie. Any more questions?

Ruell:
Well being a full time musician in the scene is not an easy task, though I have to say it used to be tougher than it currently is. Impossible, definitely not.  Apart from live gigs there are a few other options like sessions, music education, jingles etc that one could make a living with, in the music scene. I currently just love being a full time musician and can’t think of doing anything else (sorry Levin).

Q) You guys made the iconic ‘Hip-Hop [Never Be The Same]’ song video in under ten grand. You’ve won many accolades, played many shows and clearly left your mark on the scene. What advice would you give for any new upcoming independent musician, particularly in this genre since the audience is still new to it?

I think the time Bombay Bassment was born was a pretty cool time and everything we did came to the forefront, even the ‘almost freely’ shot music video. You must know that the learning here is to be very well aware of how the scene you are in functions, what are the key sources of reach available at your disposal and how well you are placed between all of that.

Q) What’s the future like for Bombay Bassment? Are you going to release new material any time soon?

Yes we are. A new single, soon. Then an album, later in the year.  Also we’ve signed up with Mixtape, India’s premier Artist Management agency, starting 2016. So yeah, really looking forward to the year ahead.

 

Cheers to BB for having that interview with us! Do check out the links below. Also make sure to like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel to keep up with their latest updates.

 

 

You can buy their music on:

OK Listen!

iTunes

 

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Heads Up 1

Print

I guess the purpose of this article is self explanatory. Here’s some stuff that have recently been released or will shortly be released that you should check out:-

Released:

  • Pune based post rock outfit Celestial Teapot released their debut album ‘One Big Sky’ on the 4th of December. Available for streaming and purchase on Bandcamp, this masterpiece of an album is something every fan of instrumental rock should check out. It can also be purchased on OK Listen!.
  • In further good news for post rock fans, Delhi based band Ioish (Eye-o-ish) also released their EP ‘We Move the Sky’ on the 20th January. Available for free streaming on Soundcloud, the album is another testament to the growing post rock scene in India. Really worth checking out. The album can be purchased on iTunes.
  • Renowned composer Karsh Kale released his album ‘Up’ on the 29th of January. This chart topper (enough said) is available for streaming on Apple Music and Bandcamp. You can also purchase it on iTunes.
  • Bangalore based emerging DJ and designer Shaan Shiv Suleman released ‘Calculated Risks’ EP on the 17th of January and ‘The importance of misunderstandings’ EP on the 7th of Februrary. Definitely worth a listen if you’re into trip hop and glitch. Available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
  • Independent record label Consolidate released it’s first album, ‘FRNDS & FMLY ‘16’, a compilation of songs by various electronic artists across the indie circuit like founders _RHL and Aniruddh Menon of the erstwhile Machli, on the 27th of January. This compilation has a bit of something for everyone and is definitely worth checking out if you want to get a glimpse of the talent producing music for a vast catalogue of electronic sub genres. Available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
  • Mumbai based electronic artist Kumail released his third EP ‘Links’ on the 6th of Feburary. Fresh and filled with vibe, this EP contains a song featuring Sandunes, with a bonus track with Ox7gen coming shortly. Do check it out.
  • “The Circus” released their third album ‘With Love’, after a gap of three years, on the 2nd of March. The Delhi based rock band is known for frequently experimenting with their sound, and this album does not disappoint. Listen to ‘With Love’ on GQ India.

Releasing:

  • The release of Lead Feet Paper Shoes, Spud in the Box’s eagerly awaited debut album is just around the corner. The album seems to be in the final mixing stages so it shouldn’t be long before we hear an announcement by the band.

 

Here are some upcoming gigs:

  • Head over to Blue FROG Mumbai on the 5th of March to catch Nucleya and the one and only Baba Sehgal performing for what is going to be the last event of the Stage42 festival this year. Tickets are priced at 1000 bucks a piece.
  • Be sure to check out the semi-finals of Bandcubator at The High Spirits, Pune on the 6th of March if you’re looking to have a great weekend with some awesome music. Eden, Skylight Vision, A Mutual Question, Unohu and Silver are all going to duke it out for a spot in the finals. Entry is a measly 100 bucks per head, payable at the venue.
  • This one is a feast for metalheads. Metal Assault, taking place on the 6th of March in Bangalore, will feature Kryptos, Demonic Resurrection, Undying Inc., The Down Troddence, Chaos and Inner Sanctum. With so many powerhouses under one roof, you can be sure that your neck will be sore after all that headbanging. Tickets can be bought via Bookmyshow.
  • Lucid Recess and Aberrant perform at the Underdoggs Sports Bar & Grill, Guwahati on the 11th of March along with five other bands to mark the city finals of the Converse Rubber Tracks event. RSVP to enter.
  • Sky Rabbit headlines the Converse Rubber Tracks city finals at The High Spirits, Pune on the 12th of March. The event will also feature five other talented bands from Pune who will be announced shortly. You can also vote for your favourites from the city. Again, entry is free. Simply RSVP here.
  • Indie March, one of the biggest music fests in India, takes place on the 19th and 20th of this month. With the event promising to showcase over 30+ artists from across the globe, it is one event that any music fan shouldn’t miss.
  • Punk Rock night with ennui.BOMB takes place on the 22nd of March at the Blue FROG Mumbai. Entry is free so go and have a great time bringing out the rebel in you.Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.