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!
Check out Punk On Toast’s Bandcamp page.
You can buy Punk On Toast’s music on OK Listen!
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