Bit of Both

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There was one thing that struck me about Bit of Both’s debut album ‘Prequels & Sequels’ even before I started listening to it; the sheer number of collaborations on the nine track release. I thought it was a strange move since a debut album does serve as a first impression to listeners and this would probably leave them confused about what to expect from the act itself. Once I was done listening to the album though, I understood. There is something about the experienced duo’s music that just stands out. Whether it be a fusion with classical elements as seen in ‘Indian Blues’ or an overall dark, ambient theme like in ‘Free’, their influence on each track is unmistakably felt. Yet, their versatility shines through. ‘Prequels & Sequels’ serves as a real showcase for their talent as they take you on a journey that you wish wouldn’t end (Seriously, the put-on-loop potential is strong in this one).
Bit of Both is Ashvin Mani Sharma aka Calm Chor and Ash Roy, two of the scene’s most experienced electronica acts. Having been part of the indie circuit for over a decade now, part of which was spent together as one half of the erstwhile Jalebee Cartel, the duo have performed all across the globe and have played alongside some of the biggest names in the underground music scene like Richie Hawtin and Sasha to name a few. They also run a record label called Soupherb Records that serves as a platform for a variety of great underground electronica artists in the country. With a track record this good, Bit of Both is definitely set to be one of the countries greatest electronic music acts in the country, and is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

We spoke to Ashvin on their journey so far, their record label and their plans for the future amongst other things. Check it out:

Q) You guys have been a part of the indie music for almost two decades now. In that time,
you’ve shared a headlining space with some of the biggest electronic acts like The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy, amongst others, and have made your presence felt at venues around the world. What’s the journey been like?

It has been good for sure. We have been into this since before it was “cool” and worked our way up. It’s good to be in a space where the scene has really taken off now and we have a legit underground music scene in India.

Q) You guys have expressed your love for collaborations in the past. What does a collaboration mean to you?

Music always gets better when more people come into the picture who have the same intention. It’s a collaborative sport. A good collaboration is when all concerned parties are on creatively on the same page and the music just flows.

Q) The fusion of electronica and live instruments is no mean task. What is the creative process behind Bit of Both’s compositions? Any advice to acts who would like to successfully integrate these elements as well as you guys have?

We actually just try to keep the process as simple as possible and most of our compositions are minimal so that we always have space for other instruments. This way we can always jam with any musicians that are around. Of course we also have a definite plan with the general aesthetics of Bit of Both. There is a certain vibe we try to convey through our music which is a more relaxed listening space where one can dance or just listen.

Q) As an experimental act, what are your thoughts on the indie scene? How has it changed since you started off and in what ways does it need to change in order to cater to the needs of today’s musicians better?

We have a solid indie scene but we are lacking numbers in our audience. It’s just a matter of time I think, till we can support the music purely on a numbers basis as opposed to having sponsored events. That will be the next and best stage of our scene.

Q) One of Bit of Both’s visions is to collaborate with the biggest of artists on the grandest of stages, something that you guys have partly achieved. Which acts would you love to collaborate with the most? Also, how near/far do you feel is the music scene in our country from granting Indian acts international exposure on a regular basis?

We would love to collaborate with as many artists on as many stages as possible. In our vibe we would love to do a live show with Apparat and Modselektor (Moderat). And since we are taking names, would love to throw in Chemical Brothers and Underworld as well. As far as getting international exposure for our acts, I don’t really know what it would take apart from getting a hit of some sort.

Q) Live performances are something Bit of Both looks forward to. Do you have any particularly special memories regarding any gig?

Our first Live set at Sisyphos in Berlin was amazing. A small and intimate performance exploding with energy and the audience was as in it as us. Truly an amazing feeling 🙂

Q) Tell us a bit about your record label Soupherb Records.

Soupherb Records is going from strength to strength. We have been curating the label very carefully so that we have can craft a certain sound and vibe for the label. I think it has been working and we are super happy to be in a position to push local talent into the the international market.

Q) What can fans expect to see from Bit of Both in the near future?

Lots more music and a fantastic interactive audio-video live show that we are working on.

Cheers to Bit of Both for having that interview with us! Make sure you like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and SoundCloud and subscribe to their YouTube channel to keep up to date with their latest releases.

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.

 

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Skrat

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I could make this to be a mundane bio describing a band that has been described many times before but it wouldn’t be doing justice to this Heavy Rock act from Chennai so I’m going to keep this simple.

Things I love about Skrat:

  • Live performances: There are live performances and then there’s Skrat. When Sriram says jump, you’ll probably be motivated enough to jump off a building. In a good way, of course.
  • Whether it’s about the ‘heat elevating between one’s knees’ or about Samurai Badass’ exploits including but not limited to Hadoukens and beating people up with his beer mug in hand intact, Skrat surely knows how to make a point and there is no hesitation about it. It’s as honest as it goes and a quite a lot of it is based on the situation around us.
  • They count upon comic books and characters as inspirations and have songs based on fictional creations themselves like the aforementioned Samurai Badass, Tin Can Man and the Queen.
  • Their name comes from the Ice Age character. And they’ve avoided copyright issues like a boss.
  • “Love’s just like snooker. So colourful but all balls.” Always remember that kids.
  • They went on a road trip across India with their entire crew on bikes, performed at 7 different cities and documented the entire experience in this inspirational video that you should definitely check out.
  • Stuff like this.

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  • Riffs!
  • Did I mention live performances?

Whether you agree with me or not (especially since this is totally unbiased), the fact remains that Skrat is a force to be reckoned with, preferably felt first hand. As they turn 10 next month, this power trio consisting of Sriram T.T. on guitar and vocals, Jhanu Chanthar on bass and Tapass Naresh on drums and vocals, has been through it all. With three albums under the belt and a fourth, Bison, just around the corner, this act is one of the most exciting acts in the country and is a reflection of the immense talent that does exist in India.

We spoke to Sriram on a variety of topics. Here’s how it went:

Q) It’s been roughly ten years since the band has been formed. How would you describe the journey so far in a Skrat song lyric?

“If you’re looking for blood, a wise man said that you just might find it and there ain’t no way back home. You’ll put your soul on sale with a bang bang bang.”
If I had a nickel for everytime we said we wanted to kill someone, in society and even between us, we would fly around the world in a Skrat Jet.
The journey has been tough from outside and in.

Q) Earlier you have said that the initial few years were really tough. What advice would you give upcoming bands that you wish you knew then?

There are no real rules except to be true to what you really want to do. Make music because you love it and keep doing it no matter what anybody tells you. Some people will like it, some people won’t. That’s why it’s special.
When we were young we gave in to criticism too easily and also played to impress people. That didn’t really work out till we learnt it the hard way.

Q) Has the writing process changed in any way over the years? You claim that almost all of the songs are initially acoustic. Can fans expect a acoustic special something on the lines of ‘In The Shed’?

I spend a lot of time on the acoustic guitar just because it’s lying around. So song ideas generally come from there. With the new album Bison and the addition of our new Bass man Jhanu, the writing process has somewhat morphed into a more intense back and forth between the three of us, either in the jam room or outside.

Q) Could you tell us about the ‘Skrat Crew’? What’s your relationship been like with your fans over the years?

“Skrat Crew” is a phenomenon that I can’t really explain, because I still can’t believe it happened to Skrat. It’s a collection of talented individuals. Artists, Photographers, Film Makers, Engineers, Technicians, Writers, Business minded individuals etc who have taken to Skrat and have decided to contribute heavily and haven’t asked for anything in return. To a point where they have taken ownership and would fight to have their creative input in things. Its an overwhelming feeling really. I can’t be more grateful.

Q) You always say that you cannot sustain yourself completely based on the indie scene and this belongs to the ‘post 5 o’clock workspace’. Are there some things that can be done to change that i.e. make things better for the artists?

Today honestly you CAN survive in an ‘Indie’ profession. Having said that, making it a profession in India means, along the way somewhere, you will compromise. You might whole heartedly justify it and be ok with it. Is that really what you want? If it is, we stand corrected and you CAN live off independent music.
In 2016 you really can find a way to pay the bills doing what you love in INDIA.

Q) What’s your opinion of the Indian indie scene? What’s your take on Chennai’s part in it?

We come from a time where there was no ‘Scene’. We complained about it a lot. Some people did something about it and actively made a difference.
Chennai has had its part played. Bands from Chennai have really cut through and risen to heights on their own steam in other parts of the country and I am proud that people in other cities look at Chennai as a legitimate source of art and talent.

Q) Many of your songs are a reaction to the socio-political situation of our country. How do you think the characters from the ‘Skrat universe’ like Tin Can Man, Gun Slinger & The Queen react to it or help it?

Most of the characters of the Skrat Universe have one thing in common. Honour and Respect. They are people who still live by the philosophy of following a code. Old world thinking some might say. I think there is a lack of it in the millennial society of today.

Q) Finally, what do you consider a few of your best moments so far? What’s next for Skrat?

The best moments have been too many to count. My personal favourite is probably when the crowd sing along to the lyrics I have written. The louder they sing, the better life gets.
More material, More music, More touring, More, More, More.

Cheers to Skrat for having that interview with us. Make sure you like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel to get the latest updates on their upcoming album Bison, any upcoming gigs and a lot more.

Check out Skrat’s website.

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.

Ambient Rock Bands – Part 1

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The Indian independent scene has seen the emergence of a lot of new genres. Instrumental and ambient rock bands are one of the relatively newer trends. There’s a lot of talented acts out there that make some fantastic music. In this two part article, we bring to you a few acts, in no particular order, that have caught our attention and undoubtedly deserve yours.

 

Farfetch’d

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Based out of Bangalore, Farfetch’d started out as Akash Murthy’s bedroom project which eventually evolved into a three piece band post the inclusion of Siddharth S on bass and Vinall Blaze on drums after the making of the act’s debut album, The Alchemist. A true masterpiece of an album that hooks you right from the first note, The Alchemist makes for a great atmospheric experience that simply cannot be described in words. The numerous elements, both live as well as electronic, combine masterfully to create soundscapes that only a few albums can match. With a complete lineup and more great stuff in the pipeline, we simply cannot wait to see what they have in store for us.

aswekeepsearching

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  • Based out of Ahmedabad – Check
  • Post Rock – Check
  • Hindi Vocals – Check

Whether it be the band’s love for lowercase letters or the combination of the points mentioned above, everything about aswekeepsearching seems to be a breath of fresh air. Founded in 2013, the band comprising of Uddipan Sarmah on vocals and guitar, Shubham Gurung on guitar and keys, Bob Alex on bass and Gautam Deb on drums has quickly made its mark on the international post rock scene having toured Russia already. And with a debut album, Khwaab, like theirs, one can understand why. Filled with haunting vocals, surreal guitar pieces, driving basslines and energetic drumming sequences, this is an album that any music fan must listen to.

A Mutual Question

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Another band that started out in 2013, this Mumbai based act consisting of Siddharth Chopra and Proteesh Ravi on guitar, Homi Rustumji on bass and Aviraj Kumar on drums is one that believes in creating an audio-visual experience through the amalgamation of diverse forms of music. And they surely are experts in doing just that. Having released two EPs so far, Eyes Everywhere and Strangeloop, A Mutual Question exhibits their versatility over the course of their discography by incorporating everything from electronic elements to metal worthy drumming patterns. This is one act that everyone should definitely keep an eye out for.

 

Zokova

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A post rock project from New Delhi made up of Ritwik De, Amar Pandey and Suyash Gabriel, Zokova is an act that is really worth checking out. They made their presence known by releasing a series of interlinked songs that highlighted the various emotions one went through on a daily basis but more often than not, failed to acknowledge. It makes for a compelling tale that really showcases the band’s immense potential and is a must listen. They have recently released a music video and are working on a variety of new material.

 

Ioish

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And finally we have another post rock act based out of New Delhi. With Vaibhav Bhutani on guitar, Abhinav Chaudhary on bass and Anshull Lall on drums, Ioish (Eye-o-ish) is an act that has really made it’s mark on the Indian post rock scene, which is particularly impressive since they only recently released their debut EP We Move the Sky. An EP that is as soothing as much as it is heavy, Ioish kills it with this release and have found instant fans in us.

 

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.