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.
- 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.
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