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Back On Earth by Girish and The Chronicles

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There is something invigorating in the North Eastern mountain air that allows so many top-notch vocalists to emerge from that region. Girish Pradhan is one such vocal stalwart – and while he is by no means the latest, he is definitely one of the better known singers this long production line has successfully brought into the fore.

Girish Pradhan is an icon in his home state of Sikkim and in North-East India. And while most talented artistes from this region find it hard to make a break-through into the national mainstream, for Girish, his vocal talent has managed to take him to the four corners of the country and beyond. His performances both as a solo artist and with his band have won him tons of accolades, and rightly so – for his performances on stage are a delight for music lovers.

Great vocals and awesome stage presence does not however make a great album of originals. Vocal talent can only take you so far, and without interesting compositions a singer and his band are lost souls. So the question that immediately comes to mind is this: Is Girish Pradhan the song-writer able to hold his own, or is he just a pretty voice from the hills of the North-East?

Back On Earth is, for the most part, a highly listenable album, especially if you like your music hard and loud. The originals on this debut effort transport you back to an era when hard rock was just plain and simple hard rock, and when the music wasn’t adulterated with sounds from the modern metal movement. The originals that are featured here are heavily influenced by some of the best loved hard rock bands of yore, and each riff, hook or drum solo sounds familiar– like straight from a vintage 80s hard rock anthem. It really is fun listening to the songs and trying to guess their probable influences.

So yes, there is no denying that a whole lot of inspiration and influences ranging from AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Guns ‘n Roses, Van Halen and even Led Zeppelin resonate through each track. But this does not necessarily indicate that Girish And The Chronicles was possessed by the copy-cat bug, and Back On Earth is definitely no hard rock or glam metal rip-off. Putting aside the fact that each song is oozing in hard rock nostalgia, what makes this album such an enjoyment to the senses is that the listener is transported back to an era when long hair, leather jackets and loudness prevailed.

Girish Pradhan and his band of merry men show much passion and belief in the delivery of each track that the listener would find it difficult to stop being dragged in to the very same mental space that the band has lost themselves to. The amount of conviction that emanates from Girish in his vocal delivery of each song is tremendous, and you could be easily fooled in believing that the poor chap still thinks he’s lost in an 80s time-warp. But that is a good thing, come to think of it – because without this sense of conviction or feel the listener would never really manage to get into the thick of things and Back On Earth would have remained just an ordinary album of ordinary originals.

Back On Earth is most definitely a feel good album, and if its rhythm doesn’t get you then chances of you either being stone deaf or a stuck-up frog-in-the-mud are very high. However there is a downer which holds this album back and prevents it from rising to the top of the pile – the foremost problem being its lack of surprises. There are no hidden gems stashed away amongst the songs that comprise this compilation, and that is because some of these originals have been around for quite some time. For instance, their trademark track ‘Angel, the original which shot them straight to the gates of fame, has been around since 2009. And however popular it may be, featuring a five year old song on this debut album of theirs dilutes its freshness. The same would apply for their tracks ‘Golden Crown’, ‘I Wanna Get That Lovin’ Again’, ‘Ride To Hell’, ‘Yesteryears’, ‘Loaded’, ‘A New Beginning’ – all these songs have been around for quite some time now, and the probability of you having heard them being performed live are extremely high. More than a debut album, Back On Earth sounds like a Girish Pradhan Greatest Hits compilation. Granted, it is a pleasure listening to these popular songs, but the lack of expectation and surprise is a supreme let-down.

On the other hand, if you have never ever heard of Girish Pradhan and/or have heard his songs before, then the above wouldn’t apply to you. So sit back, crank up the volume and go back in time to an era where hard rock reigned supreme. Feel the power of Suraz Karki’s guitars on the opening track ‘End Of Civilization’ and go back to the heydays of AC/DC while listening to ‘Shot By The Cupid (Touched By The Devil)‘. Let the rhythm of ‘Hey You’ take away your blues, while on ‘I Wanna Get That Lovin’ Again’ do you possibly hear a tinge of Bon Jovi? Yogesh Pradhan’s enormous bass-lines start off ‘Born With A Big Attitude’, and you almost feel that this track would not have felt out of place on the Guns ‘n Roses classic album Appetite For Destruction.There is a bit of Led Zeppelin in the opening bars of ‘Loaded’, after which Girish Pradhan takes this original into hard-rock anthem mode – easily one of the best tracks on this album.

After a pulsating start to Back On Earth, ‘Angel’ slows things down considerably, and depending upon your mood you may find this a nice breather or a major distraction. For me it was the latter. Nagen Mongrati pounds away on ‘Revolving Barrel’ to bring the album back to its prevalent loud mood, while Suraz Karki again goes into full overdrive on ‘Ride To Hell’. One of their earlier originals ‘Golden Crown’ is featured not once, but twice – the second time as a bonus track, and not really adding much value to the album as a whole. The last couple of tracks on this album are basically slower tunes and it is almost as if the band has lost steam after their frantic start. ‘A New Beginning’ and the two bonus tracks ‘Yesteryears’ and ‘Smile Little Child’ are fine originals, and you are reminded of quite a few power ballad classics when you listen to them. A nice way to end the album – but it probably would have been more appropriate to go out with a bang with another loud and heavy original instead of letting the album to dissipate away in the background.

So there you have it – Girish And The Chronicles’ debut effort, a delight for any hard rock fan.  Plans are supposedly already under way for album #2. One can only hope that this time the band takes their music down a more unexplored path rather than stick to the tried and tested. For though this band are kings on stage, they need to show their fans and to the world that they are equally adept at song-writing as well – and to show one and all that they have what it takes to break-away from the generic hard rock formula that is so prevalent on Back On Earth. The band certainly has what it takes to do this, so let us wait and watch and see how they progress over the next couple of years.

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An Eye for Music

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One of the most delightful conundrums of music is that while it had almost solely been hailed as an enchanter of the ear, its proliferation into the phenomenon that it has become has been dependant largely on the visual dimension. To put it bluntly, music has been parading as a non-optic art even though half its appeal lies in visualization. Not merely stage presence, but even music videos and the artists’ presentation in terms of fashion and symbology shapes the listener’s perception of and response to the music.

In all truth, can you imagine your favorite group never touring? Can you imagine never having the opportunity to gauge their skills without the sound processors and the benefits of jaw-dropping equipment? You really can’t. Even if the chances of you actually getting to watch Radiohead or Draconian or Steve Wilson is slim, you still go to YouTube and check their live performances because, in this age of auto-tuning and musical contraptions whose names I can’t even spell, the live show is our last resort to judge the quality of what the artists purports to stand upon.

But the appeal of the live gig does not merely end with a perfect rendition of your favorite song. The very vision of musicians physically handling instruments and singing, the movement in time, or even out of time with the rhythm adds a sense of validity to the music. Think about it. Aerosmith’s performance of ‘Dream On’ at the concert for Tania Vasileva is completely different from anything else they’ve done, and mainly because Steven Tyler makes this voodoo-ballet arm motion which is frankly, mesmerizing, even with his obviously tired voice. Think Steven Wilson gesturing furiously while singing ‘What Happens Now’ in Tillburg [remember when he twirls his fingers? A perfect cross between Moriarty and Bellatrix Lestrange!] Everything, from the color of lighting to the motions of the artist become a part of the listener’s receptive sensation. Karsh Kale’s collaboration with The Midival Punditz in the Paleo Fest ’09 in Geneva brings to mind the effect visual arrangement has upon what the music ‘feels’ like. There is none to deny that the play of light and shade on stage and beyond it has manipulated countless listeners into the state of mind that the music desires.

An Eye for Music

The personal nuances of the musician’s physical expression, in accompaniment with the music incorporates a sense of completeness. Yanni’s enormous performances set at the great monuments of the world make a direct statement upon the grandiosity and the power his music never fails to achieve. The music that, on an album is more of a simple auditory expression, when heard live, infuses into the listener a certain bodily consciousness.

Nowhere is music’s visual significance more evident than in the rock and metal community. Both genres have a fanbase that chooses to define itself by visual means, be it clothing, accessories or personal style. In essence, the black clothing and the long hair and the tattoos do not merely proclaim the fan’s loyalty, but also collect the individual into a sense of artistic community. It might sound trivial, but eons of similar cultural functioning would state otherwise.

Interestingly, the visual facet of music finds an expression in something called “visual music”. A term coined by art critic Roger Fry to describe the work of Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky, it refers to use of musical structures in visual art or methods that translate music into visual presentation. This form is frequently found in the works of experimental musicians like Porcupine Tree or Japanese noise artist Merzbow or Indian guitar virtuoso Amyt Dutta. Try Dutta’s video of ‘Ironic Bironic’ and you’ll see what I mean. Or check out any of Porcupine Tree’s live shows, which are incomplete without a background kaleidoscope of Lasse Hoile’s photography. Album art, infact, contributes enormously to conveying a message or establishing an ethic. Why else would Cat Stevens or Cannibal Corpse take such pains to devise album art that have gone on to become the stuff of legend? Let’s not forget The Bicycle Days creating album covers that seems right of a Beatles style LSD trip? The visual part is not just an accompaniment but serves to enhance the influence of the music.

An Eye for Music

Of course, such influence is noticeable only in the case of artists that make conscious use of imagery in tandem with their melody. Most often, the visual paradigm is confined to music videos. Barring those that choose to merely random images without making an actual point , the video offers a great amplification of the musical intent. The video can contribute, to an astounding extent in understanding the musician’s conclusions. Case in point : Tool’s ‘Parabol/Parabola’ video, Wilson’s ‘Harmony Corine’ or Unkle’s ‘Rabbit in your Headlights’. The irrefutable truth of humanity’s preference for that which can be seen makes visual artistry an undermined but inalienable part of music in its entirety.

The existence of a neurological condition called ‘synesthesia’ that enables human beings to actually visualize music in colors and visual shapes is reflected in the artistry of most experimental musicians.

Sure, many of them resort to obscurantism, but you’re bound to come across unforgettable tales written in a combination of image and sound. Bring to mind the soundtrack of Ben Hur or The Dark Knight Trilogy or even Eraserhead. The music’s excellence first struck us because of its skill in accentuating and manipulating our sentiments in accordance to the film’s events. Moreover, some of the most harrowing and engaging music in the world, namely psychedelia, attempts to replicate a state of mind dominated by intoxicant-induced images. Syd Barrett or John Lennon certainly devoted a large part of their imagination to the construction of music that sought to enhance your ‘high’, and popular opinion would have you convinced that the ‘high’ is almost entirely a profusion of uncanny images.

Music is the most embracing of all art forms. Never meant to be isolated, music makes inroads into every consciousness and does so by appealing to every one of the listener’s senses, among which the visual is the most accessible. Human perception, unless otherwise hindered is primarily active through the eyes. Music, in its complete aspect harnesses and harmonises the visual to the auditory in creating a sentimental and psychological response.

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Girish and The Chronicles at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore

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It was a lazy Saturday evening with uncharacteristically empty roads in Bangalore, thanks to an extended holiday week. I had decided to attend the performance of a band that would be playing classic and ’80s rock. A quick check on Facebook about the band’s profile and some of their originals got me quite excited for the performance.

The gig was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. and I was there by 8, not wanting to miss any part of the show. I got the chance to interact with the band’s manager, Ujjwal just before the show started and managed to get some interesting bits of information about the music scene in the North East.

The band came on stage a bit later than the scheduled start. After a brief jam and introduction session, they started off with The Eagles’ ‘New Kid in Town’. There was a small cheer from a section of the crowd as the familiar intro to the song started. Girish’s mellow vocals, although not a faithful reproduction of Glenn Frey’s, perfectly captured the melancholy of the fleeting nature of fame that The Eagles showcased in this song.

Next up was ‘Proud Mary’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, another gem from the stable of classic rock. The band’s version of this song had a slight hard rock edge, understandably so, considering their influences and genre. Suraz set the stage ablaze with the brief but amazing solo; Girish carried off the raspy vocals in the style of John Fogerty quite well, just enough to retain the charm of the original in the signature “Rollin’…” chorus.

The band quickly shifted gears to the all-time Rock n’ Roll classic, ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry. The high-energy song had the people on their feet soon enough and Suraz did complete justice to the legend’s solo.

Our expectations were already sky-high after three back to back perfectly executed classic rock songs but nothing had prepared us for the next one. Nagen and Yogesh started a sonic assault on the audience and soon Suraz and Girish joined in with a rocking riff and a high-pitched scream. The real rock-lovers in the audience were blown away. It was ‘Rock n’ Roll’ by Led Zeppelin! The performance was electrifying and raw, true to the style of Led Zeppelin. Bonzo would have been proud of the drumming. It would have been difficult to say if it was Plant or Girish on the stage if your eyes were closed. Suraz was impeccable. Not many bands dare play Led Zeppelin live but the quartet present in front of us matched the other legendary quartet in every aspect. The drum roll at the end of this song was icing on the cake.

By now, the band had everyone captivated and no one was going anywhere. Perhaps realizing that there is something as too much awesomeness, the band brought down the tempo a bit with another song by The Eagles, ‘Get Over It’. Suraz started off with an ear-melting solo. As the song progressed, it was clear that this was not a replica band. A distinct Judas Priest influence in the riffs and drums could be detected which made this classic even more enjoyable.

I was told earlier that Sebastian Bach of Skid Row was a fan of Girish’s vocal prowess. After this performance, I could understand why – the band performed the super-hit ballad by Skid Row from the 80s, ‘18 and Life’ which had Bach himself on the vocals. Girish had us mesmerized with his vocal range that’s a hallmark of this ballad. You have to listen to it to realize how difficult it can be to sing. Suraz was again at the top with a solo that captured the nostalgia of power ballads from the 80s era.

As the ballad faded out, we were greeted with what is perhaps the most famous riff in the history of rock music. ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple was next in line. Girish had demonstrated an uncanny ability to sound similar to quite a few legendary vocalists by now and this one was no exception. The bassist had a nice slap tone for the sound and it seemed like Suraz would set the fret board on fire with a well-replicated solo.

I had barely recovered from the crescendo that Girish’s voice reached at the end of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and I could already recognize the badass intro sequence from ‘Highway Star’ (Deep Purple again) drifting into my ears. The quartet was blasting out this classic with the same raw intensity as they had displayed with ‘Rock n’ Roll’ by Zeppelin. The fact that no one felt the absence of the organ solo in this song says a lot about the tight and technically-accurate performance. The night just kept getting better.

Taking pity on the audience who were delirious with the mind-numbing performances put forth, the band switched to one of their originals called ‘Angel’. It is a power ballad with a very 80s feel to it, complete with a powerful build-up and a wailing guitar solo in the middle. Some were holding up candles and waving them as they sang along. It might have been as well a scene from a Def Leppard show with a signature power ballad track.

It was time for some old-school progressive rock as the band started with the high energy intro to ‘Rock Bottom’ by UFO. This was just an indicator of the versatility of the band with respect to the genres that they play. Suraz did an excellent job playing the intricate solos that form the major part of the song. This was perhaps the first time I have ever seen an Indian band perform a song from the lesser known yet legendary bands like UFO.

The band quickly progressed from ‘Rock Bottom’ to ‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple. They were turning out to be quite the Deep Purple followers! The drumming was exceptional, to say the least and was reminiscent of Neil Peart’s style in a few places.

After lulling the audience with a bluesy piece, the band decided to take the energy levels in Kyra to another level by playing two back to back AC/DC super-hits, ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Highway to Hell’. Girish’s vocals seemed a bit tired out by the time he reached the latter but then, playing such a long set with demanding vocals like that of Bon Scott can take a toll on anyone.

The band was now taking requests from the audience – along came the perfectly executed ‘Cryin’ by Aerosmith which got everyone in the audience singing along. It was time for some Led Zeppelin again with ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The band outdid themselves in this piece. It reminded me of Led Zeppelin’s performance of the same song in 1975 at Madison Square Garden. The intro to the song was simple captivating. Girish pulled off a Plant-esque stage persona with the latter’s famously generous use of “baby” in most live renditions of their songs. The highlight of the performance though was the solo by Suraz. It wasn’t a faithful reproduction of the original but that made it even the more enjoyable as we got to see his creativity in full flow.

Another request came in. This time it was ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden. Girish did mention something about the band not having practiced this well enough, but it certainly didn’t seem like it when they started playing. A few people were seen headbanging to this heavy metal classic.

Sweet Child of Mine’ was their last song of the night. The song started out a bit slow compared to the original with the band taking a while to build up the tempo, but once they got into the groove it was paradise city for those who stayed back till the end.

Once the band got off stage, I could finally take my eyes off them and take in the reactions of the people around me. Folks who were in there for some good old Rock n’ Roll had got their money’s worth and the incredulous looks on their faces said it all. With bands like Girish and The Chronicles around, we don’t have to worry about good music dying out.

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Where’s all the new music going?

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It’s 2011. Yes, over a decade since the big Y2K thing that was meant to represent the future. It’s a beautiful year and technology in all directions is doing bigger leaps everyday – Bangalore may even get decent 3G and a rail system 50ft above the ground!

So why is it then, that at almost every pub and restaurant, every new band is doing covers, and our beloved radio station, is completely obsessed with the 60s – 80s? Yes it was an awesome time for music; it was a revolution. But we’ve grown since then. Our lives are different, our pains, our joys, all stem from an understanding of what has passed and from a hope for a less bleak future.

Yet, walk into most any bar, and you’ll hear Mr. Big, Deep Purple, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Dylan, The Stones, and maybe, if they’re adventurous they may encroach on the nineties with some Aerosmith or Chili Peppers. Don’t get me wrong. I do love these bands dearly and am a giant fan of the era, but it is still the past. It’s before our time and therefore not written for us. It talks beautifully of universal things like love and philosophy, but is received more as a story handed down than a representation of where we are. It’s art after all, and art is nothing without context.

So, where is this rant headed? It’s not a stretch to reason that this stuff is played so much because it’s recognizable and people want to hear it. At the same time, big money is putting their weight behind easy-to-digest pop that most everyone hates, but accepts as an inescapable result of commercialism. This means we have a generation of people that seemingly have no one expressing their emotions, being led by a past of hardship that isn’t theirs, ironically often singing about individuality and empowerment: fighting a forgotten war with no opposition.

It’s the adult version of teenage angst. Sadly, you’ll see this spread past just music. It’s a much larger scale problem. It means we don’t actually know what we want; we’re disaffected but don’t really know why. And as a result, support or oppose things like Anna Hazare’s dictatorship proposition without weighing final outcomes. We’re a middle-class who listen to Lennon cry for peace, love and freedom, but will back a totalitarian regime if it’s packaged tidily and pushes the right buttons. We’re not invested in the world around us, because we don’t relate to it directly. It’s not just music. Think of your top 10 painters; your top 10 (non-Hollywood) movies; comic characters, recipes, clothing styles, authors, how many are from the last 5 years?

The last few big concerts I remember hearing about were Cold Player, Foreigner, Bryan Adams, Led Zepplica, Prodigy, Michael Learns to Rock, Lamb of God, the list goes on. It’s not flattering and we happily joke about India being on the ‘retirement tour’. Nobody new comes down because, when they do, nobody turns up – because nobody’s heard of them, because nobody has been sitting comfy in the sixties, unaware that the world is happy now.

We’ve come to grips with the destructive species that we are, and are fighting to save ourselves, not just say there’s a problem. Go out of your way, find music that speaks to you where you are now; you’ll learn about yourself and believe in the universe more. We can hope you’ll be happier, and maybe honk less and smile more.

Note: Prodigy did do Invaders Must Die, which I adore, in 2009. But the publicity, and the big reason people went was Smack My Bitch Up (The Fat of The Land, 1997). Even then, it was far from packed.

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Interview with Slain

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In early 2007, an innovative, refreshing sound made Slain become one of the most sought-after live acts within India, now reputed as the country’s finest in Melodic Progressive Rock. Slain has performed alongside some of the biggest international sensations like Iron Maiden and Mr. Big. WTS got talking to band members Judah Sandhy, Bryden Stephen Lewis, Naresh Nathan, Jared Sandhy, Jonathan and Manek D’Silva and here’s what they had to share…

WTS: You started off in 2007 and have gained a lot of popularity in three years, tell us about the experience so far.

Naresh: April 2007 was when this line up came together and we started off by playing a lot of competitions within Bangalore and outside Bangalore. There have been quite a lot of memorable shows! It was fun nonetheless it was hard because we were a very new band. At that time we even hadn’t fixed on our genre. People started saying ‘You guys are very diverse, you have to fix up on a genre of sorts’. It was only during the first six months of Slain that we decided upon the genre, before that we were very diverse in what we used to play. Watching a lot of the other bands and getting a lot of criticism actually helped the band, because we didn’t take it in the wrong way whatsoever, we still kept at it. We had this desire to get onstage and give something different – like a mix of metal and rock, that’s how Judah puts it. That’s what we did and it’s been good since then. We’ve picked up a lot of pace, and popularity has come its way, so yeah, it’s been good for the past three years!

WTS: How long have you all known each other? 

Manek: Too long! (laughs)

Bryden: Manek and I were band mates for a really long time. I don’t think we had a choice there! We started playing the guitar around the same time. The two of us were in a rival band. That was when Slain was a college band… we were all in college then. We competed and then I got a call from Judah who is the founder of Slain and he just wanted to take it to a whole new level. He started calling random people, all of us and different people from different bands! (laughs)

Manek: You make it sound so romantic! (laughs)

Naresh: In the beginning months he used to call me at least five times a day!

Bryden: (imitating Judah) Will you please play for me? (laughs) Even though we knew each other, I joined a little earlier, Manek came about 7-8 months later. That’s when the Slain guitarist quit. Slain totally had like twenty four members who came to be a part of it (laughs)

WTS: Every band has fallen prey to ego issues at some point or the other. How do you deal with them and stick together?

Naresh: We all use tranquilizer shots! (laughs)

Manek: What we all believe is that a band is more than just a few people coming together to play music. With all the bands that we look up to, there’s some amount of chemistry – them knowing each other is in fact half the reason that we like them, or when they’re on stage the amount of fun they have with each other, the jokes… you can see all that. That’s what inspires us so much, that these people are connected not only through their music but they also know and understand each other. Take a band like Aerosmith who were together for 34 years – when a band sticks together for that long, it just becomes such an inspiration.

Bryden: We’ve learnt to keep calm, it shouldn’t affect our music.

Manek: But fights do arise, arguments do arise. We know deep inside that whatever it is, we need to solve it because we’re a band. Even if it’s the worst situation in the world, we’re a 6-piece band, its 6 of us and we need to solve it together. No one else is going to do that for us.

WTS: Do you have fans you keep in touch with?

Bryden: Of course, that’s like a daily thing we maintain.

Judah: At every show, we make sure that we collect email ids from everybody present if they’re interested in sharing their email ids, we add them onto our blogs, we keep in touch with them, we tell them about our shows in the future. Moreover, we make them feel very important.

Bryden: They know us too well, they take us for granted, I’m not kidding. Having personal interaction with the crowd is very good.

Naresh: These guys come to watch you, they come to support you and the least you could do is hang out with them before the show or after a show. We’re not anything greater than them, they’re taking time out to come watch us and support us, without them we wouldn’t be where we are.

Bryden: Yeah we wouldn’t have a platform to play if it weren’t for them. We’d just be a bedroom jam band!

WTS: Are you a Gospel band?

Naresh: The lyrics that we write are all Christian, from the Bible but what we try to do is give something positive.

Judah: All the band members are inspired by our individual influences. We would like to adapt the same things, the same lifestyle – not only living it onstage but also off stage and we like to adapt it in our lyrics. People who don’t come to watch us live, can connect to us through our lines, view our lyrics online and see what the band has to deliver to the fans. We also want them to be inspired by our lifestyle,what we believe in. Its not about religion, we’re just giving a positive message .And the best way that we could do this is not by talking to them directly but through our songs. With a beautiful tune to it as well as some lyrics that suit it.

WTS: Tell us about your debut album Here and Beyond. Have you experimented with something new and exciting? How will it differ from the EP you’ve released in the past?

Judah: For us to progress as a band we definitely need a hard copy of our music to reach out to people. Not only in our country but also the world. Technically the band has decided that the album will be out in our hands by month end and then there’s a lot of groundwork for us to probably market our album. We need to get the right record label, speak to the right people. Practically speaking, it should be out in the month of September. It’s got a fresher sound, it’s very modern, there’s not much of processing in it. It’s heavy. Even the softer songs, which probably a layman would say is the softest among Slain’s songs, technically, even that is made to sound a lot brighter and richer on the CD.

WTS: How was it performing alongside international bands like Iron Maiden and Mr. Big when they were touring in India?

Bryden: Yeah, it was ok! (laughs)

Judah: When we started out in college, they were our inspiration. It’s again a dream come true for us. When we were up there we had to accept the fact that we are rockstars. It’s a prayer which turned out to be a blessing again. Bands that we wished to hear live, we opened for. It was an awesome experience in fact – playing with the bands that we like to listen to!

WTS: What makes Slain different from other metal bands?

Manek: That we still listen to pop. I’m serious. What most people don’t realize about pop is why it’s called pop – it’s because its popular music, anyone can relate to it. Even though we’re playing metal, by playing metal that everyone can relate to we’re playing pop in a way. I think that’s what Slain takes seriously.

Bryden: As a band what makes us different is our sound. I can dare say that we are the only band probably in South India who make power metal, metal and rock in a very cool way and give it out to the crowd. It’s said openly that we’re different that way. You put us in a rock fest we’re different, put us in a metal fest, we’re different. People say that “Oh! You guys are like the icebreakers”. We’re the metal band who smile and play!

Manek: Yeah, and who eat ice cream.

WTS: What’s the ultimate direction for your band?

Naresh: I say we will keep on keeping on! Do what we love to do and hope for the best. Rock music may not pay you as much as what Bollywood music does and if you want to do music full time, you have to do commercial stuff. But I don’t think any of us will get into that no matter what.

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