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Interview with Bhoomi

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Bhoomi was formed in April 2002 with the intention of playing original music in the cover-infested scene in India. Recognized as one of the best bands from Bangalore, the band is presently in the process of recording their first album. WTS caught up with band members Sujay, Praveen, Tony and Kishan and got them talking about their new album, their experiences on stage and more…

WTS: For how long have you been playing together and how has the journey been so far?

Tony: Seven years. Sujay and our bass player Praveen are only the original members of Bhoomi, as they started. I’m new, Kishan’s new. 7 years you can call it, 8 years of the band’s journey. These guys started in 2002 and I joined early 2004. So it was one year, plus a few months.

Sujay: It’s been great actually. We were a college band before Tony joined. We graduated and met Tony through another friend who was drumming for us – Willy (Wilfred Demoz, who plays with Raghu Dixit). So after that it has been total fun, it’s just that we used to concentrate on playing only metal, and after Tony came in , Mrinal came in, Willy came in, the influences became more, we started discovering new bands and playing a lot more shows. From 2004 after Tony joined, till 2006, we played a lot of gigs, we played at almost every college festival in and around Bangalore. We played a few times in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai.

WTS: How has the music changed with the forming of new associations and breaking up of old ones?

Sujay: It has affected in a good way I would say. The kind of music that we’re playing now is definitely a lot cooler and lot more interesting than what it was when we were a college band. Back then, it was more or less safe heavy metal – 4/4 kind of heavy metal. We just wanted to go there and play as loud as we could, but now the subtleties have come in.

WTS: What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?

Tony: Politically driven in a few songs.

Sujay: More social I’ll say, about what happens around us. We have a song about the mindless, senseless riots which take place at the drop of a hat in India, like everybody goes about stoning buses for no apparent reason. They’re not involved, they don’t really have to do anything like that. It’s about that and how it affects people like me. If I’m going to work and I’m stuck in a jam because of a stupid rally going, for reasons I don’t care about. It affects me because I don’t want to get stuck on a hot day in a traffic jam.

WTS: What are your rehearsals generally like?

Kishan: They are damn funny actually. Out of one hour of jam time we get about 15 minutes of quality music and 45 minutes of quality bonding, when we take each other’s cases and stuff like that. We make good music though, in the 15 minutes of jam time. It just happens, which is what matters.

WTS: Tell us about the time you discovered your taste for heavy metal, did you guys also start off listening to boy bands, pop, rock etc. and progress towards something you liked best or was it heavy metal all along?

Kishan: Yeah most of us matured out of it really early except for Sujay who still listens to it! (laughs)

Tony: As long as there are boys in it! This guy (Sujay) just looks at the TV and goes “Oh, I love you Ronan Keating!” I was lucky because I grew up in Dubai where you had awesome radio!

Kishan: A lot of Spandex metal and Spandex rock!

Tony: This guy (points to Kishan) wears Spandex! (pulls his pants to demonstrate)

WTS: Do you believe that being in a band is equivalent to being in a relationship or do you think it is okay for band members to hook up with other bands once in a while?

Tony: When you say hook up now… (laughs)

Sujay: I think we’re cool about guys playing in different bands as long as you turn up for the gig, not even for the jam! (laughs) You can be committed and do other things.

Tony: Nowadays I think people are a lot more open to it, everyone’s playing with everybody else. Especially, if you look at something like the jazz community – each one of those guys is playing with everyone else at some point. Personally, there is only so much you can do with one band. There’s only so many people you can play with. When you’re playing with different people, you get so many opportunities, to play different kinds of music, to play on stage a lot more, it gives you a lot more of that experience. It’s the best way to learn stuff.

Sujay: There are people who are insecure about their bands. We’ve seen that happen, but we’re cool with that. I don’t think any one of us will find a bad bunch like this out there!

Tony: Awww, so sweet! (laughs)

WTS: When Lamb of God came down to perform in Bangalore, there was this bottle-throwing incident! What do you have to say about that?

Tony: Oh no! It’s called an incident now! The truth is that it was one stupid kid who got too drunk, he hadn’t been laid in a while or ever obviously, he had to find an outlet! (laughs)

Sujay: To answer this question seriously, the sound also plays a part. When an Indian band is opening for an international band on the same stage, the sound is like less than 50%.

Kishan: The point is we ultimately won the crowd over. Except that this guy (Sujay) gave a huge Gandhiji speech.

Tony: It was really a non incident that unfortunately got blown out of proportion.

WTS: There was this hiatus post March Metal Mania 2007, why didn’t we hear from you for a while?

Tony: We were sorting out stuff for our recording.

Sujay: We were just getting ready to record, which we did. We did the recording in Chamundeshwari Studios in Cunningham Road. We’ve spent close to ***** right now…

Tony: Sssh! Don’t quote the figures!

Sujay: **** dollars we had to pay in ****…

Tony: Shhhh!

Sujay: Because **** generally charges ***dollars.

Tony: (frustrated) Thank you! (hysterical laughing in the background)

WTS: What is essentially the difference between Bhoomi and Second Hand in terms of members and the music?

Tony: Same members.

Praveen: Second hand is more commercial, Bhoomi is actual passion!

Sujay: Second hand is all covers and Bhoomi is all originals with a few covers which we like.

WTS: What do you think sets you apart from the other metal bands in the city?

Tony: We sing. I think all the metal bands are growling and here we sing. We’re a little more old school. Our sound is not the contemporary heavy metal. That’s not what we sound like.

WTS: What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

Tony: Don’t. Please! Spare us the pain because if you form your own band, we’re gonna have to come and judge you at some college competition! (laughs) Please don’t form a band!

Priyanka Shetty

Priyanka Shetty is the founder of What's The Scene? Follow Priyanka on Twitter @priyanka_shetty

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