Tag Archives: Siddhartha Khosla

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

Share

On their second coming to Bangalore, and after the much-acclaimed first and second albums, it was only expected that Goldspot were up for a super-gig this time around. And what happened was as uplifting as it was exciting. The incredible energy, top-notch performance, and astonishing fan-frenzy, added up to create a fantastic atmosphere. I had come across a description of Goldspot somewhere that said “This is where The Beatles meet the Golden Oldies of Bollywood” – and that is exactly what a lot of us got to witness that evening.

Goldspot has been around since 2001, and has gathered a lot of international following and critical acclaim over the years. The band has produced two studio albums and a third is in the making. Their songs have been featured on many popularity charts, television shows, commercials, movie trailers, and OSTs.

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

January 2012 saw Goldspot’s third coming to India, after their visit in February 2008 and 2009. This time their tour kicked off at IIM Lucknow after which they performed in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad, before they finally landed in Bangalore. Before the show began, I spoke to a few people and figured that not all of them were aware of Goldspot’s work – only a few of them knew about Goldspot’s earlier albums and famous singles. I’m guessing it was only later that their real fans arrived, because once the gig started, I could hear people singing along and there were constant requests for popular songs by the band.

In the past few days, I have heard both of the band’s albums thoroughly, and I came there expecting a performance that would hardly go any heavier than soft-rock, although I didn’t rule out the possibility of it drifting treacherously close to pop. However, Siddhartha Khosla (vocals), Jacob Owen (guitar and keyboard), James Gabbie II (lead guitar), Adam Chilenski (bass) and Darren Beckett (drums), created an experience that any rock concert-goer would appreciate.

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

Here’s the thing about their songs – western arrangements which may remind you of artistes such as The Beatles, REM, Coldplay, Snow Patrol are subtly combined with Kishore Kumar, Paul McCartney-style singing, and Shankar-Jaikishan, S.D. Burman-esque sensitivities and melodies (and these happen to be just a few of the influences).

Rewind’ and ‘Friday’ are two of the most popular songs by the band, and they chose to open the gig with the former, and sign off with the latter. The songs were emotionally intricate, while the tunes were still light. But then again, that is the case with most Goldspot’s songs. ‘Rewind’ also happens to be the track that has featured on How I Met Your Mother (Season 5, Episode 2). ‘Friday’ has been done in both English and Hindi and Sid performed an expected medley of the two versions.

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

‘Call Center Girl’ and ‘Paperboats’ were up next and despite the fact that the show was only three songs down, the crowd was already immersed in the band’s music, bouncing about and swaying their hands.

Emily’ has the spark and hope of youth with a wonderful level-headedness. The lyrics range from something as innocent as “a pair of fourteen year olds holding hands”, and as mature as “if we can be wise we’ll part with the pride set our egos aside”.

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

One Year Anniversary’ and ‘Tale of a Fish’ reminded me of heartaches and heartbreaks. ‘One Year Anniversary’, which posed the unanswered question “Why is this damn life so hard?” was kept light-hearted with spirited guitar work and a catchy tune.

Grocery Store’ brought cheer not just because of the xylophone notes or because of the fact that it is a lively song by nature, but also because of the repetitive “Pum pa ra ra ra” (strongly reminiscent of Kishore/Burman/The Beatles) something that Sid seemed to find a lot of joy singing and the audience found equal joy dancing to!

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

What’s Under the House’ and ‘It’s Getting Old’ followed next. ‘It’s Getting Old’ didn’t seem to move me as much as the other songs did, and in my opinion, just seemed to act as filler material. For ‘What’s Under the House’ saw Sid dancing with the people in the audience, with child-like effervescence. This is the typical rock-n-roll track, built on 2/4 beats, but only more flamboyantly arranged.

If they were running short on time, ‘It’s Getting Old’ could well have been avoided, and Sid could have obliged the screaming audience’s pleas for ‘Miss Johnson‘ but he didn’t. When the show ended, this resulted in a lot of complaints from heartbroken female fans who almost wept saying, “They didn’t play my favourite song!”

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

Clap Clap’ is a song you might recognize from the Apple iPad’s guided  tour video  (at the 00:20-00:53 mark). This, as it seems to me, is a lighthearted take on heartbreak and the subsequent moving on. Darren with his drums was undoubtedly the star for this track, as the outro for the song was made super-entertaining with his thunderous drumming, something that’s not heard on the album version.

The surprise of the evening came with ‘Jaane Kahaan Gaye Woh Din‘, from Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker. Sid showed us how with a capo on third fret, and some simple chords, a timeless classic can be brought back with a lot of psychedelic quality to it. A heart-wrenching song but a deliciously trippy cover!

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

By this time, the sound system at the venue that seemed to be delivering well beyond 3000 watts started to seem insufficient as the crowd’s screams were getting stronger with every song that was played. Increasing volume levels on the PA wasn’t the wisest solution, as the feedback that occurred was not exactly what one would expect from a place like Hard Rock Café, Bangalore. At many points this was also a problem for the band members who seemed dissatisfied with the on-stage monitors right from the start. When Sid went down dancing on the bar counter, and on the floor with the audience, it wasn’t unexpected that he’d lose track of either the beats or the key for his vocals – which almost happened when they played ‘What’s Under the House’, and finally did end up happening during ‘Ina Mina Dika’.

Goldspot at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

Before signing off, Sid gave a sneak peek on the upcoming album with ‘The Abyss’ and the show concluded with the much awaited ‘Friday’. Thanks again to the PA installed, I could not decipher most of the lyrics from ‘The Abyss’.

Goldspot has managed its espousing of genres pretty well, while still not bastardising the output. They have created a sound that we can recognize, and which is not a potpourri of confused genres. Their music deserves, and has the ability to charm an audience much larger than a packed house at a pub.

Gaurrav Tiwari

Drummer at DIARCHY, and HR Manager at Genpact

Comment

Interview with Siddhartha Khosla, Goldspot

Share

Goldspot is a Los Angeles-based band founded by singer/songwriter Siddhartha Khosla. They shot to fame with their debut album – ‘The Tally of the Yes Men’ and followed up with ‘And the Elephant is Dancing’. After a powerful performance at the Hard Rock Cafe, Pune on Jan 25th 2012, Siddhartha Khosla, the lead vocalist of Goldspot chatted up with the WTS Crew, here’s a peek into what he had to say… 

WTS: Welcome to India! How is the tour shaping up? 

Siddhartha: Thank you! The tour has been amazing, we had a great time! We’ve had wonderful audiences. We played in Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai and now Pune. Up next is Hyderabad and Bangalore. The audience has been unbelievable. I mean, we have played for thousands of people already so it’s pretty amazing. We played at Blue Frog in Mumbai yesterday and they said it was the most number of people they had ever seen on a weeknight. So it was great – we had like 800 people last night! 

WTS: Have you toured India before? How was the reception then? 

Siddhartha: Yeah we have toured India a couple of times before. The response was amazing. We had a very similar response but with lesser people and now the number of people who are into Goldspot has increased substantially!

WTS: Tell us about your influences in music. 

Siddhartha: I was born in the US and I grew up listening to the music my parents brought to the US. They brought all their music from India to the States – Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, S.D Burman, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar,  Geeta Dutt , Lata Mangeshkar…I would know this stuff more than you, brother! And that’s the stuff that really impacted me and the stuff that I love. I listen to this now more than anything else.

WTS: We did notice some of these influences in your music – the Friday intro is reminiscent of S.D Burman. How does the western audience like it?

Siddhartha: The western audiences- when they listen to our songs, they don’t know why they like it but they do. Indian audiences on the other hand, know why they like it and it gets all nostalgic for them. 

WTS: Weren’t you a part of the boy band Penn Masala? 

Siddhartha: Oh man, yeah – Penn Masala! I was in another established group in college, and Penn Masala – a bunch of Indian guys was the new thing which was formed – great guys and wonderful musicians! They asked me to be their music director and I agreed. I created arrangements for them.  I was their S.D Burman if I can ever be that! (Smiles) The closest I ever got.

WTS: Your first album Tally of the Yes Men was a hit. How tough was it for you to come up with the second one And the Elephant is Dancing with all the mounting expectations?

Siddhartha: Easy. I never made any music with any expectations. For me it’s about making songs and sounds which is honest to me. Look, at the end of the day, I’m Indian and I grew up with Indian music in my blood. I grew up with Western music as well because I grew up in the US. I grew up with both cultures as a very integrated part of me. So when I write music, I write it with the old Indian influence and the Western influence. So when I made And the Elephant is Dancing, it was very easy because the first album Tally of the Yes Men did really well for us. It did well because no label told us what to do. I made that album independently. You know what the budget was for the album? Zero dollars. I made it on my own, with my own hard work. I had a day job. I worked 9 to 5 and from 6 in the evening to 2 in the morning for a year and a half, I made the album with a friend of mine – no costs. Music was my love. And a year and a half later we got signed because they loved the album so much! 

WTS: An alternate version of your first album featuring A.R Rahman’s Chennai Orchestra was released in 2007. How did that come about? 

Siddhartha: We finally got signed to a major label after one and a half years, and they told us “We love your album! We want to release the album in 6 months.”  I said, “No. I want to release it with the Chennai Orchestra.” They asked “Why do you want it with the Chennai Orchestra?” I said, “That’s the sound. I want them to play the old 60s, 70s Burman style arrangements.” They said “No, you can use the LA Philharmonic, you can use the New York Philharmonic, and we’ll hire them.” The label was just gonna throw money at us but I said no, I want to go to India and want to record with the Chennai orchestra because that’s the right sound and the label agreed. So I worked with Srinivas Murthy who is A.R Rahman’s senior music conductor. The guy is a genius. He and I wrote the arrangements together. I wrote some, he wrote others, but the ones he came up with were way better than what I could come up with – he’s amazing! He’s been around for a long time, so he knew how to create that old sound and he did it really nicely. 

WTS: The intro for Friday has an awesome retro Bollywood sound. How did you come up with that? 

Siddhartha: The intro – that (sings the Friday Intro) da – da da…da da – da dadada – the reason why that happened was Murthyji. He came up with that opening – he killed that.  It was beautiful! We took our shoes off and went to the studio and there was a 25 piece orchestra! These guys, with Murthyji’s direction, came up with the beautiful arrangement and that was (sings the Friday intro) da… dada… It was beautiful!

WTS: Did you cringe when you watched ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black? 

Siddhartha: Oh man! (Shakes head in disbelief) Rebecca Black! See, I love how much exposure artists have on the internet but this is like the one downfall with social media that garbage gets through. But you know what, I have to say – honestly I love the fact that she put it out, because it makes our version that much better!

WTS: What’s in store for 2012? 

Siddhartha: We have a new album we are recording now. It will be done hopefully in the next 3 or 4 months and will be released hopefully by the end of the year. We’ll do a lot more touring and we’ll come back to India as soon as we possibly can! 

WTS: Choose your drink – Miranda or Fanta? 

Siddhartha: GOLDSPOT! (Sid grins widely, everyone else howls) Coming to India when I was a kid with my cousins in Delhi, we drank a lot of Goldspot and Campa-Cola. And Goldspot was the most refreshing, bubbly, beautiful drink ever! It kills Fanta.

Aneesh Sanyal

Aneesh Sanyal is a failed guitarist and a fake Bong. He cannot get beyond 80s rock and is a certified hedonist. He likes food, music and trees.

Comment