Heavens down under
It is one thing to start a band, and yet another to carry on with the same zeal even after more than a decade in the business. This is what makes Heavens Down stand out in the crowded band scene of the Capital. Having started out in the early 1990s, the band is known for its songs like Just Too Much and Falling Down.
Heavens Down, which released its debut EP Rock Will Never Die last month, is all set to travel Down Under now for a series of concerts in Melbourne and Sydney. But the band doesn’t want to rest on their laurels. ‘Once we are back we will get into the recording studio and start working on another album which should be out by the end of the year,’ says guitarist Sumit Sharma. Also on the anvil are
a few gigs at various venues across the Capital.
Rock Will Never Die is all about hard rock and rock and roll. ‘The sounds are all about day to day life and are influenced by what we see around us. There are long guitar solos and guitar is the most prominent instrument,’ explains Sharma.
How have things changed in the city in the last five years? Sharma says that now there are more places where they can play, but the scene was big back then. ‘There was a lot more audience for original rock music when performances happened in places like Pragati Maidan,’ says Sharma.
‘But now the pub culture has come in and not too many people go to pubs to listen to the bands. I wouldn’t say the market has grown bigger but original music is getting more accepted,’ he adds.
How has their music changed over the years? Sharma says their music only underwent a slight change when Leo [on keyboards] joined the band. ‘Earlier, we were a completely guitar-based band. But our music changed a bit when Leo joined,’ says Sharma. ‘But we never compromised to go with a trend,’ he adds. Currently, the band comprises Manjit Joseph [vocals and lead guitar], Sharma [rhythm guitar], Leo [keyboards and backing vocals], Pranav Gawri [bass] and Sudarshan Chetlur [drums and backing vocals].
Is it difficult sticking to playing rock and roll in English? ‘One has to be passionate and blind. The industry doesn’t support you, there aren’t too many gigs. Most people want to listen to covers,’ confesses Sharma.
Heavens Down, though, started as Ashtoreth which primarily played covers. It all started in 1998 when Joseph moved to Delhi from Hyderabad and met Chetlur. They met Sharma at a guitar class in west Delhi where they were jamming. In 2006, they regrouped and two new members were added. And then they regrouped in 2010 and renamed the band Heavens Down with three members from the original band. Why Heavens Down though? ‘We thought Ashtoreth was too much of a baggage. We wanted a change of ideology, says Sharma.
Change, as they say, is indeed the only constant.