Millennium Post

‘Music now has become like junk food’

‘Music now has become like junk food’
A stimulating session for rock music lovers was conducted by  gurus of music and rock ‘n ‘roll in India — Subir Malik, Chris Powell and Timson Thomas — in the capital recently. Called The Lounge Journals, it was introduced at the Cafe Coffee Day lounge in Gurgaon with a group of rock music lovers and enthusiasts who formed the audience.

The session kickstarted with Malik and Powell interacting with youngsters and telling them about their journey. Timson Thomas (the new lead vocalist of Chris Powell’s band Bandish) gave the crowd the fillip they needed. He told them about the importance of staying grounded and concentrating on making music. This was followed by a quiz contest. The trio also played for the crowd at the event.

Millennium Post
caught up with India’s most cherished drummer Chris Powell about music and his band Bandish. Excerpts:

How has your musical journey been so far?

It has been magical. It was only after I joined Euphoria in 1997 that I actually decided to take up music as a career. I played with Euphoria for seven long years. I shared the stage with international bands like Australian Rock, Pakistani Sufi rock band Junoon and Pakistani pop band Strings. So the journey has been quite amazing and eventful.

Has music in India evolved?

I do not like today’s music. There was a time when music was at its best which was in the 70s and 80s. Now it has become junk food. It’s not about music anymore — it’s about the marketing. A film, before its release, is now marketed so much that it does not even have to wait for the release to get a verdict. It’s already a hit.

We have evolved monetarily, not musically. It has now become important to promote an album for which I specially asked Subir who manages so many other bands to manage Bandish as well. Promotion of the product is very important. It has become important more than the quality of the music being made.

Do you think being a Hindi rock band has given your band an edge over the others?

A big yes! We are not doing gigs only in pubs for an elite group of 500. We are playing for the masses. Our audience is never less than 3,000 or 5,000 at times. Hindi is widely spoken and is a viable language. Hindi songs are big in this country and the audience relates to it more than the English numbers.

How is Bandish growing? What next for the band?

It’s doing well. It is striving to be better than the best. In four years, we have released two albums. We’ll be releasing a single which would be accompanied by a music video.

Timson is our new vocalist. This has been the fourth time we had to change the vocalist for many have ego clashes and are unable to handle success. Timson is someone the youth should inspire from. He is just 24 and an amazing singer, but he has not let the growing popularity go to his head which is very important to maintain your position in a creative field like music.

Any plans for Bollywood?

No, none at all. Playing under the directions of directors, producers and others is not what I call making music. It’s solely their music then, not mine.

How do you define the music of Bandish?

We are not aiming at any category. Every song of ours has a different category. They have their own story to tell. Our new album is in collaboration with English percussionist Pete Lockett who is a trained classical Hindustani vocalist. So our music is a blend of many. We had KK sing for us and many such artistes.

Do you think The Lounge Journals sessions would help?

This concept is unique and very thoughtful. It might not be able to make them understand the entire concept and basics, but it will help them realise that if there is music is in them, they have to derive inspiration out of that and nothing can stop them then. If it is not, they just should not be wasting their time. The first step is to realise if you have it in you or not. The next is to stick to the decision you make for yourself, however hard it maybe. If we are able to help at least one person make such a decision, it would be a lot.
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