Delivered fresh from The Netherlands, the Spinifex Orchestra were in town recently to rock the Capital. Not adhering to your usual larger-than-life orchestra concept, the four-musician band gave the city a taste of the live music experience. We caught up with them about their India story, performing in Delhi, plans for the future and more. Here are excerpts:
Tell us a bit about yourselves. A little history. Where did Spinifex Orchestra start from? Was there an idea behind the conception of a tradition that brought it about?
It all started with a band called Bhedam. A band which consisted of four musicians from The Netherlands and two percussionists from Bangalore. It was way back in 2001 and 2002 that we had collaborated with Indian musicians and it had taught us a lot.
We took lessons from Jahanavi Jaiprakash, but it all changed with her sad demise in 2002. That was of the end of Bhedam. But the rest of the orchestra members felt the need of a larger band and thus in 2006, Spinifex was formed. It was a nine-piece band originally.
We were involved with different projects and that is how Spinifex grew. There were a couple of other bands namely — Tubaband, Indian Spinifex — which we had formed as a part of our crossover with Indian musicians. We finally thought we need to be flexible as a regular orchestra and finally a smaller band with five members were formed.
How many members and how long have you performed together?
Well it is a five-member band with Tobias Klein on the saxophone, Jasper Stadhoulders on the guitar, Goncalo Almeida on the bass, Philipp Moser on the drums and Gijs Levelt on the trumpet. But Gijs isn’t touring India with us this time and we miss him a lot. We have been playing together for three years now.
How has India treated you so far? Is this your first India tour?
We all like India very much. It has always been great to come here and perform. Tobias is touring India for the fifth time but it’s the first tour for the others.
How has Delhi treated you?
This place (India Habitat Centre) is unlike other places I have seen in India before. I had been to Khan Market the last time I toured India and that place was quite impressive. Delhi has always been warm to us and has shown tremendous support throughout.
What sort of audience and feedback are you expecting from Delhi?
(Laughs) Well you saw that! People who enjoy live music and want to experience it first hand.
What plans for 2013 and what plans post Delhi?
We are recording next week in Amsterdam. We’ll be touring Portugal in July. Various tours and events are lined up in The Netherlands after that.
Do you find takers in this age of electronic dance music and pop?
People are always curious to hear new things and that is always going to be the case. There are audiences who prefer to experience live music.
Do people need to be made more aware about orchestra music?
People should be made aware about live music. The culture is picking up fast. Experiencing live music is very important in the rapidly evolving music environment.
Has there been a shift in the trend of how orchestras were perceived earlier and nowadays?
Not really, if you ask me. There is no distinction between orchestra music and music with singing.