RSI 8/13: TDT – The Depot of Talent


I know I’m late to the party. Not posting that frequently now a days. It is been weeks/months since The Down Troddence, one of my favorite bands in India did a sweep at Rolling Stones Metal Awards, bagging 8 out of 13 awards.

  1. Best Band (Critics’ Choice)
  2. Best Album (Critics’ Choice) – How are you? We are fine thank you.
  3. Best Song (Critics’ Choice) – Nagavalli
  4. Best Band (Popular Choice)
  5. Best Album (Popular Choice)
  6. Best Song (Popular Choice)
  7. Best Guitarist – Varun Raj
  8. Best Artwork – Abhijith VB

I urge everyone who read this to buy their album from oklisten.com. The 199 bucks you spend is worth it. If you want a hard copy you can get it from flipkart.com.

The best thing about the album is the song Nagavalli. There is a killer unofficial video cut by Riaz Hassan. View it below.

  • Spellbinding guitar solo
  • Terrific arrangement.
  • Usage of malahiri raga
  • Breakdown
  • Out of the world artwork of Nagavall
  • Recording and Mixing by Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor

Well, I can go on and on praising this song. It is one of the best tracks India ever produced in my opinion.

nagavalli

The album includes another track called Forgotten Martyrs featuring the “God of Small Strings” himself! (Baiju Dharmajan).Improved versions of their earlier tracks, Death Vanity, ortnIavihS, Shiva are present in the album. Other notable tracks are Hell Within Hell (that wicked carnatic riff) and KFC(breakdowns again).

rollingstones

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ulkka

ULKKA! My Background Score Debut


One fine day Sohal, one of my colleagues comes up and asks me “Hope you are okay with doing music for our short film, Its a comedy-romance kind. It will give you exposure as a Music Director!”. Two things came to my mind.

  1. I’m not a music director. There are no people working for me. I’m just an enthusiast. Why did he use that term?
  2. Although I have done some tracks just for sake of fun, I realized it to be no fun when working for a film, but rather an exhaustive and tiring job. Is it really worth doing it again?

I decided to embrace the opportunity without having any idea of what that means to me.

Started out with my iPod as usual using iRig; Did a couple of tracks. It was by that time, I’m buying a Macbook pro, which helped me to fine tune my tracks. It also allowed recording guitar directly from my Digitech RP500 eliminating noise that i get when using iRig. Sohal kept pinging me again and again each and every day until he got what he wanted. Kudos to him.

Another thing that makes this project special for me is one of the tracks I did. This short film contains a scene that I could relate heavily during that time. I wrote two lines of lyrics which was quite insane and started singing it while strumming my guitar on A minor scale. Name of the track is “Where are you” (which is instrumental with guitar lead for obvious reasons) which I hold very close to my heart and is an ode to that person who stood as the reason for all that thought process inside me, who unknowingly(i hope) motivated, and inspired me to be a better human being(Not saying that it changed me!). You can hear it below.

Now, speaking about the short film, it is named “ULKKA” which means meteor and has a tag line “An ulkka is following each one of you”. ULKKA is a journey of Sankaran in pursuit of his love on the last day of the world. It is a satire that showcases what a common man do on the last day.  The movie has already  crossed  50,000+ views on youtube. Watch it below!

Credits

Starring Shabi B Kahar, Rashmi K Nair, Abhimanyu Ramanandan, Rajesh Vijayan, Lalkishore, Somesh S ,Jeemon Joy

Directed By Mohamed Sohal

DOP Adarsh Bhargav

Editor Appu Bhattathiri

Screenplay Abhimanyu Ramanandan

Story Praveen Raj B R

Dialogues Rajesh Vijayan

Music Ragesh Chakadath

Sound Design Shefin Mayan (sound man)

Produced By Vinithchandran R

Hope you liked it.

Rock Bands, Please Stay Away from Technopark!


I would never have written this on an isolated incident. It happens repeatedly in technopark. If you are so proud of being a rock/metal artist, come and have the experience. In SRK’s words ( I know its a little awkward to quote a mainstream artist in a blog on rock music. sorry for that! ) Techies here will “kick the star out of your stardom”. But it is not because of their holier-than-thou attitude and not at all because of your music. It is only because of the sheer underexposure of the crowd here to something called “real music”. Everyone is in the dream world of filmi and pop.

So in some unfortunate circumstance if you have agreed to play a show, What are the things that are awaiting you? This blog is intended to give you an insight to that rather than a useless advice to those poor souls.

The crowd

5-6% metal heads, 15% general music lovers, 40% dunno-whats-going-on-im-leavin kind of people and rest would account to faint hearted-troublesome-attention seekers (pretty weird combination isn’t it?) This is what the crowd is. You can see very little people at the front head-banging perhaps. They will sing along. The second category will sit and listen to you but they are less likely of enjoying it. They will listen to you anyway. The third group will show the signs of discomfort from the moment you start to play something hard and will eventually be out of the venue if you perform more than 5-6 songs. They can enjoy only filmi/pop. They listen to only vocals and it should be clean. Distortion on guitars and heavy drumbeats will piss them off. Very sensitive group of people probably the result of brain dead bollywood or stupid TV serials. The last category can be a menance. They may be drunk and will hurl abuses at you loudly, show antics that even Sreesanth wouldn’t dare to do.

It is not entirely on the crowd’s fault though. The thing is, you got the wrong crowd. Techopark do have a lot of rock fans. But why the heck they aren’t at the venue? How come these filmi dumasses (sorry, but in the view of most metalheads, you are!) are present at a rock concert?

The organizers

Be it any show our organizers are very known for their ironic know-it-all attitude. Following ways, the organizers can make you go nuts!

1. Sound check without sound.

This is something that is happened with chaos when they came to Technopark. The organizer had askedthem to do  sound check until the sound guys arrive! You can read an excellent article by Praveen Stoneage: “When Chaos reigned at Technopark!”. Also, ensure that everything stays there as it is after the sound check. You can read read my account on Avial at Natana. There is an incident mentioned about how Avial’s sound check got affected!

2. Lack of equipment.

I request the concerned people who are likely to do this at technopark to read this eHow article on how to set up the stage for a rock concert There is no rocket science involved. The only thing you do at-least is to show some common sense. ASK the band what they need. Provide what they need. Simple! By the way in Technopark, if you get 2-3 monitor speakers, consider yourselves lucky. Forget the drummer! Here, sound system will be setup keeping a pop singer who sings on karaoke in mind. So ensure everything is setup your way before playing.

3. Getting Sandwiched

Now, this is one thing you must never let happen. If you want to play rock it will be better if there are only rock fans listening to you. In Technopark a rock concert will mostly be followed by a “ganamela” or a “filmi” concert by some pop star(?). Chaos was a victim where a ganamela was followed by their concert. The lead vocalist of Bennett and the band who sounded like Bon Scott of AC/DC did suffer an abrupt end  as the crowd was expecting Bollywood singer Vijay Prakash’s concert which followed! You know what? Size doesn’t matter!

4. Is that what you call music?

Even-though you got raped for performing what you love, the organizers are not gonna show you any mercy. They will judge you like in reality shows and points out lot of mistakes(???) They can even give advice on the playing techniques of your lead guitarist. Beware!

6. Ohh! please stop! we cannot handle the crowd anymore!

This will be a humiliating experience. The organizers asking you to stop the show. If someone didn’t like your performance, they can walk away. If the organizers can’t control some of that 4th category people I told earlier, Why are they conducting such a show at first place?

This blog is not intended to humiliate anybody. I don’t know any of the organizers, performers personally. So, if this post hurt your sentiments, frankly my dears, I don’t give a rat’s ass!

It’s these cards and the movies and the pop songs, they’re to blame for all lies and the heartache, everything. – 500 Days of Summer

Album art - The Crossover

Baiju’s Crossover in June


Baiju Dharmajan the ex-motherjane “God of small strings” has been an ultimate source of inspiration for the guitarist in me. The way he effortlessly incorporates those carnatic elements in to those advanced sweep/legato techniques always amazed me. After his departure from motherjane, he composed three songs in a band called Wrenz united. While some projects like Kashmir are going on an episode of Dewarists in Star World featuring a collaboration of Baiju with Karsh kale and Harigovindan; “sacred science” was a sweet blend of sopana sangeetham.

And the latest information that can be obtained is all about this website: http://baijudharmajan.in. You can hear a mind blowing montage of his upcoming album: “The Crossover” when you take that website. Baiju sir is working with Cochym a management / record label based in London, UK and it seems like that website is hosted by them. Well, beautiful background image you see in the website is now the lock screen image of my office Workstation!

Go to this expressbuzz article and read the full story on the album. There will be tracks called “Cyber Reptile”, “Philia”; There is this one bit in the montage perhaps in the same raga as “maha ganapathim” keerthana which was really captivating and the same will have a great expectation from my side.

All the very best Baiju Sir! Respect!

Slingshot


A perfect blend of funk and folk I would say. This band called slingshot which was formed in 2006 hails from Calicut aka Kozhikode, a northern district of Kerala. They were the winners of the first edition of Kingfisher Kerala Rocks. Slingshot recorded its first album ‘Half-Naked’ which was unofficially released in the Great Indian Octoberfest. The genre of rock music which the band plays is‘Folk influenced Sex-Funk rock’. ‘Country liquor’ is their first song which is more of funk rather than folk. but ‘way back home’ which is my favorite has a folk touch every where from riffs to drum beats, sprinkled with funk. The band’s lineup is as follows.

Jhanu on guitar, Fadal on vocals, Kaushik on bass and Vineet on drums. So they are a 4 piece band. No idea on how they manage to play songs like country liquor live without a rhythm guitarist.There are less of such face-melting solos in those two songs. Also in ‘way back home’, we can hear that there’s only bass backing while playing lead. So probably Jhanu shifts between rhythm and lead. ‘zaara’ has little Indian folk in it but awesome stuff on acoustic guitar and bass.

You can download all their songs from their reverbnation profile.

Ettam Pattu Unplugged Cover!


I hope everyone know the band called Avial. Ettam pattu or “8th song” in English as the name implies is the 8th song of their self titled album. This is my favorite song as it is a slow folksy ballad which carries a taste of rural Kerala as well as impeccable melody.

Arjun and me met at Technopark when he saw me carrying a guitar with me. We got acquainted, jammed and became good friends. Needless to say he is an awesome guitarist, he mostly plays metal and some awesome acoustic stuff too. As I was studying classical guitar. I couldn’t resist but learn how to play this song from him.

Last week his cousin Sanchay had come to his place. He is a good vocalist trained in carnatic music. So we recorded this cover with me and Arjun on guitars, Sanchay on Vocals.  Here is the video, its our first such attempt. Hope everyone likes it.

Motherjane to do OST for Anwar!


Wowww! Thats what I said when I saw the official motherjane website! And this is what I was waiting for! Motherjane composing Soundtrack for a movie! That too for a malayalam movie! Anwar will be a stupendous block buster starring the new generation malayalam super hero Prithviraj and yes, A film by Amal Neerad! Music by motherjane adds up to the excitement and expectations for this film.

Currently there is no information about the kind of music as it is not released. Hope it will not be merely the background score, but song(s) in which the lyrics and the riffs together play a role. Another reason for happiness is that I may no longer require to introduce Motherjane to a Keralite! They are going to hit back the shores of kerala like a tsunami! I wish Motherjane, Amal Neerad and team a tremendous success for their movie and its music.

Here’s what I saw on the official website of Motherjane. Click to enlarge!

Hail Motherjane! \m/