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Fusion as the term has been bastardized in this country: Anand Bhaskar Collective

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Fusion as the term has been bastardized in this country: Anand Bhaskar Collective

- Vijayalakshmi Narayanan

What can be said about the Anand Bhaskar Collective that fans familiar to the Mumbai-based alternative rock outfit are not aware of. What started off as a studio project by frontman Anand Bhaskar in 2012, developed into a dedicated band. Winners of the Jury's Choice Award and People's Choice Award for their hard-hitting single, 'Hey Ram' at the Radio City Freedom Awards 2015, ABC knows how to break newer grounds with their path-breaking compositions.As they are all set stir up a storm at the second Radio City Freedom Concert in Pune, Team Radio City catches up with the very insightful Anand Bhaskar for a quick chat.Throw some light upon your new album 'Excuse Me'Imagine somebody walking up to you and saying 39Excuse Me, have you taken some time off to think about what39s real or different from what you perceive the world as? Or are you still busy reacting to a manufactured reality that has been perpetuated in front of you to keep you distracted for years on end?.' 39Excuse Me39 as a piece of work is an embodiment of exactly this line of thought. The title track 39Excuse Me39 talks about the plague of dynasty politics that keeps the power in the hands of certain people, thereby negating the very concept of a 39democracy39. It talks about the uselessness of religious practices that still prevail and blind those who follow them. The track 39Shukraguzaar39 talks about being grateful to a certain individual or group of individuals that has been instrumental in making who you are today. 39Kaanha39 is a song that39s a sequel to our song 39Radhe39 from our debut album 'Samsara'. The song 39Intehaa39 is quite literally a dialogue between a king and its subjects, which is a representative of a dialogue between citizens of India and the ruling government. We want to say 39Excuse me, don39t fall for what the media is trying to show you, whether it's about the current socio-political scenario of the country or the music that you listen to. Think beyond what is being served to you on a platter or is being hammered into you by relentless advertising and see what39s for real, yourself.39We hear the album comprises of Hindi vocals coupled with Carnatic violin. Elucidate upon this fusion.It is not just this album that is in Hindi. We have always written songs in Hindi. Also, we stay away from the term 39fusion39 as the term has been bastardized in this country by a gargantuan number of bands trying way too hard to sound 39different39. We have always portrayed our sound as 39alternative rock39 as we're strongly influenced by alt-rock and grunge acts like Alter Bridge, Creed, Audioslave, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden etc. However, it's understandable that a section of our audience thinks we39re a fusion act because of the presence of violins which add that Carnatic element making us stand out by default. Another reason for us being called a 39fusion39 act is the fact that we sing in Hindi, and as a vocalist, I was trained in the Carnatic school of Classical music. The vocals and the violin bits automatically take on a classical flavour as that style comes naturally to us. However, we39ve attempted to break into new styles of songwriting on the second album. A few examples would be songs like 39Intehaa39, 39Sawaal39, 39Meri Jaan39 and the title track 39Excuse Me39. All in all, what I39m trying to say is that this sound isn39t something we forced ourselves to create, it was what we had in our minds when we wrote all the music we have ever written. As far as Hindi is concerned, it is a language that most states in our country understand. Genres like Hip Hop, Dubstep, EDM became much more accessible when Bollywood adapted those styles into film songs. We strongly feel that our music, despite its heavy sound, becomes very relatable when a listener who doesn39t understand English well can understand what39s being sung, thereby creating acceptability of a genre he/she rejected earlier as being 39noisy39 because he/she couldn39t understand what the lyrics meant. There are instances of mythology that can be traced from both your albums. Do you believe in story-telling?Honestly, I39m not sure if these songs stemmed from the desire of telling a story. Personally I feel that writing lyrics is my weakest skill and quite often I end up becoming too mechanical when I have to write words to a melody. The fact that I love mythologies of all kinds has nothing to do with what ended up on the album. When I wrote 39Radhe39 in Samsara, the lyrics stemmed from a suggestion my wife made about writing a song about 39Krishna-Radha39 dynamics. She even helped me write 39Radhe39. 'Radhe' was about Krishna not being able to understand why Radha is angry with him and the song ends without the listener actually finding out the reason of Radha39s displeasure. Naturally, I had to close this conversation and Chandan practically put me in a cage to write 39Kaanha39 as we already had a melody and he strongly felt that this should be Radha39s answer. That39s how these two songs happened. Recently Chandan Raina the guitarist was quoted saying that he finds singing in English as wrong, whereas people like it better in Hindi. How much of this is true?Ha ha ha! Well, I think he meant that there39s more focus on singing 39English39 songs to each his/her own and there39s a lot more focus on promoting these artistes who 39sing in English39. The same artistes play college shows in tier 2 and tier 3 cities where people have no clue about what is being sung because a huge number of people there aren39t well versed with English as a language. He also said that "If you sing in Hindi, it can be heavy, but people will like it.', which stems from the fact that a strong perception has been created that if a band has to play heavy rock, it will only be acceptable in English. We have clearly seen proof of this being wrong as bands like Coshish and Paradigm Shift play music heavier than most 39English Rock Bands39 and still draw superb crowds. Chandan was talking about this perception that has been created by the 39powers that be39 that 39singing in Hindi is not cool39. The number of times we39ve been directly and indirectly called sellouts isn39t funny. This is why we feel there should be an equal emphasis on people who write in Hindi/Urdu because some of the work out there is pure genius. Your earlier album 'Samsara' consisted of a fusion of alternative rock and Indian classical music. Do you think fusing Indian traditional arts with contemporary influences can help the audience understand Indian classical music better?Honestly, we39re not as loyal to classical music as we39re perceived to be. We39ve not written a single song that follows one raga completely. All our melodies are first drafts and we don39t over-analyse what we write. So I39m not sure if our music helps the audience understand classical music better or not. Classical music requires a lot more precision than the kind of music we write. Hence, in our minds, we39re not even qualified to make a statement that our music makes the audience understand classical music. Indie contemporary acts that you look upto?Not sure if these guys are contemporary but here it goes: Parvaaz, Skrat, Pangea, Chaos, Gumbal, Noiseware, aswekeepsearching, The Local Train etc. Finally, what's your take on the 'Sounds of the Soil' initiative by Radio City Freedom Awards 4, this year.Nothing could be greater than recognizing home grown talent. We39re all products of a generation where we were all told that everybody except engineers and doctors, starve to death. The conditioning that 39music cannot be a lucrative career39 has killed far too many dreams than you can possibly imagine. An initiative like this encourages local talent to come forward and pursue their hearts instead of some hollow dream that results in them becoming slaves of a large corporate machine.Anand Bhaskar Collective will be performing at the Radio City Freedom Concert at The High Spirits, Pune from 8 pm onwards on Feb 1st, 2017. For more details, click hereTo know about everything that's happening at the Radio City Freedom Awards 4, visit our official website.
Dude, what's your weekend mood?
Dude, what's your weekend mood?
  • Thank God It's Friday
  • Need a month long vacation
  • Surviving on coffee

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