Tanmay Bhattacherjee of Something Relevant interviewed. Do check out their site at somethingrelevant.org.
1. Give us a history lesson. How did Something Relevant happen?
We met at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Rang Bhavan, at rock concerts, music events at other colleges and even on basketball courts during tournaments. We formed this band because we wanted to play at Rang Bhavan and be a rock band like Zero which was a huge early influence.
2. As far as I know, it is hard being a musician in India who is not a part of mainstream music. How do you guys manage to do it?
Actually, it is hard being a musician in any part of the world. In fact, we are lucky to be here! India will soon have far more potential for musicians than any other country in the world. We’ve seen a rapid change in the last five years. We’re still working on how to strengthen what we already have – a loyal fan base. If we don’t give our fans a hundred per cent, then we’ll have a problem. We can survive only if our audience keeps growing and has a spectacular time during every show.
3. Is it true that you named the band Something Relevant just because you wanted to have a name that was relevant?
Yes, that’s true!
4. What inspires the sound of SR?
Music that grooves, words that emote, the news and a lot of other random stuff. We’re always trying to get our own groove and sound.
5. I was there when you performed at the NH7 Weekender. How was it performing there especially at the same time when Indian Ocean was playing on the other stage?
It was great! NH7 was a brilliant festival. Also, to play at the same time as the legendary Indian Ocean… that’s quite a trip!
6. Trust me, you guys put up one of the liveliest acts I have ever seen. Great energy! How do you guys manage to be charged up throughout the set?
We play charged-up music! A lot of it has to do with the audience too. Thankfully, the people we get at our shows are really cool and bring their positive energy to the show. We drink a lot of Red Bull sometimes!
7. I saw your music video, City in a Situation. How did that happen?
A couple of friends are filmmakers and decided to make a video for us. All that the band had to do was show up for the shoots and play a gig. I think there’s an interview with the filmmakers on NH7.in.
8. You guys have played many gigs in the UK. How was the experience?
We have given more than 35 shows in the UK this year. The Fringe was a career changing event for us – we were working alongside top productions and companies while putting up a live concert each day. It was great and we learnt a lot.
The second tour was just in London. We played a couple of gigs including one at the Ronnie Scotts Bar. That gig was a huge thing for all of us. Some of the best jazz musicians in the world and a lot of our heroes have performed at Ronnie Scotts.
9. How did ‘Feels Good to be Live’ happen?
‘Feels Good To Be Live’ is our first album. We went into Blue Frog Studios for sessions over a period of seven months in 2008 where we were just getting our sound right. It’s a great place to experiment!
When we felt like the songs were set, we went to the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta in 2009 and road-tested the songs in Indonesia to completely new audiences. It seemed to work. So when we got back, we went into YRF Studios with Shantanu Hudlikar and recorded the entire band live. Some videos of this are on our site I think.
10. What are your views on the Indian alternate-rock scene? Where do you see it go in the future?
We’ve come a long way in a short time. There are bands making great music and are playing on international stages. I think that the Indian metal community has played a huge part in making independent music a possibility in India. When the metal guys shifted to playing original music – that’s when everything started.
It’s only going to get bigger and better with better musicians, bands and venues. Hopefully, touring circuits within India will be developed. I think bands need to join forces to get larger audiences and actually make a ‘scene’ happen. This is something we’re working on.
11. Who is your favourite Indian rock musician?
Vishwesh from Scribe – without a doubt. Excellent band.
12. What’s your advice to people who want to be where you guys are today?
Do your thing. And never listen to ‘experts’.
13. Name a musician or a group you’d love to collaborate with.
Questlove and The Roots, Scribe, Sidd Coutto. There are many amazing Indian artists out there.
14. So what would we see Something Relevant do in the near future?
A new album maybe?
Definitely a lot of gigs. If you want us to do a gig in your city and you can help make it happen, please get in touch with us!