Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus Bangalore Edition on July 15th, 2013
It’s never been a better time to be an independent band, writing your own music, promoting yourself relentlessly for gigs and gathering enough money to record songs in the studio. Though they’re just one gig old, the odds are high for Machine Era, who play alternative rock. Formed by guitarist Abhimanyu Ghoshal, bassist Paul Dharmaraj, drummer Shreyas Dipali and vocalist Saahas Patil, Machine Era’s brand of alternative rock is as much rock as it is alternative. “It’s for when you want to think about the state of the world, and accordingly, it’s not quiet,” says Ghoshal.
The story behind the band
Dharmaraj is a former member of psychedelic band The Bicycle Days, where Dipali is still a drummer. While Ghoshal is a photographer, vocalist Saahas Patil also lends his voice to Allegro Fudge. “Our current lineup came together in September last year, and we’ve taken our time writing music and learning to craft songs along the way. I kept in touch with Paul when he shipped off to Cardiff to study and sent him a few demos I’d made at home, and he joined us as soon as he returned to Bangalore,” says Ghoshal, adding jokingly: “It seems his (Paul’s) standards were quite low at the time.”
You guys play music because
Says Ghoshal: “The four of us are from different musical backgrounds and we like exploring different sonic territory, so there’s the occasional metal riff or ambient section in our set. It’s therefore important for us to establish a wide spectrum of sounds to play around with, and the alt rock label allows us that flexibility.”
You’ll still remember the time when
They’ve only had one live concert so far, at Alliance Francaise’s World Music Day celebrations in June. “I think we were all surprised when we actually functioned as a cohesive unit for the first time. Plus, it seems to have triggered a change in momentum for us as a band – there’s now a pressure of sorts to write more, gig more and be a band worth listening to,” says Ghoshal.
Toughest part about being a young band
Says Ghoshal: “Writing good music and lyrics – we’re still learning the ropes of songwriting, and so producing stuff that we enjoy playing and listening to, takes time. Still, we’re trying to be as productive as possible within our limited capabilities.” Their first bootleg recording of the song “Ouroboros” sounds like a daydream or a musing tinged with melancholy that gets aggressive as it goes along.
Story behind the name
“The first bunch of songs we’ve been working on is based on the times we live in, and I was looking for a way to describe what we’ve become, as a society. The name seemed to conjure the imagery I had in mind, and I thought it’d do well to give people an idea of what we’re about,” says Ghoshal.
Musicians that inspire you
Deftones, Incubus and A Perfect Circle
Compositions over covers
Says Ghoshal: “We’re really in this to write music and not just play live, so covers don’t really figure in the equation. I think a cover is worth doing when you can put an interesting spin on it, whether by trying a new arrangement (try Thermal and a Quarter’s cover of Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’) or giving it a different feel altogether like A Perfect Circle taking on John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.”