'We are treated like rock stars here'

'We are treated like rock stars here'

alternative side

'We are treated like rock stars here'

They’ve worked with inmates of Tihar Jail, recorded an album in a remote village in Uttaranchal and have an interesting do-it-yourself approach to their music. New Delhi-based alternative rock band, ‘menwhopause’, spoke to Metrolife on their recent visit to the City.

Recalling how the Tihar gig happened, IP Singh, the band’s guitarist, says, “From some contact, we got a window to do a gig there. We went and met the Director General (Prisons), who was open to the idea of rock music coming to central prison. When we found out that they had a resident band (‘The Flying Soul’) but no gigs or instruments, we pitched for a workshop so that we actually work with them. The workshop finally culminated into an event where they performed — we wanted it to be their day. If we had played there, a one-off gig could easily have been forgotten.”

Vocalist and bassist Randeep Singh adds, “It was unexpected because the idea was to go there and play. But playing our songs would have been foolish — there was no connect. So, we taught them our songs and helped them create more songs. And it didn’t
end there — we even took our studio there and recorded songs. The latest update is that one of the drummers, Bhagirat, is out and recording his own album!”

‘menwhopuase’ is one of the few Indian bands to have performed in both USA and Europe. But they did face their share of difficulties putting these tours together.
“You have to push yourself because international calendars are already planned months in advance. Bands need to go see the scene outside and then organise their tour in a
better way,” advises IP, adding, “We are treated like rock stars here — the gear is there, people are there to handle stuff. In the US, you have to carry your own rig, take care of your parking, work your own plug points. Until and unless you travel, you don’t have the exposure.”

Guitarist Anup Kutty gives his two cents saying, “If you’re really serious about music, you have to look at tours as career investments. You won’t always get some big sponsor who will pay for flight tickets and hotel fares. You have to find the promoter — they won’t find you.”

The band has stuck around for long enough, released an EP and two albums and is now onto its third album. “We haven’t called the album anything yet but we have some songs we’re working on.

The ‘Indigo Children’ drummer, Sahil Mendiratta’s also joined us,” says IP, to which the drummer shares, “I’ve been playing with them since December and it’s been a good time. They’re fun people to hang out with and it’s simple music.”

Speaking about how the band has managed to keep things together, Anup notes, “It’s probably because we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves. More importantly, we try to hang out as friends. We’re more than just a band.”

IP adds, “There are no set duties — it’s not like a corporate house. Sab koi sab kuch karte hain (everyone does everything). No rut and ranting can take away the music. The sense
of belonging is really weird.”

They have performed here in the past and despite a few disappointments, are content with the response here.   

“Mere ko toh sahi scene lagta hai. (I think it’s a good scene) But the deadline is pretty harsh and I don’t know why people are still living with it,” concludes IP.

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