'These 22 years feel like two years'

Evolving Sound

'These 22 years feel like two years'

What was supposed to be a four-month project has culminated into a 264-month (and counting) journey for New Delhi-based classic rock band Parikrama. It’s unheard of for a band, which is practically synonymous with the ‘independent music scene’ in this country, to last 22 years. But for these musicians, there’s just been no reason to call it quits.

“We formed for the common love of classic rock and haven’t lasted but blasted. The day we stop having a great time, we’ll probably call it off,” admits Subir Malik, who plays the synthesizer, to which frontman Nitin Malik adds, “These 22 years feel like two years.” On his takeaway from the last 22 years, the third original member, guitarist Sonam Sherpa, jokes, “I’ve become fat, my beard’s grown longer and I’m older and wiser.”

Subir continues the reminiscent trip and recalls how he created a set of rules for the band to follow. “I was in a band called ‘Eclipse’ before Parikrama. At one particular show, the guitarist went on stage drunk out of his mind and because of his behaviour, we got disqualified. That day, I decided that whenever I formed my own band, the rule would be not to touch liquor before going on stage,” he shares, adding that when Parikrama was finally formed, they added rules like “no smoking or ego allowed in the practice room”.

Asked whether these were ever written down or only verbally discussed, he adds, “We didn’t write them since there were no computers. Ek
typewriter hota tha par copies banaate banaate mere haath thak jaate. (There used to be a typewriter but my hands would get tired if I had to make copies.)”

Understandably, time has also translated in an evolution of the band’s sound. “Our sound’s evolved a lot and that’s because we aren’t who we were 22 years ago musically. In our live performances, we play songs that we wrote in 1991 as well as those we wrote two days ago,” notes Nitin. He mentions that though they aren’t recording any albums, the band has enough material to probably release four albums. When it comes to Bangalore, each member claims to have their own connection with the City.

“The first show we did here was in ‘93 or ‘94 at St John’s College. Since then, we’ve done at least three to four shows a year,” recalls Subir, to which Nitin adds, “It’s always been the most tolerant and accepting musical society in this country.” “Plus, the girls in Bangalore are way cuter than in Delhi,” adds drummer Srijan Mahajan.

For a band that has been around so long, they feel that things are much better today for emerging bands than when they started off. “The strategies of marketing have changed. Earlier, word spread through articles and magazines. There are many other places that you can put up your music now. Someone sitting in Hungary can now hear your music online, call up and say ‘get your visas ready, you’re coming to perform’. The problem of distribution, as far as English music goes in India, goes out of the window with the click of a button,” explains Nitin. “The reach is more international now. When we started off, there was probably not a single store that sold a good imported electric guitar. Now, you have that accessibility. On the internet, there are unbelievable amounts of information on how to learn any
instrument. It’s a great time for bands to start off,” sums up Sonam.

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