A common love for classic rock got five Indian expats living in Dubai together to form ‘Core 304’ back in 2011. Though one of the founding members quit because of work commitments, the remaining four continue to love what they’re doing.
They are primarily known for their own renditions of songs by bands like ‘Led Zeppelin’, ‘The Eagles’ and Lenny Kravitz who have influenced them. But they also have some original compositions of their own. “We started off playing covers and got hired for parties and small gigs before writing our own songs. But we feel that covers keep us in good health because it gives us time to practice on techniques and when we write, it culminates into our own style,” explains drummer Anurag Tripathi.
Performing live is another aspect that all four enjoy. “We’re more comfortable on stage than in the studio. On a live stage, you get one shot and there’s no second take. That rush is unbeatable,” adds Anurag.
The fact that they all have day jobs frequently poses a problem. But the passion for music usually comes to the rescue. “I’m in between jobs and based out of Goa and Dubai. But for the recent Bangalore gig, I flew down to perform. Either you say you can’t do it or you make it happen,” says Santan, the bassist and vocalist.
Individually, each member has been involved in the world of music. But for some, joining a rock band was a bigger jump than others. Tolentino Fernandes aka ‘Tolo’ was a jazz musician before he joined ‘Core 304’ as its lead guitarist. “When I met these guys, I said I couldn’t play rock. But they forced me!” he jokes, adding that exploring rock was
more rewarding than he had imagined.
Even for Lynette, who sings and plays keyboards, the transition was tough but enjoyable.
“I wasn’t into rock and enjoyed ballads and boy bands. But when I started playing with these guys, I saw the difference and learnt a lot. If I’m asked to choose now, I’d pick rock. Often, I feel like I’m the only rocker on stage,” she laughs.
The band agrees that the music scene in Dubai has improved, given the number of music venues and independent bands coming up. They’ve also noticed the same for India, specifically Bangalore. Anurag, formerly a Bangalore boy, recalls, “There was a very vibrant scene here. Venues weren’t geared to have live music but there was an
underground movement and shows happening in people’s farmhouses and country clubs.
You’d go to a gig once in three months; not every weekend as it happens now.”
On the quality of independent music, he adds, “Mediocrity does creep in. If you perform and aren’t good enough, people stop coming for your shows and you fade away. But people who are true to music and not getting into it for fame and money stick around.
Take ‘Thermal and a Quarter’ for example. I saw them perform in a farmhouse more than a decade ago and today, they’re on a 30-day tour in the UK. At the end of it, it’s all about the audience — if you can connect with them, be it 70 people or 700, they’ll come back to you.”