Rhythms and beats casually merge to form the music that Bengaluru-based band ‘Groove Tantriks’ is known for. Formed in 2012, the instrumental band compensates for the lack of lyrics with ‘groovy’ tunes that gets one on their feet and dancing.
The various kinds of percussion instruments that the members play will leave the audience awestruck. When they come together to make sounds, it seems almost effortless and the melodies stay with a person long after they are done playing a track. The members — Dinushan Shanmuganathan, Rakshan Alberts and Mathew Daniel on djembe, Maharshi Benni on didgeridoo, Anirban Sengupta on bass guitar and Satyajit Gopal on Bahia bass drums — are dedicated to producing the best sounds and this shows in each and every performance.
And since they aren’t your typical rock ‘n’ roll or metal band, they bring with them diversity that isn’t often seen in the city. Committed to music, 4 of the members are full-time artistes, while 2 of them — Maharshi and Mathew — balance time between a corporate career and making music. Satyajit and Rakshan are partners at InnerSpace Studios and Anirban and Dinushan are drenched in nothing but playing sounds of different kinds.
Talking about their percussive sounds, biggest influences and how the band has grown over the years, Rakshan, whose hands can replicate complex beats quickly, says, “We create experimental percussive dance music. The organic nature of our music, coupled with the progressive state of all our tracks is truly unique.” And he isn’t just throwing words around; their music definitely stands out for its progressive beats that manage to make one want to dance, all the time. Another speciality of ‘Groove Tantriks’, as Rakshan explains, is that it is inspired by the music of extreme metal bands like ‘Meshuggah’, rock bands like ‘Porcupine Tree’ and ‘Tool’, the natural trance music of ‘Hilight Tribe’ and the percussive sounds of ‘Olive Tree Dance’. They don’t restrict themselves to one genre or category, instead taking bits and pieces of knowledge from everywhere. This affinity for music as a whole, irrespective of labels and stereotypes, helps them stand out in a space that can get monotonous.
“Our music, because of its international influence and progressive nature, will keep the listener hooked and wanting more. It is a completely immersive experience to come to one of our shows,” says Rakshan. And he isn’t lying — it seems only natural to want to dance when listening to them, and the audience eventually becomes one with the sounds, whether they understand it or not.
The band also has music experts like Maharshi Benni who look to make their own instruments. The didgeridoo player makes his own instrument with PVC pipes and tunes it perfectly, and hardly any can spot this innovation.
When asked which has been their favourite performance till now, they say in unison, “Opening for ‘Hang Massive’.” The pioneers of Hang music were in the city recently and ‘Groove Tantriks’ got to open for them. “The show was sold out and the crowd grooved to our tracks, which stays fresh in my mind,” says Rakshan. “But our performance in Bhutan will always remain close to our hearts,” he adds.
There’s even a story behind the name, ‘Groove Tantriks’, which might strike one as unusual. “Like drummer Steve Gadd said, ‘Fills bring the thrills, but grooves pay the bills’. We evolved as musicians, from playing at a frantic pace with lots of notes to grooves that make people move,” says the djembe player.
Though the band was started by Rakshan, Maharshi and Dinushan, the others fit like a glove and that resonates on stage and in their music.