It isn’t everyday that musicians get to name a genre after their music. But when this unique opportunity does arise, it’s only right to grab it with both hands and embrace it with fondness. ‘The Majolly Project’ did exactly that when they labelled their music ‘Classical electronic progressive rock’ (CEPR). Although most people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the new sound, the band refuses to back down.
With Neecia Majolly as the frontswoman, songwriter and arranger, Ashwin Shekhar on percussions and Anish Thomas Panikkar on keyboards and programming, the trio say that they want their music to be heard by a world-wide audience. Equating the sound of their music to a Russian satellite, Neecia adds, “Unfortunately for us, our music isn’t feel-good so a lot of places aren’t willing to take us. Venues want music that people can enjoy their drinks and food in. Though they appreciate what we are doing and have great respect for it, it doesn’t suit their agenda from a business point of view, which is fine with us because we want a bigger stage, like a music festival.”
A combination of Western classical notes, electronic progressions and progressive rock sounds, they are already making waves in the music scene. Hardly a few months old, the band incorporates sounds that the three musicians are kinder to. Talking about how they come up with the name CEPR, Ashwin says, “We had a difficult time coming up with a name; it’s easy to play but hard to label. So we thought since Neecia comes from a Western classical background, Anish represents electronic sounds and I have a history with progressive rock, we’d bring them all together and call it CEPR.”
Their first release, ‘Dark room’, has already found fans, and the next song, ‘White bone’, is almost set for its debut. “Like I said before, these aren’t feel-good songs.
The themes have to do with anything from a break-up to environmental, political and human rights issues. ‘Dark room’ was a personal song and people interpreted it in different ways, while ‘White bone’ is about ivory poaching,” says Neecia. With every song, they hope to tackle different issues. “There are a lot of things we can’t do anything about personally, but we can spread awareness through music,” adds Ashwin.
The band has been in the making for many years now but they weren’t hesitant to take their time. “I’ve been waiting for a long time to form this band. I was on the lookout for committed or good musicians (or both), and finally, last September, after many stops and starts, we became a group,” says Neecia. Ashwin agrees that with projects such as this, committed musicians are a must.
“In Bengaluru, the band culture is different; forming a band means getting a beer, jamming a few times and hanging out. We can’t afford that; we don’t want to play at local pubs every weekend. Instead, we want to reach across the globe,” he adds.
Although they term themselves under the CEPR genre, they say that the music they play is organic and not pre-planned. “It just happens!” says Ashwin. “This is all new for us. When we write, play or arrange music, it’s instinctive and a mixture of the three sounds,” elaborates Neecia.