Carving a niche

'White Mug'

Carving a niche

The bassist walks in one direction and the lead guitarist stalks off in another, while the vocal and drummer decide to take their own route. But no matter which route they take, they land up in the same place, on the same journey — one filled with closely entwined melodies and notes. And this is what makes ‘White Mug’ stand out in the indie music scene.

With Vivian on drums, Sachu on bass, Mathew on vocals and acoustic guitar and Louis on lead guitar, the relatively new band has managed to carve a niche for itself in the City and the country. Talking about beginnings, Mathew says that “it’s nothing new”. The when is 2011, the where is at a house called ‘The Asylum’ in BTM Layout and the how lies in a love for alternative and indie rock music.

But on the band’s sound, he is more clear. “We don’t have an electronica backing; we prefer raw and powerful sounds. And it’s not just that — we fill the spectrum; we don’t play the same notes, instead we try to be different,” explains Mathew. This separation at the base gives them time to find their individual sounds before they can bind everything.
The lyrics also leave a residue and you can taste it long after the song ends. Adds Mathew, “I write the lyrics. They are mostly about what inspires me at the time, which isn’t necessarily different from other bands, but the way I write them makes it different.”

Loaded with metaphors and other figures of speech, the songs make the listener hanging on to every word. One song, called ‘Sunshine’, is about not looking for signs. Revisiting the back story, Mathew says, “We were on the road and found a painting of a man playing a shenai on the road. We took it as a sign but that backfired on us, so we decided to not lay any importance in ‘signs’ and wrote the song instead!”

Calling themselves an alternative rock ‘n’ roll band, the members of ‘White Mug’ spent (still do) a lot of time gigging at live shows across the country. They recently finished a seven-city tour which includes places like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Cherrapunji. “We didn’t expect such an enthusiastic crowd at Cherrapunji,” they say.

But on hindsight, none of them are surprised. “The North-East is known for it’s love of live gigs.” These days, they are experimenting with psychedelic music as well. And as they don’t restrict themselves, they have the freedom to move between notes. 

A year or so after their formation, they released their debut eponymous EP, which included their most famous song — ‘The Tap Song’. And last year, in November, they released their first album titled ‘Clown’. Trippy notes, stand-alone guitar riffs and bass-y moves fill each song. And the thumping rhythm cannot be ignored...

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