'The key to any gig is having fun'

'The key to any gig is having fun'
Every piece has its own identity which we develop by the rule ‘We know no limits’. We follow the inspiration of the moment and don’t worry if what we’re playing is alternative,
progressive or fusion rock,’ said multi-instrumentalist Page McConnell once.

True to these words, members of progressive rock band ‘Project MishraM’ — Ashish Padiyar, Srishankar Sundar, Shivaraj Natraj, Sanath Shanbhogue, Sumant Nemmani and Ram Srinivas — feels that their music speaks what they want to express.

In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, members of this progressive Carnatic fusion band talk about their origin, growth and an interesting gig.

What brought the band together?

Ashish: The urge to create different music. We all had a Carnatic background and we knew that fusion was the way now. So, we brought different elements together and voila, here we are! The band has quite a unique name. Tell us about it.

Sumant: ‘Mishram’ means mixture. True to what we create and play, our music is a mixture.

Has your music changed according to the change in lineup?

Shivaraj: Our lineup changed once but our music hasn’t changed drastically. Our music is a bit more sophisticated now. We wanted it to have more depth than be superficial. It had to be a marriage of different elements.

Can you elaborate on your latest single ‘Spoonshift 1’.

Sanath: The lyrics are based on games like ‘Road Rash’ and ‘Minesweeper’. ‘Spoonshift 1’ was a cheatcode for ‘Road Rash’. The chorus of the song ‘Vaporwave’, was a genre of music from the 90s. The song has a lot of sections which is exactly what progressive music is. Each section has its own inspiration. It is inspired from ‘Animals As Leaders’ and has Carnatic elements like ‘alaap’, which is inspired by stalwarts in Carnatic music.

Which are the band’s biggest inspiration...

Sumant: We are inspired by a number of bands like ‘Snarky Puppy’, ‘Animals As Leaders’, ‘Periphery’ and ‘Tesseract’. Closer home, we look upto ‘Pineapple Express’.

Could you tell us about some of your originals...

Ram: We have another original which is called ‘The Palace of Illusions’. The lyrics are written by our guitarist Sreesankar. This is based on ‘Mahabarata’. The song has jazz and reggae music in it with metal elements. We want to record this song soon.

Are there any experiments that the band wants to try...

Shivaraj: ‘Spoonshift 1’ has a small djent section in it.
We would like to experiment more with this kind of music complete with complex elements.

Is fusion music a trend that will stay on?

Shivaraj: Fusion music will stay. The audience has varied choices. Even our band members listen to different kinds of music. They say ‘Why stick to one when there can be a mixture of so many?’.

A few things that you remind yourselves when you are on stage?

Srishankar: We tell ourselves that we are going to have a lot of fun. Even if something goes wrong, we cover up well. We try not to make it appear as a mistake. The key to any gig is having fun. It’s only when the band is enjoying that the crowd will also be able to enjoy the music.

An interesting gig that you can recollect...

Shivaraj: When we were playing at ‘Pebbles’ in Palace Grounds, there was a section when we had to go mute and then the bass kicks in. At this moment, we were supposed to jump, but the guitarist jumped a bit early. Every time we look at this particular video, we can’t stop laughing.
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