One hot summer night, six years ago, a couple of friends got together and penned down their thoughts into music. What they never realised was that it was the making of one of the most sought after and revered bands in India- Men Who Pause.
IP Singh, guitarist, Men Who Pause, gets candid about rock music, youth, money and more…
I'll be asking questions you have been asked everyday.
(Laughs) No problem, you can ask whatever you feel like.
What inspires you to produce music?
Music is all about craziness and freedom. When you sing and you play, it's just the passion in you that shows. You get to express yourself. It's like an energy, which comes out in the form of music. The crowd's enthusiasm inspires to produce more and more good music.
Do you think music, rock in specific, is used to express inner feelings that normally couldn't be expressed; being abusive can be an example?
Music in any form is an expression. It expresses the inner feelings. It's a medium to convey your message to the world. And as far as being abusive is concerned, it depends from band to band and their ideology. I don't personally think that all forms of rock are abusive.
When you started, all the indigenous bands were playing covers, and you people were doing your own songs, how did you go about it and what inspired you?
At that time, all we had in our mind was to create our own music and please people. We wanted to play for people. Each one of us had some or the ideas about the songs, their lyrics and music and we just thought of implementing it. We experimented a lot. We just stuck to playing original music only and concentrated on the art of songwriting. If Randeep or Kutty had something in their mind, we discussed and played and this is how it all started.
You are a well-known band now and have performed abroad, do you think the west takes Indian bands seriously?
Yeah, It's a pretty new phenomenon for them. This whole concept of an Indian band coming to their land and performing their form of music is actually very exciting for them. Also, as Indians, they expect us to come up with a tabla or a harmonium, but we play guitars and drums, and all this fascinates them. It's actually welcomed there.
Yes, I was coming to that question. How has been the experience so far, outside and in India?
Outside India, it has been amazing. There has been some great crowd and support. We have some great friends there. In India, rock culture is taking shape and the response has been wonderful.
Is money coming in?
Well, there is money, but not much. We produce music and we work too.
Youngsters these days think that it's 'cool' to hear rock and Indian music is uncool. Don't you think rock culture is somewhere hampering the Indian music?
No, I don't think that rock music is in any way hampering Indian music or Indian culture for that matter. On the contrary, I think it's adding to the Indian culture. Isn't that true, if we add a certain thing to something, it always increases. It's like a cultural mix that is prominent in the present scene. Both the cultures are coming together and no one is in crisis. It's a great mix and is enhancing the culture. There are people who want to listen to rock. So...
Is rock synonymous to tattoos, piercing etc...etc..?
May be it is. But why rock? Don't people in Rajasthan have beautiful piercing and artistic tattoos? So, it's not just about rock, it's art. (IP himself has a piercing and a tattoo)
Where do you want to see yourself after some years?
We don't have any standards to achieve and we haven't set anything for ourselves. We don't compare ourselves to anyone. We just follow music and live music. Music is a universal thing and it appeals to everyone. We are very passionate about what we do and that's what we want to do. Just play and make people happy.
Any upcoming gigs or albums releases?
It could be anywhere. Randeep's basement, Kutty's roof top or my kitchen. (laughs) Commercially, we are next performing in The Rafi Peer festival in Lahore, Pakistan, in October. We'll be performing in Mumbai too and our second album, Easy, is to be released sometime in mid-2008.