Mark of Teja has got to have something to do with
Andaz Apna Apna (AAA).
(Laughs) Yeah, we all grew up on stories of old school Bollywood of the ’90s. AAA especially had a huge impression on our entire generation. We are all proud to wear Bollywood on our sleeves, especially since all of us in the band indiviually work in the entertainment industry too. Our guitar player, Prashant, had written a song inspired by the guitar lick that comes each time Paresh Rawal’s character in AAA, Teja, comes on screen. When we were finalizing the name of the album, Mark of Teja was literally talking to us. It totally fit.
Is the rest of the album inspired by the movie too?
The songs aren’t inspired by AAA but we’ve created a story book, which is being used in place of the inlay, that revolves around the Ram and Shyam Bajaj theme of AAA. It’s a story about how a Bollywood film should be. Set in the 17th century, it’s the story of an entrepreneur, Singhania, who owns most of the world, and has a company called Singhania and Singhania. He tries to ‘manufacture’ another Singhania, a clone, but ends up producing an evil version of himself — someone like Teja.
You are going the whole mile with this album, though you had put your last album, Confect, up for free downloads. What brought about this shift?
Confect happened because of our Independence Rock gig. We got paid a lot for it, so instead of stashing it away for new gear or travelling for gigs, we put all the money in creating albums ourselves. It was a complete DIY album. We put it up online because (chuckles) we’ve downloaded a lot of music from the internet ourselves. We didn’t have any money for Mark Of Teja, but the record label, Grey And Saurion, signed us on, and funded our album. That’s why there’s a price to it.
You are releasing this album at Summer Storm, where you open for
Lamb Of God.
(Smiles) Yeah, it’s not sunk in yet. Sometime last year, I was just thinking about how I’d be lucky if I got to ever see the band live. And now, we are playing on the same stage as them, and releasing our album on that stage too! We had already set a release date of summer 2010 for the album, and when we were chosen to open for Lamb Of God, it was like a sign for the heavens. The organizers were very supportive, and gave us the opportunity to release our album. It’s the biggest concert to have happened in India in the last five years, and we really feel such opportunities will do a great deal for metal music in India. (Chuckles) We are still shaken up though, and the gig is this weekend!
You guys even played at the Inferno festival last month, at the mecca of metal, Norway. How were you picked up for that?
We had performed at Great Indian Rock last year. Sohail Arora, from Krunk, had told people at the Norwegian Embassy about us, and some of them had come to see us. They seemed to really like our performance, and casually told us that they wanted to take us to Norway for a festival. (Chuckles) We thought they were being polite, but a few months later, they came through! The great thing is that when Norway, which is like the source of metal, starts accepting bands from India, that means Indian bands are ready to take over the world. It’s like we’ve been given a visa into global metal.
Did you guys kill it at Norway?
(Chuckles) Yeah, it was quite a stellar day trip for us. This form is not indigenous to India as a culture, so representing India in metal is like going for the Olympics. We definitely learnt a lot from other bands, but more importantly, the way we were accepted at the place, was overwhelming. We even went for another gig after Inferno, where a Norwegian band opened for us! The best compliment we got was that in spite of being an Indian band, we hadn’t introduced Indian elements in our sound, and were hardcore metal.
So, what next?
We are putting together a tour for the album, making a music video, and are even coming up with a DVD that will trace our journey from the making of the album, to playing at Norway, to opening for Lamb Of God.