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Rock on roll

Vishal Dadlani, back as a judge on Launchpad, crackles and thunders with Nikhil Taneja.

music Updated: Jan 19, 2009 17:15 IST

Why did you pass on Launchpad last season?
Those were scheduling issues, man. I had time when Launchpad came this year. It’s edgier and more alternative. The only criteria is original music.. we don’t even have language barriers. I really hope we see some formidable talent from Bengal and the North East. Many bands had problems with the show last season.

A few even said on record that that rockers were expected to behave like circus animals. I don’t know what happened last year and I don’t even care. I’m not looking for a flippant, amateur college act but tight, professional bands which can create electricity and magic on stage — with each other and the crowd.

Even in Pentagram, none of us can create the madness on stage without the other three. Indigo Children which won the competition, felt that the jury was prejudiced because Bhayanak Mauth was a metal outfit and that’s why it lost.

Wow, isn’t that magnanimous but isn’t it a bit too late to say that? If they didn’t give the award away at that time, they should just shut up.
Let me make it clear, the best band will win at any cost this time. When the Launchpad guys came to me with the offer, they said they have no money but they really want to do this to help the scene. I’m on board only because I have always promoted original music. I don’t have time to waste on garbage.

Still, how can you pit a metal band against a pop group?
We are so used to music stacked by genres in record stores.. but music is above genres. Personally, if I hear music and I can see the light of god shining from heaven, I know it’s a fantastic band. If I smell hydrogen sulphite, I know it sucks.

Okay, but what is the point of the competition when the channels which air such reality shows don’t really play their music otherwise?
You’re right.. I think music channels in the country are too Bollywood dependent. Bands too simply say channels aren’t helping.. but what the f**k is the band doing? There’s always youtube.. bands need to take their sound to the people.

You think bands need to market themselves?
I’m not asking bands to sell themselves. Bands should believe in their music and play it everywhere they can, to as many people as possible.. in the city, country or festivals abroad. Look at what Raghu Dixit, Thermal and a Quarter or Shaair and Func are doing. Even Pentagram’s been doing that for 15 years.

You haven’t signed anyone after Raghu Dixit for the Vishal-Shekhar label. Is there hope for the Launchpad bands?
They’ll definitely get a good break with Launchpad but yes, we are looking for our Artiste No 2. It has to be someone who composes and produces his or her own music.. that’s not as common as it would seem.

So what’s happening with the next Pentagram album?
We just started working on it last week, man. It’ll be there in the summer. This time, we return to our original way of composing.. four of us in a room and insane jams!