One of Mumbai’s most active independent bands will stay true to its repute of being a ‘jam’ band, when it plays along with the Bombay Police Band on Saturday, at the Hanging Gardens, Malabar Hill. As part of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BBCI) initiative to promote live music in the city, Something Relevant (STR) and the Bombay Police Band will play a two-hour set, where they’ll play their own songs and also jam on each other’s. Stuart D’Costa, STR’s bassist, laughs, “I helped with the programming of the bands that will play as part of the initiative, and during the schedule, put STR and the Police Band on the same day, with the full intention of jamming with them.”
Keeping it interesting
STR is brimming with excitement, though it has made a habit out of “keeping things interesting”, as saxaphonist Ryan Sadri puts it. Known for its incredible energy, chemistry and vivaciousness on stage, STR keeps its performances fresh by getting different musicians on board for its gigs.
Among others, it has jammed with a trombone player, Amreet Panesar, a saxophone player from New Zealand,Woody, a Chennai-based guitar player, Prasanna, and even a choir.
“We really want to live off gigging live, so we are coming up with all kinds of ways of making it work,” says Sadri. “We love being live — we have a constant urge to perform,” D’Costa adds.
The band, which was formed by a bunch of friends at a basketball court at St. Xavier’s in 2003, is evidently determined to take its music seriously — most of the band members have quit their jobs and jam for hours at a stretch, three-four days every week. Its’ self-financed album, Feels Good To Be Live, has hit major music stores earlier this week, on the band’s own label, Relevant Records.
It wasn’t easy recording an album for the improvisational band, which feeds off the audiences at their gigs and thrives on the live energy and vibe. After having almost completed an album through the traditional approach of recording individually, the band decided to re-record the entire album since the tracks didn’t have the ‘live’ punch it is best known for.
“It was challenging to get the live sound, and we are one of the few bands in India to have actually been able to record it,” says Aazin Printer, the band’s vocalist. “We put in all our money to rent Mumbai’s biggest studio, Yashraj, and got a great mentor, Shantanu Hudlikar, who produced and mixed the album, and then, were finally able to pull it off.”
“And the reactions so far have been completely worth it,” grins drummer, Jehangir Jehangir. “Everyone who has heard it has loved it, and the best part is, more people are singing along with us at our gigs now.”
The band has also been getting invites for gigs from all quarters, from every club and nightspot in the city to even Leander Paes, who recently asked it to perform at an event. And after getting a break to perform at the International Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia, STR admittedly, is only just getting started.
Another album soon
“We now have an acoustic album lined up, through which we plan to showcase our songwriting,” Jehangir reveals. “We are also planning to go to music stores in March and perform live, to promote our albums. There’s a music video coming up soon too”
“We are simultaneously working on honing our individual skills,” adds Sadri. “We love having a blast during our performances, but we practice hard to have fun on stage!”