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Rocking reality

The show that brought us bands like Them Clones, Pin Drop Violence and The Superfuzz is back. Channel [V] Launch Pad III airs Fridays from March 20, 7pm. “We’ve made it a point to make the show only about the band’s music and talent. This time, the show is all about bringing bands together and giving them a platform bigger than just campus fests and letting them focus on the music and the tasks,” says Saurabh Kanwar, vice-president, content & communication, Channel [V]. Pentagram frontman Vishal Dadlani — also the lone “permanent” jury member for Launch Pad — says he’s looking for a band that is “fiercely original, who can redefine the prevailing music scene, who are great performers and have great songs.” Tough ask? t2 takes a look at the trio of bands from Calcutta who measured up…

Prachir

Line-up: Vocalist Soumyadeep Das (Soumya), Sujay Dutta (Bua) on guitar, Arijit Chakravorty (Ashu) on bass, Indranil Bhattacharjee (Indra) on keys and Ayan Nag on the drums.

Genre: Modern alternative. Bangla rock.

Launch Pad Log: Reached the final seven. Prachir met with hazaar ups and downs, but it was worth it, says Indranil. It was one of two bands that sang in a regional language. Reworking Sab bhula ke, which was originally sung by Pakistani band Call, was quite a challenge, say the up-and-comers. “Performing our originals Bharatborsho and Shrinkhol on national television, although it didn’t quite register then, was unbelievable,” Indra smiles. The judges were duly impressed as well. “They just helped prove that music has no language. It speaks its own language,” said Vishal Dadlani.

Bandspeak: “It was simply brilliant. From bonding with everyone to performing at Andheri Sports Complex, it all felt really good. The band got into a bit of trouble back in Mumbai, but the support we got from all the Calcutta bands, who helped us out just because we were representing Calcutta nationally, left us very touched. It was a wonderful experience,” recalls Indra.

Future tense: Their future does seem a little tense. Why? Watch this show to find out. “We want to continue playing and want to make Prachir’s music a part of popular culture,” signs off Indra.

Cassini’s Division

Line-up: Vocalist Rahul Guha Roy, guitarist Sukanti Roy, bassist John Bose and drummer Ritoban Das.

Genre: Alternative rock with shades of everything from hip-hop to Afro-Cuban to nu-metal. “We take influences from everything. If one word fits, it’s hybrid,” says drummer Ritoban Das.

Launch Pad Log: One of the top three bands for the April finals, rock met the King of Pop for CD as it had to re-work and play its own version of Michael Jackson’s Bad. Another challenge involved coming up with a song in 10 minutes flat. “Unlike the last few seasons, this edition had more of a reality TV element…. in the sense that the top seven bands had to go stay at the House Of Rock,” says Ritoban. Judge’s verdict? CD’s performance left one permanent jury member very, very impressed. “I hadn’t expected a band of their calibre from Calcutta. They came as a big surprise. They have a fresh, original and individual sound,” said Vishal.

Bandspeak: The experience was enriching. “Like the task of reworking Bad. It stretches the creativity of the band. It helps reinforce what is your own sound. And for any band that’s not been together for too long, it’s a great thing,” says Ritoban.

Future tense: The band is working on its album — but when will it see the light of day? “We’ll be recording soon,” they assure t2.

The Hobos

Line-up: Vocalist Souvik Chakravarti, guitarist Arko Chatterjee, Subhajit Ghosh on the drums, bassist Devroop Mitra and Suman Bhattacharya on the keyboards.

Genre: Progressive/experimental rock.

Launch Pad Log: Ousted from the final 15. However, being included among the top 20 bands in India and being chosen to compete on national television is an honour, maintain The Hobos. Though the early exit from the show was disappointing, the band claims that it has come back stronger for it. And it was fun. “The place where we were staying, bonding with the Calcutta bands, especially Cassini’s Division, jamming with the musicians — it was very enjoyable,” smiles Devroop. Vishal, however, is not one to mince words. “They didn’t surprise me too much. I wasn’t impressed,” he said.

Bandspeak: “We weren’t as tight as we could have been and at one point the keyboard malfunctioned. That became a huge disadvantage, especially since some of our originals include Indian instruments sampled from the keyboard, like Trance of Mahakaal, which incorporates the santoor. But we gave it our best shot,” says Devroop. That’s what rock’’roll is all about!

Future tense: “We want to make great music and cut an international album,” says drummer Subhajit.

Malini Banerjee
Who’s your Launch Pad favourite? Tell t2@abpmail.com
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