Kochi-based folk metal collective, Thaikkudam Bridge is synonymous to versatility and unprecedented innovation in remaking classic melodies. The band has been ruling the roost in terms of gaining massive fan-following right from the first time its music was aired on TV. The recognition has translated itself to a gradually growing number of shows booked apart from collaboration offers from established international names in the industry.
This year the sprawling 18-member band will be performing at the multi-city music festival, NH7 Weekender that begins at Shillong, Meghalaya this weekend. We chatted with Anish Krishnan, one of the latest addition to the band’s vocals team, who couldn’t hide his excitement to watch Steve Vai perform live at the event.
Shweta from Roots and Leisure interviews the Kochi-based folk metal collective band.
- Hey Anish! How excited are you about performing at NH7 Weekender?
Yes, this is our first trip to Shillong and we’re very excited about it. After a delayed flight, weather scare, and a day layover at Bangalore, we have finally arrived to Shillong to give our share to India’s Happiest Music Festival. We’ve been to Delhi before and I’ve also traveled to Kasol but Shillong is a different beauty altogether. We also can’t believe we’ll get to watch Steve Vai perform! We are also looking forward to jamming to Sky Harbour’s music.
- How has your journey been with Thaikkadum Bridge, since you joined?
I joined Thaikkudam Bridge when they were getting ready to perform for their first live show after the first season of Music Mojo in Kochi. Since then I’ve got to be a part of a beautiful band that treats each other like family. We take time out to chill out with each other and I think that chemistry makes a great impact on our music.
- What would be the biggest challenge about working with a 18- member band? Are there a lot of logistics involved?
Yes, including our sound engineers and managers, we are a strong 18-member team. But, contrary to how that sounds like, there’s not too much of confusion actually. I think our managers do a fabulous job at getting things sorted out. Of course, their job isn’t easy and it is a huge responsibility. But they come with a lot of experience and I guess that’s how they keep things up and running for everyone.
- From creating songs like ‘Fish Rock’ to songs like ‘Appodhum’ that involve social commentary, and then working on melodies like ‘Innum Konjam Neram’, a lot of your music is moving beyond genres. What inspires you guys to work on a song?
Thaikkudam is a multi-lingual band and we have never liked sticking to a single genre. We have eight vocalists and each one of them has a unique style and his own kind of deliverance. Two of our vocalists, Krishna Bongane and Nila Madhav Mohapatra, are trained in Hindustani Classical. So, when we realise the song is taking a classical turn we hand it over to them to take it to a place where they can give it their best. Tracks like Khwaab and a dark track called Shiva are the best examples in this context. Then there’s Vipin Lal, who is a trained classical vocalist. His versatility in taking classical to the next level can be seen in Navarasam. Christin Jose is excellent in Malayalam and Tamil melodies and has sung the wonderfully written song, Urumbu. We also have Peethambaram Menon who we also lovingly address as ‘Godfather’ *smiles* He is the true rockstar of the band although his singing has a folk influence. Piyush does Hindi melodies and then there’s me as a rock vocalist. I think our debut album Navarasam is an example of how multi-genre Thaikkudam Bridge’s music is.
Usually, when we come up with a song, we don’t set any time limit to the thought process. There are songs that have taken us just five minutes to compose and then some that take months. It’s not very complicated, just needs it’s own pace and timing.
- How did you come up with the idea of working with Mr. Peethambaram Menon? And did you ever expect him to get so popular?
It’s crazy how much our young fans love him! He has an aura around him whenever he comes on stage. That electric energy is hard to miss. And mixed with his rockstar attitude, it only gets better. I would be blessed if I could do what he does when I’m 60. All of us look upto him as an inspiration.
- We heard you’re working on your second studio album, Namah. What is it all about?
Namah is in production work right now. We’ll be releasing the album’s first music video on October 27th. We will also be performing it live for the first time at NH7 Weekender. Pretty excited because I’ll be the singer. The track’s called Inside My Head and is created in collaboration with German drummer Marco Minnemann, who has won international acclaim for his work.
‘Namah’ is a tribute to legendary artists that have blessed us with music that has left a mark on our hearts. We as a band have strived to raise the benchmark with every new album and this time we’ve collaborated musicians that we look up to for inspiration. Some of the big names that we’ve worked with for Namah are, flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, Ustad Rashid Khan, sitar maestro Niladri Kumar, and Mohanveena exponent and Grammy Award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. We have also collaborated with three international artists. That includes the legendary Lamb of God & Megadeth drummer Chris Adler, and of course, Marco Minnemann, revered as one of the best drummers in the world.
- The amount of artistic talent that’s rising out of Southern India is mind blowing. As one of the most influential bands from the region, can you tell us what’s helping the trend?
Of course, new-gen bands from South India are giving the world a new perspective of Indian metal and rock music. Bands like Avial, Motherjane, Agam, The Down Troddence and Evergreen are putting us on the map. Platforms like NH7 play a very big role in this uprising as they provide us with a huge platform to showcase our music. It also helps the performing artists to understand how their music influences the crowd. I’m glad many fans internationally are beginning to look at India as a launchpad for music that spans beyond just Bollywood music. I also love Bollywood music though and it helps that many music directors from the industry are looking at independent bands to collaborate with them. The world needs more bold music directors like that.
Thaikkudam Bridge will be performing on 27th Oct – at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Meghalaya. Catch them LIVE at the event!
For more on the band, follow their Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
More Details on Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2017, Meghalaya – artist line up and venue details HERE
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