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GREY SHACK EVOLVING WITH THEIR NEW ALBUM
By: Natasha Mahesh, 2016-04-28 11:45:00.0Category: Personalities
Grey Shack is known for its raw and energetic rock n roll music. The music from their first album seems to be influenced by a lot of classic rock artists. They will be coming out with a new album which Grey Shack claims to be more ‘edgy’ and 'raw' with good songwriting. Here is my interview with Grey Shack’s lead guitarist, Vikram Vivekanand.
How was the band formed?
We were formed back in 2007 when Rohan and I were studying at the Madras Christian College. We started off as a college band and then took a break for a couple of years once college ended, due to academic obligations. Then we got back in 2011, once Rohan and I found ourselves back in Chennai.
Tell us more about your band members?
Rohan is our frontman and vocalist, Conrad plays bass, Ram plays drums and I play the guitar. Conrad and I also double up as backing vocalists. In fact, Conrad arranges all our vocal harmonies. Ram is the youngest in the band, but I haven't seen such a beastly drummer before. Okay, well, maybe Mike Portnoy.
What are your songs influenced or mostly based on? Like She bites seemed to be about an independent girl...
Well independent girl is a polite way to put it. It’s about a girl who knows what she wants. The lyrics to our songs are mostly about the people we have met and places that we’ve been. Our songs talk about what happens in our daily lives, as city bred boys. It could be about a strange phenomenon or about breaking away from routine.
What is different about your new album compared to the previous and when will it be released? How is it different from your previous releases?
We are still working on two more songs, because we are ready with 6 songs that are already composed and ready to be recorded. We have taken our time to do these songs because the last album was mostly written back in 2007 and 2008 when we were in college. Step Outside was more like the chronicling of the journey of the band thus far, and we wanted to announce that Grey Shack had made a comeback after a brief hiatus. Since 2012, the band has grown and that’s what we want to show in our upcoming album. In the new set of songs we have worked on vocal harmony, technical abilities of the band have gotten better, the musicians are better and that’s what we want to showcase on this album. Though it may sound like the current album serves as a vehicle for showcasing technical ability, there is a lot of songwriting value in the songs we have come up with, even though the songs are quite noticeably heavier from a musical point of view.
In 2014 Grey Shack represented Harley Davidson at the European Bike Week in Faaker See, Austria. How was the experience?
Not sure about its influence, but it was a beautiful experience that lasted 10 ten days. We were the only Indian band that had participated in the festival. Although the time we spent at the actual festival was only three days, it gave us a lifetime of memories that we'll always look back upon. We met so many artists from the UK and other parts of Europe. It was pretty new for them to see four Indian boys play rock and roll music. We were totally floored by how professionally the whole festival was organised. It was one of the biggest festivals in Europe and to be able to play there is a really massive deal. We still have very good relations with those artists even now. We played our own music to the crowd who had never heard us before and after one hour they were singing back our lyrics and we even got an encore! We realised that our music works over there and that it is totally in line with what people listen to in Europe. It was very reassuring that rock music was still very much alive in today’s world of computer generated music. People keep saying that rock is dead, but I don’t think so.
Most of the bands in Chennai sing in Tamil, why is it that Grey Shack sings in English?
We’ve always sung in English, and that doesn't make us any less Indian. English is what helped us express ourselves best. We were brought up on Elvis, the Beatles, Zeppelin and Floyd, but we were never alien to Carnatic and Hindustani music. We're perfectly okay with eating sambhar and rice for lunch, and a nice beef steak or pizza for dinner. Get what I mean?
You have performed mostly in the South of India, do you plan to perform in the North?
We have played a couple of shows in Bombay, Kolkata and Nagaland. We performed in the Auto Expo in Delhi back in 2014 when they launched the Harley Davidson Street 750. We would love to perform in Delhi but when it comes to organisers and venues, they think twice (or more) before spending a chunk of money on a band's travel and accommodation and performance fee.
Many artists complain that when they are given an opportunity to perform shows some clients prefer them to play only commercial music. Have you experienced a similar situation?
Absolutely, people want commercial music all the time and you can’t help and feel that your original music is not good enough for them. But that is what the client wants. We don’t really publicise it, but Grey Shack has played a few corporate and cover shows. We don’t publicise it because we don’t want to be known as a commercial rock band. And we're not.
What would you like to tell your fans and budding artists?
Practice as much as you can and respect your art, music and yourself. You have to make an effort to put yourself out there, because nobody is going to give the opportunity on a silver platter. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. Keep at it, be smart about it, and you'll see work coming your way.
To hear more of their music, check out trbble and Band Camp links:
Band Camp: http://greyshackmadras.bandcamp.com/