Thermal And A Quarter takes Bangalore rock to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They share their excitement
Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ) says, “Since 2006, we’ve tried to squeeze in one international tour every year, and it’s nice to see that we’re slowly building a following in so many different countries. With our new album 3 Wheels 9 Lives (a 3-disc 28-song album, unprecedented in Indian independent rock) released late last year, this tour is coming at a really good time for us.” The band talks to MetroPlus about going to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival later this year.
Edinburgh Fringe - it's a big deal…
As you so rightly mention, it is a BIG DEAL! This is the biggest international tour ever in history of Indian English Rock, with over 34 gigs played in just over a month and a half of touring. We’ve played big international festivals before, like the Mosaic Festival (Singapore) and the Java Jazz Festival (Jakarta), but doing 26 nights back-to-back at the World’s Biggest Arts Festival, we’re sure, will be something else. We have to thank our sponsors here — Air India for travel and ProFX for financial assistance — they helped make this happen. Air India, have been kind enough to increase our baggage allowance considerably to accommodate our instruments. We’re going to have to dream up all kinds of innovative ways to promote the show, sell merchandise... the whole shebang. Exciting times!
We’re also the only Indian band at this year's Fringe, so we have a big responsibility - showcasing a side of our country that isn’t typically seen in the West. Typical musical exports from India have been Bollywood, classical and fusion — our particular ‘Bangalore Rock’ is a different animal altogether, and we’re really looking forward to the reactions from the Fringe audience.
Given that something over two million people attend the festival across the month of August, we’ve got our work cut out... Post the Fringe, we play the main stage at the Edinburgh Mela Festival, and then we head out to Ireland to play a few more gigs in the first week of September.
Is it another landmark milestone for TAAQ?
Ach, not at all, it’s just another day at the office.
Do any of you get air sick?
No, we don’t get air sick. We just make mu-sick.
What’s the agenda - go play some great music, have a great time and come back with great stories? Is there more?
What do you mean is there more?? Eat lots of local food, throw some TVs and Grand Pianos out of our hotel rooms, have mad orgies every weekend, sample 26 different kinds of whiskey and four different varieties of Haggis... ah we could go on.
But seriously, the agenda isn’t just the gigs and the good times — we’re hoping this showing at a Festival of this nature will open more doors for us internationally.
As an Indian band that gets the opportunity to play Bangalore rock in foreign country - what does the responsibility mean for TAAQ?
It’s always been the same — showcasing a side of modern, urban India in a style, form and context that makes it culturally and musically unique. India has often been called the ‘most interesting country in the world’ today, and for good reason.
Love it or hate it — it will not leave you unmoved. That’s the ethos we’re taking out of the country.
What are you guys looking forward to besides playing there?
We’re going to try and catch as many of the other shows as possible.
There’s tons of music, theatre, comedy, dance... since we’re playing every night, our days will be spent promoting our gigs and watching as many others as we can. Scotland and Ireland are also really picturesque places with lots of history. We’re definitely going to take a look around the countryside whenever we have downtime.
There’re also quite a few friends of ours in those parts, so some catching up will happen too.