Indian Ocean’s new line up opens up opportunities for the band to reinvent their old sound and create a new one, says Amit Kilam
No conversation about Indian contemporary music is complete without the mention of Indian Ocean. Formed in the early Nineties, the band has come to represent a unique sound heavily influenced by Indian classical and folk music. This weekend, the band will perform in Hyderabad once again as part of the 100 Pipers Hyderabad Music Week.
The line-up of the other bands performing in the city throughout the week, from the jazzy Something Relevant to the electro-rock Sky Rabbit is testimony to the fact that the Indian music scene has come along way since the inception of Indian Ocean two decades ago. Still Indian Ocean continues to remain one of the biggest bands in the country with an ever growing cult following.
“I think there have always been great musicians in India who want to do independent music,” says drummer and vocalist Amit Kilam, as he spoke to us a few days before the show.
“But they never had the avenues to go out and perform. The whole culture of live shows, however, has seen a sudden rise in activity. A new burst of life has been infused into it largely because of the rise in venues to perform and the live music festivals that have sprung up all over the country.” He points out that “those who were previously in the fringes are coming into the light now. That’s why every time there is a festival there are two or three brand new acts taking the stage.”
Since founding member Susmit Sen’s exit earlier this year, the band has seen some new faces. The band now has Amit Kilam, Rahul Ram on base guitar, Himanshu Joshi on vocals and Tuheen Chakravorty on tabla. The essence of Indian Ocean, the band, however, remains much the same according to Amit. “Although the line up has changed, those who have come in share the same passion for the music and want to reinvent our original sound,” explains Amit. “Plus Indian Ocean does not want to stick to the same sound we began with. We like to put a positive spin to the change. A new person has come in and he has new ideas. As a band, we are really looking forward to pushing the barriers and I’m hoping something good comes of it.”
The weekend’s show was a perfect example of this reinvention. “Because of the new line-up the set list is something different. We’ll be playing a few songs that we’ve never bothered putting up on stage. It will be a mix of some new stuff, some songs that we have reinvented and definitely some of our old stuff,” he concludes.