Can a note of music be mapped to a specific colour? Well, Michael Anthony Dias and his friends think that every time they listen to a song, their minds are filled with colours, rather than thoughts.

When they formed a band and listened to their own compositions, they all associated it with the colour orange. So, they named themselves ‘Mad Orange Fireworks’.

“We were sitting around a campfire and thinking about names for the band. I wanted ‘Mad’ to be a part of the name of the band, as we were all kind of crazy and also because those are my initials too. Our music of course sounds ‘orangy’, because it’s bright, funky, and easy on the ears. ‘Fireworks’ seemed a nice way to round off the name,” says Michael, who is the vocalist and guitarist of the band.

The band released their debut album ‘Lifeline cast’ late last year, garnered positive responses from all over, and ended up in many of the ‘Best of the year’ lists. But things were not always so rosy, or rather ‘orangy’.

The journey

Three years ago, Michael Anthony Dias was among the thousands of ‘disgruntled’ Malayali software engineers lost among the concrete and glass jungles of Bangalore. He had left the successful Kochi-based progressive rock band ‘Hush’ to take up the corporate job.

That period saw him pour out his agony and ecstasy into a handful of soft rock compositions that were much talked about in the city’s music circles. On the weekends, he performed with other bands, but Monday blues came back haunting every week.

One fine morning, he put in his papers, before the company could give him a ‘pink’ slip. He became a guitar tutor to pass on his knowledge and pay his bills.

Then, there was a fruitful stint with the rock veterans of Bangalore, ‘Thermal and a Quarter (TAAQ)’, as a guitarist.

Late in 2011, he teamed up with bassist Kaushik, who was earlier part of the NIT- Calicut band ‘Slingshot’, and drummer Deepak Raghu, to form ‘Mad Orange Fireworks’.

Michael’s prolific composing made sure that they started off with a ready set of materials to work on. Their music is hard to pin down to a genre, as it throbs with a wide array of influences ranging from jazz, funk, blues, and even pop.

The opening track, ‘Feet ain’t moving’, which begins with a ‘Malayali-accented English’ monologue, gives voice to the feelings of a majority of us who were born with two left feet. The origins of Michael’s music career can be traced to the lyrics, which say he started a band because he couldn’t dance.

‘On the ledge’ talks about love which borders on insanity. The very positive sounding break-up song ‘Black hole’ is familiar to all of Bangalore by now, as Michael has been singing it on-and-off stage for the past many years now. ‘Empty Saturday’ is a song that people with six-day working weeks can easily identify with.

‘Break my fall’, which starts off with a pleasant opening riff, is the kind of song one would prefer to listen with a hot cup of coffee on a rainy Sunday morning. ‘Confusing state’ is an anthem for those caught in a quarter-life crisis.

Personal journey

Most of the songs in the album are personal, rather than commentaries on larger issues. They have performed all over south India, except well, Kerala. They play tribute gigs too.

“We hope to play in Kerala soon, pretty soon,” says Michael. The album can be sampled at http://madorange fireworks.bandcamp.com.