Chat Rocker Vivek Thomas on his new band Vidwan

H e came, he saw and he rocked! Vivek Thomas' is a familiar name to rock music buffs in the city, having been the lead vocalist of popular local band Soulburn for the past five years. Now the rock crazy youngster aims to go a step ahead with his newly formed band Vidwan, where he helms the acoustic guitar, synths and the vocals too.

Quite a different career path for the 26 year-old lawyer, isn't it?

“My heart was not into law and I quit the profession to pursue my passion for music. So I got myself a diploma in audio recording art from Chetana sound studio,” says Vivek. The singer's tryst with Soulburn began while he was studying at the Kerala Law Academy Law College.

He happened to meet bassist Chippu at a music institute in the city, they started jamming together and in 2005 they formed a band. Soulburn hit the limelight when they won at a festival at Mohandas College of Engineering, where Rex Vijayan and Tony John of Avial were the judges.

First performance

“I still have fond memories of the show. It was our first performance as a band. That first win was followed by more for fetes at IIT Bombay and IIT Madras (he won the best vocalist award in 2008 at IIT Madras' ‘Saarang' fete). Things got serious after that and we decided to become full-time musicians though each one of us was doing different things at that time. Soulburn and its progressive psychedelic rock made me what I am,” says Vivek.

Exhilarating ride

With Vidwan though Vivek finds it ‘exhilarating' to be a part of something new. Vidwan has Saju Srinivas on the vocals and lyrics, Yakzan Gary Pereira on the keyboards and the synths, Ben Sam Jones on the bass and guitars, Arpith Easo Samuel on the drums, and Vivek himself. Rex performs on the guitar for live performances.

“We were all part of other bands before forming Vidwan. We were tired of doing the same old stuff and decided to broaden our horizons. As we come from varied musical backgrounds, we all have different influences and inclinations and we're trying to blend something unique in Vidwan – Indian percussion, acoustic guitars, electronica, and psychedelic music, and Malayalam folk numbers to give that ethnic touch,” says Vivek.

At present, Vidwan is working on its first album, the production of which is being managed by Avial. They have already completed six tracks and two more have to be recorded. However, Vivek feels that the music industry is not very flexible.

“People are hesitant to accept something out of line. Besides, it's difficult to survive as a full-time musician. But if you believe in what you're doing and love what you are doing, things have a way of coming around – eventually. Actually, there's a lot of money to be made. A kickass album can get you quite a lot, money, tours abroad…,” says Vivek who enjoys the music of The Down Troddence (TDT) from Kottayam, and Purple Blood and Rocksault from the city, among the new-age bands in Kerala. His favourite is TDT because of their “good sound.”

On dealing with egos in a band, Vivek says: “It's given that you have to deal with your demons. Every band has their problems, but at the end of the day it's like a family; eventually you learn to handle the issues, rise above your ego and listen to your band mates – if you persist thinking that they're wrong all the time you'll definitely screw up!”

Check out Vidwan at http://www.reverbnation.

com/vidwan

Shradha S.

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