Music

Decade decoded

Them Clones say the aim is to play as much a possible.  

This was one happy Happy Birthday. Them Clones — comprising Surojit Dev (drums), Prithwish Dev (vocals), Joseph Lalhmachhuana (guitar), Gucci Singh (guitar) and Clarence Gonsalves (bass) — turned 10, and almost all leading Delhi bands came in to celebrate at Turquoise Cottage this past week, ranging from Indian Ocean and Parikrama to Advaita, Faridkot and Menwhopause. Seventeen bands were represented, in all. The result was two days of improvisations on Them Clones' originals.

How easy or difficult was it getting all of them under one roof? “Well, it took me like two hours to track the bands we had targeted. And all of them said yes, barring two, who had performances scheduled on those dates,” says Surojit Dev, percussionist and one of the band's founding members. A surprise visitor came in the form of Randolph from Mumbai band Pentagram. The entire event has been recorded. “We've made it into a small documentary. Hopefully, we'll upload it soon.”

Recalling the origins of the alternative rock band, Dev says, “It was all through word of mouth. I was playing for a couple of metal bands and I realised that's not the music I wanted to do. I met Gucci and started the band with him.” Brother Prithwish joined later as vocalist and some additions and subtractions later the present line-up has been settled upon.

Former band-mate Abeer Verma came up with the name, a twist on the track ‘Them Bones' by American rock band Alice in Chains — the performers on stage as clones of their real selves being the idea behind Them Clones.

Challenges in the initial years have smoothened out. “There's always a fight with the budget,” says Dev. “Now you have proper jam pads coming up, with charges starting from Rs.250 to 300 per hour, which is good because we don't earn in lakhs. Earlier, gigs were fewer and the concept was cover-driven. Now more and more bands are taking the initiative to do original compositions,” he adds.

Touch and feel

A significant achievement came in the form of Channel V's Launchpad in 2005. Them Clones are one album old; Love.Hate.Heroes released last year, with the track ‘My life' going on to be a hit. At a time when Indian bands are leaning more and more towards providing their tracks online, even for free, and either doing away with or postponing album releases, how much sense does a tangible album make? “Frankly, for musicians there is little or no money to be made on albums. At the end of the day, an album on the shelf is promotion for the band. The public actually gets to know your band if they see you on a CD,” Dev explains.

All five band-mates have their day jobs. While Surojit Dev works at Ogilvy, Prithwish is at Moser Baer. Gucci and Clarence have their own studios, and Joseph has a government job.

They've already started work on their next album, with two tracks, ‘All about the heartbreak' and ‘Jealousy', nearing completion.

Dev defines Them Clones' music as “simple, hummable music blended with pop-making melody.”

“The aim is to play as much as possible, in India and abroad. Spread happiness and joy,” says Dev, quickly adding, “I'm not saying peace, ok!”


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 12:21:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Decade-decoded/article16127872.ece

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