Seven and still swinging…

Sathish Narayanan - Bassist.  

We know these guys — TT, Sat and Tapass (for the sake of their marital prospects, that’s T.T. Sriram, Sathish Narayanan and Tapass Naresh) and yes, they’re one of Chennai’s top bands. But how come they’re well known in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Colombo and Mexico City?! When did all those processes take place? How did namma boys become so noticed?!

July 15 sees Skrat complete seven years and theirs is not a hard-work and grit story common to any generic team — it’s a story of deep soul-searching and a no-compromise stand, to be musically honest. It’s a story of an awakening.

Skrat has gone through avatar changes before, but this new persona is a definitive direction change musically and lyrically. Share the story with us.

Sriram: We had this defining night, somewhere in March 2012. The Indie scene in Chennai had changed with bands like The Fish Eyed Poets and Shakey Rays. So there was the metal scene and the Indie scene, and rock was somewhere in between! We felt like some lost child hanging somewhere!

Tapass: That period of time, we were getting so fed up with our sound and it was frustrating.

Sriram: Nothing was happening. Tapass and I being the more angry ones just started shouting! Tapass threw off the Toms from his drums. It felt like the only other option was for Skrat to break up. It was bad!

Sat: The result was a decision to go raw. TT scrapped his effect pedals and Tapass played with what was left of the drum kit.

Sriram: Bam! Five song ideas came out that night! We didn’t even speak — it just took form!! Now when I look back, it was as if those songs were already there, and we were just a medium! Those five songs made up the In The Shed video.

Tapass: We had the In The Shed idea two years ago, and we felt ready. This happened in June 2012.

Sriram: It’s a first in India and it caught Mumbai’s attention and we soon played at Blue Frog, Mumbai and Pune and then Delhi. Soon Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad, followed.

Tapass: Next we recorded our second album Bring Out The Big Guns and then played at the NH7- Weekender in Bangalore in December 2012. A lot of connections started happening from then on.

Sriram: Now when we play in Chennai, a whole new audience comes for the shows. I don’t know half the crowd! Right now online, there are like 612 people currently posting views about Skrat. The biggest responses are from Colombo and Mexico City! We don’t know these people; it’s crazy!

Coming back to your material, the song-writing quality has changed so much; even your vocal styles have changed. Comments…

Sriram: We started using the older song writing formats — say what we have to and shut-up. That’s really difficult as you know to make something simple is really complicated! My dad has been a great influence in making our statements clearer. He’s also been brutal, like he came for one of our initial gigs and asked, “You did five originals and five covers — what sense does that make?! The proportion should be 9:1! If I want to listen to covers, I’d do it in my living room!”

Now that’s a nugget to hold onto! What would you call your influences?

Sriram: Growing up listening to Sinatra or the blues from Robert Johnson and other black artists. Mark Knopler (his after Dire Straits days) is a huge influence on song writing and then Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and we’re all influenced by the Racontuers, White Stripes because of Jack White.

Tapass: We have five-year-old unfinished songs. Sriram does the lyrics, while Sat and I work on the arrangements. It’s only the three of us, so it happens faster. July 21, 2006, was our first gig at Unwind, it’s been a rocking seven years and I know there’s exciting times ahead!

To share such chemistry, you’ve obviously known each other for a while?

Tapass: I’ve known Sriram since I was four-years-old, so we’re almost like family. On stage it’s spot-on! There have been gigs where my stage monitor didn’t work, and I could play just watching their fret-boards! We don’t have to say anything to each other — it’s spot-on!

Sounding very British I must say, Tapass. What have you been up to since your UK study stint?

Tapass: I play music for a couple of bands including Indian classical. I also love to travel and did a diving course in Andamans and recently took our bikes up to Delhi and rode to Ladakh. I like travelling.

Sat: I work for an extreme sports website and like the Sunday bicycle rides to Mahabs. TT works full time selling all kinds of TTk products. You should ask him what he’s really selling?

What are the plans for the future?

Sriram: I’m super excited about this momentum we have now! We want to tour a lot and bring out a three-song live video this November, and then bring out a five-song EP in 2014.

To contact Skrat call: Nitin (Manager) — 9176666890. Buy their music on www.oklisten.com

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 5:30:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/seven-and-still-swinging/article4901533.ece

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