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Artists To Watch Out For: The Dirty Strikes

Imphal post punk band are readying to release their debut album

Lalitha Suhasini Dec 16, 2013
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The Dirty Strikes. Photo: Courtesy Naman Saraiya

WHO: The five-member band from Imphal got together in 2010, but ended up performing just once that year. “One of the gigs got called off due to security reasons,” says the band’s 25-year-old lead vocalist Kennedy Heigrujam. Heigrujam set up the band to introduce Imphal to some new sounds, as he puts it. “This happened after a vacation in Sikkim,” says the law student, “We were listening to Coldplay and The Strokes and were thinking about how every other band in Imphal only played metal. We wanted to tell our people that there were other genres in the world.” 

SOUND: The Dirty Strikes can slaughter The Strokes on a bad day, but can also bring a certain unaffected charm and effortlessness to stage, something that most of their contemporaries seem to lack. When we last saw them on stage, they’d just arrived in Mumbai after a three-day train journey from Imphal, but still powered through their set with originals such as “Good Damaged Girl,” “You Have Her So What” and “When He Kiss Me He Really Kiss Me.”  Their upcoming album will also include songs that explore more serious themes such as the stigma attached to HIV patients back home in Manipur in the track titled “Just A Patient Like Everyone.” There’s also a track challenging authority titled “Leave Us Alone.”  Says Heigrujam, “I wrote it to mean my parents, but then the song is also about the government. The Army is everywhere in Manipur – at every corner searching anyone they suspect at any point.” 

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BIG BREAK: While The Dirty Strikes performed a few gigs in Delhi in 2011 including the North East festival at Dilli Haat, their first prominent festival appearance was at the Ziro Festival Of Music in 2012. More recently, the band made their Mumbai debut at the recently launched South Mumbai venue D’Bell. Heigrujam adds, “Pondicherry was another city where we loved playing at because the audience response was awesome – they were screaming and dancing – and the organizers really took care of us. Treated us like royalty.”

SPIN THIS: “Good Damaged Girl,” which opens like a Kings Of Leon track, packs in a lot more power when the band performs it on stage. The studio recording is more pop than punk with clean guitar lines, meek drum grooves and a singalong chorus.

COMING UP: The band is recording their debut album in Mumbai slated to release next year.

Listen to “Good Damaged Girl” here

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