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Junkyard Groove Ready New EP ‘Before I Go’

Frontman of the Chennai rockers Ameeth Thomas talks about 10 years of keeping the band together; plans to play music from their new EP in Pune this week


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(from l) Guitarist Joshua Mark Raj, frontman Ameeth Thomas, bassist Sajith Satya and drummer Shashank Vijay of Junkyard Groove. Photo: Siddharth Mudaliar

(from l) Guitarist Joshua Mark Raj, frontman Ameeth Thomas, bassist Sajith Sathya and drummer Shashank Vijay of Junkyard Groove. Photo: Siddharth Mudaliar

Chennai-based rock band Junkyard Groove’s sole founding member Ameeth Thomas is in the middle of explaining how techno was influenced by blues [especially John Lee Hooker’s music], but he’s actually justifying why he’s beginning to like electronic music. While the band’s second full-length album Accidental Hero [2013] had some electronica leanings on songs like “In Your Eyes,” Thomas is confident that their high-energy stage sound will remain heavily influenced by rock. Says Thomas, “It’s still about playing your guitars and drums. I’ve noticed a lot of artists right now just go ‘Put your hands up in the air’, and everybody goes wild. That shit doesn’t work with me.”

Thomas is turning back to his earliest influences – the blues of J.J. Cale, B.B. King and Hooker – for the band’s upcoming EP, Before I Go. JYG will premiere a bluesy track called “Follows Me Down” at one of their pre-EP launch shows at High Spirits in Pune this week. In addition to playing new material, Thomas is prepping to dive into previous material – from 11:11, released in 2009, and the EP Nicer In A Minute, out in 2011 – that they haven’t played regularly. Says Thomas, “I want to show people that we have a full repertoire of music. Because even now, people ask me, ‘What happened after “It’s Ok”? I say, ‘Asshole, I had an EP after that, and another fucking album also.’”

The band, which completes 10 years in June, has seen several line-up changes. Thomas hints that the band might play a gig in Mumbai to celebrate the landmark. His main advice to anyone looking to survive a decade in independent music in India is to “stick it out.” Says Thomas, “Nothing good in life comes easy. If something comes easy, then everybody would be a millionaire.” He admits that every day is a struggle, but of a different kind. Thomas, who picked up his brother’s guitar as a 16-year-old when he was advised bed rest during his days as a cricketer, has gone on to learn everything from music production to playing instruments such as the banjo, mandolin and piano. Says Thomas, “Every day is about ‘What do we do next?’ That’s how we work.”

Junkyard Groove performs at High Spirits, Pune on May 29th, 2015. Event details here.

 

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