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Providence Go on an Indefinite Hiatus

The Mumbai metallers promise a “fast, loud, thunderous and fuckin’ pissed off” last show tonight

Anurag Tagat Apr 26, 2017
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Photo by Prashin Jagger-0623

Mumbai metallers Providence live at BIG69 Festival. Photo: Prashin Jagger

For all their hardcore energy and no-bullshit attitude on and off the stage, Mumbai metal band Providence seem to have arrived at a crossroads, choosing to call time on their music to concentrate on other professional commitments. The news of an indefinite hiatus, which the band says they were deliberating for a year now, came just after they were announced to perform at new gig series The CLASH alongside desi hip-hop crew Swadesi at Antisocial in Mumbai, on April 26th.

Says guitarist and founder Shezan Shaikh, “I feel between Charan [Singh Pathania, guitarist], Aaron [Pinto, drummer] and I, who are the main writers for the album, we are unable to give enough time. And it’s a decision that comes out of respecting the time, effort, blood, sweat and a lot of fights into this band.” Between setting up their own respective studios (Shaikh’s Studio Providence in Mumbai and vocalist Karan Pote’s AudioHack Studios in Pune), film scoring and commercial gigs (for Pathania) and a full-time visual designer job (for Pinto), the band says “the realities of life have set in.” Pathania adds, “It is becoming increasingly difficult to continue working on the kind of album we as a band would like to put out.”

Ahead of their final gig for what may be months or years to come, the band talks about why they took the decision to call time, their last setlist and jamming with Swadesi. Excerpts:

How spontaneous or thought-out was the decision to call time on Providence as a band?

Aaron Pinto: We’ve toyed with the idea of a break, but at the end of it always thought that it was a stupid idea. Recently, it’s been quite tough keeping the band afloat with all our work commitments. And as much as it hurts, metal doesn’t pay at all in India. So taking a break seemed like a healthy option as it’ll give us time to just step back with no pressure and assess the situation and give us time to sort our lives out.

Why the indefinite hiatus, when the band has been working continually on material?

Shezan Shaikh: We kept on writing, recording, erasing, canceling, fighting, and then partying, and the repeating the whole process only to realise this is not the album that we want to put out.  This is a heartbreaking but a welcome change for me personally. I’d like to focus on other aspects of life and not drag down the band that was built with a lot of awesome and love. We could’ve said we exist, and never played a show and faded out. But we don’t roll like that. This is how things are at the moment. But the future is always uncertain, and you know….never say never.

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What are your current work commitments outside of Providence like?

Shezan: Well, I make music for a living full time. I have my own recording studio called Studio Providence which caters to Bollywood films, advertising and video games. I’ve made music for some of the best brands in the country. I’ve also done additional SFX for [Bollywood film] Mirzya and it was nominated in Filmfare for best SFX. My current jingle count is at 55 now. In a year, I don’t think that’s too bad!

My focus post Providence is that by the end of 2017/mid 2018 I want to be making Background scores for Bollywood films. And I also wish to go pro with MMA and pursue that with full heart. And in this mix, it just gets too difficult to manage the band do everything needed to get it running.

Charan: I’m working on background scores as a music producer for films. Film score and composing songs can be a tedious and time consuming process. I’m also playing guitars with [singer] Anushka Manchanda and producing independent artists.

Very few bands have the intensity that Providence, just being on stage and playing those songs — whether it’s Slipknot or your own stuff — how did you keep up that live show brutality each and every time?

Aaron: Providence is less of a band and more of a ‘No girls allowed’ boys club. Onstage is where we belong and we love every second of it together. We don’t really think about keeping the ‘brutality’ going, that’s just second nature.

Shezan: We get 30 to 45 minutes a set depending on the venue. And I refuse to step onstage and get off it like an action figure. If we can’t groove and move to our music, I don’t think anyone else can. We play an aggressive form of music. And I feel visual appeal is the biggest aspect of a live show. I can’t watch a band that’s not having fun onstage no matter how good their music is. It is about enjoying your music. If you can’t enjoy it, don’t expect anyone to enjoy it. How I act and react onstage is the only way I know how to enjoy my music with Providence. It’s wild. It’s unrelenting. And it’s a lot of fuckin’ fun. Because we don’t move alone. We move with a wave of people throwing down as hard as we doIt has always been a lot of fun. I’m truly going to miss it.

For the Clash, how have the jams with the Swadesi crew going? What kind of zone is it going into?

Shezan: Swadesi guys are fuckin’ talented, and they’re the hidden gem of the Indian hip-hop movement. And if the music industry shifts focus from the shitheads that they’re catering to, they’ve got some insane talent on their hands waiting to let loose. Swadesi and Providence clicked immediately. They matched us beat for beat man, and we have some pretty fast fuckin’ riffs. And to rap on that? Holy shit, they killed it!

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We walked out of the jam room with mutual respect for each other. And that’s where it’s at. We have a lot of things in common, I happen to train with Shantanu of Swadesi, and the whole mental connect is different. I believe it’s a friendship that’ll lead to more future collaboration. I really wanted to do a Providence X Swadesi album. I don’t know, maybe when the time is right.

Watch a clip from the Providence and Swadesi jam 

What would it take for Providence to decide – whether months or years from now – that you will come back into the game?

Charan: I think as it stands, once the whole band can get into the grind again, I’m pretty sure we all would love to. We love this band. We love our music. That is never going to change.

Shezan: So, let me just set this straight right now. It’s our band. And we decided what’s best for it. And we decide when the time is right to get back in the game. Could be a day, could be a year, could be a few years. I’m really sad that this has come to an end. I formed this band with a lot of heart. And I truly believe that any stage on this planet, big or small…Providence will hold its own. I wish we could’ve toured Europe, but it is what it is. And I’m grateful to even have the opportunity to be a part of something with people who are now my family, a part of something that defines me. And it’s all coming to an end on gig day.

To all our fans: You guys fuckin’ rule. We’ve never cribbed about our album sales, our merch sales, or money, or situations. We’ve always come out and played banging sets, not just for you, but for ourselves. And even though we won’t be around…I want to take this moment to tell you, don’t fuckin’ give in. Every time you feel like shit or giving up… remember – power through!

But for now, I love you all, and we’ll do this at the gig. One last time together – headbang and unite in the form of a giant middle finger. Fuck the pretentious music scene. Fuck the haters. And fuck everyone who wants to bring you down, my friends. We are the fuckin’ scene. We don’t need no one to keep it going. I wish you all a very best in whatever you do. Remember, be humble in success or failure.

Providence and Swadesi performs at The CLASH on April 26th, 2017 at Antisocial, Mumbai. Entry: Rs 300. Event details here.

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