Watch: Shillong/Delhi Punk Band Tarik’s New Music Video “Nobody Knows”
The three-piece band have performances lined up in Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati to support their new single
In 2010, Delhi-based filmmaker, producer and songwriter Wanphrang Diengdoh returned to his hometown Shillong, he saw one among many sights of poverty and religious exploitation, including street children who were selling religious postcards. The image, which stuck with Diengdoh, was one of the inspirations behind his first song for Shillong punk band Tarik, “Nobody Knows.” Says Diengdoh about the song, which covers religious politics and poverty in Shillong, “The kids were a perfect and immediate representation of how crippled our society is. And they were real people, not characters.”
Tarik began performing as an audio-visual arts group in 2010 in Shillong. The bassist-vocalist tells us why the group was formed: “I was very influenced by art movements. In more recent times, Voina [protest art group] from Russia. We were not as well-structured and thought-out, but we wanted to retaliate against the derivative music scene in Shillong.” A few months on, Tarik became more of a band than just an art group. Says Diengdoh, “Sadly, a lot of people [in the group] chickened out and it was only the music that was left.” Diengdoh, who was also working on a series of short films called Shillong trilogy, needed a score for the films. “Nobody Knows,” recorded at Diengdoh’s Red Dur Productions, was among the first songs to have a concept video, shot in 2010.
Four years on, the band firmly believes they’ve stood their ground and never given up their ideology of highlighting the problems of poverty, politics and religious exploitation for more gigs or recognition. Says Diengdoh on why the band doesn’t play very regularly, “I think it is about keeping a safe distance from forces that can turn you into a puppet of a larger market ideology, and being true to yourself and your art.”
The band currently comprises Diengdoh and guitarist Valte Chongthu. Diengdoh has roped in his brother, Daryl [from Malaysian experimental band Grand Theft Xperiment], as a sessions drummer to perform as a three-member band. Tarik describes itself as punk, but “Nobody Knows” is far from it, drawing from ballad-style alt rock with traditional Khasi lyrics. Diengdoh agrees that Tarik is punk more in ethos than in terms of genre. He adds, “It is what the punk ideology stands for that appeals to Tarik, first. In short, punk is not what you wear or how loudly you shout your lyrics. It is a way of life.” The band cites Shillong-based artists including now-defunct rock band Ceremony to singers U.N. Sunn and the late Bah B Wanswett as its influences.
The three-member lineup will take to stage on December 19th in Kolkata, as part of weekly gig series Jamsteady and later this month in Delhi, followed by a set in January, at a yet-to-be announced festival in Guwahati. Says Diengdoh, “The club shows will have a one-hour set. The Kolkata gig will be interesting, because a lot of musicians from Shillong have had their big break playing there.” The frontman adds with a laugh, “But if you’re looking for that kind of music from us, you might be upset.”
Watch the video for “Nobody Knows”