6 Things We Learned About Girish and the Chronicles and ‘Rock The Highway’
The Bengaluru-based hard rock/heavy metal band’s latest album received a wide release via U.K. label Plastichead and Denmark’s Lions Pride Music on April 27th
Standing at about one hour and four minutes, Bengaluru-based, Gangtok bred act Girish and the Chronicles’ new album Rock the Highway is pretty much pure mayhem for any fan of Eighties rock and metal. Across 13 songs that don’t bow down to any gimmicks and offer everything from glam metal to rock ‘n roll, frontman Girish Pradhan is at his soaring, pitch-perfect best.
In a recent interview with Mumbai-origin podcast Horns Up, Pradhan spoke to metal writer Peter Kotikalapudi aka Trendcrusher and Animesh Das (from hardcore punk band The Riot Peddlers) at length about their new album and early days, plus more. Here’s a quick roundup:
Music runs in the family
Pradhan wasn’t the first in his Sikkimese household to get on the rock ‘n roll train; his brother and GATC bassist Yogesh Pradhan was getting into rock and to top it all, Girish’s mother is described as a “folk, traditional and classical singer” by the frontman. “Our guitarist [Suraz Sun], his father used to be a professional tabla player. I guess we all had one family member involved in music,” he adds.
Girish and The Eagles
One of the singer’s first love in rock music was, as he points out with obviousness, American legends the Eagles and the song “Hotel California.” Pradhan says, “Especially in the northeast, you start with that song. If you can play those chords, then you’re a rockstar in your class, you know?”
Mimicry, emulation and evolution
Listening to the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over and hearing four different voices, Pradhan says he learned most songs on that album. When Yogesh was learning to play guitar, Girish followed suit and found out he could sing better only when he too picked up the guitar. “When you’re learning any instrument, you tend to sing along. Eventually, I discovered my voice that way. I started to sound like them, whichever singer I was hearing – the beginnings was about mimicking them – I got to know of Bon Jovi, which was a shock to me. That kind of voice was something I’d never heard before. Steven Tyler, Bruce Dickinson were the greatest influences for me. I’m a self-taught musician that way,” he says.
Early to the YouTube game
It turns out that after a friend had uploaded a cover of Pradhan singing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing,” the vocalist saw comments and views pour in from all quarters, which in turn led to him starting his own YouTube channel in 2008. “I decided I needed a channel of my own too. I used to collect videos from wherever I performed and uploaded it,” the vocalist says. Now channel reserved for the band, they have nearly 28,000 subscribers and a cumulative total of over 1.8 million views.
Advice for northeast artists
Pradhan has traveled all over with his music, but he’s currently based in Bengaluru and mentions that the move from Gangtok to a major metropolitan city has strengthened the band’s reach. In terms of advice, he says bands from the northeast of India could do well to move to other cities “for a while and change base.” He adds, “Any band that has changed base to another city has actually been accepted and done well in the scene. [Shillong blues band] Soulmate had moved to Delhi for a while, so that was a good strategic move. You can’t just be in Gangtok living your regular life, you do need to think about the whole moving thing, even though it can drive you crazy.”
The Chris Adler Connection
The Pradhan brothers and guitarist Suraz Sun were part of a band that accompanied American drummer Chris Adler (formerly of metal heavyweights Lamb Of God and Megadeth) on tour, which has led to some interesting prospects. The vocalist says he’s now been recording songs with Adler for a new project. “I’m actually quite privileged to be part of that troupe. We haven’t really decided what the release plan is, it’s still in a primordial phase. Yeah it’s a fun project, man. Lots of heavy metal right there,” Pradhan says.
Stream and buy ‘Rock the Highway’ here. Watch the video for “Identity Crisis” below.