Indian-American band Bamboo Shoots is set to come out with their debut album on Epic Records
“I still can’t come to terms with it sometimes; I mean, it was quite the surprise, we didn’t even go in thinking we would win,” says Bamboo Shoots drummer Shiv Puri. It has been nearly a year since the Jersey-based band won the 2007 edition of ”˜Best Music on Campus Artist of the Year’, hosted by mtvU, beating nearly 1300 unsigned campus rock bands across the States. The result was a multi-record contract worth a whopping $1.5 million with Epic Records and performing on tour dates with top national artists.
The band members, all of whom are Indian-Americans, also unwittingly dispelled damaging assumptions that many harbour of prejudices in the West and established that good music is all that actually counts.
As part of the tour dates, the band opened for the Plain White T’s as part as part of mtvU’s summer concert series (August and July 2007). “We had never played to such an overwhelming audience of teen white girls, I mean we thought they might be like what is this bunch of brown guys doing up on stage”¦ but there was this one song on which the way Ankur moves with it and plays the dholak instantly caught everybody’s attention. The girls were going crazy,” recollects Puri. The band also performed at the Late Night with Conan O’Brien show last year, though Brien walked the safe line when asked to comment on the band in Billboard magazine. “If this works out for them I’ll be all over them and if not, well, I will distance myself so quickly.” Now, they are all set to release their album Armour with Epic Records/Sony BMG in December. As an independent college band at Middlesex County College, New Jersey, the band had released two EPs Research and Development (2004) and Blue (2006.) and this will be their first full-length album.
People’s Weekly had earlier praised their musical style as “equal parts pop, ballad, rap and the music of South Asia,” calling the songs “tuneful and memorable.” Before Bamboo Shoots came to be, lead vocalist Avir Mitra worked with Karsh Kale so maybe that explains the subtle Indian influences soldering the pop-rock-electro hooks and layered percussion, giving their music a promising signature of distinction. The band’s is a curious sound probing the likes of Daft Punk, Timbaland and Simple Plan with a subconscious treatment of Alice in Chains and The Police. “South Asian sounds and influences are all over the place but the voices of Indian Americans themselves have been mostly absent. We hope things will change now, starting with us,” says Mitra. India itself is on their horizon too ”” Mitra had come down to Mumbai early in the year and performed at the Blue Frog with Shaa’ir + Func and Pentagram and the band is also trying to schedule a concert in India in February next year.
For now, the alternative pop-rock band is enjoying the perks of being signed onto a mainstream label. On Armour they have worked with some noteworthy professionals in the industry. It is produced by Jerry Harrison (guitarist/keyboardist of Talking Heads and producer of No Doubt, Live, Foo Fighters), mixed by Mark Stent (credits include the likes of Madonna, U2 and Maroon 5) and mastered by Brian Gardener (has worked with the likes of Foo Fighters, Jay-Z and Beck.) ”˜Hey Girl,’ a track off the album, is an instant charmer ”“ a contemporary groove invigorating earthy organic sound. “I believe this track will do for us what ”˜Hey There Delilah’ did for the Plain White T’s”¦ it’s also got the hey!” laughs Mitra.