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Chennai Band Muttu Sandhu Perform At Purple Fest

The Tamil rockers, who play at The Purple Fest today, plan to release their first single this week

Rolling Stone India Jun 28, 2013
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Muttu Sandhu

Muttu Sandhu

Chennai rock band Muttu Sandhu, whose name is loosely translated as dead-end, met each other in school. But it wasn’t until 2011 that the band fell into place with Sathguru Nathan on vocals, Arjuna RK on guitar, Arun Prasanna on keys, Rahul Sridhar on drums and Cletus Amalan on bass. What sets the band apart is their ability to reach out to their generation with their brand of contemporary Tamil rock. Says vocalist Nathan, “Usually Chennai has English bands that play rock or metal. It’s sort of a dead-end and we decided to detour and arrive at our sound. We knew we were not going to do cover songs, but only our own compositions.”

With bands such as Avial and The Raghu Dixit Project garnering mainstream attention, Muttu Sandhu aren’t worried about language being a constraint. “Chennai’s all about Tamil, so people like listening to our band here and know who we are and what we play. Playing music in a language we grew up with seems more natural than having our audience look up the Internet for our lyrics,” he says. “The lyrics are casual, but the music isn’t.” Nathan’s claim is true. The lyrics of Muttu Sandhu’s song on girls (of course) titled “Pengal,” maybe straight off an adolescent’s Facebook wall, but Prasanna and guitarist Arjuna don’t shy away from showing off their chops.  The band employs a similar songwriting style using colloquial Tamil lyrics on “Bodhai,” a track about (surprise!) getting high, but the arrangements are unsurprisingly groovy. “Matukaran Vettukuvaran” a track about cowboys (yes, there’s a Wild West fixation here) was the track that intrigued us the most.

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The band has played multiple radio slots at private radio stations in Chennai, performed packed shows such as IIT-Madras’s Saarang last year and even played at the popular Score Nights. Tonight, Muttu Sandhu perform at The Purple Fest and hope that they manage to draw a sizeable crowd. Besides set staples such as “Matram,” (change), the band plans to play some new tracks including “Kovam,” a track on anger, which may as well be the alt rock answer to “Kolaveri Di” and “Ekkam,” a song about long-distance relationships. Next week, the band will release their first single, “Bodhai” online. “We recorded it at Crimson Studios and the song will be released with a studio video,” he says, adding that they plan to release an album by September this year.

Though Muttu Sandu have been regulars at Chennai campuses until date (the only time they have performed outside Chennai was for a show in Pondicherry), the band is now looking to step out. “We’ve  got an offer to play in Kerala and Malaysia, and we are still working on the dates,” says Nathan.

Watch “Pengal” here: 


Muttu Sandhu perform at The Purple Fest today at Ramada, Egmore in Chennai. Entry free. Details here 

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