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Cyanide on the Comeback Trail

(In The Studio) Delhi band set to release its debut album after being missing in action

Rolling Stone IN Oct 10, 2010

Shutter Photography

Delhi-based Cyanide have been on the scene for nearly a decade now but the band seemed to have gone missing this past year. After having made it to the final four on Channel V Launchpad 2007 and having been a staple on the live music scene in Delhi, in 2009 the band suffered a few line-up changes with some of the members took off in different directions. Lead vocalist Rohan Solomon started focusing on his solo project, drummer Srijan Mahajan got busy with playing for Parikrama, guitarist Rohan Kale left the country and bassist Bharat Bindal left the band.

Today the band has got some young blood with new guitarist Nikhil Malik. “When I was in school, Cyanide used to be our school band; I was about 4-5 years their junior. To be part of Cyanide was something of a dream for me,” says Malik. As Rohan Kale is back in the country for a while, he has stepped in as the band’s bassist again, at least for the time being. In April, the band came out with their debut EP, Not Over Yet, featuring popular Cyanide numbers like ”˜Tomorrow’ and ”˜Untold Misery.’ The EP is what Solomon calls a “failed attempt at an album,” but the band went ahead with releasing the five tracks they had in place to in some way crystallise its comeback. Right now the band is in the studio recording its full-length debut album, Sugarcoated, which releases end this month.

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The album shall feature new tracks and old ones, with a fresh spin on the old numbers. For instance, one of Cyanide’s oldest numbers, ”˜Cool Breeze on a Camel’s Back,’ which was originally very acoustic, gets an electric makeover with some gritty chops and bluesy harp sections. “We have re-recorded a lot of songs; we’ve been playing them very differently. In many of these songs we have added a lot of backing guitar layers,” says Solomon. “We are trying to dig deeper by creating a whole environment that suits the song, adding more textures and elements in the background. It’s more melodic and dynamic, so it’s not just a standard mix of guitars and drums as you’d find in a typical mould of alt-rock. It’s like a mix of a lot of genres,” adds Malik.

Lyrically while one can still expect to find the Cyanide of old, there are some new tracks which expose a more socially aware, conscientious side of the band. According to the band, ”˜Next in Line’ is one of their most important tracks on the album. “It’s about this boy who’s a survivor of genocide. He is devastated as everyone around him is dead and he is wondering why he is left behind all alone, his only wish being he would be ”˜next in line.’ We initially started writing this about the Mangalore air crash. Then we kind of blended it with something I experienced personally ”“ I witnessed a horrible car accident. It was a very traumatic experience for me. The song ended up being about genocide as I like to work with metaphors while writing and on some level we were giving the song a wider scope of association,” says Solomon. Another interesting track to watch out for would be ”˜Home,’ which calls for taking a step to save the environment. ”˜Money,’ one of the funkier tracks from the new batch of songs, will be the band’s first radio single to air from the album.

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