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Kolkata Rap Rockers Underground Authority Launch Debut Album This Week

The band, who won Hornbill International Rock Contest 2013, release ‘You Authority’

Anurag Tagat Aug 27, 2014
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Kolkata rap rock band Underground Authority's frontman Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer at Hornbill 2013. Photo: Danii Lee

Kolkata rap rock band Underground Authority’s frontman Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer at Hornbill 2013. Photo: Danii Lee

They gained the approval of millions of Indians watching the TV show India’s Got Talent ”“ Khoj 2 in 2010, and then, Kolkata rap rock band Underground Authority spent four years winning over college students across West Bengal and other parts of India at campus rock shows. Late last year, they added the Hornbill International Rock Contest in Nagaland to their list of honors [along with the Rs 10 lakh winning prize].

Since December last year, Underground Authority have been readying their debut full-length album You Authority, but the band faces their first comedown after all the highs. The band’s guitarist and founding member Kuntal De left the band 20 days before You Authority releases, preferring to look out for a fulltime job. Says vocalist Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer, “It really was a shocker for us.” But the band went back to doing what they love doing ”“ rehearsing. Just as they’d spent their time in Nagaland jamming hard before their Hornbill performance, Iyer says the band went back to the rehearsal room minus De. “We really tightened our sound. Now it sounds heavier than we did as a five-piece band.”

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Iyer also notes that after India’s Got Talent and winning Hornbill, launching You Authority is their third milestone. The band began recording You Authority at the end of 2012, much before their Hornbill win, at Sonic Solution studio in Kolkata. Says Iyer, “We finished recording by mid-2013, but we went broke. With the money we got from Hornbill, we went in for a better master, from [New Zealand-based producer] Zorran Mendonsa.” While the band’s sound draws from influences ranging from rap rock acts such as Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine, Underground Authority pays tribute to indie rockers Flobots’ 2005 track “Handlebars” on “Microphone.”

For their launch gigs in Pune and Mumbai this week, Underground Authority will play You Authority in its entirety, along with a heavier renditions of rapper Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” and rockers Imagine Dragons’ 2012 track “Radioactive.” Says Iyer of playing club shows, “When it’s an arena show, you tend to be more powerful [on stage]. In a club, we tend to be more informal and be more interactive with the crowd.” Following their launch gigs, Underground Authority will also launch two music videos next month ”“ the raunchy rock track “Kash Meri Girlfriend” and “Microphone.”

Underground Authority performs at Blue Frog, Pune on August 27th, 2014 and at Blue Frog, Mumbai on August 28th, 2014. Entry: free.

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