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In The Studio: Mad Orange Fireworks

The Bengaluru rock band Mad Orange Fireworks on turning to a grungier, angrier sound on their second album

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Anurag Tagat May 25, 2015
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Mad Orange Fireworks | Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

Mad Orange Fireworks | Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

Great sex mostly sells. Sometimes, it reaches a higher ground and turns into a song. Bengaluru rock band Mad Orange Fireworks’s frontman Michael Dias may not admit it, but the track “Shaking My Ground” was born in the bedroom. Says Dias about the song, which has an equally dark video about an enigmatic girl, “Imagine that you spend the most amazing night with the most perfect woman you’ve ever come across but the next day, she’s gone. It’s sort of like a one night stand, where she just ditches you the next morning.” He pauses for a moment, before adding that it’s “purely fictional.” At this, their recording engineer Rahul Ranganath, who started working with the band right after their debut Lifeline Cast released in 2013, jokes, “It’s a very accurate fictional account.”

“Shaking My Ground” from MOF’s new album Under The Orange Sky, slated to release this month, also brilliantly showcases the band’s departure from the laidback, mellow sound on their debut. It all began at a Pearl Jam tribute show in August last year, when the band began writing new material that was heavier. Says MOF bassist Kaushik Kumar, “We realized that it’s always better if you have a more energetic set rather than a laidback one. That kind of [laidback] set is fine, but we’re leaning towards getting more people up.”

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The aggression also comes from the change in lineup after their guitarist Ramanan Chandramouli left the band in 2014. Says their drummer Deepak Raghu, who also plays for stoner/doom band Bevar Sea and heavy rock band Shepherd, “We started playing a lot more shows so we were constantly working on our live sound and we wanted to recreate the energy of what we play live.”

The new album also includes “Nothing Left to Mend,” a favorite of both Kumar and Raghu. Says Kumar, who has been writing with Dias even before they put together MOF in 2011, “It’s the last song we wrote. It was actually a very slow acoustic song that Michael first came to the jam room with and it’s turned into something completely different altogether. It’s become a very heavy song.” Dias adds that the song is a reference to going past the infamous age of 27, when the world’s most famous musicians such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin died. Says Dias, “I always hoped that 27 would be that big epic time where you can just end it and get it over it. Everybody hopes for that in some way. But now that’s past, you’ve got nothing left to lose, nothing left to mend. You’re in for the long haul. It’s about trying to accept the fact that you’re just another nobody in the universe.” The band also vents out against the world on “Mad World,” the corporate life on “Corporate Bum” but also throw in positive vibes with on “Get Lost.” Says Dias, “It’s says how, ”˜It’s just you and me, let’s just take our shit and leave this place.’”

MOF singer Michael Dias in the studio | Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

MOF singer Michael Dias in the studio | Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

That’s not to say there aren’t lighter moments on Under the Orange Sky. The title track which closes the eight-track album, is entirely acoustic. Dias says it’s a personal song about the way his life has turned out. Adds Dias, “It’s how Bangalore life works ”“ it’s quite peaceful and laidback, where you just go with the flow of things. I have this apartment which has a balcony facing open land. So at nights, the sky’s always orange, with all the city lights reflecting. That’s basically where it all just started off.” Sounds like the band’s self-tagged genre of “orange rock,” a mix of blues, jazz and rock, takes a new meaning on Under The Orange Sky.

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