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The Delhi band’s multi-faceted leader Clarence Gonsalves has an intriguing original sound and has a debut disc lined up

Rolling Stone IN Nov 08, 2008

Abhinandita Mathur

“I’ve played with many bands, but always keeping in mind that the purpose is to make music in the genre that that band plays,” Clarence Gonsalves began as a way to explain his comfort with crunching genres. Just a casual flip through the songs the young bassist, keyboardist, composer and arranger has uploaded to his My Space page will give you unapologetic dollops of Cher effect voice correction vocals and various doses of electro-pop, dub, punk guitars, mariachi horns, hardcore metal, even treated morsings. And all so impeccably produced on a two-PC setup in his tiny bedroom; not a rough edge in sight.

If you’ve been out catching live music in Delhi anytime in the past few years, you might’ve seen Gonsalves at one of any number of gigs by next to any Delhi band: playing the bass with his wrist resting on the fretboard, fingers reaching the notes from above like a sideways walking-bass. Ever since finishing school in 2002, he has composed and arranged for musicals, scored documentaries and jingles and played for Level 9, Artistes Unlimited, Joint Family and most famously Anoushka Shankar, on her world tour to support Rise.

And to think he picked up the four-string just the other day. “My parents [both of whom are professional musicians] are the driving force behind my music. They got me onto the keyboard when I was young and towards the last years in school I picked up my father’s bass, because that was so much cooler,” says Gonsalves. Besides the musical upbringing, any indication of how he found his sound must lie in the following quote. “I listen to a lot of music, but I’m very bad with names. [I’m] like my mother, who’s still an avid listener. One day she downloaded some metal on, the next day it’s jazz or R&B,” he adds

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There’s something of a romantic naïveté about the way Gonsalves cares nothing for the dangers of spontaneous juxtaposition and sticks to no reference long enough for one to call it an influence. Yet he soldiers on song after song with lyrical material that is almost too thematically anchored for its varied setting. “Shit happens, shit has to happen, but I believe that at the end of the day I will come out of it. So each song talks about things that’ve happened to me, girls, regret, hope etc, but all with some moral value. That has to be there,” he says

As he gives up gigging for the foreseeable future to focus on his upcoming debut Buckle Up Next Million Miles, here’s to hoping it’s not just the flash but the spell itself. Says musician, promoter and good friend Adhiraj Mustafi, “Clarence has interesting ideas, but he needs more finish”¦. I think he has a successful commercial release in him.”


‘Ethereal World’: A seven-and-a-half minute tour-de-force that channels the Massive Attack of ‘Angel’ and the Peter Gabriel of Up before stepping up the tempo at the halfway mark and ending on a screaming symphonic black metal romp.

‘Constant Emotions’: A neat world groove supports a memorably strong vocal track in this song about mental fatigue.

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