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Scribe Pen Their Own Tribute To Bollywood’s Favorite Villain

The Mumbai hardcore band’s third album, ‘Hail Mogambo’, has been in the making for three years

Anurag Tagat Jan 13, 2014
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Scribe. Photo: Hashim Badani

Scribe. Photo: Hashim Badani

Scribe’s new Bollywood-inspired material has been received with the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for a hero’s dramatic entry in a film. Since June last year, the band has been per­forming “Calendar Khana Lao,” with its frantic, slam dance fueling sound that Scribe is known for. The other new live staple is the equally-catchy “Cops Cops Cops,” where frontman Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy beatboxes and raps at light speed. The band’s bassist Srinivas Sunderrajan says that their fans have taken to “Cops Cops Cops” like they did to “I Love You, Pav Bhaji,” a crowd fa­vorite from their 2010 album Mark of Teja.

Krishnamoorthy compares creating an album to a car crash. He says, “Until it stops tumbling, you don’t know what’s happen­ing.” The making of their third album, Hail Mogambo, has been chaotic ”“ taking three years, as the band members balanced day jobs with music. Krishnamoorthy wears many hats, including that of a director [he directed last year’s music collaboration show The Dewarists] while bassist Srinivas Sunderrajan is an independent filmmaker and guitarist Prashant Shah works in visu­al effects and fellow axeman Akshay Rajpu­rohit works in advertising. Only drummer Virendra Kaith is a fulltime musician, play­ing with the likes of extreme metal band De­monic Resurrection, while new recruit and second vocalist Gagan Gill is taking time off from the band for personal reasons.

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This month, the band will take some time off work to tour north east India. Says Sun­derrajan, “We didn’t know if we could get as many shows for a tour at any other time of the year, so we took the chance. Usually, you have a new album out that no one’s heard and the audience will call out for the older songs.” Hail Mogambo continues Scribe’s love affair with Eighties and Nineties Bol­lywood. This time, there’s Bollywood pas­tiche on offer ”” a concept album plot of evil-genius industrialist Singhania is inter­twined with the plots of cult Hindi films Mr. India and Andaz Apna Apna. Says Sunder­rajan, “We’re not just ripping off the story­lines. Everybody in the band actually con­nects to those films and that’s why we want to incorporate them in some way.” Sunder­rajan’s favorite on the album, “Ha Ha We’re Poor,” is about Mr. India’s main charac­ter Arun [played by Anil Kapoor] and how he’s still happy despite poverty. The bassist adds, “There’s also ”˜Fu Manchurian’, which has a lot of voices.” Vocals and voice effects are Krishnamoorthy’s specialty, considering his voice acting background and work with beatbox duo Voctronica, which he formed with British beatboxer Andy Testament in January 2013.

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Krishnamoorthy adds that “Captain Raj” is “elaborate in every way, with a prominent synth section.” Other songs on the album in­clude “Myothershirt” and Krishnamoorthy’s favorite, “Tomato Aryabhatta,” which he feels reflect the band’s growth. Says Krish­namoorthy, “On those songs, you can sense that it is our third album.”

This article appears in the January 2014 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

Buy your copy of the album here

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