Split On The Road: The Counting Perfume Tour
Split are chewing up the miles and emptying out the Old Monk bottles as they hit the road to celebrate their debut album ‘Counting Perfume’
A decade in the making, the debut album from Mumbai alt-rockers Split is finally out and the band is celebrating with a massive eight-city romp through the length and breadth of the country. East, West, North, South, they’re hitting them all. ROLLING STONE INDIA caught up with the Old Monk-living band, now halfway through their triumphant tour and asked them what life on the road is like:
You’re halfway through your eight-date album launch tour. Hows it going and what’s the reception like?
Varoon [Aiyer, drums]: The gigs have been great fun.
Aviv [Pereira, guitar]: The reception has been warm in all the cities played so far (Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai).
Mel [Melroy D’mello]: We’ve already sold around 50 CDs (10 off Flipkart, within 24 hours of launch), and had 2 great after parties. Looking forward to more”¦
Hotel rooms, early morning flights, long bus rides, whats the hardest part about being on tour. Also, what’s the best part?
Shekhar [Mohite, bass]: Train travel was the hardest part. The best part are the early morning flights and ”˜saxy’ hotel rooms.
Mel: The gigs are real close to each other, so I’ve got to say that it’s the various body aches that would be the worst part. The best part ”“ food and airport hotties.
Aviv: We don’t get to spend enough time in the cities we visit ”“ that’s the worst part. The best part is that we’re playing to new audiences who’ve never seen us live.
Which songs are going down the best with the audiences you’ve played to so far?
Punk Rock Days, Holy Ghost Machine Gun, Return to Bicameralism, Isn’t It Strange and Counting Perfume ”“ in no particular order.
Any interesting tour stories/memories that you guys have collected so far?
Varoon likes rough towels. This whole tour has been about him and his towel. Also, we spent 30 minutes trying to give our Chennai cabbie directions in Tamil ”“ and when we’d pretty much given up, Varoon remembered that he is Tamilian.
We’ve met some really nice people so far. Aarti from BFlat, Rohan from Chennai Live Radio, Madhav (the smiler) from Score Magazine, the guys from LBG.
Hows the gear (and your lead singer’s voice) holding up under the stress and pressure of touring? (Constant movement, stress)
Gary [Garreth D’mello, lead vocals] isn’t here right now, so we’ll try to get this one for him. He seems to be coping well. He finds time to work out in hotel gyms while the rest of us try to sleep off our ill-gotten hangovers. But he does get a little whiny when we smoke in his room.
Aviv has been breaking strings like it’s going out of fashion.
No one seems to have taken our tech rider seriously, so we’ve played on some pretty unexpected amps. A really crappy Peavey, a really beautiful Bogner and a super Vox. Shekhar played a Fender Sun ’64 vintage bass in Chennai and fell in love with it enough to use it for a couple of songs on stage.
Anything you’re really looking forward to doing in the different cities that you’re going to be hitting?
Chennai ”“ We wanted to see Marina beach, but didn’t have enough time. We bought Mysore Pak and drank chilled Badam milk. Yummy.
Bangalore ”“ Pretty much a food trip.
Delhi ”“ We’d like to see lakkadbaghas (hyenas) in the Jungle Fowl Camp, and play table tennis. Gary is a mean TT player. He’s mean to himself. We would also like to see the Qutub Minar near the Blue Frog.
Kolkata ”“ (Mel) ”“ Big nostalgia trip for me. Was in Cal for five years in the Nineties. The rest of the band will most probably go nuts on the street food.
North-East ”“ Eat snake, duck and pork. Also, this is the first time any of us will be setting foot in this part of the country. So, pretty much go nuts doing that. And have Sikkim rum.
We know Split’s love of Old Monk. How many bottles down so far?
Nine to ten litres of the Monk.
Which of the band members is a biggest hit with the groupies?
Shekhar. The guys love him.
What’s the plan post-tour? Live album? More gigging?
The plan is to detox, rest, spend time with family. Then, get started on the music video, the next album, the next tour, the next”¦.
If you’re looking to catch Split on the remainder of their tour, here are the details:
21 February: Blue Frog, Delhi
23 February: Blues, Guwahati
24 February: Deja Vu, Shillong
25 February: Someplace Else, Kolkata
Split’s album Couting Perfume is now available on Flipkart.com.
All Pictures by Sukrit Nagaraj. Location courtesy Blue Frog, Mumbai.