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The Dirty Strikes Begin Work On Debut Album

The band from Imphal has found its sound outside heavy metal and gospel music

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Megha Mahindru Sep 13, 2012
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Photo: Tiken Thockchom

The Dirty Strikes (TDS) is bent on doing things differently. The band of 20-year-olds arrived in 2010 when they performed at a local gig in Imphal with their mentor and fellow rockers, Cleave. TDS came with just two disclaimers ”” say no to drugs and no to heavy metal ”“ one of which held a mirror up to their lives. “All of us had tried drugs when we were young. We thought it was our responsibility to share the experience with our fans and tell them what a waste it was,” says vocalist Kennedy Heigrujam. The band, which was formed when its three members were still in school, brings old-school, easy-listening rock to stage.

Now, two years on, the band has expanded into a five-piece act comprising Tom Meisnam (guitar), Bom Leimapokpam (guitar), Naoba Thingujam (bass) and Thiyam Umakanta (drums). “In Manipur, it’s all about metal or gospel music, so we thought of introducing people to something new,” says Heigrujam. After winning the district-level rounds as well as the best drummer title at Manipur Rock Idol in 2010, the band managed to earn a fair share of fans with their performances at Imphal Rock Fest and Hornbill music fest in the same year. Currently, they are as regular at Imphal’s The Classic Hotel as they are at gig venues at Delhi’s Haus Khas village. “We are now regulars in Delhi. We first went there in September 2011 on a self-financed gig. By November, we were playing at India Habitat Centre,” says Heigrujam. Though the band has its priorities right. “We are all in college and have cancelled gigs on a few occasions since they clashed with our exams,” adds Heigrujam, who is currently studying law at Manipur Law College.

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With their characteristic Nineties sound, The Dirty Strikes compose songs about youth and life in the north east. Heavily influenced by bands such as The Strokes and Kings Of Leon, the bunch of college-goers, however, play nothing that is off the hook or will take you by surprise. Their song, “Like A Puzzle” talks about the current state or rather chaos in Imphal, while “Hey!! Who kill her” takes the idea of murdering a girlfriend that Guns n’ Roses first addressed in “I Used To Love Her”.  “We are not a political band,” says Heigrujam adding, “We just write about reality as we see it. The song “Like A Puzzle” is about the hard life here but this puzzle can be solved just by us.” Earlier this month, the band recorded their debut music video for the track “Good Damaged Girl”, a song that also features on Summer Break, a local compilation CD out on Gangtok based label, Taipo Records. “We put all the money we earn into our band. It’s hard to survive as a band in Manipur,” feels Heigrujam.

The band is looking forward to perform on September 16th, the last day of Ziro music festival. “The preparation is in full swing ”“ not so much in terms of practice but rather a mental preparation. There will be lots of good bands from all over India, so we need to work on our act and be more confident.” Their set will include nine original songs, four of which they are still working on. If time permits, they will also play covers of songs by The Strokes and Kings Of Leon.  The Dirty Strikes plan to release their debut album by early 2013.

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The Dirty Strikes will perform at the Ziro Festival of Music on September 16th

Go here for more details on Ziro Festival

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