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Shor Bazaar is the next name to watch out for in the melting point of fusion

Neha Sharma Aug 09, 2008
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Hashim Badani

There is a chaotic abandon in the air and an old crummy stand-up fan lends to the cacophony at a restaurant in Dadar in central Mumbai, but where the boys from Shor Bazaar are seated makes for the quietest table. Perhaps their noise is reserved for stage audiences and studios alone – they speak only one at a time and when spoken to.

Shor Bazaar is three engineers, a doctor and a commerce student. If one were to go by the judgment of conservative middle class folk, the boys are unemployed. After graduating from IIT Kharagpur, lead vocalist Jayajeet Dash, 25, submitted to the professional drill and was burnt out in a year’s time: “I was extremely frustrated and needed an out.” Dash responded to an ad put up by guitarist Joy Dasgupta, 26, on the internet seeking prospective band members last year. The two found a befitting conjuncture of taste and quit their jobs to wholly focus on music. Dasgupta’s younger brother Abhishek Dasgupta, 19, a fluent jazz guitarist, also found enough reason to be part of the lineup. A commerce student, he frivolously suggests his education might just be in for a toss as well. Bassist Krishna Venkitachalam, 28, who is a qualified doctor, and drummer Sumit Pillai, 26, who is a gaming engineer, were the last inclusions to the line-up. The two have also ensured their round-the-clock availability to the band, by taking themselves off the human resource map for now.

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The sound of the band would be well described as western instrumentation spun around Dash’s regional ethic on melodies. Dash has traveled through India and picked much along the way – “I’ve been to six different states in the last 2 years alone!” – weaving a very wholesome and informed Indian sensibility into his songwriting. He is accredited with most of the base melodies, which he conjures mostly on an acoustic guitar. When needed, Dash also steps in on the harmonium and harmonica. “The songs up on our MySpace page are not representative of the sound on our album, they are only demos,” the band gets slightly defensive when we suggest that some tracks up on the page and their website are very mellow and folksy. They even discuss removing them as to avoid giving out the wrong impression prior to their album release. This was no accusation we clarify – mellow and folksy is good ”“ which is of no avail as they justify further. “The demo’s were recorded in a studio in Malad which had just opened up, I mean it was still smelling of Fevicol,” adds Venkitachalam.

They do admit that while they shall remain true to the regional dialect and the basic arrangement of songs, they might perhaps rev it up a bit with extra watt power, speed and ship in more grunge. The band is signed on to the Phat Phish label and is stepping into the studio mid-July to record their album which shall be released end this year.

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It is peculiar but the band’s stratagem emphasises cutting an album before they gig extensively ”“ which is not usually the norm in the independent music circuit where most bands ensure their presence before they step into the studio. Also, the band doesn’t look to make much money from their record. “We look at the album as a vehicle to get us attention and good gigs. It’s not about the money, we are very realistic about what we are going to achieve with this album: we will eventually land on someone’s iPod,” says Dash. The guys made it to the finals at the recently held Radio City Live competition for India’s best Hindi band, and boast of being the only band to have received a standing ovation from the panel of judges. Though not all were in agreement at the competition as some fellow musicians lent out some critique to the boys: “I mean some said stuff like your sound is too off-centre, it isn’t going to work or that we are wasting a lot of our energy in technical complexity which won’t be noticed or heard,” recalls Dash. But none has been adhered to as advice; the guys are more than convinced about what they are doing.

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