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Winit Tikoo Band To Release Debut Album

The Mumbai-based Kashmiri songwriter and his band wins LeapFROG to Coke Studio to gain a spot in the TV series

Anurag Tagat Jun 14, 2013
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Winit Tikoo Band

Winit Tikoo Band. (L-R) Veljon Noronha, Winit Tikoo, Pushkar Joshi and Aditya Kadam.

Winit Tikoo has never been keen on competitions. The only time he was in front of a judge was at Channel [V]’s band competition, Launchpad, around three years ago with his previous grunge/alt rock band Anhad. “I was out in the first round and I realized I’m not a competition kinda guy,” says Tikoo. The only other time the Mumbai-based Kashmiri songwriter decided to have a go at a competition was at leapFROG to Coke Studio, organized by Coca Cola, MTV India and Blue Frog, Mumbai and Delhi to select an artist who would feature on the third season of TV music show Coke Studio. “I just think the brand of Coke Studio is quite amazing. We have what they are looking for, but we didn’t know how to get on it,” says Tikoo about his band, which was announced as the winner of leapFROG to Coke Studio after the finale on June 6th.

With Tikoo on guitars and vocals, drummer Pushkar Joshi, guitarist Veljon Noronha and bassist Aditya Kadam, the band added sarangi player Shahrukhh Khan and tabla player Vaibhav Wavikar for a fusion rendition of their song “Pagal,” at the grand finale last week. “We could pull that version off because I have an Indian classical background, though I’m not in touch with it anymore,” says Tikoo, who adds that the two rounds of performances at leapFROG to Coke Studio were the best gigs the band has played since they formed 10 months ago. “It was at the Bandstand Revival gigs that we started sounding good and that boosted our confidence and prepared us for this. We played the exact same set at Blue Frog,” says Tikoo.

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When producers and Coke Studio judges Clinton Cerejo and Hitesh Sonik announced the winning band’s name, Tikoo admits his mouth was left wide open. “We have an alt/grunge rock sound, and we only had one song [“Pagal”] that leaned towards fusion and it worked in our favor,” says Tikoo, who competed alongside folk/fusion bands such as Sur, Dilpreet Bhatia and Friends, Raagleela and Tauheed.

Though Tikoo’s Coke Studio rehearsals and appearance is yet to be scheduled, he’s now turned his attention to his debut full-length album, Tamasha. The frontman, who has been writing songs since 1999, has been carefully selecting tracks that will make it to the album and also adding Indian instruments to songs such as “Pagal,” since the sound has been received favorably. Says Tikoo, “I don’t want to turn into a fusion guy, but I’m still not decided about the album sounding like pure alt rock. I want to use the fusion sounds to beautify the alt rock sound.”

Tamasha is due to release around August this year, before Tikoo’s band makes an appearance on Coke Studio. “I’d be stupid losing this opportunity otherwise,” says Tikoo, referring to his plan to promote the album on TV through this new opportunity. 

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