Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Featured in Sakal Times!

'We just follow our instincts'

Akshata Shetty chats up Avir Mitra, member of Bamboo Shoots, currently touring India

Bamboo Shoots, a US-based band comprising young and talented musicians - Avir Mitra (vocals/guitar), Ahmed (guitars), Karl (bass/synths) and Ankur (percussion) - is currently touring India. With their energetic and electrifying performances in Pune and Mumbai, the band is now heading to Kolkata and Bengaluru. Here, Avir introduces us to their style of music and the challenges of an upcoming band...

What is your style of music?

Honestly, that's really hard for us to say. It's sort of like trying to describe the back of your own head. So close to you but so very hard to see. I'd rather hear others' perspectives on it; I think that would be more valuable. We just follow our instincts when we write.

Did you take up music because you loved it or was it a way to bask in the limelight?

We simply had to. Sometimes I don't know if it's love or hate or both. There was something that needed to come out and music was the channel. It never felt like a choice. Also, basking in that glorious limelight gives you so many opportunities to wear fashionable sunglasses!

Your idea behind the India tour?
Someone once told me, "Have goals, not expectations". So, our goal is to make a solid connection with the people who truly love upcoming music in India. Most US bands come to India only after they are established internationally. India is just one stop around the world for them. We, on the other hand, want to make a real connection here and take our fans just as seriously as we do at home in America.

When it comes to promoting your albums, what are the challenges you face?

The challenge right now is that the music industry as it currently operates is no longer viable. Selling CDs is basically like selling VHS tapes. On the other hand, demand for fresh music is as strong ever. So how do you reconcile these two facts? That's the challenge. I think it has to do with making as many personal connections as you can. You can travel and interact much more directly with people now. You have to give them an experience they'll never forget.

Do you think albums are best sold at concerts and not in music stores?

Personally, I'd rather have Bamboo Shoots sell albums at concerts, whether it be a CD or just a laptop sitting there that can transfer MP3s to your ipod. I haven't stepped into a music store for a long time. I'd also like to sell our albums in strange places like roadside food stands in Mumbai or in cabs only after midnight on commission. That would be hilarious!

Which do you prefer: covers or originals?

I'll always prefer originals, but the occasional cover here and there can be fun. We just released a free mixtape of cover songs - we did it because we were bored (if you can believe that!). It's called 'Music for Cotillions' - you can find the free download online. (HERE)

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