Not to generalise overmuch, but it’s very rare that Indian bands make the news for something really big. A band does promotional activities when a new album is launched, or it makes the inside pages of newspaper supplements if it is doing a few gigs in town.
Mumbai-based metal band Scribe, however, are not following this same script. They are the first Indian band to be nominated for the MTV European Awards 2011, in the Best Worldwide Act Africa/India/Middle East category.
Prashant Shah, one of the lead guitarists of the band, cannot hide his excitement. “We are delighted with the nomination,” he says, “and it is a big deal for not only us, but for other bands as well.” Scribe’s song “Dum hai toh aage aa” has been nominated and faces stiff competition from artistes from Egypt, Angola, Congo, Nigeria and South Africa. “The news did come as a surprise to us,” says Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, vocalist of Scribe, “as honestly we weren’t expecting it.”
Scribe came into existence six years ago when Shah, Krishnamoorthy, Akshay Purohit (guitar), Srinivas Sunderrajan (drums) and Niraj Trivedi (bass) got together to form a band. “We are all metal lovers and decided to jam together and see what came of it,” says Shah.
What came out was their first single “Have Hard. Will Core”, which was followed by their first album Confect. Gigs across the country made them popular on the Indian music scene, but it was 2008 when Rolling Stone magazine had them amongst the top 10 bands in the country. They also were the opening act for metal band Lamb of
God when they performed in Bangalore in 2010.
Since then they have produced an album strangely called Mark of Teja. The album was their tribute to the 1990s cult comedy Andaz Apna Apna. “We all love Bollywood and are huge fans of the movie, so we thought we will call the album Mark of Teja.” If you thought the album name was a bit weird, check out the names of the songs. “Kamla’s Back”, “I Love You, Pav Bhaji”, “1234 Dracula”, “Street Archana vs Vice Varsha”, “RSVP” and “Judge Bread” are some of the title tracks. “Mark of Teja was like a storybook with songs created after various characters in the story,” they explain.
Ask them what is inspiration to them and they rattle off a whole lot of names. “Bollywood movies, all metal bands, nature, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, music of all kind.” However, they aren’t too keen on talking about the past. “We would love to talk about the struggles of Indian bands but what’s the point,” they ask. The chance to be a part of the MTV European Awards is huge. They are keeping their feet on the ground and are aware that the chances of winning and losing are the same. They’re hopeful that their nomination would lead to more concerts and albums being released by Indian bands.
Their next album will be “huge” as they are experimenting with a lot of sound and is supposed to release next year. Being a metal band, they have an aggressive vibe to their music but they don’t stick to it all the time. “We love contradictions in our music,” they say. With songs like “Kamla’s Back” and
“I Love You Pav Bhaji”, the contradictions are pretty self-evident.