They embarked upon a rock ‘n’ roll journey in the world of music in 1991 as a band called Parikrama, and have remained a source of rousing beats with their sound box. As the band turns 25 this year, keyboard player Subir Malik walked down memory lane and exclaimed “it does not seem like 25 years at all”, adding the key to survival is “to stick around”.
He also shared that the best part of their story is that it all seems like “yesterday”.
The band with homegrown talent is said to be India’s biggest ‘rock’ band, which has remained ahead of time in terms of music as well as vision. They have not released a full-length album yet, and believes in distributing music via digital mediums and giving it out for free.
“The best part is that it does not seem 25 years at all, and that tells you the story. It just seems like yesterday. The biggest lesson is probably to keep your feet on the ground, that’s very important to stick around,” Subir told IANS in an email interview from Delhi.
Parikrama, consisting of members like Saurabh Choudhary, Srijan Mahajan, Nitin Malik, Gaurav Balani, Shambu Nath, Imran Khan, Sonam Sherpa and Subir, will be completing the quarter century on June 17 this year.
Many of the members were left behind in the spiral of time. Some of the former members are Aneesh Arora, Rajat Kakkar, Prashant Bahadur, Valentine Shipley, Vipin Mishra and Chintan Kalra.
Ask Subir about the changes that have encompassed the music industry, and he says “today there are much more opportunities and money and mediums than before”.
The success story of the band is embedded with perfect mix of craft, skills and vision. They scooped in international acclaim in 2007 via a performance at the Download Festival, and there was no looking back. The band has been a part of major music festivals in India as well as foreign shores.
The band decided not to release an album and to fight piracy way back in the 1990s, and Subir points out that the vision has helped them stay ahead of time.
He said: “Even the biggest of bands now have to sell their CDs on their live shows, all music shops are shut and the best way is what we started in 1995, give out, sell or free, over the net and make money at live gigs.”
Live gigs have played a very important role in the band’s twirl towards recognition and fame, and the artist shares that concert culture in India is booming.
“It’s (the music scene is) brilliant and very vibrant. I think there is no other stage in India where so many concerts happen in pubs,” said Subir, who recently performed with his band mates at Hard Rock Cafe in Gurgaon (now Gurugram).
Apart from live gigs and fighting piracy, the band also recently took the stage to spread the message of world peace via music. Subir notes that issues “inspire us a lot”.
Though band mates have had their tryst with Bollywood with solo projects like “Manjunath”, the band as a whole has maintained its distance from Hindi showbiz.
So, what’s keeping them away from Hindi filmdom?
“There is some great music coming out from Bollywood now and that’s great. Hope that continues. As a band we have really never done even one project. ‘Manjunath’ was a solo project of Nitin and Sonam and Subir. But yes, we are planning to do Bollywood music,” Subir said.
And as an advice to all the young music enthusiasts, Subir said: “Stay grounded, work hard and you will make it”.