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Band of the Month: One Plate Idli

Let’s start with the cliched question of how the name One Plate Idli came about.

I was looking to do something fun since a long time, since I have always been looked at as someone doing very intense music.I was asked to perform Carnatic music but in a very contemporary way, and had just about 10 days to put it together. I had to come up with a name, and all I had to do was tap into my fun side, and there it was.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences as a band?

My genre has always been “Original Indian music”. I don’t use actual folk, but I might take the flavours of it.I don’t mostly use Carnatic compositions as is or mess with it. Mostly all original, except for a few. That’s why I use the line “From regional to original”. My influences have been, Anand Shankar, Trilok Gurtu,Joe Zawinul, Badmarsh and Shri ,Nitin Sawhney to name a few.

Your band has a lovely sound. Do you like experimenting with it or are you particular about the way you need to sound?

I do have a vision for the sound and I am particular about that .As long as its within the sonic spectrum and within that flavour, all is good.

What are the main theme/ topics of your songs. Tell us a bit about your songwriting process

One plate Idli is an instrumental band. There are no themes as such. As an ensemble, there are melodies, and there are counter parts, written to colour the songs as aesthetically as possible. Each part has role to play in the composition. So instead of the conventional way, where there is a melody and all other instruments ONLY support the melody. Here the role is much more than just supporting. It has its unique role and and hence it manages to create several dimensions.

What according to you makes your band unique in an industry where there is a new band born every other day?

I think one of the things that makes us very unique from other bands is our approach to the music that we are producing. Even in terms of the fact that ours is a completely instrumental setup and within that there’s again a range of instruments that have never really been put in the mix together as one product. For Eg: A Mridangam and drum set with Bass and textures of Carnatic Violin harmonies along with a Carnatic guitar sound. So, as you can see our whole sound signature is very unique.

Your best performance till date and why?

I don’t know about our best performance per se because it’s hard to keep a bar like that. We always want to keep delivering performances that are better than the last. So we are always in competition with ourselves.But the first gig will always be a memorable one coz we had no idea how the audience is going to receive it ,and we were super happy with the response that we received .Its that response that has encouraged us to go further.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? 

One of the biggest challenges is to always sound fresh, fun and relevant within the gambit of what we are doing i.e: presenting a completely fresh perspective of Classical music. We are always in search of better and better ways to present it on stage along with elements that might be complicated and so to maintain that level of consistency and drive to keep pushing the bar is of course a challenge but therein lies the fun. Otherwise it’s pretty pointless to just dish out something that sounds similar to any other band/sound. I think so far we have been managing to overcome that challenge and we hope to keep at it.


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