What makes your music unique?
Every musician carves a niche with the way they sound and we did manage to build an audience for the music we make. The versatility of musicians is what works with the Audience. While we made Navarasam, we had the aim of attracting a world audience and we did .As we gear up for a tribute to all the legends in our next album NAMAH, we think we have build our unique sound around.
Tell us a bit about the background of each of your members.
Well, we are a fifteen member band inclusive of three sound engineers. We have six instrumentalists with violin as a unique lead to the band. Our singers have a varied and diverse experience to them. We include folk , Hindustani and classical singers amongst us . Each of us are full time musicians or connected with the music industry in some way or the other.
Is there a story behind how the name Thaikkudam Bridge came about?
There is. We are sure that our fans know it byheart (smiles) . Ex band mate Piyush Kapoor suggested the name Thaikkudam Bridge whilst practice sessions below the not so famous Thaikkudam Bridge ( an actual place in Cochin, our home town ) and we named that for the Music Mojo sessions and it stayed. That’s the nomenclature history of our band.
Brief us about your latest album NAMAH.
NAMAH is our tribute to the legends around the world that have inspired us to dream and do what our heart tells us to. They are the ones who made the way forward better by walking the tough path and clearing it for us. The album boasts of International collaborations. We have just released a teaser featuring our first collaboration with Neeladri Kumar. The others will be announced as we go forward. Wait up for surprises there!
How important do you think technology is in making music? How have you made the best use of it?
Technology of course is an integral part of every industry now. Being updated to the latest tools and techniques makes is competitive. Music comes from the heart however technology helps perfect it. We have our sound department that’s the best with three sound engineers, Hemanth, Amith and Rajan. Each of them are experts in what they do and they do the needful to use technology to make us sound the best
Tell us about your most exciting performance till date and why?
Our first performance, of course. We never knew the line experience on stage and hence that made it unique. One other time was performing for Illayaraja sir at Chennai at 1 am in the morning amidst other legends like Kamal Hassan sir. That is still one of our best performances till date. Adding icing to the cake was when Raja sir gave us a personal Audience after the gig.
Your music has a unique tone and everyone in the country loves it. What drives you to come up with a different sound every time?
We have musicians who sound different. We want our music to reach a pan India / international audience. And being lucky we can experiment every style of singing with the versatility of singers we have amidst us. Like Anish Krishnan can handle all genres and languages. We have a violinist who also hems the vocals par excellence in Govind Menon. The finest Hindustani Vocalists in the country Krishna Bongane and Nila Madhab Mohapatra has lent a niche to our sound. Our guitarist is a true maverick with his sound .I guess all this inspires and help is build our own sound and a different one all the time
As a band, what are you inspired by the most and why?
We are inspired by the likes of legendary musicians who have given everything they ever had for the purpose of Music and only music. We are inspired by the struggles every musician has to go through and we are inspired by the millions of audience who helps us be what we are.
You have toured across a lot of cities. Is it a different experience in every place you perform in?
Indeed. Each place comes with a different experience and gives us a fresh memory to cherish. Thanks to every audience we have ever played for, we do come off with good memories. Every place Audience has different expectations out of music but in our case we have managed to get them effectively to engage the audience
Who are your biggest influences?
Well all of us have different influences. To name a few Mettalica, Cold play, Alice in chains and our legendary musicians back home and around the world. Our biggest influence is the love of our listeners. They actually give us leads to make music we want the world to hear.
What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Topics comes with the songs. But we do try and bring in socially relevant subjects as we believe art is the best form of revolution we have in this universe. Aarachar was a political satire and Navarasam was a ode to the art o form of Kathakali. When our song shapes up we do get unique ideas that are socially relevant to.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
As a band, we have been lucky enough to get the love of the listeners ever since we started. The challenge of course is to keep the interest and love going. To make sure we deliver the best for our listeners all around the world. We have a great management team from Aum I artistes and Sujith, our manager manages all the madness we face as a challenge.
Tell us what each one of you would be doing if not for music? Do you have other passion?
All of us at Thaikkudam Bridge are full time musicians. In one way or the other connected to the music industry, our first priority is the band itself. The band gigs and dates take the front seat as far as career is concerned. We adjust the other commitments to meet the band requirements.
Amongst us Govind Menon is a much sought after music director down south with more than 100 movies to his kitty with Music and BGM scores. His latest with Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi has garnered rave reviews. Mithun Raju our lead guitarist is also the front man of his band Pseutopia and a session guitarist for the leading music directors of the industry. Vipin our singer is a known programmer. Our drummer Anish is a drums tutor by profession. Hemanth works as a technician with AR Rahman’s team. So amidst these varied interests we have a steady band on the go. Gods grace it has been a decent task as of today.
Who are your role models in the industry?
As mentioned, we have definite influences in music. We do admire music around the world. Like our next album NAMAH denotes our role models are those great minds who walked before us, paved a pathway in those rock laden mountains of inspiration. NAMAH is a salute to such great minds and musicians who made life legendary by the virtue of their work.
What’s your take on the current Independent music scene?
Very promising we must say. We have good musicians and even better music that’s coming our way from the independent music scene. Last few years have seen a paradigm shift in the industry where people started to sit up notice and recognize talent from the live scene. The acceptance levels of a country largely dependent on Bollywood music has changed in huge proportions. Thanks to digital media for making it so easy to get your music around the world. It looks great in the coming years. We are hoping for the best.
What changes would you like to see in the current scene?
Even now in India where we hail from independent music is a struggle. Be it gigs or payments we realize the showbiz still prefers to stick to the old school model. Down the west, however things are so different. I guess the struggle is worth it.
You have done a lot of covers. How do you choose which song to cover? Is there a formulae?
Earlier, precisely in our beginning stages we did do covers of old popular music. Must say the reach began from there as it’s easier for the audience to identify the music .However since Navarasam our music and songs are original. We do covers when asked by the client for an event. There are no formulae but popularity is a big factor when we decide. We majorly play originals for all shows since 2 years. Our most popular original Fish Rock and Navarasam are legendary hits on social media.
Are movies on the cards for you guys?
We have helmed music for many southern flicks. The latest is SOLO directed by Bejoy Nambiar and a Marathi movie ” GULAB JAMOON ” Music in movies is again a different experience as we get to experiment different genres and moods all the times
Give us a brief on your upcoming live gigs.
We do an average of 6 gigs a month. This year looks at a pan India coverage. Later in September we start our world tour. Moving on to the ever prestigious NH7 Shillong in October, Europe tour begins in November with back to back gigs in Middle East as well. So yes this year looks positively packed for us.
Which has been your most packed show till date? Tell us more about it.
We have had shows that have 40 thousand people witnessing the event. One of our first shows down at Palakkad had to get police help in controlling the crowd. Another show with a packed crowd of all nationalities was the Dubai Global village world stage. NH 7 outings were no different where we played on the stage where Steven Wilson performed the next day.
On what basis do you write the lyrics of the songs? What are you mostly inspired by?
Our lyrics mostly comply with the mood and music we want to create. As mentioned earlier we try and bring in some element of revolution, a tribute or a story in our songs. Our regional (Malayalam) lyrics are penned by Dhanya Suresh who also happens to be GOVIND’s sister. Our Hindi lyrics are by Dr Gajanan Mitke and Piyush Kapoor (Sultan).Lyrics of Fish rock was inspired by the front man’s love for fish. Sultan was against the atrocities of Mughal Empire. So each song has an idea and the lyrics conform to it.
Tell us about your upcoming projects
NAMAH is the cherished dream after our debut album Navarasam. On the movie front, we will be doing Solo directed by Bejoy Nambiar , Gulab Jamoon in Marati and few other projects lined up. We have our World tour coming up starting September. So geared up for that
Your message to the readers of our magazine
Keep the love for music alive. Music has no language nor does it restrict. Music is the universal language
Craziest tour experience
US tour last year. We were winning hearts in all cities and having fun at the same time
Embarrassing fan moment
Which songs do you perform most frequently?
Navarasam; our title track and our first original Fish Rock with which we end a show never get a miss in any of our shows
One word to describe your band
This story was featured in our September 2017 issue: http://bit.ly/2xVOEqr