Parikrama is a legendary Indian rock band; playing basically classic rock based music, fused with Indian instruments like the tabla and the violin, and has been around for 21 years. With more than 2,900 shows till date the band plays around 160 shows a year; a record for any performing artiste, in any genre, in this country.
Parikrama has had a very successful tour of the UK earlier, where they were promoted by none other than Iron Maiden and their manager Rod Smallwood. Iron Maiden invited Parikrama to seven shows in the UK, including the mighty Download Festival and venues like Rio (Leeds), The Underground (Camden), The Peel (Kingston) etc.
Emaho caught up with Subir Malik of Parikrama to see what makes the big boys of Indian rock tick.
Emaho : How did the name come about?
We just wanted a name in Hindi or Sanskrit; there was just really no reason to it. We felt like it, so we did it, it’s the same principal we follow till date.
Emaho : How has Parikrama seen the music scene evolve?
Many things have changed and mainly for good, today you have loads of advantages, like getting the best equipment around the corner, proper studios, great live sound, music schools and the Internet have all helped produce loads of great sounding bands. Bands can also now record at home and upload their songs instantly, they are not reliant only on radio or TV, to get them heard, and that’s lovely. The amount of brilliant bands that have emerged in the past five to six years is just out of the world, and the age of musicians, taking up music, is increasing day by day.
‘But it rained: Parikrama’
Emaho : In one of your interviews, you’ve said you have many unreleased original songs and that you hate studios. Why so?
Just that the feel of a live stage has absolutely no comparison to a studio. We do so many originals live, but they are still unreleased, like Vapourize, Tears of the Wizard, Xerox, Mayhem in GM, Screaming Town, Life is Certain, etc etc etc etc.
Emaho : What has been your experience collaborating with different artistes, especially Saif Ali Khan?
We love to collaborate with scores of artistes; it’s always great fun. Saif is a great guy and it is always fun to be with him. In fact we are just doing three concept shows, where we would be collaborating with more than 20 artistes, including Rahul Ram, Ehsaan, Rabbi Shergill and Ali Hamza among many others. The shows are called ‘Parikrama and Friends’.
Emaho : How did you guys deal with competition from Indi-pop?
We always believed that Indi-pop was a passing phase and would soon be over, and that’s exactly what happened. It really was no problem as rock has always had its crowd.
‘ Iron Maiden invited Parikrama to seven shows in the UK, including the mighty Download Festival’
Emaho : Tell us about your collaboration with Usha Uthup.
That was another great association; I mean Ushaji is just such a pleasure to be with, she is amazing. The concept Rhythm and Blues was for a show that used to come on Channel V called ‘Jammin’. We are r still in touch after that.
Emaho : Do you think performing live has an edge over being Internet oriented?
Both can co-exist. Parikrama’s entire marketing strategy was based on the Internet when we made our first site in 1995and released our songs. But yes, live is live.
Emaho : What about piracy?
We always said that we believe in piracy of our own music; every man to his own.
‘ With over 160 shows an year, Parikrama believes in playing live music staying true to its roots of producing original compositions’
Tell us about your composition process.
It all depends, normally Nitin and Sonam jam up on a basic structure; sometimes we all sit and finalise a song. We have done songs in four hours to six months.
Emaho : How did you guys move from doing covers to originals?
Let me tell you what Parikrama was made for. I was to join my family business in four months and wanted to play classic rock on stage, before saying bye to music forever. So, I approached a band, with the idea to only play all my favourite bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Deep Purple etc. That said, Parikrama was just a four month project then. We changed ourselves, after seeing the change in the industry, with more people writing their own material and audiences started accepting them. Change is the key to survival, so we changed. But we still do not have any problems in adding in a cover or two, because we just love those bands and love to play them, but yes, almost 90-95 per cent of our shows are now all originals.
‘Work hard, stay off drugs, be true to your music, think ahead- Parikrama’
Emaho : What’s your advice to young upcoming bands?
Advise to any band, doing anything is – work hard, stay off drugs, be true to your music, think ahead (long term), get a good management, market well, make good music, have loads of beer (after the show).
Emaho : 20 years later, what has kept you guys together?
Beer and rock and roll, frankly! It does not seem 21 years at all, it feels like we just started the band, because we still have the same fun that we used to have when we started off.
Art & Culture Interviewed by: Sahil Sharma