You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
Meet the first all-girl band in the country which has been signed by an international label. Here we give you The Vinyl Records!
It all happened when these girls started jamming together just to have some fun but today they are one of the most happening bands in the India rock music circuit. This all girl-band comprises of four members – Banu Jini (24), Minam Tekseng (23) and Mithy Tatak (23) from Arunachal Pradesh and Cheyyrian Bark (24) from Assam. “Initially we never thought or planned of taking up music seriously or as a profession but were simply taking music classes. We conceived the idea of forming a band in and around 2010 only after passing out from school, regrouped in Delhi as The Vinyl Records during our jam sessions. In 2011, we met Cheyyrian at a music school (Arttree Institute of Performing Arts and Music) and since then she is the band’s front woman,” says Mithy about the genesis of the group. It’s only three years now however you will find them everywhere. They have been covered by journals like Rolling Stone, RSJ and Cosmopolitan, you just name it! Performed at MTV Rock F1 2011, finalist of Ray-Ban Never Hide Sound 2012, Ziro Festival of Music, The Loudest Gig in Delhi and recently were invited to Goa in India Bike Week 2014.
As the saying goes choose a career that makes you happy and that’s exactly what they did. According to the drummer Mithy, “When we start jamming we are in our own wonderland. Music is a medium of self-expression to us, it’s our food!” And that’s how they got signed by international label Metal Postcard Records Hong-Kong. “Metal Postcard saw one of our videos and songs on Facebook and wrote to us saying that they want to release our single internationally on 7’Vinyl. Thanks to social networking!” pop-in Cheyyrian the vocalist.
“We’re fans of the analog sound reminiscent of the 70s- 80s era and that’s how we chose the name of the band,” says the guitarist Banu, the idea behind the name of the band. “However we play alternative/post-punk/indie rock. The response has been good so far and we are quite happy.” Like anybody else they also have some heroes whom they look up to. “In music we follow groups like CSS, Joan Jett, Sahara Hotnights, The Donnas and Riot Grrls. In real life have people like Aung San Suu Kyi, Irom Sharmila and Tongam Rina because they are fearless and stood up for what is right.” Well indeed these are great names as inspiration.
Though it looks like a smooth ride, on second thought they are doing a tough job. Tell you why? They are all-girl band, are competing in the market with Bollywood music, they belong to the north-eastern part of the country and based in Hindi speaking mainland. “It’s sad but true that patriarchy and racism still exists in our social system, people have themselves manifested it. I don’t know how many decades will it take to change it or if we can ever change it but being an artist and a feminist we would not want any kind of discrimination based on gender or color in the world of music. And no price for guessing, Bollywood is still the king here and is also one of the reason why many of the amazing bands are left unheard by the billions of people here,” Mithy explains the hard fact with a smile.
Their songs are more about what’s happening in their day to day life. “Our song writing process is very disjointed no fixed agenda. Sometimes we write it over the guitar melody or we just jam and add music to the lyrics. Our inspiration can be from anything from movies, characters from books, visit to a new place, or any incident or issue that grabs our attention. Just random things, even aliens and cows that sit on the road side pavements!” Some songs that Mithy loves, “I really like jamming on Escape Trick which has a sweet synth psychedelic feel. And we love to play live OC Apocryphal.” Now that they have performed almost in every part of the country where did they enjoy most? “It will be wrong on our part to say that this one place was the best but yeah we really enjoyed performing at the Stuppidities launch in Mumbai,” playing safe the bassist Minam.
What are the things that go in before they go on to a stage? “Telling you the truth we don’t do much. Each of us has a different style and taste. So we don’t follow or choose any specific trend but when we come down together as a band our style amalgates, appealing to the people which kind of compliment our music too. However, we all love playing dress up!” After all girls will be girls they just want to have some fun. When they are not playing or making music they are very much like any other young girl. Minan makes clear, “I love to draw and cook when I am home or not on the tour and I think I could have been a nutritionist if not a musician.” To that Cheyyrian adds, “Come on we are like anybody. Yes some of us do have boyfriends. We are all jugglers balancing both the lives.” When asked to describe the band in one word, they rightly said, “Girl-power!”
(Published in Society March ’14, Page No. 54)