Anand Bhaskar Collective (ABC) is the brainchild of Anand Bhaskar (duh!). The Mumbai-based band is that perfect point where Indian Classical and Alternative Rock, great melody and meaningful, impressive lyrics come together. While they are a lovely group of five talented musicians, more than that, this is a bunch of guys who truly enjoy each other’s company both on and off stage.
I have secretly been in love with the band, since their debut album, Samsara (released in 2014). Finally, I got to meet the band, and through my interaction fell in love some more.
Among a multi-player ping-pong match of a conversation, I asked them one common question: What would their dream collaboration for Anand Bhaskar Collective be like? Here’s what unfolded.
Anand Bhaskar is the lead vocalist for the band. Adept with Hindi and penning supreme lyrics for the songs, Anand is an avid listener of metal music. In his words, ‘I would listen to metal 8/10 times while driving. Also, metal IS my workout music’.
It was a struggle for him recording the first album, Samsara, as there was no concrete band back then. He was also juggling with a day job at the time. But now, the day job has been left behind, here’s a kickass band and great music is all that there is. And thank God for that!
"I would have either Joe Satriani or Steve Vai play a solo (on one of our songs). I love both of them!"
Chandan Raina heard Prodigy’s Fat of the Land for the first time in 1999 and he kept listening to it for years to come. It was soon after that he decided music was his calling, and his weapon of choice was the guitar. What followed were a bunch of different bands, stints as an artist manager, and the usual grunt work of life. But through it all, music was always there.
Chandan now fulfils the guitar duties for ABC, and has a project called Surya aur Chandan with vocalist Surya Raghunaathan.
"Crispian Mills, the vocalist and songwriter of Kula Shaker (an English psychedelic rock band), has a very interesting (musical) sensibility which I think will blend in very well with the kind of music we do.
If we do like a dream unplugged gig, (we’d have) Trilok Gurtu. That’d be really cool. He has this very cool shuffle grooves he plays. All that stuff would be really interesting to see.
Believe it or not, I would really be exciting to see what Skrillex does to our tracks too! *laughs* As commercial as that sounds, it will be quite something."
Neelkanth is the band’s bassist. He is the shy, quiet guy who goes about his duties and joins conversations only when needed. He has performed alongside the stalwarts of the music industry.
Neel, as he is addressed generally, is flawless with the guitar. Anand and Chandan describe him as ‘the stud in the band’.
"I think an Indian classical maestro would add to us. Like, Naveen (Kumar). Anyone, you know, playing any instrument that we don’t play, and that person is really good at playing. Like a Sitar player. Ravi Chari, for example. Or even Niladri Kumar.
And, you know, A R Rahman could play keyboards."
Shishir 'Tao' Thakur
Shishir Thakur, or Tao, is a badass drummer. He prefers drumming topless for freedom of movement and sex appeal.
Shishir has literally learned drumming through air drumming. Yes, Shishir Tao is one of the only two known drummers who do not feel the need to own a drumkit of their own.
Shishir also shares his talents with Rang, a Hindi rock band, and his knowledge of drumming with earthlings who wish to pursue the craft.
Shishir was not allowed to speak. This is how this conversation went.
Anand: Mikael Ackerfeldt, he will say.
Shishir: Well, they said it.
Anand: Mikael Ackerfeldt or Snarky Puppy.
Neel: Or Virgil Donati.
Chandan: Tao will say, “Virgil Donati is playing, I will just look.”
Anand: Virgil Donati covers Shishir Tao...
Chandan: ...at Wembley.
Ajay Jayanthi is one of the most sought after violinists in the Mumbai indie circuit. His violin is the point where the western guitars, the drums and the bass meet the classical vocals and tone of not only ABC, but also Paradigm Shift.
Ajay told his parents that he wants to do only music all his life. Despite having a lucrative placement offer at the end of his engineering education, he chose music. His parents did not resist. What that support has given indie music in the form of Ajay is priceless to say the least.
“I think I would agree with Neel. It would be really kickass to have a nice Hindustani classical player, or even percussionists like Zakir Hussain or, say, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. It would be fantastic to see how that goes. We have, in fact, been mentored by Karsh Kale once. We had a small session with him where he showed us a couple of ideas on how to go about a song. It really helps. So someone from the Indian classical scene would be really fantastic. "
"But, from a producer point of view, maybe someone like a Santosh Narayanan, the Tamil music director, would be really nice. Or someone like, Maati Baani’s Kartik Shah. Someone like that to come on board from the point of view of production and arrangement would be really cool. Anand’s songs are really nice and catchy, and we come together with our abilities as musicians. So a producer to come in and collaborate with us would be really interesting.”
This was a part of a bunch of other things that were spoken about in the almost three hours I got to spend with the band. During the time, I had a long conversation about ABC and other things with Anand and Chandan. That interview will be up next week. So, brace yourselves for the coming week!