Just like their no-nonsense music, let’s cut to the chase and tell you that Motherjane is performing in the city tonight at High Spirits in celebration of 21 years of making music as a band. The three-leg tour that kicked off on August 30 with a performance at Antisocial Mumbai, has come to Pune today, and will be traveling to The Humming Tree in Bengaluru on September 2. We chat up founding members John Thomas and Clyde Rozario about their amazing journey.
ClayPlay was a ‘drastic shift’ in your music in 2015. How would you define the sound of the band at this (present) stage?
It’s been quite a trip. We are fortunate to have these great musicians playing with us at various phases of our journey Rex Vijayan, Mithun R (guitarist with Thaikudam Bridge), Baiju Dharmajan, Suraj Mani to name a few. They have all contributed to this band in a big way and we are so grateful to them.
ClayPlay was a major shift in the musical direction of the band, Rex Vijayan came in as the producer and contributed heavily towards our sound. It took as a while to roll it out and was well received by the fans too. Rex’s role was key in this shift. Overall, it gave us a fresh perspective to start with. He’ll be producing the upcoming Motherjane record also. We would like to say it’s best left undefined and it’s like a step in evolution of the band.
How have you seen the band evolve over three decades?
It’s been an exhilarating journey we must say. When we started out, we used to play ‘90s metal and grunge covers and then we shifted to the progressive realm around the end of the decade. Since then, we have been experimenting with the sound of progressive rock and we released our first record called Insane Biography in 2002. Around 2005-2006, we started with the songs for the Maktub record and recorded them through 2007.
We introduced ethnic elements in our music, that’s when there was a major shift in the sound of the band. It went well with our audience as it was released in 2008. Now we are on the onset of another drastic change in our style and it’s exciting as always.
What is your comment on the rock music scene in India right now?
We think the rock scene in India has come of age right now. The indie scene is thriving with bands and we have a lot of international acts also coming frequently and this gives us a place in the global rock scenario. Right now, a lot of Indian bands and artists are collaborating with international musicians which adds a lot of value to the Indian rock scene.
Rock has been making its way into Bollywood too, even you did an OST for Anwar. Do you think Bollywood is doing justice to the genre?
Not much is happening on that front as of now, but a lot of musicians from the rock fraternity are working with the film industry now, so it might bring in a big change in the near future.
What has been your take-away from playing the genre for two decades? How has it influenced you not only as musicians, but as people?
Playing in a band will teach you a lot about music and life. You get to develop a lot of soft skills and it’s been very helpful. The different aspects of music and performance that you learn on the road is valuable and irreplaceable. So overall, we consider the experiences and the lessons we learnt on life and music as a reward for being in rock.