Monday, 25 June 2012

Evolution of a Band...

Nothing beats Mumbai’s passion for music; the city’s thirst for music is insatiable! How else do you explain the need for almost 10 radio stations pumping out music, non-stop, 24 hours of the day! People walking around with headphones sticking out of their ears as if it were part of their bodies! There is no escaping music in this town, any kind of music. There is a market for all genres of music, pop, hip hop, rock, techno, Bollywood. The city is a haven for all kinds of music and those who create such music.

The rock music scene especially, has been thriving strong since a long time. The younger section of population has been hooked on to the sound of guitar and drums. Today the number of bands in the city is beyond count. Some are formed for the sake of fun; some on the other hand are serious ventures of rock fanatics. Very few are able to last for a significant amount of time. Further, very few are able to rise above this clutter to make a mark.

Discovering-Mumbai (DM) found one such band, which we feel has the potential to break through the clutter. Oddly, we found them playing in a place where you would least expect a good rock band, in a suburban mall on a Sunday evening; where people are more interested in the latest sale than the entertainment the mall has arranged for them. We loved their music, in fact we didn’t move from our seats for the full 2 hours that these guys played. Mesmerized by their music, yes we were! Having enjoyed their music so much we decided to catch up with these guys. The name of the band – ‘Winter Shift

The band of four; Rahul Mistri (Vocals & Rhythm guitar), Colin Vyas (Drums), Vivek Date (Bass) and Neeraj Bundel (Lead guitar); is only a year old. These guys are not childhood or college friends; they found each other on the internet. Their passion for music brought them together; they found that they got along well, and finally it culminated into ‘Winter Shift’. Colin and Neeraj are old hands, Colin has been playing drums for almost 8 years now and Neeraj has been fiddling around with the six-string for almost a decade. Rahul has been at it for 4 years now, he wanted to be a lead but after a while he realized that he hasn’t got that innovation and improvising facets that are requisites for a lead, so he decided to go for singing instead and he is quite good at that. Vivek has  been playing bass guitar for 2 years now, recently he has also started playing the six-string. 

From left to rigth: Neeraj, Colin, Rahul and Vivek. Winter Shift performing at Infiniti Mall, Malad.
 One thing which everyone wants to know about any band is the meaning of the band’s name, and we too were interested in finding it out. As per the bands members there is no philosophy behind the name. After having gone through a lot of brainstorming and coming up with almost 50 odd names they finally settled for the name ‘Winter Shift’. ‘Winter’ because the band was formed in the season of winter and ‘Shift’ because they say that their style of music keeps changing. They are still to settle down, still to decide what kind of music they want to play. Right now they are playing whatever interests them. For e.g. Colin started his musical journey with metal, later he moved on the heavy rock and now he is playing classic rock. Classic rock actually seems to be their favourite. They all are fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers and their RHCP covers are fabulous! They also play Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. These guys are into the melodious sounding music rather than the head banging kind. This, we believe, is what separates them from the rest of the wannabe bands.

Formed just one year ago; the band went live for the first time two months ago. Vivek and Colin who have played at iconic places like Blue Frog and Hard Rock Café urged the others to move out of their studio and on to the stage. Performing in front of crowds is the best way to improve one, is what they believe. Their first gig was at an architecture college in Prabhadevi, this gig gave them the confidence they needed. The second gig was at Cool Chef Café, Worli. They were able to draw crowds even on the eve of a Mumbai Indians IPL semifinal match. To their surprise people paid Rs. 300 entry fee to listen to them! Their latest gig at the suburban mall however didn’t start out too well for them. On the first day they came ready with a playlist full of English songs and that too their favourite classic rock songs. The crowds just couldn’t relate to their music, they understood that the crowd wasn’t enjoying much. Even the anchor constantly kept on prodding them to play Hindi songs to entertain the crowds. Some in the crowd even did a bit of garba on rock, which had the band completely shocked!

Winter Shift at Cool Chef Cafe, Worli
 Armed with the knowledge that to entertain such a crowd hindi songs are a must; the band returned the next day prepared. The only catch was that their equipment was at the mall, this meant that they didn’t get to practice any of the songs; they just heard the songs once before going out to play. But believe us, when we heard them play ‘Jo bhi main’ from Rockstar we thought these guys must have put in hours of practice in the song, such was their performance. So it was a big surprise for us when they revealed that they hadn’t practiced at all! Second day at the mall turned out to be complete opposite of the first one. The crowds enjoyed their gig thoroughly. The band must have surely heaved a sigh of relief!

Winter Shift is a breath of fresh air; there aren’t many bands that play classic rock, fewer who play as well as them. Neeraj’s work on the guitar is simply enchanting, Colin’s talent on the drums is fascinating, Rahul’s vocals are so smooth, and without Vivek on the bass they won’t sound as good as they do. So the big question now is, ‘where will Winter Shift go from here?’ The band has a clear intention. They have done enough covers. Now they want to get down to creating original music. Rahul, Vivek and Neeraj have been working on this. Neeraj has been a constant source of motivation, urging the band to start working on originals. Post the mall gig they have a lot of offers in hand from many events companies. But they are in no hurry, rightly so, as they should keep their focus on making originals now.

DM is expecting a lot from these guys and we can’t wait for them to come out with their first original! Hopefully they will invite DM for their first public performance of the original! We wish ‘Winter Shift’ all the best in their future endeavours. We intend to keep tracking the evolution of this band.

You can view their videos and follow Winter Shift on their Facebook page (Click here).  

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Discovering Mumbai - The Intro

Discovering Mumbai is not just a blog. It’s an attempt to understand the city. An attempt to uncover some hidden gems of stories that lie underneath all the hustle bustle of this ever spreading metropolis. It wants to talk about the things that make Mumbai the city of dreams! Its about those dreamers! 

Discovering Mumbai strives to bring you the story of Mumbaikars who make this city a unique place. Behind all the glitz and glamour of bollywood and stock markets lies the real Mumbai. The one that is inhabited by dreamers, motivated citizens toiling to achieve their goals. These dreamers come from different walks of life. Their dreams are unique and so are their paths. Some want to reach the pinnacle of stardom; flashlights are what they dream of; while some dream of making the city a better place for everyone who calls it home.

Mumbai is a city of contrasts, from high rise towers to sprawling slums, from imported cars to hand drawn carts, from five star restaurants to the humble vada pav stall. This contrasting nature of the city has always attracted creative minds. Be it Bollywood, painters, writers and poets, the city has inspired all to create works of art about it. Many people have tried to capture the spirit of the city in their words, poems, photographs and movies. The maximum city has the potential to inspire all!

Discovering Mumbai also seeks to understand the thing they call ‘spirit of Mumbai’, which is credited to making Mumbai so very much different from other cities. We plan to bring to you unique stories which will showcase this spirit of Mumbai. It is an attempt to decode the city. Hopefully we will be able to successfully decode the city for you!

We welcome you on this journey – let’s go discover Mumbai.