Having shot to fame with the band ‘Live Banned’ and later through Gitanjali Selvaraghavan’s Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam, Amrit Rao is set to unleash his band ‘Madrascals’ soon. Being an admirer of the Tamil language, Amrit states that the songs will be a mix of urban and folk tunes and will focus on multiple themes. Further, for a wholesome music experience, the team plans to add some theatre to their performances.
The team comprises of Bharath Sankar (keyboard), Ramkumar Kanakarajan (drums), Karun Ramani (guitar), Shravan Sridhar (violin), Conrad Simmons (bass), along with Amrit doing the vocals. In a candid interview with us, Amrit speaks about how he wishes to take the band across the world.
On how he resorted to the band’s name, Madrascals, he says, “Well, it has many meanings. This city was my calling — so you can take it as ‘Madras calls’, rascal is a word that is common in Chennai, so you can take it as ‘mad rascals’, and it also has ‘mad’ in it… I go quite mad on stage (laughs)!”
He states that the idea of starting this band came to him almost four years ago — “In 2013, I released an independent Tamil album through Universal Music. Even then, I wanted to take my Tamil set live, because I love the language — but the project got pushed for a long time. Then I moved from Bengaluru to Chennai for composing Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam in 2015, and I’ve finally started working on the band now. I’ve rearranged few of my old songs and have written new ones.”
Speaking about the issues the band will sing about, he says, “It will not just be about love. Most of my songs are socially inclusive and talk about various issues. We’ll focus on various topics — unemployment, global warming, god men etc.”
The composer also says that he has a clear mindset while choosing between film and indie music. “There used to be a time when I used to think only indie music is good. But now, I don’t wish to prioritise film or indie music — I wish to strike a fine balance. In fact, film music has a wider reach in this state, and over the past few years, independent music is also garnering a good response.”
I’m also very particular about the people I work with — I just don’t want to take up whatever movie project that comes my way, especially after working with great minds like Selvaraghavan and Gitanjali. I would rather wait for right projects like Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam. And at the same time, I would keep working on my indie projects also,” adds Amrit.
Speaking about how different Madrascals would be, from the rest of the bands, Amrit states, “It will entirely be a music experience. We don’t want to play in pubs because the focus is not entirely on music — even if we do, it would be at a venue where music is given importance. We wish to play at musical venues and we have plans to include a little bit of theatre also.”
Though Amrit is happy with how indie music scene has evolved in the city, he also has some reservations. “Honestly, Chennai has the most talented musicians in the country. But of late, what I see is, young singers and bands are more focused on making covers of popular songs — it is good once in a while. But if only that becomes your identity, then you can’t be able to do justice to the musician in you.”
On a concluding note, Amrit opens up about the launch and future plans. “We are planning to launch Madrascals in a big way around November — but before that, we would be conducting shows and a few soft launches. Our aim is to go beyond Chennai and perform in other parts of Tamil Nadu too. Further, we wish to take Madrascals across the country and also to various parts of the world where there is good Tamil speaking population,” he says and signs off.