Anyone involved with the indie music scene in India will smile at the mention of Tony Das. Tony began performing back in 1999 and has been part of some of Bengaluru’s most iconic acts, including Thermal and a Quarter. Then there’s the drummer, Willy Demoz, another familiar name here in Bengaluru, who, until recently, played with The Raghu Dixit Project. Praveen Biligiri, Tony, Willy and Sujay Harthi, the members of Peepal Tree, have 20 years of music experience between them, performing together in different bands and also around the world, teaming up with some of the country’s top artistes.
Peepal Tree has had many projects up its sleeve, including movie projects, ad jingles and music of all sorts. “The band was born out of a long-standing friendship and the desire to create new music that we could take to a wide audience, but that was still fun for us to write and perform,” says Tony, the band’s guitarist. “The lineup also includes Siddharth, who is considerably younger than the rest of us, but he started performing early and has also played with some of the industry’s best.”
Together, they create a fusion, alt-rock sound, dipping into Indian traditions, from classical music influences to poetry (Chetana, their debut song, draws from a poem by Kuvempu). And at the heart of it all, it boils down to “memorable melodies played on a bed of solid grooves.” “That means different things to different people,” Tony admits, but to them, it manifests in a variety of sounds. “If you listen to the whole album, you will find some pop, some rock, some funkier elements and some of the more modern production stuff. So we try not to restrict ourselves by putting genre tags on anything. I know everyone says that but I think everyone means it from their own perspective,” says Tony.
Their debut album, Chetana, still holds a special place in their hearts. “It is the first album that we have officially released and we are proud of the effort that went into it as well as how it turned out. While there is a unifying sound one very album, every song is quite different from the others in so many ways. We feel there is something for every kind of listener on Chetana, and we have received feedback to that effect too,” says Tony. Overall, their music is a mix of influences ranging from ballads to heavy metal, and everything in between.
The show on Friday will see the band mix it up quite a bit, with some originals and some covers too, for good measure. “The audience can expect us to bring our A-Game and I think they will find themselves singing along with us for a large part of the evening,” Tony promises. They do perform in Kannada and as far as Tony is concerned, music in Kannada has been experiencing a steady growth across styles and genres. “It is a great time to be around and watch this evolution taking place, while being a part of it too.”
Peepal Tree has already started work on their second album, which they hope to have ready in a shorter time than they took with the first. “In the mean time, we are going to play shows, write more music and share most of everything we do with our wonderful friends and supporters who have been so great to us over the last five years.”
What: ibis Music in association with Sony Music presents Peepal Tree
When: Aug. 9, 8 pm onwards
Where: ibis Bengaluru, Opposite RMZ Ecospace Business Park Marathahalli, Sarjapur, Outer Ring Road