Kerala-based band Motherjane reunites after 12 years

Motherjane, a music band from Kochi, Kerala, has contributed significantly to the country's rock music scene. The band's first album Insane Biography released in and garnered a huge fan following. The release of their 2nd studio album Maktub in 2008 put them on the global charts and won multiple awards globally. Now, after a long break of 12 years, the band with its line up of Suraj Mani, Baiju Dharmajan, Deepu Sasidharan, Alan Santosh and Alloy Francis, is coming back with a live performance.

What inspired Motherjane to reunite after 12 years?

It was the culmination of many things. One important catalyst was a conversation I had with Baiju. We were on a casual call once and I just asked him how the music was going on. His answer to me was that he had stopped playing the guitar for a few months now. I was pretty shocked so I asked him why and he answered that he was saddened by how society treated musicians during the lockdown. It disillusioned him and as a result, he was considering focusing on other ventures. As someone who has always been a big fan of his, I said that there was no way he could be allowed to quit and almost immediately I suppose the thought of restarting the band came to life. Then one day I was on a call with Deepu and I asked him what he thought of the idea of restarting, his response was to add Baiju to the call.. and voila we were back. I was literally that simple.

Please share any insights into the preparations that went into reuniting the band.

Speaking for the 3 of us we have always been very proud of the music we have put out together as a band and because our friendships had continued over the years the reunion just seemed like something that was meant to happen. So, we decided to get back together and perform our original material and perhaps in a way rescue it from the renditions played by John and a few other musicians that we felt were not doing those songs any justice. The invitation was extended to John and Clyde and they decided to decline for reasons best known to them. It took an impromptu trip to Baiju's house and a single jam session to know that together we still could pull out songs from the air.

As you might know, unfortunately, there were frivolous legal claims to the band name and the copyright of the music which of course saw the courts favoring us with an interim judgment whereby the copyright, trademark, and name wererecognized as belonging to our record label Aum-i Artistes under legal agreements signed and accepted by all band members. While the legal arguments for the final judgment will continue until both sides present their case, we remain greatly reassured because the courts have already recognized that we have enough prima facie evidence of the ownership of the music and the band name by virtue of producing all the legal agreements needed.

Could you please tell us more about Motherjane's tour after 12 years of hiatus, and how does their upcoming performance at Bira 91 Taproom Saket fit into this tour?

We first decided to do a tour called ‘Rewritten’ to honor the 15th anniversary of our album Maktub. One thing led to another and Motherjane's reunion took on a life of its own with us making some 4-5 new songs and deciding to make a full-length album. We had just finished a gig in Bangalore Fandom where we performed our first single from the new album, which is called #DoGoodDontBeNice and we shot the audience for what is going to be our first music video. The song itself is being mixed and mastered and shall be released soon. To put it simply, we got a resounding recommendation made by someone at the gig to the Bira Taproom team and the next thing we knew was this invitation to perform in Delhi. We will be playing their Stout festival on St.Patrick's Day and we think he would appreciate the humor and wisdom in a song titled #DoGoodDontBeNice. It sounds like something we can raise a toast to!

What prompted Motherjane to embark on a tour after such a long break, and what cities or regions can fans expect them to visit?

Love for music. We've always loved performing live. In fact,I think we shine as a LIVE act. For all you know, we may even reach unexpected heights in this day and age where AI is doing too much and artists too little in LIVE situations. What is rare is always precious and our mix of ethnic Carnatic music with global rock is already a USP that serves us well. The last time we were out there, we received a lot of love from people all over our country. We would like for that to continue as we reach out and embrace a new generation, in India and internationally.

Are there any special surprises or elements that fans can expect from the upcoming performance?

The new song for one and the hallmark face paint for another. The song itself is unreleased and so you guys should come and celebrate it with us. The inside truth is that we met in Baiju's house after 12 years and he started playing a riff and some chords, I said I had some words for a song idea and started singing to it and Deepu just joined in. Whether #DoGoodDontBeNice took only 10 minutes to write or 10 years of living to make, is still a mystery to us.

How has the music industry changed since Motherjane's last performance together, and how does the band plan to navigate these changes?

The industry has grown and there are so many amazing artists out there. And I'm not just talking about the stalwarts who are still there, but also young artists and bands that are absolutely killing it with their vision and music. The production levels of shows have gone up greatly and kudos to the lights, sound, staging, and AV professionals who are capable of putting up international-level gigs in this country. We look forward to working with all these disciplines and to learning how to use all of them to convey the songs and stories that Motherjane wants to tell.

Please throw some light on the new music or projects from Motherjane following this reunion performance?

Our patrons can expect an album called ‘Rewritten’ with 9 songs in it. Its first single #DoGoodDontBeNice will be played LIVE at BiraTaproom on the 16th of March along with the classics like Mindstreet, Fields of Sound, Chasing the Sun, Maktubetc etc. What's new on the old songs are our new young members Alan Santosh on Bass and Alloy Francis on Drums. These boys are absolutely killer musicians and a delight to play with. I'm sure existing Motherjane fans will take them into their hearts instantly. I'm also sure they will bring new fans to the fold as well. Then there are all the new songs like Home, Mr.Gody-Guard, EllamNallathinu, Paint, etc which are on their way. It's definitely a good time to be a Janiac.

What message would you like to share with your fans who have been eagerly awaiting this reunion?

Motherjane became a great band once because it attracted great fans. Though it is cooler to say that we want you, the truth is that we need you, because this 'job' that you give us is to us the greatest job in the world. So, all you Janiacs out there, past, present, and future, know this: we truly love you for allowing us to make you laugh, cry, think, and feel all the wonderful emotions that we share as humans and as a tribe.

How has the band evolved individually during the past 12 years, and how do you think this will influence your performance?

Of the band, as it is now, 3 of us have grey hair while the other 2 are recently out of their teens and that's the funniest answer I can think of even if it's just facts. Smiles. On a more serious note, we've grown and seen more of life and we appreciate this second chance that we have been given. At its heart,Motherjane has always been a brotherhood of possibilities and those are things that this world needs sorely. A sense of brotherhood while achieving all of our highest potential.

Are there any particular challenges or obstacles the band faced in coming back together, and how did you overcome them?

I will leave you with a few lines from a new song of ours called Paint:

Wingless, fearless

Outstretched in faith

(We're) trapeze artists,

Brush strokes in space

In a brotherhood of myelin

Worries kept at bay

'No mind' on outcome

Only the Way!

( Source : Press Release )
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