Ashok Betty Nelson laughs easily. The song he has written appears to have found different meanings among those who heard it. But then that had been the intention too. When Thaikkudam Bridge, the band he plays rhythm guitar for, brought out the music video of Inside my head, its newest single, it appeared vague. There are three men, a lot of chasing around, violence, blood, water and a beautiful forest. It all appears to be happening inside the head of a man.
“It is basically one mad man inviting others to the inside of his head,” Ashok says, and pauses. When you wait for more, he says, "That's all," and laughs. The original idea had been to write about the thoughts inside the head of an ordinary person, a regular guy like him. But that's been done before, he realised, and he brought the difference by making it a mad man's head. There is no rebellion in his song, he says, as some reports suggested, insinuating he might have been influenced by his communist politician dad M.A. Baby. "It is just a made-up person. People don't understand what other people are thinking. And this man is trying to seduce you to come to his brain, which could actually be dangerous," Ashok says.
Drugs bringing salvation, pills and medication, potion x. Nerves of high pollution, misleading direction, calm no more. Cross-fading emotions, cascading illusions, overload. Straightjackets and cages, helps the noise I'm hearing, fly far away.
Ashok says he started with the idea of writing about things around him but dropped the idea. But then these lyrics seem to suggest otherwise. "I have been writing for a long time, different topics run through my head and I scribble them.
This is the first one that got released," he says. The song is the first release of Thaikkudam's new album Nama. The band itself is still going places, after its quick success following the launch in 2013. They are now in Europe giving shows — Ashok spoke from Switzerland, after flying in from Vienna on Friday, and is on his way to Munich on Sunday.