Orchid, a progressive metal band (if one’s a stickler for genres, that is) from Bangalore has been around since 2009. An elusive group, if there was any, the band was conceptualised by Mayur Nanda (drummer) and Rahil Ahmed (bassist), when they were students at Christ College and where they met Vinay Prasad, their guitarist and Kaushal LS, who took on the vocals. “Rahil and I always wanted to ‘start a band’ as kids. He met Kaushal, sprawled across the Christ College jam room. Rahil met Vinay at Christ too, and they played together in a band called Blank Country. Much later, Vinay joined us and we worked together for about seven months before our first gig in November 2011, Strawberry Fields,” says Mayur.
The band was scheduled to play at a show on December 22, along with Eccentric Pendulum, Theorized and Skrypt. It got cancelled or rather shut down because allegedly ‘some people showed up and asked for a huge sum of money if the organisers wanted the gig to continue’. “A few weeks ago, another awesome gig with Big Monkey Jam, Traces and The Getting Laid Project, all of them being awesome bands that everyone should check out, got cancelled due to ‘bad weather’. Postponed indefinitely, of course. There is something terribly wrong with the scene, and it’s ambiguous. I don’t want to say anything more and be thrown comments like ‘stop complaining’. Most people here do behave like that, complain that is, metalheads and organisers alike. We do appreciate the few people trying hard, for everyone else to have a good time, though,” says Mayur.
From their early days, the band has managed to garner a niche but loyal audience that has watched the band grow into a force that needs to be reckoned with in the city’s metal scene. The band, however, is not too comfortable wearing the metal badge. “I like to think that our music isn’t metal at all. It’s a strange blend of the even stranger blends in our individual heads. We listen to some really obscure music and all of that is channeled out in the jam room. We try pushing it further with every new song we write. Kaushal uses a tambourine or a shaker when he can. I like to write synths or ambiances or speech wherever the song demands it,” explains Mayur, who is currently working with an advertising agency, as a designer. The band’s influences authenticate this - a mix of progressive, ambient, post rock and metal bands. “Father figure, Cloudkicker, The Physics House Band, Exivious, Intronaut, Benea Reach, Between the Buried and Me, the Contortionist, The Mercury Program,” reels off Mayur from an eclectic list . The band has some favourite Indian bands too: “Trojan horse, Tritha Electric, Rosemary, Lifafa, Skyrabbit, The Jazz Bastards, The Ska Vengers, The News. Of course, there are the classics like Eccentric Pendulum, Escher’s Knot, Scribe, Undying Inc, who we love to watch,” he says.
The band has just finished writing a new song, the eighth, titled Obsolescence, but surprisingly has not yet released an album or an EP. “Lots of big decisions need to be made before putting out an EP. I like to think of myself as a perfectionist, and my OCD keeps putting off this release. I’d like for it to be perfect, with the arrangement, concept, art, video and everything. Give us a few months,” he says.
The band has managed to tour a little bit, through various competitions and gigs.
“The Searock gig in Goa is our best gig to date. We got to play and get judged by Dead Letter Circus. We won best guitar player and drummer and bass player. Also, we spent a great deal of time with them after the show and the next day. They were incredibly nice to us. They even hummed the fun part from our song ‘Gaian Hypothesis’, telling us that it was stuck in their heads,” exclaims Mayur. Orchid is also notorious for some of the best artwork that’s been put out by a band.
“I’m responsible for all the art. I’ve come to realise that a visual aid works really well with music, makes it multi-dimensional. I have a good friend working with me on projections for our live shows. Imagine a detailed illustrated progressive backdrop/projection that is a visual description for each section of a song. Yeah, so hopefully that happens sometime early next year,” he says.