Over two decades after the Backstreet Boys burst on to the scene, two of their biggest fans have decided to form Chennai’s first boy band. And they don’t care about being made fun of for the idea. “We’ve been listening to bands like BSB, N Sync, Boyzone and Westlife for as long we can remember,” says Josh Vivian, who came up with the concept. “And although these bands were popular years ago, a boy band is still a fairly new thing for Chennai,” he reasons. Along with friend Varun Parandhaman, the two launched their first single Cosmopolitan Kadhali on YouTube last month – an acoustic reggae track with Tamil lyrics! And their fresh sound has plenty of music lovers sitting up and taking notice. Oh, and they call themselves Namma Ooru Boy Band.
“What’s been really exciting for us is that we realised we suddenly have Tamil fans in places like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore,” says the 23-year-old who otherwise works as a catalogue analyst at Amazon. Given that the film industry is not as large in these places as it is in Chennai, the Tamil independent music scene is fairly expansive, having given rise to big names like Yogi B and Dr Burn.
Produced by Andrew Arun, who you may remember sings June Ponal July Katre (Unale Unale), with Keba Jeramiah on bass guitar and Joshua Sathya on rhythm and lead guitars, this boy band has gone all out to bring out a high quality four minutes of music. And Josh Vivian who composed the tune also insisted that he direct the video himself. “We’re not playback singers,” he explains, “so it was important that the video also did not have any film influences, which is why we chose not to hire a professional director to do this.”
The video, which he tells us is like a Chennai version of the popular Uptown Girl also features a snazzy black vintage car. “Yeah, I was hoping that it would look a little bit like Billy Joel’s original which came out in the eighties,” he recalls. “Also, I learnt how to play a little bit of the harmonica and ukulele just for this song!” Josh adds with a laugh. Between the duo crooning in black blazers, a pretty lass playing leading lady and a not-so-rich suitor vying for her hand – this smooth melody is fun and relatable to any youngster.
So what’s next? “Hopefully our first live show at the end of the month,” he responds. “We’ve also got two more singles that we’re working on, on the way.”