When these musicians get on stage, you can count on one thing – colour co-ordinated pyjamas! “Ha ha, yes,” smiles Shakthisree Gopalan, the band’s powerhouse vocalist. “We’ve even shopped together for our pyjamas...” (They recommend a store hidden away at the corner of Nungambakkam High Road.) Gearing up for their first Hollaback! Friday night at Distil, Vivanta by Taj-Connemara, this week, City Express caught up with members of The Pyjama Conspiracy on a recent evening jam session.
It’s close enough to pyjama party – minus the pyjamas. “Oh we would love to jam in our jammies, but most of us get together after work, so that isn’t quite possible,” explains Shakthi, the voice behind AR Rahman's Nenjukulle sensation and Yenga Pona Raasa from a soon to release Maryan. But despite the biggies she’s associated with in Kollywood, this songstress is just as easy going in person as the music the band is known for. As a pillow comes flying in her direction, CE gets chatting with the other members of the group.
There is Toby Joseph (lead guitar), Roshan George Thomas (bass) and Allwyn Jeya Paul (percussion). All known names in Chennai’s western circuit, the musicians promise a line-up of popular covers that is guaranteed to have most folks in the audience singing along.
“We’re doing Teenage Dream (Katy Perry), Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson), Payphone (Maroon 5)...” reveals Roshan. There’s also a much looked forward to medley in the works... “It’s not a fast medley,” pipes in Shakthi. “It’s a ‘slow-powerful’ medley,” she adds dramatically. With tracks like Titanium (David Guetta) and Superman (Five For Fighting) in the mix, one can guess you certainly won’t be disappointed.
So will there be any original compositions on their setlist? “Yes, and actually one of them has been written for the Hollaback! theme of standing up for women’s empowerment,” responds Roshan, also one of the songwriters of the band. “It’s called One Billion Rise,” he tells us.
And with a bunch of original releases planned in the coming months, it looks it’s going to be a busy year for the band. But before we let them to get back to the music, one has to pose a serious question that puts the pillow-playing on pause for a moment.
Given the cause of the evening’s performance — joining the movement against street harrassment of women, we ask: What is the best way for a girl to Hollaback? The guys are quiet for a minute, but Shakthi has a ready answer. “Well, I don’t think that it’s by talking about it or protesting or even writing a song,” the singer says thoughtfully.
“Sometimes the best way is to just keep doing your thing,” she pauses. “Just not quit, you know?” If you agree, get your pyjamas out and join the music.