The Streetlight People are an interesting trio - a quiet mix of hippie, seriousness, and music. Based in Goa, the band drove all the way down to Hyderabad to give its denizens a shot of the adrenaline that keeps them going.
An entrepreneur, a journalist and a free-bird, Streetlight People is a group that, for some, might seem to defy logic. With rather full-fledged careers, these guys began juggling to make the band happen.
“We don’t think of this (the band) as an occupation. It’s what we love to do, so we do it,” says Fernando da Silva, the bass player alias the journo.
Neville D’mello and Krishna Gidwani make up the rest of the two-thirds of the band as the guitarist who runs his own business and the percussionist who takes life one day at a time, respectively.
A rather young lot, Streetlight People are essentially a blues band with the occasional country and rock infusion.
With about a year-and-a-half behind them since they began, the ‘boy-band’ feels more than ready to wade into uncharted waters.
The Hyderabad chapter
For a band that’s spreading out from home base for the first time, Hyderabad is a bit of an odd choice when there are places like Mumbai (which is much closer to Goa), Bengaluru and Chennai where the music scene is a lot more loud and happening.
But for these boys, it seems almost natural. Explains Fernando, “I was actually in the city this March, visiting my sister when somebody suggested we play here. So I asked around and quite surprisingly, the response was encouraging. And that’s how we landed here.” In the city for a five-day gig, the band has already broken the ice with a gig at Cuba Libre and another at Coco’s over the past two days. The response - lukewarm.
“Cuba Libre was a big space so I guess the crowd kind of got spread out, but on the whole it was ok. Honestly though, I don’t think we came out with any expectations, in the sense we were just here to play and that was all,” says Krishna.
Fernando though quickly adds, “We have a little more expectations for the Coco gig as we were told people who really know and appreciate music come.”
Neville, however, tells us of a very happy listener from their first show at Cuba Libre. “This chap was from Delhi and he was really kicked about the music. That there was one guy in the crowd who really enjoyed the show was pretty much enough.”
What makes music
Speaking about the music scene in India, the band seems to be a bit divided on what they think. While Krishna and Fernando believe that electronic music has been stealing the limelight, Neville thinks that music in India has finally arrived.
“There’s been a change, albeit slow, over the past few years and the music scene is opening up. We’re moving in the right direction and in a few more years, things will be a lot better,” opines Neville.
Fernando however quickly chips in, “Right now I think, India is still in the shadow of electronic. It’s a trend and people are only listening to it. But jazz and blues are picking up, though as a trend, and will stick around. So yes, there is a change.”
Being Streetlight People
While Neville and Fernando switch between their professional life and their music, Krishna enjoys a more laid back life with just his music and himself. “We’re actually jealous of him,” quip Fernando and Neville while Krishna retorts, “I think they should just quit their jobs and enjoy life.”
The banter goes on, but it’s quite clear that the trio enjoy a good camaraderie that reflects in their music. That is despite different music influences.
While Krishna likes his acoustic and trance, Fernando is more the country kind and Neville is on a completely different note with his rock and metal. “It’s just noise,” jibe Krishna and Fernando while Neville refuses to take the bait. But what perhaps works best is that at the end of the day, they respect each other’s preferences and let it melt into their music.
“It’s inevitable. The music we like finds its way into how we play. Plus we keep improvising on stage. So it can’t be helped,” says the bass player.
Catch the band perform live at 8 pm today at Fusion 9. They will also be playing at the same time on April 28 at the Secunderabad Club and in Coco’s on April 29.