HYDERABAD: Dressed in his trademark tie and dye tee, shorts and chappals and Gandhi chashma, Subir Malik, the man behind the country’s very own old English rock band – Parikrama – enters the Hard Rock Cafe an hour before the band take its sound test. After a quick exchange of greetings with his team mates, he says, “We make music we believe in”.
He recalls, how a four-month project that he started to play music, before he took a plunge into his family business became their life. “We did our first show and then second and today after 23 years we are synonymously doing shows throughout the country,” he says.
But in the battle between bread and butter and passion for music, Subir spendt 16 years juggling business and music, before devoting himself completely to music in 2006.
“Besides making music, all of us were doing some work so that music did not become a source of income for us. It gave us freedom and flexibility that we always wanted to have,” explains Subir.
Subir at the keyboard, Sonam Sherpa as the lead guitarist, Nitin Malik lead vocalist, Saurabh Choudhary guitarist, Gaurav Balani bass guitarist; Srijan Mahajan and Ashwin ‘Neal’ Mani, who play drums; and Sheel Patel, who plays the tambourine – are the reason why the band has sustained its popularity minus any gimmicks that bands are popular for.
Meanwhile, as the members are doing the sound test, Subir engages in a candid talk with City Express and talks about their two decade journey and their passion for music. The Delhi-based band was in the city to play for a cause. Sponsored by 100 Pipers, the music concert is a part of multi-city tour dedicated towards covering costs of meals for the underprivileged.
‘Oldest’ Not just a tag
It’s not without a reason that Parikrama has earned the title of being the oldest rock band in the country. Subhir feels, the band has evolved over the years, but yet has remained the same. “Unlike in the beginning, today we fly to places where we do show, we are known and have a dedicated fan following, but every crowd where we perform is different from the last. We have to modify according to that. But on a larger perspective we have remained the same – sticking to our roots – classical English rock,” Subir says, who likes being in the city.
“Don’t look down upon B’wood”
While Bollywood has been the calling and cause of disintegration of most bands in the country, Parikrama stayed away from the tinsel town until very recently. “Manjunath happened because we got the freedom to do music as we wanted to. See, we can’t do songs like Sheila. We got lots of offers way back in 1995 itself. We don’t look down upon Bollywood, but we don’t relate to such music so we turned down all offers till Manjunath,” shares Subir.
He adds that the band can work in Bollywood if they get anything that’s interesting.
Bane of technology
As a man, who dons many hats, Subir feels music in today’s time is getting influenced by technology, as a result of which anyone can become a singer. “Dependence on technology, instead of making music soulful, has made it technological. This music doesn’t touch your heart,” he says.
For the wannabe musicians, Parikrama has one advice, “Be honest with your work and keep your feet grounded.” Subir feels that one of the reasons why they have survived all these years, is they still have their feet on the ground. “Regardless of how big you become never look down upon someone. Because, if you do so, there will be no one to aid you in your bad times.”
He adds that it is important to respect your admirers. “I make it a point to reply to all those who write to us. Sometimes, when people express disappointment after our gig, we don’t get offended and abuse them. We tell them that we will live up to their expectations next time,” he explains.
Being the manager of Parikrama, Subir also insists that having a marketing strategy for new bands is another must.
In the 1990s, when Parikrama came into existence, the internet wave had not hit the country. The band, however, decided to give its music free to all.
“The idea was that the amount of money we could get through sale of CDs could be acquired through live shows as well. Students were our target and they didn’t have money to buy so to increase our popularity we gave music for free. We are reaping the benefits of that decision even today,” says Subir.