THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When college was over, none of them expected their music to survive the travails of office jobs. The engineering graduates among them only had to accept the beckoning IT professions and live up to the expectations of their families. The others, also graduates, had the higher studies plans to chalk out. “If it wasn’t for a chance meeting of our mutual friends on Facebook, we would not have had this wonderful second innings,” says Anand Amarnath, the lead vocalist of the city-based rock and roll band ‘KL-01’. The five-member band has been garnering kudos since its launch in 2011 September, clinching titles at cultural fests in colleges all over the State. At Beach Jam, a recently-held live gig at Kovalam where several South Indian bands vied to get the audience tapping their feet, KL-01 cast their spell over the evening with their soothing soft rock.
The band owes its birth to two groups that disbanded when college mates went their different ways, says Karthik, who plays bass guitar for the band. “The parent bands Sastra and Legal Gunfire were live during our days in P A Aziz College of Engineering and Mahatma Gandhi College. Later, some of the members took up jobs or went away for higher studies. And the rest of us who remained in the city just went on playing and composing just for the fun of it. That was when I happened to meet on FB Sanjay Menon who was part of Legal Gunfire and an old school mate. Soon he became friends with Amarnath too. And suddenly, music was all over the chat space and we even composed and recorded songs.”
With Sanjay on the rhythm guitar, the band was soon on its own with Mahesh G S on the lead guitar and Ananthapadmanabhan on the drums. The online jam sessions and composing continued for a while when they decided it was time to go live on stage. “The first shot at live performance was in September last year at the inter-college fest hosted by Marian Engineering College, Kazhakkuttom. It was more of a damper as there were many things that we had to get right while playing live,” says Karthik. It didn’t take long before they found their voice and went full throttle. At Dhanak, the cultural fest organised by IIST engineering college, KL-01 claimed the title for the best band after which they went on a winning streak.
The music that KL- 01 plays is essentially different from that of metal bands that seem to dominate the desi rock scene these days. “The major influence on our music is the classic rock and roll of the 1980s. The general trend these days is to go with the tide and play head banging heavy metal rock. It is difficult to stay grounded and play a different kind of music,” says Amarnath.
The mood set by KL-01 songs is of foot-tapping rock and roll laced with a heady dose of folk and punk music. The signature composition ‘Hardly Be’, which the band recorded during their ‘online days’ is largely representative of their style. “We have played it on all the stages we performed on till date and everywhere people seem to enjoy it thoroughly. One of our more recent songs, ‘Johnny in the middletown’ is a tribute to classic rock and roll and is absolute fun all the way through. But it still stops just short of power-packed heavy metal rock. But, going by the response of the crowd, we guess soft rock has many admirers among youngsters,” says Amarnath.