By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal
With just eleven days to go for the Bangalore Open Air festival, hometown stoner doom lords Bevar Sea look like they’re ready to put their best foot forward and give those concert attendees something to remember for a long time. Known in the Indian underground music circles for some highly enjoyable original compositions such as “Abhishtu”, “The Smiler”, “Universal Sleeper” and “Mono Gnome”, as well as for their excellent renditions of classic tunes by bands like Black Sabbath, Sleep, Kyuss, and many others, the band promises to be the standout act at Bangalore Open Air. Things will slow down during their set and the listener will get to absorb each and every riff, the way it should be. So for those who are attending BOA, check out Bevar Sea, and in the meanwhile read my conversation with bassist Avinash Ramchander as I talk to him about the show, the writing process, and his musical background.
You’ll be participating in the mighty Bangalore Open Air festival. How does it feel, and how’s the preparation going?
It feels great! I guess that’s mainly because we’re a little more ‘well-known’ now and are raring to go play some big shows, preferably outdoors, because only that would do complete justice to our sound. Preparations are on in full swing; I just hope the sound is kicking at BOA because that’s the main thing.
Personally, are you a Kreator fan? What are some of your favorite Kreator albums or songs?
I really liked a couple of albums a long time ago, then I stopped listening to them completely, except for the odd pub song or at a friend’s place. But my favourite album is Coma of Souls..one of those metal albums that just exemplifies good songwriting.
You’re playing early in the afternoon at this event. Does your mindset change at all while going into a ‘daytime gig’ instead of the usual dark, dingy, smoke-filled bar settings you’re used to playing in?
Not really. except for the fact that the stage lights and smoke make us look good in the dark (laughs). Now I’ll be able to actually see what I’m playing for a change. But there is something to be said about playing 2 steps down as it’s getting dark, sounds a little more fuckin’ evil, no?
What can we expect from you guys in terms of set list? Will there be some original material?
It’ll be ALL original material, songs that people are already familiar with.
Srikanth and Chacko have been putting down some kickass riffs and tunes and song ideas, and it’s all slowly taking shape. Personally, I’m playing along to these skeleton tracks and sketching out the grooves on my bass. Deepak figures out the best drum parts to play, Ganesh writes in his vocal parts, and voila!
Also, we have our album coming out early August so we’re pretty stoked. We have some very, very special things planned for the album release show!
How do you guys approach the writing process? Do you jam together and come up with ideas or is it more of an individual effort by each member?
Well, Srikanth brings the riffs and a rough structure to the jam room, and we just take it from there. If something’s not sounding right, we try to change it or just remove it completely. If something’s sounding right, we just keep jamming the fuck of out it (laughs). Then we sit and arrange the tunes, and Ganesh writes lyrics to tie all that shit together. Chacko then uses those lyrics and song feel to come up with artwork specific to each song.
Some of your band mates are playing in other bands as well. So, do you try to avoid bringing those different musical styles into Bevar Sea, or are you open to composing whatever comes naturally to the group?
During songwriting, we don’t consciously avoid any musical ideas. That would be like choking a chicken just before she’s laid her egg (laughs). But the fact that each of us has our own different influences actually helps in giving us our sound. For example, on our latest song ‘Where there’s smoke (there’s a pyre)’, I’m actually playing a funk groove in one of the parts, but I’m playing it at like 1000 BPM or something. But it worked, so that’s a good thing I guess (laughs).
What really inspired me to pick up the bass was the thought of actually being able to control a woman’s hips without even having to touch them (laughs). As Suzi Quatro once aptly put it, “Guitar is for the head, drums are for the chest, but bass gets you in the groin”.
It seems you have an academic background in music. So, were you fixated on a career in music from an early age?
Well, I started off with hardcore Carnatic vocal classes actually as a kid, then it was Hindustani vocals for sometime, and then learnt the Tabla for 5 years till I actually considered playing the guitar for a living (laughs). But to be honest with you, those years of playing non-Western stuff have helped me in more ways that I can imagine, and I’m thankful for that.
You graduated from the Swarnabhoomi Acadaemy Of Music in Chennai, and I heard they are going to have Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater as guest faculty this year? I’m thrilled at that, actually. Whether or not someone likes Dream Theater, there is no denying allof the five band members are amazing musicians. Any idea how Rudess’ association with the academy came about?
I’m not a big fan of Dream Theater, but as you pointed out, individually they’re really good musicians. I much prefer Liquid Tension Experiment, if I had to choose between the two. Not sure how Rudess’ association with S.A.M came about though. But it’s definitely a big deal for interested students that he’s gonna be teaching there.
Besides metal, what are some of the musical genres and styles that inspire you?
Classical music, Funk, Classic Pop, Balkan folk, Brazilian/ Bossanova, Blues, Ambient, Vocal Jazz, and a few others!