Formed at the end of 2015, Pune based act Cat Kamikazee is a three piece outfit with Ameya on the guitars, Kunal on the drums and Sameer on the bass. They have performed at college festivals and gigs like Za Palooza, Blue Frog and Hard Rock Cafe amongst others. We speak to the band about their recently released EP, Raining Cats, and more
Tell us a little about the members.
Ameya has been playing the guitar since his school days but realized how much potential one instrument has only in his teens! Since then he has been listening to a lot of experimental music. In the beginning he was primarily into metal but gradually branched out into prog rock and at times electronica too.
Sameer has been playing the bass for the past five years and played with various cover bands before finally co-founding Cat Kamikazee. His influences are primarily prog bands with awesome bass players like Rush, King Crimson and Tool. He is currently on a pilgrimage of the Indian independent music scene and you can find him sitting in a corner and listening to likes of Pangea, Skyharbor, Ganesh Talkies, aswekeepsearching, and many more.
Kunal has been an avid percussionist since he was 7 years old. The first time he laid his eyes on the drums, time seemed to have paused, he was 7 years old, ever since then he has been on the path of exploration, colours and meditation into the rhythm of time and speed.
There are not many instrumental post rock/progressive rock bands in India, do you feel that is advantage for you guys and do you think there is an audience for your music in India?
Well, there are both upsides and downsides to this. Not many bands means that the genre is still in its infancy in India, and every time we play live, we have a very dedicated and well informed crowd showing up for gigs. They really understand the music and are very supportive of the band.
However, the down side is that it’s hard to convince venues (especially those outside Pune) to host us for a show since most of them have not really heard of instrumental post/progressive rock and the ones who have don’t want to host too many gigs of this genre because of low turnouts.
The number of progressive rock acts being hosted at major music festivals like NH7 is steadily rising, and many bands like aswekeepsearching, Skyharbor, Celestial Teapot and Pangea have undertaken successful country-wide tours with packed houses at each show. Therefore, we think that there is a slowly and steadily increasing audience for our kind of music in India.
How do you guys go about composing the tracks?
Our songwriting process has a certain pattern. Most songs were conceptualized in more or less the same manner.
Someone in the band comes up a melody or a rhythm that they’ve been working on privately. Then the rest improve on that one idea together. Many such iterations are repeated and finally conclude into a song. We then listen to this song intently for a few days and try to come up with a name that best describes the song.
Our musical style is now increasingly being influenced by electronic tools like softwares, guitar processors and MIDI devices. We believe that these tools offer us a much wider scope for expressing our thoughts and imagination over and above the versatility of an actual drum kit, bass and guitar. The possibilities of expression are then boundless since we are not restricted by our respective instruments alone and can venture into previously unexplored waters.
Songs are named after they have been made so that nobody in the band is restricted by the idea that is often inspired in one’s mind when one comes across a particular phrase or name.
If you had to choose one track that you love the most from Raining Cats, which one would it be and why?
One track that we love the most would be ‘Life of a Revelation’.
We composed this song almost accidentally. It started off as an arpeggio that Ameya (our guitarist) played for the sound check of some college competition we played at. We then took this idea and added some delays to it and that became the intro of the song. At that time, Sameer (bassist) had just bought a new bass pedal and was keen on experimenting with the sounds that he could produce, so as you progress through the song, you will notice the bass first sounding very crisp and bright, then taking on the form of a very gnarly distortion and finally ending with a clean and bassy tone.
This was also the third song that we composed. At the time the song was composed, the mood of the band in general was one of melancholy and angst. We were just coming to terms with the fact that the music ‘scene’ is not the bed of roses that we thought it would be and were getting an idea of the amount of hard work that needs to be put in for making anything substantial happen. We really wanted to prove to ourselves (and eventually to the world) that we are worthy musicians and were keen on finding our signature ‘sound’. All that is encompassed in this song.
What can fans expect from the band in 2017? Any plans of coming to the Northeast?
We are currently focusing on our live act and will be playing as many gigs as we can. We are currently looking forward to a short 2 city South India tour to Bengaluru and Hampi, and probably will be going for a larger 5 or 6 city tour sometime later this year. I think we’ll play either Guwahti or Shillong during that time. Fans should totally expect us to play a show in their neighbourhood sometime soon!
Listen to their EP on Soundcloud
As told to Meeta Borah