Early in 2013, Malayalam channel Kappa TV launched with an arsenal of TV shows that took Kerala by storm. One of them was Music Mojo, a music show that saw indie artists do covers of popular Indian music, a lot like Coke Studio. Almost every episode went viral on the internet, but one of them stood out. An unknown Kochi-based band Thaikkudam Bridge managed to catch everyone’s attention within the first week of their episode airing. And the rest, like the band’s lead singer and founding member Govind Menon says, is history.
Having completed over 300 shows across the world in the last three years, the band’s been very busy: from releasing their debut album Navarasam in 2014 to making music for big films to being constantly on the road. The band is now set to play this weekend at The Great Mela, at Media City Amphitheatre, alongside big names from Indian music such as Amit Trividi, Neeti Mohan, Jonita Gandhi and Avial, among others. Menon, in an email interview with Gulf News tabloid! ahead of the show, spoke about the band, their latest album and their ongoing tour.
Your Facebook page says you have 14 members in the band, an unusually large number for a band. Will we see all of you here in Dubai?
We are 13 artists, three sound engineers and two management staff, making a total of 19 members. And we don’t travel anywhere without any of the members. So yes, all of us will be there at Zee The Great Mela and Dubai gets to see the full band in action. And as for the size, we experiment with different genres and different styles of singing, so we can cater to a larger audience that way.
The band plays everything from folk rock to fusion to metal. How do you classify the band?
As I said earlier, we do like to experiment with different genres of music. We have tracks like Navarasam, which is fusion rock; Appolum that has a folkish tinge to it; and we have Arrachar and Chathe, which are metal songs. So yes, we love the versatility we encompass and that is our USP.
With such a huge band, does songwriting ever become a chaotic process or is there a method to the madness?
Songwriting is usually done by Dhanya Suresh [Govind Menon’s sister]. All the Malayalam songs are written by her. Piyush and Dr Gajanan Mitke write Hindi songs for us. So, no method or madness there.
Thaikkudam released its first album in 2014, Navarasam. Tell us more about it.
The album has nine songs ranging from political satire to equality to atrocities of the Mughal Empire. When we dreamt of Navarasam, we had decided even in the initial stages that we will have songs suiting all genres of music lovers. So we have brought out songs on very interesting topics to reach a larger audience.
While the song One talks about equality, Navarasam the title song talks about the dance form of Kathakali. Sultan is a take on the Mughal empire and Qwaab is an insight into the life of every human who has aspirations and passions but has no clue of the direction he is heading in.
Urumbu, the folk genre song, talks of the life of ants compared to that of a human life. Chathe speaks of the emotions just before death and falls into the death metal category. Aarachar is a political satire on the current scenario, including the infamous solar panels scam. Viduthalai is about freedom from everything unjust and is a noted Bharathiar poem turned to song. The album also includes a power packed instrumental track named Jai Hanuman.
You’re currently in the midst of your winter tour. How has it been so far and what’s your next stop after Dubai?
It’s been fabulous. After a very successful US tour, we landed in Malaysia and then a couple of gigs back home. After The Great Mela in Dubai, we are on a roll with Hard Rock cafe metro cities tour in India for the NH7 Weekender festival.
Coming up also is an East Asia tour and an Asia Pacific tour. We’re very excited!
Is this your first visit to Dubai?
Dubai and the Middle East is like second home and we have played many gigs here. The experience, needless to say, has been fantastic.
What can Dubai fans expect at this weekend’s gig at The Great Mela?
Music, fun and madness
Govind, you’ve also been making music for films. Your latest is with Bejoy Nambiar and his short film ‘Dobara’. What’s it like making the jump to Bollywood? And how is working with films different from working with the band?
Films do have their reach among the masses. I have been doing films individually and with the band. A lot more projects are in the pipeline including a couple of big wigs. Films, individually, allow me to explore more and, as a band, it’s a team effort. Working with Bejoy was a different experience and it’s been extremely uplifting to work with such a stalwart. Bejoy also directed our video Aarachar, featuring Aditi Rao Haidiri, last year.
Don’t miss it
Thaikkudam Bridge perform at The Great Mela at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on November 25. Tickets starting at Dh130 are available on platinumlist.net.