Dubai: The guys in Dubai-based Point of View know they are moments away their biggest ever show in their 12-year career. Come Friday they will open the much anticipated show by Guns N’ Roses at the Autism Rocks Arena. Music fans in the region know this GNR tour is no ordinary one as it features Axl and Slash together after 24 years. The enormity of the occasion is not lost on the POV guys, who unbeknownst to the thousands that will throng the venue, actually enjoy a unique rapport with GNR.
On March 28, 2013 when the great American band last played in the UAE (du Arena), guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal came to the stage wearing a POV T-shirt. How that came about is another story, but it was possibly the biggest exposure the brand POV ever got on a global stage. Fast forward to 2017, POV are set to open GNR’s historic and biggest ever concert in the region.
“[Expletive] awesome,” says POV frontman Nikhil Uzgare when asked how he feels about the turn of events. Yet he knows people will be flocking to the venue to see GNR, and not Point of View.
He tells XPRESS how the band members are gearing up for the show and gives a peek into their 2017 tours and second album which is in the making:
You guys are opening the GN’R show. How special is this for you?
Two words: Axl and Slash.
We have waited for 12 years to support an international act that we felt the band truly deserved. A GN’R reunion opening slot is clearly more than what we could have ever asked for.
How did you land the gig?
Let’s just say, Point of View have paid its dues. I would like to think that this gig is our reward for everything the band has done over the last 11 years
How long is your set? Are you playing any new material?
It’s a 45 minutes to one hour set. We plan to play a new song that’s on the upcoming album called Just Like Me.
What’s next for POV on the gigging front? Any major tours in 2017?
Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines and India are on the cards but we are not planning any major touring till the second album is released. If you ask me this question around the end of 2017 I will be able to give you a detailed response.
When is your second album coming out? Will it be continuation of what you did in your first album (Revolutionize The Revolutionary, 2012) or are you guys taking a new direction?
The Album is scheduled to release around October 2017. The direction is the same: riff-driven, powerful, meaningful, melodic hard rock. Arsh on second guitars is not only a fantastic producer but is someone who is very keen on bringing some amount of dubstep/electronica into sections of the songs. We are very keen on experimenting with that as it’s trendy and we do eventually need to go with the times and the trend to appeal to a younger audience.
What issues or subjects are you touching upon in the second album?
Motivation. Corruption. Love. Social media. Pretty much everything that this generation experiences.
Since the band was formed in 2005, you have had some line-up changes. Talk to us how the changes have affected the band’s sound and how the current members are faring. With one of your guitarists based in Delhi how do you practise and put your music together?
Gosh! Seems like such a long time ago. We should be given an award for being around for so long. All bands go through line-up changes and in a place like Dubai where there is a transient expat population, it’s very tough to keep a band together. Let’s just say our bosses and our jobs have been nice to us and a major part of the line-up has remained the same over the last 12 years.
I’d say the band found its sound in 2011 with Royden Mascarenhas (lead guitarist) coming in and raising the bar with his impeccable ear for the ‘bum note’. I mean, being classically trained and being able to do justice to both Dream Theater and Michael Learns to Rock, he is clearly an asset. Unfortunately, one of our founder members -- guitarist Murtaza Jaffar -- moved to NYC recently. But the good thing is that, he is flying in for this gig. We had to do this. This is such an emotional gig for us. Kiran Tauro on drums has been around since 2005 and I’ve lost count of the number of chai’s and egg parathas I’ve shared with him.
2017 has kicked off well for us. Two brand new members were added into the line-up. Anshuman Bhatacharya on bass guitars and Arsh Sharma on rhythm/lead guitars. Both of them are relatively younger guys but they share the love for food and music with the band. Plus they are more aware of current trends. While Anshuman has been a part of a tech metal band called Orion, Arsh fronts two fantastic electro-rock alternative acts: The Circus and Fuzz Culture. Both have been friends with us and are fantastic musicians. The marriage was inevitable.
As Arsh is based in New Delhi we initially did think how he would manage it but I guess where there is a will and love for music distance is irrelevant. He has pretty much jumped in hook, line and sinker. Hats off to his enthusiasm. He usually flies in from Delhi two days before a gig. We jam. We play the gig. We do the traditional dinner at Ravi and then he flies out the next day. So right now it’s a long distance relationship but I guess in his case, distance has definitely made love grow stronger.
On March 3, you will be playing in front of nearly 21,000 people (that’s the official capacity of the venue). Does that number intimidate you?
All I know is that every person coming to the gig will be there to see GN’R and not Point of View. Only two people will be there to see us: my four-year-old daughter Samaia and Royden’s five-year-old daughter Chloe. The rest of the 20,998 people will not know who Point of View is. And they probably wouldn’t even care. Keeping all this at the back of our minds, we have devised a very simple strategy. We want to get on that stage and play our hearts out. We want to enjoy every moment we spend on that stage. We want to walk off that stage with people saying “Who the hell were these guys and why haven’t we heard of them before?”
Anything you want to say to the rock fans in the UAE -- and in the region -- ahead of the show?
Enjoy the moment to the fullest. Leave your phones inside your pocket!