ThreeWeeks Week 2 Guest editor Pip Utton talks to Mumbai rock band Something Relevant.
PU: A Mumbai rock band on the Edinburgh fringe!? Why? What made you decide to come on this adventure?
SR: After six years of existence, we have reached a point in India where we have performed on every stage available. We’re still itching to perform, so we started organising our own concerts so we could play to more people. And during these adventures in Mumbai we ran into our trombone player who is an Edinburghian and he just would not stop talking about how awesome the Fringe is. And now we know why.
PU: In just a few words, what is your style of rock? Any particular influences?
SR: We are songwriters primarily. When we have something to say we try to put it to music in a way which means that people will get the point. There is an anti-war song we do, called ‘The trick’, which started off as a bluegrass tune and it really didn’t work that way. It is now a punk rock song, and it really captures the idea better that way. We write songs about life in general. We were heavily influenced by Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, and the Dave Matthews Band.
PU: I’ve been around for years; I know the way things work at the Edinburgh Fringe and I still find it a minefield, how did you cope with all the preparations of finding a venue, accommodation etc? And have they come up to your expectations?
SR: Thankfully we have a great support structure behind us; Tomek and Laura at the venue have been really great! Armeet Panesar and his brother Trav (trombone) have sorted out our every need – whether it’s do do with our stay, back-line gear, or our homesick cravings for Indian chicken curry. A special mention must be made of the resident fringe veteran Alan Tweedy, who gives us the proper low-down on the fringe. As a band we don’t have expectations from the fringe. Just a very serious agenda, to have fun. the rest just sorts it self out. We’re lucky like that.
PU: What are your impressions of the Edinburgh Festival? Has the size of it come as a surprise or have any of you been here before?
SR: It is the first time for everyone at the Festival, but we’re feeling right at home. The Royal Mile reminds me a lot of the crowds in the train stations back in Mumbai. Crowded, noisy, crazy with something constantly clamouring for attention.
PU: It must be difficult for you to generate audiences. There are many well known bands and singers up here. How are you managing to attract people to your show?
SR: Competition is always going to keep people guessing as to which show to go to. And it is hard for people to sieve through all that is going on here. We’re going nuts, as well, trying to decide which shows to see. Our music really stands out, though, if you’ve heard it. So we’re going to try and perform everywhere, and get people to the show. The show itself is a concert-party, and we’re really counting on the people that come for the shows to spread the word.
PU: Are any of you taking the opportunity to see other shows? Which ones? Are there other bands and singers you will see?
SR: Looking forward to seeing some bands like Phoenix, I know they’re performing sometime later this month. But apart from that we really dig the comedy scene here. We’ve already seen quite a few. Next week’s schedule includes Jim Jefferies.
PU: What do you hope to get out of being on the Fringe? How will it help your careers? Would you recommend other bands from India to come over? Would you come back?
SR: Our main agenda is to play to newer audiences and to connect with new people. We want to perform at more festival stages. By being here we are getting the right kind of reviews and PR, which should be helpful in getting us into a few more festivals next summer. I definitely think more Indian bands need to come to Edinburgh. Judging by the response, we are definitely going to be back next year.
PU: It’s a very lame question I know, but are you having a good time here? Where do you eat? What do you do to make the most of the experience?
SR: We are loving it here. We are already making the most of this experience: the night outs don’t end until 5am. 5 nights a week we party. Eating here is a bit tough. It is rather difficult to eat healthily, and super expensive if you do. So we’ve started cooking at home, enough to feed a small army.
PU: Take a vote in the band and choose any one singer from anywhere, you would most like to join you on stage for a gig.
SR: Florence from Florence and the Machine !
Something Relevant’s show was performed at the New Town Theatre during Fringe 2010.
Photos: Kate Edwards