IMR: Welcome to IMR, what has been up with the band lately?
FLI: We are working on our debut album. Taking a hard look at the songs. The band also underwent a line up change recently. Curenlty, Rohit Mukherjee took over the bass duties for the band.
IMR: Going back to early 2007, how did all the FIVE LITTLE INDIANS members decide on starting the setup? Specially, each one being heavily associated with music by then (Jan 2007)?
FLI: All the band members have known each other for a long time. Sandip, Allan and Neel used to play in a band called WISE IN THE NINTIES. When Allan came back to town, it was a logical conclusion that we play together again. Soon, Arka who had also returned from Pune joined as the drummer thus completing the first founding line up. We decided to steer clear of cover music then.
IMR: How would you describe the sound/genre of FIVE LITTLE INDIANS?
FLI: Indian Alternative Rock. The sound is constantly evolving. We mesh classical vocals into the texture of our music to arrive at what we feel is natural and comfortable to us. We are fortunate that people around find us unique.
IMR: Tell us about some of the compositions of FIVE LITTLE INDIANS!
FLI: Our songs are personal. We try not to preach anything. We steer clear of world peace and saving nature; although our metaphors could suggest the same. We often break the verse- chorus format and try to make things linear. We try to keep it simple and musical.
IMR: (For Neelda) From a singer/songwriter point of view, has FIVE LITTLE INDIANS given you that extra sphere to write and compose as compared to your earlier/other projects, if so how?
FLI: This is the only band I have ever played in where each member puts in as much as the next. I have never come to FLI with a fully composed song. I always bring sketches of songs and very often we compose together in the practice pad (including lyrics), where the song is created by every member equally, which is fascinating to watch for me. The other thing about this band is that every member knows the lyrics of all the songs, which should a given in every band, but for me this is the first. This feels and breathes like a band.
IMR: Influences of the members that have finally combined to formed FIVE LITTLE INDIANS.
FLI: Basically our influences are80s and Nineties rock, blues, classical music, pop, electronica, fusion, hip-hop, drum’n’bass. Special artistes worth mentioning are: THE BEATLES, THE POLICE, RADIOHEAD, SRV, RED HOT CHILLY PEPPERS, JOHN MAYER, INCUBUS, THIRD EYE BLIND, PORCUPINE TREE, NITIN SAWHNEY, PORTISHEAD etc.
IMR: You have been someone who always did original music. Being in the Kolkata scene for a long time now, how difficult was it to hold on to the effort of pursuing original music?
FLI: It wasn't difficult. It was what came naturally. The previous bands of all the members of FLI have always been into original music. Maybe it wasn't paying but we never gave a fuck and that is what is paying off now.
IMR: How have you seen the music scenario of Kolkata changing with time? Especially for the original music artistes.
FLI: Over the past couple of years, things are looking up. The crowd is more receptive to a two-hour set of original music. They are bored with covers. Now it’s up to the musicians to rise to the occasion and become artists instead of parrots.
IMR: Talking about Kolkata, what factors according to you should develop more for the betterment of the music scenario.
FLI: More live gig venues, better sound equipment and more of the senior batch of musicians writing original music and leading by example like PINK NOISE/ SKINNY ALLEY.
IMR: For our readers, can we have a short musical background of the FIVE LITTLE INDIANS members?
FLI: Arka: Playing drums and percussion for 15yrs; played with EAST RIDERS, ORIENT EXPRESS, CASSINI's DIVISION, GANGA GROOVE and SPAN.
Allan: Playing guitar for 15yrs; played with RAGGED ANNE, WISE, FOSSILS, CACTUS
Sayak: Clasically trained under Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and currently training under Kumar Mukherjee. Sang with LAKKHICHHARA and CACTUS.
Neel: Classicaly trained under Santanu Bandyopadhyay, singing and playing guitar for 15yrs; played with WISE, OFFBEAT, WATERSHED, KROSSWINDZ, CLASS APART, SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES BAND and SPAN.
Roheet: Playing bass for the past three years; played with PSEUDOYNM and BANNED.
IMR: Being already in the music circuit for some time, did you have to face any new struggles when FIVE LITTLE INDIANS took off? And it all started with EASTWIND FESTIVAL 2008?
FLI: Struggle is a part of any new band trying to make its mark, so yes, we did go through our fair share of that. We basically locked ourselves up for over a year before we played our first gig, and yes, it was at Eastwind 2008.
2008 seems to have been an eventful year for FIVE LITTLE INDIANS – STUPID DITTIES II release, featured in the ‘must-have downloads’ from Rolling Stones Magazine (with a three star rating), and coverage by other popular music portals.None of it was planned: a week into putting up our MySpace page with three tracks, we witnessed a good many number of hits. Soon after, we were invited to play EASTWIND FESTIVAL. The Rolling Stone feature also did its bit in letting our presence be felt outside KOLKATA.
IMR: Tell us about ELECTRIC KOOL ROCK REVUE I’.
FLI: We had been talking about organising an original music concert with other like-minded artistes, like THE SUPERSONICS and BERTIE DA SILVA. The first chapter of ELECTRIC KOOL was an attempt to showcase a 4-hour concert of original music from the city. The ELECTRIC KOOL is more like a platform, where artistes from any genre and singing in any language are featured as long as they play their own music. Hopefully, it will be revived this year to showcase more talent, and not just from the city.
IMR: In 2009, FIVE LITTLE INDIANS headlined the prestigious HORNBILL FESTIVAL of Nagaland and AUTUMN FESTIVAL in Shillong, and other venues at Shillong & Kohima. Share the experiences with us.
FLI: In August 2009, Arka, Neel and Allan went for a holiday to Allan's hometown in Nagaland and also a short visit to Shillong. We ended up playing two unplugged gigs in DREAM CAFE in Kohima and DEJA VU in Shillong. The organizers of the HORNBILL FESTIVAL, Nagaland and the AUTUMN FESTIVAL, Meghalaya liked our music and invited us to play for the two gigs. The experience was awesome, needless to say. We showcased our music to the folks out there, learned a lot of valuable lessons and also made many friends.
IMR: FIVE LITTLE INDIANS performed at the Rock N’ India (Bengaluru) alongside Richard Marx and other international artists. Tell us about the experience.
FLI: Being part of an international level gig is something everything musician should experience once in his or her lifetime. Everything is grand-scale and one gets to learn a lot right from how these gigs are organized to watching the international musicians going about their soundcheck. Here again, we made a lot of friends - the guys from SWARATHMA were really cool and so was Jaycee Lewis.
IMR: Some advice from FIVE LITTLE INDIANS towards new musicians!
FLI: Keep an open mind. And ears.
IMR: What are the band future plans in the near future?
FLI: Right now, we are focused on our album: we have a lot on our plates already as far as the record is concerned.
IMR: A ‘must listen’ track referred by FIVE LITTLE INDIANS?
FLI: Your heart!