An Interview With FIVE8

  • SumoMe

FIVE8 is a progressive band from Delhi and was formed in the summer of 2005 at Kirori Mal College. With time, FIVE8 ventured out of the DU circuit to become an independent entity. They have played at various rock concerts and college competitions and have won several prizes. Read on to find out more about them:

VP: First of all, how did you come up with such an intriguing name that leaves people wondering as to how it’s written?

FIVE8: It was really a matter of chance – one day in the summer of 2005, members of the music society of Kirori Mal College were wondering what to call the newly formed college ‘rock band’. They had to rush to a competition to LSR and had to come up with a name. It just so happened that at that time our drummer was playing a groove in the meter of 5/8. We thought it was – like you said – intriguing and catchy and thus FIVE8 was born.

VP: Music being not much more than an ECA at the university level, what inspired you to come together? Also do you have a specific genre that you would like define?

FIVE8: Initially, we were a ‘college band’ therefore the university circuit was what we really wanted to get into. After a while, we decided to move away from university competitions and concentrate more on original material. Currently, our greatest inspiration is probably the fact that every band member absolutely loves playing with the band and we all really want to play more original material. Our sound is based on the genre of progressive rock and glam, with influences of blues and funk.

VP: Being part of a college band where members pass out every year and new ones join, how do you cope up with the “talent that moves on”?

FIVE8: FIVE8 was originally formed in KMC, but now is an independent entity as most members have passed out of college. The college music society though still battles with this dilemma, it’s something one gets used to.

VP: You are influenced by The Police, Van Halen, Mr. Big, Vital Information and AR Rahman to name a few. How is it that you are able to compose a genre of your own from such myriad ones?

That’s just it. Each band member has a very strong individual influence but together we are able to contribute in such a way that the end product is innovative and not run-of-the-mill. Also, as a band we are open to all genres of music and we let that percolate into our composition.

VP: FIVE8 was formed 3 summers ago. How has the journey been? How do you think the live music scene has changed over the years and how has it affected you?

FIVE8: Well, FIVE8 itself has evolved a lot – it has been through many line-up changes but I feel it has finally settled down now. FIVE8 now has an internal vibe that is productive as each member is committed and desiring to move ahead. The live music scene is one that is evolving everyday – there are a lot of bands in Delhi itself and some of them are doing some amazing work. It’s good to know there are enough performance spaces to support them as well. It’s something we hope can improve in the future, but we’re loving it right now as well…!

VP: With rock picking up in the minds of the youth today, what according to you is the solace that it provides to the listeners?

FIVE8: Rock music has always connected with people; right from the 70s it has had a massive influence on young people. We just hope we can innovate within the genre to provide the listeners with something that they may not have heard before.

VP: What according to you could be the efforts on the youth’s side to promote rock?

FIVE8: Well, firstly show a desire to listen to original material that bands are playing instead of popular covers. I feel many bands are forced to play covers because the audience demands that they do. Also, if the need to download free music can be cut down a bit, especially with Indian Bands, and a conscientious effort is made to go out and buy CDs of bands it would really help the scene in terms of creating a viable market for rock music in India. Other than that, just get out of your homes and go for gigs and concerts – there are a LOT that happen in the city!

VP: As a college band managing your hectic lifestyles, how do you suppose you fulfill your demands of being creative for your fans out there?

FIVE8: Haven’t really thought about that before, with the band we just have a lot of fun playing together and if the vibe is right creativity flows quite easily, if it doesn’t, there are always other ways

VP: You had a big role to play in college festivals across the nation that’s Kanpur, Mumbai, Pilani to name a few and winning a majority of them. What is your feedback on the culture of rock in such places? How is different from the others?

FIVE8: The bigger festivals definitely provide that first push that a band needs to get noticed in the circuit. I think that – more than anything else- is what FIVE8 got out of playing all these competitions. We managed to get a lot of gigs on the basis of our track record in various competitions we played. Competitions are also a great place to meet fellow musicians and professionals.

VP: With festivals such as Eastwind hitting the live music circuit, how is the rock fraternity affected?

FIVE8: Eastwind in particular is something that was new and hats off to Prospect for pulling off a festival of that scale. I feel these festivals are one of the best ways to promote the independent music industry in India. The rock fraternity is growing, and the staggering number of bands in the circuit today proves the same.

VP: You being Campus Rock finalists yourself, how was it playing alongside professional bands such as Men Who Pause and Advaita?

Listening to bands play original music is always good, and Advaita is a personal favourite with each of us. Menwhopause’ decision to play only original music since the very early days of the band is inspiring to say the least. FIVE8 is also now moving towards an all-original set, something that should easily be achieved in the next couple of months.

VP: Was it any different opening for Poets of the Fall and headlining Them Clones, Parikrama and Silk Route at Kanpur and Delhi respectively?

FIVE8: We always enjoy playing and try to make the best of every opportunity we get, Delhi is home and we love playing here. We have played twice at IIT Kanpur, once with POTF and another time when we headlined a festival they organized. Both times the experience was exceptionally good; we had a wonderful time playing for them and would go back any day.

VP: What is the difference in playing at Campus Rock as against a Gig as regards pressure, creativity and fulfillment of expectations?

FIVE8: Well, competitions do come with time restrains and sound problems, which is sometimes frustrating. But what we’ve come to realize is that every time you’re on stage you just aim to give your best, and the rest is not really in our hands. So whether it’s a competition or a gig, we aim at playing our own music – and have a blast in the process…!

VP: Have you ever thought of playing professionally after college?

FIVE8: Absolutely, that is our aim this year.

VP: Any upcoming events or gigs of yours that we should know about?

FIVE8: August 30th 2008 is a tentative date for a concert organized by DU Beat, and we are playing ‘Independence Rock’ in August as well.

VP: What is the one mantra that you always stand by?

FIVE8: As we have said before, to give our best on stage and enjoy and connect with the kind of music you play.

VP: Something you would like to say for your fans out there?

FIVE8: Just that it is solely the audience that helps a band grow, so do support our music and push for more independent music in the city! Our website is www.myspace.com/FIVE8india. To receive updates you can join our pages at Orkut and Facebook as well.

Compiled by:

Deshan Tucker

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