Enter the Skrat Universe
Revving up for their fourth album Bison, the frontman of the band gives us a glimpse of their heavy-as-hell sound and dark lyrical plotlines
Skrat has grown up. And so has their music. In the past decade, this Chennai-based garage rock band with a happy, groovy sound has evolved into heavier riffs, edgier guitar work, and darker lyrics. You could say those 18-year-olds we remember who gave us songs like Hold on and popular favourite Tin Can Man are long gone. Three albums later, fans may be surprised to hear there isn't just a new album in the making for the summer, but a whole Skrat Universe, complete with heroes and villains in the works. Besides founding members TT Sriram on vocals and lead guitar and Tapass Naresh on drums, Jhanu Chanthar (who you may remember from that killer opening riff of Neruppu Da) their new bass guitarist in the line-up, seems have changed their sound quite radically.
We catch TT Sriram 10 minutes before soundcheck at their recent gig in Manipal.The frontman of the band talks about what to expect on their latest album Bison, their ever evolving sound and learning how to fly from the Foo Fighters
Why is the album called Bison?
The whole concept is based on a guy called General Bison who steps in once The Queen (previous album) is either killed or goes into exile. As the world goes into chaos, metaphorical for population explosion and all that, there's an awakening where the Bison wakes up, brings his army, wipes out one-third of the population, and then goes back underground.
So this storyline plays out through each song from start to finish?
Each song has a story that strings together the whole plot, but the songs stand on their own as well. Basically all the albums of Skrat are now interconnected in what we call the Skrat Universe with our own characters and villains and heroes.
Is it a Game of Thrones of sorts?
(Laughs) No Game of Thrones has kingdoms.
Well you did mention a Queen...
The Queen here doesn't have a kingdom. She's more like an enabler of sorts. Like most elements on the album, the Queen is metaphoric for a person or influence that determines the course of the human race.
Tell us a bit about the music.
Well we thought we were going to make a lighter, more dance-y album, because our last one was kind of heavy. But that just didn't happen. We got in the jam room and started writing the songs and... fate made it heavier. (Laughs)
You have a new bass guitarist in the band now.
Funny story. Our old bass-ey Sat (Satish Narayanan) had left to Canada. So at our next jam session Tapass and I were supposed to get together and think about whether we should have auditions or what to do next. But basically none of that happened. Jhanu walked in and simply said: 'I am the bass-ey you are looking for,' plugged in the bass and just started playing. And that was it. (Smiles)
It's been over 10 years of Skrat. Are you good for a quick flashback before you get on stage?
(Smiles) I remember the first song we ever performed live was at the Unwind Center. It was a cover of Learn to Fly by the Foo Fighters. This was a month before we got into college, during that summer holiday period when we were all sitting around wondering what to do. It wasn't like a moment when we said: 'Dude let's form a band.' But we would keep getting together and spend whole days jamming. Suddenly one day, we realised 'wait-a-minute we have four songs'. So then we decided why not go and get a gig, for fun?
Clearly the fun continues. Bison releases this summer, hopefully in time for the band's 11th birthday on July 15. More info on www.skrattheband.com