Time to surf up: Brodha V and Indus Creed to rock the Covelong Point Festival in Chennai
The Covelong Surf, Music and Yoga Festival, South India’s biggest beach carnival, returns with a bigger and better line-up of artistes, performers and fitness experts. However, the biggest buzz is in the music arena, with much of the anticipation reserved for two of the biggest names this year — Indus Creed, one of the early pioneers of rock music, and Brodha V, the fiery hip-hop rebel who is considered to be one of the best rappers in the country. Delivering straightforward and honest answers, the two artistes spoke to us about the state of indie music in the country and the evolution of their own music. Despite the threat of inclement weather and rumours that the event will be cancelled, Arun Vasu, co-founder of the festival and MD of the TTK Group, allays all fears, saying, “The show will go on, in whatever weather,” His fellow founder and chief surf trainer, Murthy Megavan, is equally optimistic, saying, “We have scheduled this event a month earlier than last year because of the impending full moon and its immense effect on the waves.” Sparing a thought for Kerala, here’s looking forward to a lively weekend.
On August 17-19. At Kovalam, Chennai.
Roping in Indus Creed might be the festival’s biggest coup yet. In an age when hip-hop has overtaken rock as the most successful genre, the very presence of this band will make every rock fan proud. Indus Creed is one of the country’s oldest indie bands, having started as Rock Machine 1984, and then renamed to the present moniker in 1993. Only three members of the original line-up remain in the band today —Uday Benegal, Mahesh Tinaikar and Zubin Balaporia, with the rest completed by Krishna Jhaveri on bass and Sahil Shah with the drums.
It has been more than a couple of years since the Mumbai-based band performed in Chennai, but Uday still remembers having Saravana Bhavan’s famous ghee roast dosa then. “Apart from the performance, that has to be my fondest memory from Chennai,” he says. Also, it’s been six years since their last album, Evolve, was released. Isn’t it time for a new one? we ask. “Yes, but we ain’t got the money to do it right now,” says Uday, as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Rock ’n’ Roll Renegade (1988).
What convinced them about Covelong? Uday replies, “We love playing at festivals, established or new, as long as they are well organised and attract a fun crowd. We’ve heard good things about Covelong, so are very excited about performing there.” This Sunday, expect a mix of originals and covers, as they promise to deliver some of their most popular tracks.
“Our signature songs, as you describe them, sound different enough from each other, given that they were all written at different times of our lives,” explains Uday, who adds, “At Covelong, we’ll certainly be doing the contemporary stuff, songs from Evolve, the single Thief and an unreleased tune called Still in Flight. But we’ll also be throwing in a few old ones and a few covers that people may or may not be expecting.”
Being 30 years old in the music industry, one can trust Uday to come up with the most honest answers when asked about the indie scene in the country. “It has actually taken something of a beating in the last couple of years. Its rapid ascension saw a sudden stagnation that it hasn’t seemed to have recovered from yet. Hopefully, the tide will turn enough to not kill the scene,” he hopes. Is there any particular band in Chennai that has impressed him? “Many of them have broken up. To name just a few from a long list I’d begin with a couple of them I love — Skrat and The F16s. Then there are (and were) a few from other cities — Soulmate, Pentagram, Spud in the Box, The Supersonics, Nicholson, Lands, and many more,” he adds.
Talking about what inspires them to make new music even now, he says, “Inspiration is a combination of mojo, the processing of life experiences and the expanse of amazing music being created the world over. While it’s getting harder to find artistes or bands that blow the mind, there are some that jump out every now and then. But loving a band doesn’t mean wanting to sound like them. It’s never been. So the inspiration comes more from the freshness of ideas than the desire to emulate them.”
And, what about rock ’n’ roll? “That never dies. It just returns in an altered form,” he signs off.
“I’m going to give them a concert that they will never forget,” declares Vighnesh Shivanand, as we catch up with him before his much-awaited return to Chennai. “I studied in Chennai for a year between 2011 and 2012. It was around that time that I had worked on the music and lyrics for my single On My Own. So, I think in a way, the city played a big part in helping me kickstart my career in rap,” says the musician, who performs under the stage name Brodha V. Since On My Own was released in 2012, the 28-year-old has evolved into one of the country’s premier hip-hop artistes, receiving massive critical acclaim for all his subsequent songs. Known for his smart use of metaphors in lyrics, Brodha V is also regarded as the fastest rapper in the country, with fans and critics alike comparing him to some of the biggest international rappers, including Eminem.
“Hip-hop is comparatively a newer genre of music in India, with not many people having the opportunity to watch rap concerts. I am excited to perform at the Covelong Festival. I have heard great things about the previous editions, and I can only guarantee that everybody who’s coming there to watch me perform is going to go back with a never ending adrenaline rush,” he says. Expect some of his biggest hits over the years, like Aigiri Nandini, Aathma Raama, Indian Flava and two of his latest releases, Let Em Talk and Way Too Easy. “The response to both the (latest) singles were tremendously positive. I am not into albums at the moment. Statistically, they don’t do great sales anymore, irrespective of who or how big you are. I’d be putting out a lot of singles and performing and touring a lot more in the coming months,” he says.
Recalling the role of Chennai in his growth as a musician, he says, “The city is filled with immense talent, both creatively and technically. You can see that in not just the music but in movies as well. And the general audience is very intelligent. They are quick to appreciate anything unique and new. They’ve helped independent artistes, actors, singers, rappers and movies transcend their limited market purely because they believe in the content and in how deserving they are.”
But are all cities as generous as ours when it comes to accepting new artistes, especially rappers? Vighnesh recalls an earlier incident that inspired his newest song, Shook Ones. “I once met a very popular music director from Bollywood for some work, and despite him liking my work, he asked me why I don’t make music in Hindi,” he shares, adding, “I think people need to be more open minded and accept the fact that India is after all a multicultural and diverse country.”
Surf Turf Stage
1.30 pm: Shalini Maria Selvarajan
2.15 pm: The Hatless Cats
3 pm: The Broadway Addicts
3.45 pm: The Madras Men Records
1.10 pm: Chennai Live Showcase
1.45 pm: SH’MA
2.30 pm: Stevie
3.15 pm: La Brise
3.45 pm: Afrontal
5 pm: Nina Vasu
The Skore Stage
4.30 pm: Mali
5.30 pm: Brodha V
6.50 pm: Amrit Rao & The Madrascals (above)
3.45 pm: The Madras Men Records
8.10 pm: Sapta
5.40 pm: The F16s
7 pm: Kulam
8.20 pm: Indus Creed
The surfing qualifiers start at 6.30 am today, followed by the heats on Saturday and the finals on Sunday. Other water activities include kayak and catamaran races. Also make time for slacklining and
spikeball games. All days.
Take your pick from Nicobar, The Asana Shop, Angi and Pa.Ni Swimwear. Also, check out cool merchandise from brands like Weaver, Rural Effort, A Plus and others. All days.
Leap of faith
Test your limits with the folks at Chennai Parkour. There’s also a calisthenics session by Arjun Motha, obstacle course racing by Vikram Menon, and a surf lesson by Jonty Rhodes. Sat-Sun.
It’s a stretch
Besides acroyoga sessions by Shakthi Shilpa and power vinyasa yoga by Rohini Manoharan, there’s also hatha yoga by Lilya Sabatier. Also, sign up for a surya namaskar session with Divya Srinivasan.
Sign up for an intensive massage session by Bebe or a nia dance workshop by Dina Lebinger. Also, do not miss the pamper session at the Aarti Gutta Spa & Salon. There’s also a self defence workshop for women. Sat-Sun.
Time to tuck in
From fish fry and corn to biryani and more, there’s enough to choose from in the food section. Plus, look out for delights from Raw Pressery, Jaipurya — The Desi Gourmet and Kozzmo Goli Soda. All days.