Chennai-based band La Brise on their debut album and keeping punk alive
In a recent interview, when music legend Dave Grohl described 17-year-old US rapper Lil’ Pump as a punk rocker, fans of the Foo Fighters frontman were left slightly confused. But, come to think of it, the former Nirvana drummer’s definition of punk rock as ‘a state of independence and being free to do whatever the hell you want’, resonates deeply with the rebellious nature and hybrid sound of the music produced by Chennai-based band La Brise. The two-year-old band that began as a side gig for classmates Tanishq Arya and Mohammed Shoaib, of SAE Institute, has evolved musically from performing psychedelic rock covers by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to creating a distinct punk tone for themselves with their debut album, Retrograde, that released last week.
Though characterised by textbook punk aesthetics of an unrelenting pace and hard-edged vocals, hard rock and heavy metal influences seep into the eight-track album, offering the listener a crossover between punk hardcore and grunge. “Our sound is an amalgam of our music preferences,” says 23-year-old vocalist and lead guitarist, Tanishq, whose favourite bands include My Chemical Romance, Soundgarden and The Dandy Warhols. While their hybrid sound draws majorly from the influence of bassist and self-confessed metal-head Mohammed, who co-wrote the album, Retrograde does not do away with staple punk rock themes of teenage angst and rebellion. Following the life of a youngster who is trying to fit in, the 30-minute album explores ideas of loneliness and substance abuse through their songs DSV (Drugs, S3X and Violence) and Isolation.
For the three-piece band with a guest guitarist on certain tracks, the album took a year in the making, we learn. “Writing the songs took us about four months, but we ran into some trouble with the release dates, since the production and mixing took about a year,” shares Tanishq. Currently working with a new drummer, Renin Raphael, following the release of the album, the band shares that they are looking forward to their live performance in the coming months, and are hopeful that the indie music scene in Chennai would open up to punk rock.