Indian Oceans's Amit Kilam and Nikhil Rao reveal the role of environmentalism in the band's songs

The band recently announced their collaboration with the Nature inFocus Festival 2023

author_img Tunir Biswas Published :  20th July 2023 05:38 PM   |   Published :   |  20th July 2023 05:38 PM
In frame: The band Indian Ocean

In frame: The band Indian Ocean

You tend to mimic your namesake if they are very wellknown. And for the pioneering rock band Indian Ocean, it shares its name with one of the largest water bodies in the world. And just as the water body makes waves regularly owing to its gravitational bond with the moon, the band has followed suit by making waves in the Indian music industry. They recently made a splash in the city after their announcement of collaborating with the Nature inFocus Festival 2023, to be held at the Jayamahal Palace in Bengaluru between July 28-30. Indian Ocean will find themselves in the Garden City, and the only thing flooding the streets will be their fans.

Nikhil Rao

Amit Kilam, the band’s drummer (and singer) who’s also leading this collaboration, feels the band members’ personal interest in curbing environmental concerns played a big role in the collaboration. “We’re looking forward to our collaboration with Nature inFocus because a lot of us have a keen interest in environmental issues. And in photography, particularly! Just the thought of playing for like-minded people, under one roof, is quite exciting,” says Kilam, who is also very keen on wildlife photography.

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If go through the band’s discography, it will become evident that environmentalism has played a key role in it. The band’s guitarist Nikhil Rao elaborates on it saying, “It is the role and responsibility of musicians and artistes, to keep reminding all of us that we will probably not be able to live a good human life without the environment. Even framing that sentence sounds so silly, because it’s so self-evident. But yes, as a band, we have taken every opportunity to make a song or do anything for any organisation or group of people, who are passionate about the environment and protection of jungles.”

The band recently launched their eighth album, Tu Hai. But Indian Ocean has had a tumultuous history, undergoing many moments that can be considered ‘band killers’. In December 2009, the band lost its founding member Asheem Chakravarty. Later in 2013, another founding member, Susmit Sen, parted ways with the band. They also ran into trouble with record labels. Despite going through all these problems, how did the band manage to continue thriving?

Amit Kilam

“There are so many ways to answer that question. Because Himanshu Joshi (singer) is a filmmaker and runs his own company, Amit does 10,000 different things, Rahul Ram (bassist and singer) has his fingers in 12 different pies and Tuheen Chakravorty (percussionist) teaches and researches in tabla, and I also dabble in various things. That is how Indian Ocean is still surviving. A lot of credit goes to the senior most members, Rahul and Amit, who had a strong desire to keep this going. And of course, the overwhelming factor is luck,” explains Rao.

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Bengaluru has also played a role in the band’s collaboration with Nature inFocus since it is a city, which Kilam believes has been ‘very kind to them’. “This city has welcomed us warmly, even with new members joining in and with new music. It has accepted us with open arms, whatever little new directions we were trying to go or take,” says Kilam, not before concluding that he shares a personal love for Malleswaram.

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