Getting Toit with Thermal and a QuarterA little chat with Bangalore's rock royalty.

We think good food, good beer and good music make for a great combination, and that’s what the Sunday Simmer Down at Toit is all about.

As a part of this initiative, we feature bands from around the world, and each of them have a great musical story to tell.

Last month we had Bangalore’s very own Rock royalty, Thermal and a Quarter do a very cool Daft Punk Tribute set.
For the uninitiated, the three member band, currently comprising of Bruce Lee Mani, Rajeev Rajagopal and Leslie Charles, has been around for the last 20 years, and are widely regarded as one of the best rock acts of the country.

And they’re also a lot of fun. We sat down with the boys (to men) and spoke about music, beer and their best guess at what ‘Toit’ means.

“If we’re going to use an electronic kit, let’s play electronic shit!”

How’d you decide to do a Daft Punk Tribute?

BLM: It was pretty weird how this happened – Vinay had been asking us to do a gig there for some time now, but with the caveat that an acoustic drum kit wasn’t feasible and we’d have to use an electronic drum kit. Having never used one of those live, we were understandably hesitant about how it would work with our set. Would Rajeev have a nervous breakdown?

Mr. Rajeev, in characteristic fashion, then suggested “If we’re going to use an electronic kit, let’s play electronic shit!”
Looking through such material, we figured Daft Punk would suit our collective tastes and just might be a heck of a lot of fun too. The rest was Toit!

You have a new album out—The Scene. What’s the one thing we need to know about it?

BLM: That it’s freaking awesome! Go buy it on iTunes or  OKlisten.

For the uninitiated, you’d describe your music as?

BLM: Bangalore Rock.

Who’s the diva in the band?

BLM: Nobody. The angry young man is definitely Leslie.

Your dream line up?

BLM: The one we have right now.

The angry young man is definitely Leslie.

If you could play in any other band, which one would it be?

BLM: Indian Band – Opposite Sex. International Band – Steely Dan.

RR: Indian Band –  Soulmate. International Band – Queen.

LC: Indian Band – Shepherd. International Band – Sly and the Family Stone.

When you’re not working, you’re ___?

BLM: Working! Hah, but I’m usually spending time with the family, or reading, movie-watching or cycling.

RR: Playing the drums and cooking.

LC: Stuck in traffic on Marathahalli bridge.

Local bands + Local brews =

Highness!

Stuck in traffic on Marathahalli bridge.

Do you have any favourite beers (at Toit or otherwise)?

All three of us were hooked on Guinness when we were touring Ireland. That’s some seriously delicious stuff!

At Toit we love-
BLM: Dark Knight
RR: Aam Aadmi Ale.
LC: Basmati Blonde

It’s been almost 20 years since the band started. What’s the big change you’ve seen, in the scene? (Ten points for subtle album promotion.)

BLM: Some things have changed a lot, some things have stayed the same. So many great bands now, so much music being written and released. Also, so many more venues to play at, along with much more gear being available and so many more places to study music and performance. Meaningful careers in indie music are still hard—but that’s true anywhere in the world today.

Some of the seamier aspects of the journey are succinctly captured on our new album, The Scene. Big change—well, I’d have to say it’s now becoming acceptable to say “I’m a musician. That’s what I do—for love and money.”

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What’s the best and worst thing about being a band in India right now?
BLM: Best – Never been a time with this much opportunity. Worst – Audience maturity and actual ‘need’ for art.

RR: Best – So much inspiration to write music, never a dull moment and we’re constantly bombarded with all sorts of emotions. Worst – How success is measured only by numbers. Doesn’t matter if you’ve written nice songs, its success will depend on the number of likes, and views and that kind of stuff.

LC: Best – There’s always work for a musician. Even if you don’t have gigs you can find work involving music. Worst – Not enough stage pyrotechnics.

…it’s now becoming acceptable to say “I’m a musician. That’s what I do—for love and money.”

Tell us a little about Taaqademy.

Taaqademy is our pitch to offer a high-quality international-standard music academy for aspiring musicians of all ages and levels – as well as to make music a respectable, viable and sustainable career for musicians. We have two centers in Bangalore now, in Koramangala and Whitefield.

Our faculty represent some of the best musical talent performing live in the city today, and our facilities are tailored for jamming and individually customised classes. With so many indie musicians working there, it’s natural that our students start writing their own music too – all in all, it’s been great setting up Taaqademy.

Do you guys have any pre-gig rituals?

BLM: Standard huddle and motto – “Have fun, keep in touch!”

Best musical experience you’ve had as a band. (could be a gig, recording or just a jam session.)

BLM: Woah, too many to list here perhaps. Opening for Deep Purple in 2001, our first international tour and 5-star review in the UK, bonding with total strangers across the world over our music, working with some absolutely stellar musicians across gigs and albums. Really, just being part of this band.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s incredible.

RR: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Ireland Tour which we did in 2013.

LC: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival! It’s incredible! I think every musician should experience being a part of it at least once in their lifetime.

What’s your best guess about Toit’s name origin? 

Roit, it’s loike this then: When fresh-brewed beer is a soit for sore oiys, it’s toime to get toit!