Skyharbor – Thank you India

Complex and also brilliant Prog made in India … Keshar Dhar with a retrospective regarding the Eurobalst Festival in Cologne …

Interview and picture by Dennis Rowehl Did you enjoy the EUROBLAST Fest? Have you watched all the other bands?

Keshav Dhar: I absolutely loved the Euroblast festival! It was an experience which I will always cherish, as it marked our first show outside my home country and I actually got to meet and interact with all the incredible musicians whom I’d only read about on the internet till then. Surreal is the word to describe it best. I couldn’t watch ALL the bands, as I had a rather busy schedule, but I did my best to catch as many as I could. You play with guest singers, isn’t it hard to rehearse without a permanent singer?

KD: Well, at the time of the album, it was appropriate to call it guest singers but now we actually do have a settled lineup and Dan is very much a part of that and our lead singer! But to answer your question, it is indeed hard to rehearse because everyone is spread out across the globe. It just so happens that we connect so well on a musical and personal level, and the level of musicianship is so high, that we can actually get away with not rehearsing much. For example, we only had the ONE rehearsal for Euroblast, which was a super hurried affair the day before we played (laughing). So what is more important for you? The music itself or the combination with the lyrics?

KD: Everything, really. Everything has its place in the grand scheme of things and contributes a key part to the big picture. Watching it all develop slowly and organically is the most beautiful thing for me personally – the process of a song being created. Honestly I don’t know that much about India. Is there a good market for Rock and Prog music? Do you concentrate upon the US and Europe or do you also play live shows in India?

KD: Well, yes. There is definitely a good market for rock and progressive music – Textures played to 5000 people the last time they came, and TesseracT played to 10,000 people! Meshuggah also got thousands, and apart from that – even new bands like us, got nearly 8,000 people when we played in Bangalore in support of Lamb of God (who were coming for the second time). So yeah, there is definitely a solid market! We do not concentrate particularly on one territory, we definitely want to branch out and make a mark in as many territories as possible. But yes, we do play shows in India for sure – of the 3 we have played till date, the first 2 were in India. I’m very impressed by these bands at the Euroblast. Isn’t it hard to play these complex songs and to rock at the same time?

KD: Oh man, tell me about it – especially considering that we’ve not played that many shows yet, I am usually SUPER nervous before we start playing a show. It all goes away by the time we’re done with the first song, but it is definitely a challenge. But we aren’t really into the ‚jump-the-fuck-up‘ thing. So we definitely do get into the groove when playing, and we groove hard, but nothing over the top. I was also impressed by the peaceful mood at the festival that all the fans acted so respectful. Have you talked to many fans on the festival?

KD: Yes I did – and I was amazed by exactly what you said – the peaceful vibe and the respect shown by the fans. In India it is awesome when you have fans that mob you after the show and you do feel like a star (laughing)! But at the same time, it is very nice to just hang out after a show and have someone come up to you and politely compliment you, and then have a nice conversation. What are your plans for this fall and winter? Playing further shows?

KD: We might have a show on the cards in India, but it isn’t certain at this point. But no, not really playing much this winter. I actually plan to do a lot of writing for our second album during that time. I think we have that luxury that we are not constantly being pressurised to go out on tour, so that leaves us with a good deal of time to focus on the music itself, which at the end of the day has always been first priority for this band. Keshav, thanks for the interview.

KD: You’re welcome …

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