As I am writing this feature up a storm rages outside and thunder rolls through a darkening UK sky. Over in India the Monsoon is awaited, but another storm is heading toward us, and that storm is a loud and proud rock band called Skreen 6.
At the time we completed the review of their album “Rockin Head” the band described themselves to us as,
“Taking inspiration from 80s and 90s hard rock and glam metal bands like Motley Crue, Skid Row, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Def Leppard, etc. They were like our gods. We wanted what they had. Life, the road—we wanted it all. Most of us grew up listening to 80s music, and we wanted our music to sound similar, with big thundering drums, groovy basslines, gang vocals, and speed-running riffs. We have tracks that will make you rip your necks apart and ballads that will kiss you on your forehead!”
The review seemed to generate plenty of interest, and there were many positive comments around the office, so we really had to reach out and find out more about this new band on the block and bring you all a feature!
Skreen 6 is:
Amal Dev Nambiar (vocals)
Salas Stewert (Rhythm Guitars & Vocals)
MK (lead guitar)
Amal Dev Nambiar
Amal and Adithya joined us to update us on today’s rocking out in India.
Kicking off with the album “Rockin Head,” the reception to the album has been really positive. Certainly here at the magazine, our reviewer (Lorraine) really liked it, and “Life is Too Short to Die” was a starting point for us as it stands out as a flash piece of melodic metal that must play so well live (it has this great sing along section).
Amal- If we touch on songwriting generally, it is a bit of a mish-mash. The band was born out of not wanting to just do cover versions and creating our own music. “Life is too Short to Die” is a song born from taking what you can from the moment in life and holding on to it. If you listen to that song, it has that humming section. Our guitarist Salas also sang, and when we were jamming to it, we felt it was just so good to sing along to, and the vocals ended up really great. We built the song from that section, but the beginning of that song has a lot of meaning to us, and it feels good for us musically. Then we put the lyrics on later. Myself,and the lead guitarist, MK got down to the lyrics. The pandemic had no influence on the lyrics!! Actually, we did not have a bad time in the pandemic as we were busy making songs! It is kids shouting; there is stuff to do, and we need to get on and do it.
As a drumming question, we wondered what kit Adithya was using now, how he got into drumming, and whether his parents complained about the noise!
Adithya- My parents bought me my first drum kit back in 2010, it was a Tama kit. I have been using Tama since 2010, and we used the same kit in the recording for the album. It is a basic model from Tama, but it is great. And as for the noise, the neighbours still complain about it!
The Indian rock scene has been taking off in recent years; even Bollywood put out a popular film about an Indian band called “Rock On” in 2008. There is also a growing love of death metal in some Indian youth circles, and Skreen 6 commented that promoters do sometimes put them on the same bill as these bands, but their music is definitely not death metal; it is a far more melodic, 80s hair metal type of sound. Their audience demographic would certainly be very different, but they still get the plaudits!
Amal- I have watched that movie; it is a good movie if you are low on energy!
We wondered how the guys were finding melodic rock in India in their youth and whether they got together through a love of similar music. How did the band form?
Amal- All of us in the band listen to slightly different types of music. I listen to all types of music: metal, regional songs, whatever. But starting the band was a very organic process. Motley Crue is a source of inspiration for all of us, and we originally formed as a band covering “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue. So, we had done shows and cover songs before, but then, how long were we going to do cover songs before we did our material? Then the first riff developed for “Rockin Head,” and we had a set of lyrics that we tweaked here and there. So that is how it came about!
The band was writing extensively during the pandemic for the album, meeting over the net, which is where the Skreen reference came from.
Amal- Yes, meeting on Skreen, six screens with us all on there, writing and playing music during the pandemic; that is how the band started.
But after the album, the band lost their keyboardist (Dibin Savio Jude) and is now a 5 piece.
Amal- Yes, our keyboardist had to leave for personal reasons, but he was still an integral part of the album and our sound. We intend to stay as a five-piece band now but will always be Skreen 6, as that is what we were. Skreen 6 is us, but we are a five-piece to stay.
And how does the band connect to the wider musical scene in India, such a huge country with such an old musical tradition that has grown separately (largely) from the West. For sure, The Beatles went to India, but that was to study and learn, it introduced the sitar to their sound.
Adithya- India has a rich culture, but today it is often culturally biassed towards its own music and sound. So people like us, inspired by other forms of culture as well and who have picked up cultural influences from the US and Britain, have trouble gaining acceptance sometimes. Art is always loved in India, but it depends on how you are seen.
One of the friends we have at the magazine is Doctor Lincoln. He spoke to us about the decision he made to use English as the language for his music. Although everyone speaks English in India, he felt it cut down on his home market. Obviously, the same can be asked of Skreen 6, who use English. Was that a decision to appeal more internationally as well as for the home market?
Amal- We all grew up listening to Western rock, so it was an easy decision, we never really had to think about that decision. But if we felt we needed to sing in our home language, we would, but it is not on the cards right now.
The market for English certainly massively opens up; it is an international language, and with the internet and social media now, the band can pick up worldwide followers—even in places they have never performed. But then again, traditional India may be shocked by certain western rock images (smashing a guitar, for example, on stage like The Who or Paul Stanley), where respect for the instrument is everything in a traditional sense.
Amal- India is secular, but connecting art and religion is one section of the population. It is the goddess Sarasvati who connects music to faith and knowledge. But then again, there are a lot of rock bands that do not destroy instruments, and some, like Marilyn Manson, do! It is a personal thing. You respect your instrument and if someone bought it for you, then you do not destroy it! I have no wish to destroy a guitar!
So what are the plans for Skreen 6 now in 2023?
Amal- we have all been working, studying, and managing life, but now we are all planning on doing the gigs.
Adithya- The album is out, and so far, the response has been really good. So far, we have only played in cities in the south of India, so we need to take our music north. But the financials for a local band to get out and tour in India are considerable. We are waiting for the gigs and inquiries to come. We would love, of course, to come to the UK and say, “What’s up, Manchester!”
The image of the band is sound; the leathers, the whole feel of rock are projected in the image just as much as the music.
Adithya- As we said, we were inspired by these bands, and those bands have a certain look to them. So we have always talked about costumes, but we think of a triangle with Skid Row, Motley Crue, and Guns n’ Roses, and we would like to fit somewhere within that triangle image wise.
Now if you want to get some hot new rock and join in the next generation of bands then the download for the album is here. We can only say watch out for these guys, for all lovers of classic style melodic rock this band are a listening treat.
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By Benny (the Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers