With over 2 million hits on their YouTube channel, The Local Train is a Delhi based band creating soulful Hindi Rock tunes. We spoke to them about everything from their fondest memories to their inspiration, mistakes and future plans. Read on!
Oh we wish there was an interesting story behind our christening but there isn't. Before the band name came the music! We recorded a demo of a song and wanted to upload it to MySpace. That's when we took 5 minutes to think up of a random name. The Local Train didn't sound all that bad to us then. The song was called "Choo Lo" and it went viral in the college circuit. We started getting calls for shows and since then we've been happily stuck with the name.
Songwriting is a very tricky process with no set formula attached to it. All four of us didn't know each other beforehand met only because of music. We found each other because we connected at a base ideology I guess - love, life, lies and politics haha! Just the stuff that makes us think went into our music. The songwriting for our first album was all over the place. We'd create a chorus for a song one day and scrap it the next, leave songs mid way to start working on a brand new idea, take a break from everything to cover a song that we like and so on and so forth!
Muses are fickle and fleeting in nature. They come and they go as they please and we just go along with the flow. Everything from a newspaper article to a viral video or a powerful movie can inspire an idea out of you. All we try and do is be prepared to catch it when it comes.
There are so many! The band has grown together and there have been pivotal moments throughout our journey. I remember the times when we locked ourselves in the jam room for hours on end everyday for 2 months; that's where we started becoming a team. Then we moved to Bombay for 6 months to record our album. We came back and moved into the same house and we've been living together ever since. That's when we became a family.
That's a very good question! Our live shows are an important part of our growth. Mistakes are bound to happen, technical errors, human errors and sometimes our bass player falls off the stage! We've seen it all.
After every show we sit down and discuss the issue faced and what could've been done to avoid it. Also what steps do we need to take to make sure that it doesn't happen again. We have a team that helps us execute our live shows and they're indispensable.
As touring musicians everybody has good days and bad. Regular practice and getting better as individuals and as a band is very important. But on stage we're having fun! It's a live show and our aim is to give a good performance. Being aware of the kind of mistake is important. You got careless and missed a cue, that's fine; Usually it doesn't repeat itself. But if you're making the same mistake in 3 consecutive shows then you need to practice that part out till it becomes a part of you. On stage we're not practicing; We're performing what we practiced.
I don't think we choose the instrument. Haha at the risk of sounding too Potteresque I think the instrument chooses us. Honestly, when you're young , you get attracted to a particular sound and a particular style of playing. So Sahil started playing the drums when he was just 5 years old. It wasn't a conscious decision. Just an instinctual pull. New instruments keep coming up and there are so many interesting sounds for us to play with! A friend got us a didgeridoo and a variant of a hang drum and we're tripping on what all we can do with them at home.
Oh change is inevitable. New influences, new sounds and our never ending curiosity always puts new ideas in our heads. We're experimenting a lot with electronic sounds. We're a live rock band and we'll always be a guitar driven band but that isn't a restriction on us. It's just our go to instrument to resolve an idea. We're still learning and we have so much to learn. That'll never stop. We do understand compositions better. Now we're trying to resolve an idea in any way possible. Our second album is gonna be a very big leap musically. We're already playing a few singles live and while one song is an EDM space, the other is somewhat along the lines of a folk rock song. Both are getting a really good response with people putting up bootlegs. We're not afraid to experiment; making a good song is the priority now.
Oh we wish there was a set process! Living together helps. So in the middle of the night Raman can wake you up with a guitar and say “let's work on this song I'm stuck here”. We bounce ideas off each other in real time. One guy records a scratch and everybody else's opinion is right next door. Sometimes a song begins as a vocal melody and sometimes a guitar riff. There's been instances when a drum groove has changed the mood of the entire song and we had to restructure the song cause we found this direction more interesting. One good thing we do is that we record all our scratches and keep them online. Half of them are our jams recorded on a mobile phone! Ideas take time to grow and eventually they lead to a kickass song.
There's so much on our plate right now! We released "Alas ka Pedh", our debut album, last year and it's done really well. We work really hard on our music videos and it's really worked out for us. We've got more than 2 million hits on our YouTube channel and our primary aim is to keep doing what has been working for us. Work has already begun on the 2nd album and we intend to release 3 music videos, hopefully, before the end of the year.
Leave the ego out of it, have a goal and work towards it. Don't leave the fun out of the journey. The biggest bands in the world are the ones that stick together through everything. Also don't look at the lucky exceptions in the industry. They're the wrong role models. Everything is available online for free, learn what you can when you can. If you get lucky and catch a big break then excellent but eventually it's your hard work that'll pay off.