In 2009,when the band Shkabang started,it was nothing more than just a group of friends who enjoyed playing together. The band members of venture already belonged to different bands and they couldnt give enough time to develop a sound and a strategy for Shkabang. The members were slowly replaced. For the longest time,we had neither a producer,nor a sound. In December 2011,I met a producer,AFM,with whom I started developing a sound. It’s taken this long to find a space and to start thinking about putting an album out there, says Anushka Manchanda. Ready with their debut album Return To Disco Shkabang performed at High Spirits on Saturday as a part of their Return To Disco tour. We worked on our first song sporadically for about three months,experimenting with sounds and instruments,trying to produce what was there in our heads. There’s no reference for what we were doing,which made it tougher, she says adding that she moved to Goa with her producer for months and was joined by her guitarist so that the duo could drown themselves in the production of this album.
The album features dance music,not the type you would nod your head to or tap your foot while having a conversation; but the type to get you inspired enough to bring out your boldest disco moves. Manchandas writing speaks of a better place to live in. Her songs talk of the need to raise ones voice against working in an industry where power is everything. Other tracks on the list are about the Mumbai attacks,drugs,love,being stabbed in the back and,ofcourse,wanting to dance. While a song titled Fight,predicted to be a favourite with the audience,talks about not getting stuck in silence,but speaking up for your beliefs,the track titled Crazy tells you how to embrace your quirks and enjoy the madness. And then there is Restless,which is about dancing with the enemy,and Disco which teaches you to break up with stress and bringing it down to the dance floor.
With more independent artistes venturing into Bollywood,Manchanda believes that the industry has changed. There’s a big change in attitude and perception. Indie musicians don’t need to conform; they are loved and wanted for their skill,their style. You don’t need to ‘sell-out’ to do filmy music now,because filmy music has changed. Bollywood has massive reach. It gives you enough support to do what you love to do,reach out,make a difference and it sure as hell pays the bills, she says.
The band features Makarand Mane aka Papal,and his wife Sapna on drums and bass,while Shikhar (Manchandas brother) plays the guitar and Manchanda does the vocals and writes the songs. We’ve been experimenting at our gigs,mixing our newer productions into the set to see how it works for us on stage,trying new looks,a newer set up,different makeup, says Manchanda. While the album production and the tour to promote it has taken up most of her time,Manchanda reveals that she will be working on innovative ideas for her Bollywood act soon.