When Bombay Black decided to regroup last year, a decade after it had disbanded, it did so on an impulse. The regrouping — as it’s not really a band in the traditional sense — once again brought together guitarists Randolph Correia and Paresh Kamath, electronica producer Samrat B and drummer Lindsay D’Mello. “Last year, in a casual gathering, everyone around felt the need, and the timing to recreate the Bombay Black experience. Something had to be done which was missing and thus, 15 years of a bizarre legacy was awakened,” says Samrat.
They have since been performing regularly and have also released an album, Bombay Black Hole. In February, the members launched the video for the track Boing Boing. Directed by filmmaker Megha Ramaswamy, who is known for her award-winning documentary short on acid violence titled Newborns, the video in monochrome has already had over one lakh views.
Bombay Black had first come together in 1999, at a time when India’s indie music scene was still young. One day, bassist Jaideep, with whom Paresh then had a thrash metal band WitchHammer, mentioned that a music festival in Australia, called The Big Day Out, was looking to feature international indie bands. The boys put together music that they had been working on and copied it onto a CD. “One of us then took a black marker and wrote ‘Bombay Black’ on it. And Bombay Black was formed,” recalls Paresh.
However, the pursuit of their respective career paths caused them to part ways in 2005. While Corriea formed Shaa’ir + Func with Monica Dogra, Samrat moved to Delhi and set up the electronica band Teddy Boy Kill. Paresh, with drummer Kurt Peters and bassist Naresh, became a part of the folk rock project Kailasa, and D’Mello went on to be a part of various collectives, Midival Punditz and Dark Circle Factory.
The new album, which also features tracks by bassist Jaideep Thirumalai and guitarist Tyrone Fernandes, brings back the eclectic touch of Bombay Black but also taps into the personal journeys that the musicians have charted since 2005. “Between 2000 and now, so many genres have come up. We’ve assimilated lots of those styles into our own as we always did. Last year, when we decided to get together once more, we set up a series of jams at Randolph’s house. Everyone brought in their gear and set up, then we pressed record. I took a few of those jams home as did Samrat and Randolph, and we came back with finished tunes. Then we re-recorded them,” says Paresh, explaining how the album shaped up.
While the members assert that very little has changed in terms of the creative energy of Bombay Black, they do admit that technology has transformed much. “From studio sessions, dabbling with state-of-the-art gear, and the risks and rewards of finding original indie and electronic music, to making really DIY productions, videos and art — it has all been at the behest of technology and a spirit to create something genuine in a sea of clones,” says Samrat.