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Monday, June 25, 2018

The Explosive Lady

Laxmi Bomb’s unusual mix of ’90s Bollywood melodies with contemporary beats and vocals on their recently launched EP makes it one worth checking out.

Mumbai | Updated: April 1, 2014 12:53:19 am
jazz-medium The arrangements for the tracks are by Levin Mendes, the drummer for the band; the cover of the EP H(om).

When Keegan Pereira and Levin Mendes, founders of the new dance-rock act Laxmi Bomb wanted to find out if they were producing good music, they would go for house parties and surreptitiously slip their tracks on the playlists; quite like EDM producers who drop unfinished or new tracks to check out their reception on a dance floor before an official release.

“The idea was to get unbiased feedback to the music. Most of the people were too high to care, but the few people who would like the music would ask around about the artiste. But we didn’t reveal anything back then,” says Pereira, vocalist of the band.

A year hence, they’ve convinced themselves and a bunch of promoters who have been booking them for gigs that there is more than just some merit in their music. In the last six months, they’ve played 10 gigs and released two music videos. Their latest is an EP titled H(om) (pronounced ‘home’) that combines ’90s Bollywood melodies with contemporary vocals and electronic beats.

The music is difficult to describe, but take for instance the track Major Major, the second on the EP. It starts with a melody that sounds like the bridge in the Bollywood blockbuster song Pehla Nasha, which then flows into a dirty bass mutation of visarjan beats.

The arrangements are Mendes’ brainchild and he made the tracks all by himself. First, he laid down all the parts for the tracks; the drums (he plays the instrument for Laxmi Bomb and bass heavy act Bombay Bassment), guitars, bass and the synths. Mendes believes that the Bollywood twist in the tracks was an organic manifestation  of the music he has been listening to since childhood.

When Mendes decided he wanted to give his music a vocal direction, he called Pereira over to “hang out”. The EP was ready even before they had a name for the band, or a band itself. “It was just a studio project back then, we were happy slipping this music into parties, like a drug,” says Pereira, who loved the “local tadka” the arrangements had.

But word spread. Rishu Singh, founder of indie artiste management company ennui.BOMB heard one of their tracks at a house party and decided he wanted to sign them on to his roster. “I have been a live musician and I figured that although the music was being composed in a studio, it was always meant to be played live,” says Mendes. After a brief search for bandmates, they found Joaquin Fernandes, who plays keyboards and synth and Ruell Barretto on bass. Laxmi Bomb was finally created.

When Pereira speaks of the electro-pop act, he refers to the band and music as a living person. “She is a woman of extremes, people either like her or hate her,” he says. When he speaks of the future of the music, he says, “She is in the hands of one man, Levin. He will tell her what to do.” While this does sound borderline schizophrenic, it is this madness in the music, their video for the track Major Major and their live act that make them a band to watch out for.

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