A few years ago, when some of his friends started humming his band’s songs absent-mindedly, David Kom says he realised that it was probably time to start recording them. David, 28, has just returned to his Shillong home from the Converse Rubber Tracks national competition in Mumbai, where his band, Dossers Urge, won the prize for India’s best unsigned indie band.
During the competition, they had delivered an energy-packed performance, playing heavy rock music with clear and catchy riffs, at Bluefrog. Gideon Kom handled the drums with power and confidence, and flanking him was his brother, the guitarist David, wearing his signature black cap, and Romeo Kom, the band’s bassist. All three members do vocals. They were competing against four other bands that were picked for the finals out of 350 participants. When the winner was announced, the trio strode onto the stage and triumphantly held up their award — a mega-sized cardboard boarding pass from Mumbai to New York. Once there, they will record at the Converse state-of-the-art studio in Brooklyn.
It is a big opportunity for a band that, just a few years ago, was burning CDs to hand them out to their admirers. Dossers Urge formed in 2011 in Shillong, starting out by playing songs from Green Day and Blink-182 at the annual Tribal Students Fresher’s Meet, where people from various Northeastern tribes gather to have fun and get to know each other. Many indie and underground bands from the region find a platform here. “We offered to play for them without charging any fees,” says David. The audience was receptive to their music and Dossers Urge kept going back there, drawing bigger crowds each time. Their style kept evolving too, from teenage punk to a more mature, heavy rock of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. “I would say our genre is rock, even though our music doesn’t fit into any category,” he says.
New technologies have helped the band widen its reach. “You can record from home. There are at least five studios in every Northeastern state,” David says. However, the biggest impediment, he adds, is that bands lack confidence in their own material. “People don’t write their own songs. They just perform covers. Luckily, we had the support and encouragement of our friends, who insisted that we try making our own music,” adds David. Their name, Dossers Urge, seems to consolidate this conviction. “It means the urge to express emotions through music,” he says, adding, “I put down whatever comes to mind. If I am broke, I will write about that. If I miss my mom, I go in there too.”
In Brooklyn, the band, for the first time, will record live and with the best instruments available. “It adds so much more dynamism to the music. Over here, many studios insist on recording digitally so the tracks sound cleaner,” says David. Dossers Urge will fly out whenever their visas are ready. Till then, they are trying to be more active on social media. That’s something, David admits, they have to work on.