“We don’t think that an all-male band is asked questions based on their gender,” says Mithy Tatak, one of the founders of the all-female band, The Vinyl Records. It is a complaint, yes, but it is also reflective of the curiosity shared by people, whose eyes are too trained to see a man playing the guitar. The domain of music, much like other creative spaces, has been essentially male-dominated. Individual singers and bands, adorning the covers of cassettes have mostly been men. Indeed there have been women — terrific and inspiring — but their achievements often get overwhelmed by their male counterparts.
Specialising in the genre — indie-post punk, New Delhi-based The Vinyl Records came together in 2010. The band was formed by Banu Jini (28), Minam Tekseng (28) and Tatak (28), all from Arunachal Pradesh. Later, Cheyyrian Bark (28), the vocalist and keytarist joined in 2011 and they officially started the band. The band entered the more professional Indian indie scene when they performed and featured in MTV India’s F1 Rocks show in 2011. The journey, since then, has been “adventurous, inspiring” and they are still learning! “We have played in over 250 shows and we look forward to creating more music,” Tatak says.
Ahead of International Woman’s Day, indianexpress.com spoke to Tatak, who shared why they chose such a name for their band, do people expect different music from women and do they approach music differently.
How did the band come into place?
Three of us are from Arunachal Pradesh, We had started jamming together around late 2011 in our music teachers basement and in 2012 we officially started The Vinyl Records with Cherry ( vocalist). She is from Assam.
Why did you decide on the name The Vinyl Records?
We chose the name The Vinyl Records because, for us, vinyls represent the analog era of the ’70s and ’80s. A lot of music that inspired us is from that time. So we thought it’s the perfect choice for us.
How did your family members or peer groups react to your decision of forming a music band?
Initially, people used to be surprised but now, over the years, things have changed. Many female musicians have been active and they are changing the perception of the music scene. Our family and close ones, however, have always been very supportive towards our music.
Do people expect different kind of music from the band since they are all women?
We don’t think that people expect any different kind of music but yes sometimes women are not taken very seriously in this business.
Do you feel women approach music differently from men?
Rather than saying women approach music differently, we believe that human beings, as individuals, approach music differently. In our case, we find a little bit of ourselves in the music that we listen to and connect with. And that also reflects in how we approach music.
Was it a conscious decision to make The Vinyl Records an all women band?
It wasn’t a conscious decision but the whole idea of girl power did fuel our dreams which now is a reality.
Is it advantageous or disadvantageous to be an all-women band? What are the pros and the cons?
We love music and we are grateful that we have been playing together as band for seven years and we believe that it’s our music that has got us this far. The cons would be that of perception and the fact that we are asked questions based on our gender.