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Almost September


Almost September is a Hyderabad based band comprising of Himadri Chakroborty - Vocals, Rahul Rumalla - Guitars/Vocals/Backing Vocals, Akhil Kodamanchili - Guitars, Anubhav Mehrotra - Bass, Vamsi Pavan - Drums. I first saw the band perform at the IIIT Hyderabad fest in ‘10. With most of the band  playing either Thrash or Death their sound was really refreshing. Almost September has some really nice guitar work and an awesome drummer. They also performed at PEARL’10 in BITS Hyderabad, where they won the battle of the bands. Their lyrics also show a high level of maturity. I would personally recommend you to listen to ‘Frieda’, my favorite song. Almost September project themselves as a band that is not bound by the constrains of genre, though they do have a alternative/progressive fell to their songs.  You can listen to the songs of their new album on their ReverbNation page.
Q. How’d you guys come up with the name Almost September? Have you changed the band’s name before?
This was supposed to be a band secret of sorts. But once in a while we reveal it. Take your guesses, what’s in a name anyway?  No, we’ve  never changed the name, we have stuck with Almost September from the start. If you stalked us enough, it would be very obvious. (Please don’t stalk us.)
Q. How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
‘Almost’ all of us in the band have played with each other at some point in the last 4 years prior to Almost September. Vamsi and Anubhav played together in Ethereal Rush. Vamsi Anubhav and Himadri were playing together in “Groove Juice”, and when that project lost steam, they were looking to start up a new project. Vamsi and Akhil(ex-Skrypt www.reverbnation.com/skryptband) had shared a lot of musical ideas which hadn’t had a chance to be worked on earlier, so he had us all meet up and it took about 15 minutes before we were all more or less committed to forming the band. Our philosophies fell into place very swiftly as well. And when Akhil moved to Canada(to apply and audition for music school), Rahul(who was a freelancing at the point) was brought into the picture. And in the summer the band turned 5 piece for the first time when Akhil was back for vacation. Now most the band is scattered across the lands of the west.
Q. What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences? ( both foreign as well as Indian Bands that you admire )
We just write music which seems cool to us at the point of writing it, whatever that maybe.
Genre is really for the listeners to decide so they may organize their music libraries. For most artists, clearly, it seems to work out, but for us it was just a restriction. Genres imply too many things and expect certain things from both a sound and image point of view, so we just dont really care for the concept as an everyday thing. 
As for major influences collectively, it would be Tool, Porcupine Tree, Textures, Animals As Leaders, Guthrie Govan, Incubus and A Perfect Circle.
About the bands we admire, there are a few too many to list. But the Indian bands we look up to are Avial, Native Tongue, Thermal And A Quarter, Junkyard Groove, Joint Family, Undying Inc, Zero, Them Clones, Panatella, Buddha’s Babies Blown, Motherjane and Shaair + Func.
Q. When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Early summer 2009 was our first meeting. We’re all friends first, band mates second. So we rarely look for inspiration to make music together per se, we just feed off each others ideas that were inspired from where ever they were inspired from and create a sense of motivation for all of us to take the songs forward. 
Q. What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
We like to put some thought into the message of the song, and have the whole picture speak whether it is zoomed into or not. We dont impose any of our themes onto the listerners’ own philosophies, but we do have pretty strong opinions and will be as sarcastic as needed . Yin/Yang, Nothing Special, Doppelganger and The Peace song are semi-cynical perspectives on life/society. Dumb n Drummer is definitely one of our most psychedelic songs. Freida and Hug the Cloud are the 2 songs closest to love songs that we have. Yes, we write love songs. The themes of our music are actually very obvious so, the songs that have not been described are for homework.
Q. How has composing music together affected you guys personally?/ Connection and balance between your personal lives and the songs that you write
Our understanding of each other personally as friends and as individual has deepened as we write music together, because all we’re really doing is putting ourselves (opinions, statements, questions, blabbering, irritations etc. all in the language of music) out on the table and deciding how we present all the raw stuff as a whole unit as a band in a song. We’ve definitely had some bad runs, and have chucked about an EP’s worth of material along the way, but all in all the lessons learnt haven’t been forgotten. We attempted to write songs in some weird formats and some weirder ones just didn’t work out, but our next effort will probably be much more farfetched while being more solid from our perspectives for sure and hopefully more recognized.
Q. Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
We play all our songs at every show unless we have a time limit, in which case, we try and maintain a balance between playing songs that we’ve been playing a while and songs that we would have finished more recently that haven’t had much stage time. Covers: a few once in a while. We tend to pick covers either for the challenge that they are to play or/and just how much we enjoy listening/playing them. Covers are a fairly insignificant part of Almost September.
Q. How do you guys rehearse and practice?
We had a couple of jam rooms along the way, but most of our writing and hang outs(which is super important to build band chemistry, we feel) happened were at Anubhav’s place. There is a silly little software called Pyros drums or something like that, which basically lays out a super lo-fi drum kit on a computer keyboard. Now...guitars/bass vocals are pretty easy to have in a room, but suddenly we had this kit, and vamsi somehow played it pretty much as well as he played the real thing. So, that is how we jammed... a lot! Currently, we’re on hiatus and we have some plans of attempting a long distance band writing process, but more on that when it happens!
Q. What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Getting laid. We also had some rough times with line up changes, not so much each time, but that we had to deal with about 5-6 line up changes over the year. It’s all part of the package.
Q. What’s your ultimate direction for your band?
Getting laid. Being kick ass buddies and making music.
Q. When it comes to live performance whom do you think is the best?
Porcupine Tree is definitely one of those bands which is way up there. But really, when the music is good AND recognized as good, the performances seem to be best as good supplements! When the performance is any better than the music, then, its not about the music anymore. Which is fine, if they’re not pretending otherwise.
Q. What do u have to say about the rise of pop?
Pop is just popular shit(not with a negative connotation). Always been there. Just became exponentially perverted(now its “shit” with a nice dose of negativity) with the advent of technology because now everyone can make music. Everyone is capable of learning what music is about and eventually make it, but not with technology, that’s just bullshit. Assuming ‘music’ to have melody, harmony and rhythm as the main pillars and lyrical content and such being supplements to give music a more obvious meaning in a language we all know, playing around with computer stuff to make a remix or a bunch of random sounds put together with some cool effects isn’t not really making ‘music’(although it CAN be cool! increasingly rarely). Pop is fine, its okay to be pop...its ok to be whatever, really...as long as you are who you are and being honest about it. This brings us back to genres again;
Q. Any last words?
Are you going to kill us? This is a long distance interview, you know...

 

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