Indus Creed gets candid with MAXIM.
Indus Creed goes back to 1985 and Rock Machine. The scene was pretty grim back then, right?
It wasn’t a grim music scene then. There was no music scene. Or barely one. But we did what any bunch of kids with no fear, no plans and no sense would do—get out and try to rock as hard as we could because it was just so much fun.
Indus Creed has played in the Soviet Union, opened for Bon Jovi, Slash and played at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festival in the UK. What has been the most memorable experience for you?
It’s impossible to distil so many experiences into just one significant one. All the ones you mentioned were equally memorable in different ways. As was getting an MTV Video Music Award for our song,“Pretty Child.” But it’s not the highs that eventually make you... it’s the toughest climbs and the hardest paths that shape you, as musicians as well as human beings. So we’re thankful as much for the difficult times as we are for each mountain we scaled. And then went on to look for another one to ascend.
How has the band transformed over these years?
We were always a band that moved on from what we were doing to the new thing we wanted to do. The best evidence of that has been our albums, each of which attempted to explore new ground, sonically as well as compositionally. Rock Machine’s first evolution into Indus Creed in 1993 marked a change not just in the name but in our approach to our music. We opened it up to experimenting with Indian sounds as well as alternative rock influences. The current avatar of the band is an even more significant change from earlier forms just by virtue of the 12-year hiatus before we re-formed. Our individual experiences through those years when we were apart have shaped each of us into who we currently are. The infusion of young blood has also influenced us greatly. We’ve always been a band living in the now while looking firmly ahead. That’s still very much the case.
The setting of music in India has evolved by leaps. How does it feel to be surrounded by all this talent?
It feels great! The non-film music scene is incredibly fertile right now in India and we are truly very kicked to be a part of the ferment. There’s no dearth of kick-ass musicians carving new trails and we celebrate each of them.
Who would you say is the most off-beat musician at the moment?
We would put Suman Sridhar and Jeet Thayil, who go by the name Sridhar–Thayil, as the craziest pair around right now—and we mean crazy in just the coolest, most fearless, sense of the term.
The underground scene in India is at its peak right now. Why do you think that is suddenly the case, and what’s been the massive change in half a decade?
Because it’s meant to be so. Because listeners expect musicians to be themselves and play their own music. Because there’s no other way to be.
Well said. Which underground band is on your scanner these days?
There’s an instrumental progressive-rock band called Pangea that we love. They don’t play often enough and haven’t put out enough of their music. We really hope that’ll change because they’re the freshest thing we’ve heard here in a long time.
Does the multitude of competition ever make you wary of your own stance in the field of music?
We’ve never ever looked at other bands as competition. That’s because we don’t view what we do as a competitive thing. We make music because it makes us happy. We only want to get better at it and do it more often because both those things only serve to make us happier. That there are so many bands making their own music, sounding like themselves and not clones of American or British acts, and that they are doing it so well only boosts that happiness further... because we feel the energy of great creativity all around us.