26 May 2012

Interview with Zedde Frontman 2Blue — The Original Madman

It’s not often that the frontman of a leading Rock N’ Roll band from India spares an hour to chat with you. The band we’re talking about here is Zedde, which was formed in around 2009 but is already creating typhoons (f**k ripples or waves) in the Indian music scene. The band comprises of seasoned musicians; all of them – 2Blue on vocals, Deepu on bass, Claver on guitars and Trevor on drums.
Zedde (L-R Trevor, 2Blue, Claver, and Akashdeep)

I’ve known 2Blue since he was the frontman of his previous band, Vayu (another kick ass rock band). The sheer talent and stage presence of the band would enthrall spectators. Zedde (with 5000+ fans on Facebook) has taken things a couple of notches higher. I got to speak to 2Blue about a lot of stuff, which is quite interesting. I have to share them with you! So here goes:

Q: What is music according to you?
2Blue (lead vocalist) the Trooper
2Blue: Music, according to me, is a religion. It’s the one thing that makes waking up every morning so exciting… the one thing that makes life worth living.

Q: So what do you think of the current music scenario?
2Blue: The scene is a lot better than what it used to be, say 5 years back. Audiences are a lot more receptive to original music now than ever before. There are many more venues to play and doors to knock… but yet, making a career out of rock music alone could still be a hardship. As a bass player who’s been in the local rock circuit, I’m sure you would agree. But living off music alone isn’t impossible. You could write about it, give lessons, and record advertising jingles amongst other things that interest you. There are also a number of platforms that have begun to extend support for independent artists. Just that you’ll need to be careful enough to read everything they ask you to put your signature on. *Winks*

Q: What does Zedde (the band) stand for? How does Zedde stand out?
Claver (with the guitar and DRILLER) & 2Blue
2Blue: We are very passionate about our live performances. Every gig is played like it’s our last. As you have seen at our gigs, we always try and give the audience something to write home about. There’s the electric drill machine guitar solo in ‘Blame It On Her Youth’, the megaphone, the whole skull mask act during ‘Mr. Horny’… there’s something that will warrant a reaction. Love us, hate us, but you can’t ignore us. So I guess Zedde stands for the unbridled rock n’ roll energy that the young-hearted would love to embrace.

Q: What are you future ventures and plans? Fill us in on what we should be excited about.
2Blue: A full length album, a music video… and what else? You tell me. *Smiles*

Q: Any advice for youngsters starting up?
2Blue: We all need to get out of our comfort zones if we really want to chase our dreams seriously. No great band was formed by people working 5 days a week as white collared slaves or by people whose parents had all the money in the world. We need to go against the grain to do what we truly believe in. We need to have the courage to follow the heart.

Zedde (in their 140 charactered avatar) continues to push the envelope with their brand of hard hitting rock music. With multiple awards under their belt, and countless headlining performances at college festivals and Hard Rock Caf├ęs across India, the band has become quite the force to be reckoned with. What makes them even more praiseworthy is the way they’re still grounded. 2Blue and I have been friends for more than 7 years. While our hectic schedules don't let us talk very often, when we do, it always feels like the good old times when our bands shared more than just stage space, bottles of booze, and a dozen dirty jokes.

Don't just go by what I'm saying. Listen to their music here (http://www.facebook.com/ZeddeLIVE/app_2405167945) to know for yourself. Also check out their official site www.ZeddeLIVE.in. You can always thank me later.
Zedde frontman 2Blue performing at Rider Mania, Goa

19 May 2012

Inflation, India & Politics (IIP)

There’s one thing common between inflation and the Indian government. God damn them both!

Very quickly, inflation is the increase in price of an item sold versus its previous price. The inflation could be measured on a month – on – month basis or a year – on – year basis (the price during the same month in the previous year). Inflation has 2 indices viz. WPI (Wholesale Price Index) – price of goods sold in the wholesale market and CPI (Consumer Price Index) – price customers pay for buying goods. The Indian government conveniently uses WPI to measure inflation in order to show numbers far less alarming than the actual ones. CPI (the price we citizens pay) is inclusive of chains of retailers, service taxes, excise duties and more. It’s probably 2 – 2 ½ times the WPI.

Inflation & the Economy (c) colourfultimes.com
While we're busy debating over IPL match fixing allegations, SRK's ban from a cricket ground and stupid actions of Siddharth Mallya, fuel inflation has increased 7%+ as compared to the previous month, while vegetable prices increased a mammoth 61%. IIP (Index of Industrial Production) is gloomy, export figures are being fudged, and the current government is mired in scams. And just a couple of weeks ago, corporate India was begging for rate cuts due to the slowdown in growth. Right! This would give people more money to buy, reduce operational cost of corporate houses and make them profit while we foolishly spend on stuff we don’t need.

The present predicament is also called stagflation, where growth slows but inflation stays high and it’s very 
bad news for a country’s economy.

Yes, fuel inflation is justified because it depends upon the global price of crude. But food prices?

Arresting inflation (c) economicnoise.com
I’ve discussed some reasons for inflation here. The price of primary food items has shot up more than 80% in the last 2 – 3 years. These are essential for survival of a country’s citizens; rich or poor, urban or rural. But precious little has been done to address this. India, in 2011, sat on a 75 – million tonne supply of food, about half of which will get wasted while about 50% of our population will stay malnourished. Sub standard warehousing and storage facilities, infrastructure, transportation & logistics and more contribute to this inflation conundrum we’re facing. Then there’s the huge chain of middlemen and wholesalers. The increase in lifestyle cost has prompted them to hoard food supplies which lead to price rises. And yet, we vehemently oppose FDI in retail – something that could improve these circumstances – easily fooled by the political rhetoric of kiraana stores losing their livelihood. Political parties propose this reform when in power and oppose it when in the opposition. Why? Simply to show how pro – reform they are when in power. Supporting the same when in the opposition will mean potential loss of bragging rights in campaigns running up to the elections.

The government has already stated there will be no major reforms until 2014 (read elections for the Union Government). And what will they offer? Fuel cost cuts, subsidies in food and other incentives which will squander tax payers’ money. All this while, the ‘India Shining’ story is gradually fading away. A 1% drop in GDP leads to loss of 15 lakh jobs in India. And we’ve fallen 2 ½ % in the last 2 years. Should we really vote this government into power again? The Congress needs a jolt! One that makes them realize not to take their seats for granted. Agreed we will lose out for the next few years again due to an even more inept party coming into power, but it things will get better in the long run. Remember how we grew when the Congress came back into power after the BJP lost their incumbency? Politicians are not incapable; they simply don’t want to support growth for fear of loss of voters who depend on their meagre handouts. Maybe they should take lessons from the late YSR Reddy, Naveen Patnaik, Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar and others.
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