• Sat, Jun 22, 2024

Them Clones Returns (In A Sense)

interviews Mar 13, 05:49pm

The now legendary rock band is playing one show this Friday


It’s wild to say this, honestly, but Them Clones is playing another gig! One of the great Indian rock bands coming back to do a one-night-only setup is quite a big deal; in this case, it’s in Delhi, at The Piano Man, it’s being put together by Warpcore, it’s being sponsored by Sony (!), and it’s all very exciting.

So, we spoke to them about their long career, certain moments and more. We asked them absolutely nothing about the upcoming show on Friday, because you’re just going to have to be there. Without further ado:


How do you think about making music 24 years after starting out? Bands that exist for this long are a rarity - how do you all keep each other interested in being indie and making things together?

We did it when we did it. 17 years is a lifetime. Not sure if it's about keeping “each other” interested, maybe more about keeping yourself interested and hoping the energy rubs off. If the fundamental basic of making music together is not mutually exciting, might as well not do it at all.


In your eyes, how has RK Puram changed since 2000? Would y'all say your neighbourhood that you lived in has changed fundamentally, or do you still find memories when you walk around there today?

It's been decades since any of us lived there. You'll have to ask a few of the local acts there :)


We remember hearing 'My Life' back in the day on TV, a medium which is barely around anymore. Could you comment on what you as a band felt when you had a music video on TV and what an equivalent of that could be these days, if that's even possible? And, how did the Yamaha ad happen!?

We were touring across India and had landed in Bangalore that day. I (Prithwish) checked in to my room and randomly turned on VH1 and in a few mins, My Life came on. It was numbing. I vaguely recollect going to the different rooms but everyone else was napping. Eventually they put it on heavy rotation so thankfully we all got to witness it together.

Yamaha happened because we were touring on the Yamaha Roxx circuit nationally. My life was a new track gaining a lot of anthemic mileage among the college going at the time, which was great. Yamaha noticed it and reached out to us to put it on one of their ads. We wanted to ensure that the track remains ours, so we licensed a minute of it and requested them to give us credit on the ad film itself. They agreed, which we are grateful for.


What are your thoughts on, specifically, crowds today versus crowds pre-pandemic? Are there any glaring changes that y'all think about?

Well, we last played pre-pandemic. So maybe we will find out how things have panned out post that time. We are very grateful for all the folks that have bought tickets and freed up their evening to get together and hang with us. We will never take that for granted, and look forward to having some fun together.


Could you tell us how a band like yours structures a jam? Do y'all develop ideas, or come to the table with full formed ideas, or is there a particular thing all of you think of when you meet to play together?

Each of us have brought ideas and it's usually a constant shoot from the hips to give shape to those ideas. The rest of the writing process was always more organic. There have been a few instances of one of us bringing fully formed songs, but those have been very rare.


What upcoming gigs and music could we anticipate in the near future?

None. This is One Night Only.


What was your favourite ‘festival’ performance pre-2019, and what about the festival scene seems interesting to look forward to today (lineup-wise)?

Great Indian Rock, NH7 Weekender, Independence Rock stand out among the bigger ones. A few boutique ones also stood out, especially Escape in Naukichiyatal and of course, our very own Clonefest.


This attitude some modern artists often have of not caring about what people think about your art: is there a balance between doing that and genuinely caring about the much-maligned 'business side' of indie music? Does it even matter to make a band a brand, or have y'all just allowed that side of it to take care of itself?

Not sure which modern artists you're referring to. Any artist who is actually grinding it out every day knows very well the importance of the business side of things. Neither the creation process nor the business process can stand alone. Both are the artists’ responsibility.

Sometimes, if it appears as if an artist (at least a financially viable one) doesn't care about the business side, it usually means they have made it decently big enough to hire other people to do that bit. So someone is doing it no matter what. To assume otherwise is a little delusional. We care about putting food on the table for our families too, don't we? That's the ‘business side’ of family.

As a band, we always paid attention to both.

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