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New Artist Alert: Avial
True to their name, they have deliciously mixed old Malayalam poetry and rolled it up into some contemporary alternative rock. As they choose to sing in their mother tongue, trying to create a fan base across the globe might look difficult. However, as a band, Avail always thinks ahead of their times.

With an interesting name (most non-Malayalees love the dish) and an almost devilish intensity drilling through their songs, the of people’s curiosity ~ to find out what their music is all about ~ is quite high and people are sure to check it out. Their lyrical content ~ a couple of them dug out from the archives of a very famous poet and the others newly written ~ is tough to decipher, even for a person who knows the language.

It was late 2003 when some of us first caught their first video Nada Nada on SS Music and were intrigued by the nature of the song and the gripping video. There was nothing much on the band. Were all their songs in Malayalam? Was it a one-off video? After four years, a mail I read said ‘Avial to launch their debut album’ and there’s a sudden flashback ~ the song still fresh and the video flipping through ~ the excitement of already having been exposed to their music.

The band Avial
All five of them are completely into music. “We have been doing only music which I guess comes through in our songs and that’s also one of the reasons the record label wanted to sign us on,” says guitarist Rex, who has been a part of the famous Daksha Seth Dance Academy in Kerala.

“It’s at the institute that I met Tony (vocals/synth) and Naresh (bass) and found that we had similar interests,” says Rex adding that Daksha Seth absolutely loved their music. “She doesn’t understand the language so much, but she loved the sound of it. It’s also because of the folk elements we have tried [out and successfully] incorporated,” he explains.

Outside its obvious Indian roots, the band has a varying list of influences ranging over a number of genres from the 70s to the 90s, and even delving into the disco-pop of Boney M and Abba. “We like Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Alice in Chains, Incubus to name a few,” says Tony.

Getting Experimental
The band had a certain sound in mind when they started out. They wanted to sing in Malayalam, for example, and also wanted an underlined electronic feel to it which the synth brings in. “We have all been a part of different bands. I was part of Motherjane, but somehow it’s funny to be conversing in Malayalam all the while and switch to English while singing. It might not be funny to others, but we found it funny. Also, it’s not us to sing in English,” says Rex.

The urge to go experimental was the common thread running through all the members. “We had a certain design in mind as to what we should sound like. The music is something we can relate to and for many people who are already our fans, language really doesn’t matter. We have a lot of foreigners tuning into our music,” says Tony.

“Our lifestyle is modern, but we express ourselves in our mother tongue. It comes to us naturally. We evolved over the years with the music we were playing and everything just fit in well. People have heard Malayalam rock, and they have heard rock, but they’ve never heard ‘alternative Malayali rock’,” laughs Rex.

The Album
The band was formed ‘one fine morning’ according to both Rex and Tony. “We were into music, so we just thought we should take it seriously, and [we] plunged into it,” says Tony. Two of the tracks ~ Nada Nada and Karukara ~ are poems by the famous poet Kavalam Narayana Panicker.

You can read the rest of our feature New Artist Alert: Avial in the December 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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