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From opening for Iron Maiden in Bangalore this year to being invited by the band to play at the Download Festival in the UK, Indian rock band Parikrama is soaring real high. Busy rounding up practice sessions, finalising the legalities of visas and getting a million other things in order, the guys have a tight schedule but are more than thrilled to talk about their upcoming UK tour. It couldnít have gotten bigger for them. They are ecstatic and remember every minute detail of their heroes applauding them at the Bangalore gig which eventually landed the invitation. The list of performers dotting the festival include Marilyn Manson, Evanescence, Dream Theater, Korn, Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver, Iron Maiden to name a few.
The Record caught up with Parikrama who will be taking off for their tour this month at the prestigious Download Festival in UK.

The Record: How and when did the band come together?
Nitin Malik: We were six of us who wanted to play classic rock and the initial intention was just to play for ourselves. There was not the slightest idea about the group getting this big. We got paid Rs. 500 for the first gig (laughs). After entering a couple of competitions we got national recognition.

Sonam Sherpa: I walked into the band auditions while I was in Delhi some 16 years ago. I was doing my graduation. I just wanted to play the guitar and wasnít looking forward to being a part of the band or anything but I got shortlisted. Then I thought I would have fun till I get done with my college and Iím still here.

TR: How did the invitation to the Download festival exactly come about?
Subir Malik: We had never met Iron Maiden in our lives and were huge fans of theirs. So when DNA Networks called us to open the gig, we were very excited and it was a big thing for us. Just to perform well there, we cancelled six to seven shows and practiced real hard. While we were playing, the Maiden band members were standing surrounding us and kept encouraging us. We played two extra songs on their request. I still remember Bruce Dickinson standing quite close to me and clapping. After the show, their manager Rod Smallwood came up me and asked for my contact details. I wonít deny that I was checking my mails five times a day after that and a couple of days later there was a mail from him inviting us for the Download festival. We will be playing nine confirmed shows in the UK at places such as Rio, Astoria in Brixton which will be an Iron Maiden-Parikrama show. The best part is that Iron Maiden is handling everything for us including the press in the UK. I have spoken to a couple of newspapers from the UK and they tell me thereís a buzz about an Indian band that is going to perform.

Nitin Malik: My first reaction to the invitation was disbelief. I thought it happens only in the movies. My jaw dropped; imagine playing at the same venue as Dream Theater! Are you f****** kidding me? (Laughs).Thankfully, I have overcome my fear of flying also. [Iron Maiden is] very down to earth, very cool. The manager just strolled into our greenroom and struck up a conversation. I was flattered, because after touring a lot and meeting so many artistes I have never met huge rockstars like them with absolutely no airs. The show was really good because we had a crowd of about 30,000 gathered only to watch Iron Maiden and I actually saw them queuing up outside. So when they were enjoying our music and having a great time, it felt unbelievable.

TR: How are the preparations for the show coming along? How has the Parikrama sound changed over the years?
Subir Malik: We have come up with a couple of more originals. We had composed two especially for the Maiden show in Bangalore. We are also revamping our other songs and trying to organise them better. This will open up a lot of opportunities for Indian bands abroad.

Nitin Malik: We will be playing all originals. Iím composing a couple of tracks, and whatever people may say about us being a cover band doesnít really affect us because we play them for the audience. Itís definitely originals that we are concentrating on. Thereís a new track called Am I Dreaming which is inspired by The Lord Of The Rings. I compare it to Ramayana, where a lot of them get together to kill the evil. It all boils down to the same thing. I feel that our originals have definitely become more progressive, intelligent and compact over the years.

Sonam Sherpa: We are working really hard, putting in a lot of practice and have come up with a lot of new compositions. For them it will be a metal sound with an Indian twist which will be interesting. There have been Indian bands who have played abroad but havenít really gotten noticed. I believe our performance will make a huge difference to the Indian rock scene.

You can read the rest of our feature on Parikrama in the June 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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