Jamming In: SPAN, The band
In the year 2004, a group of friends in the city of Kolkata, who had immense love for the genre of rock music decided to get together and form a music band. Hence, originated SPAN- a music band with the rock genre at its core. SPAN currently consists of the following band members: Stuart Munro, who is also one of the founders of the band, on the bass guitar, Rajiv Sunam as a vocalist, Deboprotim Baksi on drums and percussions, Samrat Mukherjee on the keyboard and Devapriya Sinha as the rhythm and the lead guitarist. Team MM got a chance to interview the band with immensely talented members who shared a great camaraderie. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Monday Morning: Can you please tell us the significance of the name SPAN for a music band and how it came into being?
Span Band(SB): We cover a lot of genres of music when we record and perform. So the ‘span’ of the music we do is pretty big. Hence, the name SPAN. Coming to the history of the band, in the year 2004, a few common friends met up one fine day and decided that we would form a new music band. We wanted to try out something new and since most of us were not part of any other music bands, we decided to form a new music band among ourselves.
MM: Could you briefly describe your music making process?
SB: We put together our personal choices and suggestions. We then focus on our ability to play the song and try to improvise on them, so that we still keep the flavour of the song and at the same time give it our touch. Sometimes, you like the music you hear, and at other times you don’t, and there starts the process of adjustment. One can never really ape one particular form of music, there’s always your version of it, which is what we call sound. It sometimes comes as a request from the crowd as well as from our fans.
MM: Who or what acts as an inspiration when you make your music?
SB: The good fact about our band is that each one of us comes from a different background and has a completely different lifestyle from the other members of the band. What we do is, each of us makes changes to the music we are in the process of making, depending on his specific taste in music. So, our differences collaborate and act like an inspiration to each of us. In a way, we inspire each other.
But, if we had to name famous personalities, then Pink Floyd, Ion Biden, Led Zeppelin would be a few names that inspire all of us.
MM: What do you like to do other than playing music that contributes to the creation of your music pieces, which has become a routine before creating tunes?
SB: Well, most of us except Stuart and Samrat are full-time musicians. So, during our free time, we just hang out and bond with each other by doing activities that we all share a common interest in. That way, the dynamics and chemistry of the band improve which leads to a better quality of music.
MM: What has been the best memory in your journey as a band till date?
SB: Travelling has always been the best part as it’s a lot of fun to travel together to places which are distant and then perform at that particular location. There are some stupid and funny moments we look back to. When we performed for the crowd at Dumduma situated in Bhubaneswar, we were living in a resort with a tea garden in its premises where we would walk around and chatter. There was a time when we were at Digboi, Assam. The place resembled that of a countryside where we could find elephants, leopards, and other animals now and then. The rich wildlife was a sight to behold and a memory to relive.
MM: How is the situation of rock as a music genre in India? Is it popular enough?
SB: With Bollywood music being such a hype, the average Indian audience never ventures out of mainstream Bollywood music. Non-commercial music such as rock doesn’t have much business attraction or media push. But we believe that rock music has an audience, of its own, who tend to find the kind of rock which soothes their taste. Moreover, Bollywood has now been well influenced by the rock in its music. Rock, in its raw form, will emerge gradually with time.
MM: How was the experience of being a part of Channel V’s TV reality show?
SB: That was quite long back. At that point of time, SPAN was new and different. Back then, we used to write our songs and make a lot of professional music, and the whole setup of the band eventually changes because our lead vocalist moved on. Now, we mainly make covers of various songs.
MM: Do you have any plans of participating in competitions in the future?
SB: We don’t favour competitions because we feel that judgment is quite personal biased and while judging someone’s product, different people are found to put forward different opinions. Competitions are not very healthy for music. We just play for the audience and for ourselves. We haven’t made any plans and our motto remains that of- ‘As long as we play good music, we are on the go!’
MM: What is your advice to people trying to form their bands?
SB: Don’t seek for too many opinions, always believe in yourselves and go ahead and make all the noise you want. Follow your passion with perseverance and without fear! Just make sure that you don’t do this for money because the sufficiency of money is a very relative subject. Do what you love with all your heart and without expectations, it’s as simple as that.