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Soaring high on the charts

Rohit Panniker tunes in to the notes of Udaan, a rock group that is scaling new heights with their chart busters

Photo: S. Mahinsha

Jam session The members of Udaan try out new beats

The studio is filled with silence as the five young men look at one another for a brief moment before they begin their recording. Almost immediately, a slow, soulful guitar riff begins followed by a steady pattern of the drums. As Suchith, the vocal ist of the band begins to sing - a touching song about friends and memories of times spent together - it moves into a crescendo that stirs your soul. As the song seemingly begins to end, it changes perspective as the guitars go into a riot of furious riffs, while the drums accompany with equal fury and the song fades to a close. A small taste of what this band, ‘Udaan,’ has to offer.

Udaan is not your typical rock band. Barely out of college, these band mates have made a name for themselves in the music industry by experimenting with Indie-rock - a genre of music which very few bands have dipped their toes in.

From the city

The city has its reason to be proud of these young men for three out of this five-member band are Keralites, of which two are from here.

The band consists of Suchith Suresan (vocalist and the principal songwriter), Siddharth Kumar (keys), Carl Fernandez (drums), Aaron Desmond (guitar), fondly called ‘Bhuji’ by his band mates, and Philip Joseph (bassist).

Suchith and Siddharth are from the city. Suchith did his schooling from St. Thomas Central School and Siddharth from Loyola School. They met when they were undergraduates at Madras Christian College, Chennai. They are now in the city to record their new songs in a move to go professional.

The band was formed in late 2006. On how it all began, Siddharth says: “It all started with one random tune which we were trying out when we were all sitting together.” From that tune was where their title track ‘Udaan,’ a song about breaking all barriers and soaring high in life, was conceptualised.

In fact, the band didn’t even have a name. “We performed our first song, ‘Udaan,’ at a college competition and people christened us Udaan after the song.” Very soon, they came up with four more songs and recorded the tracks. Immediately after that, they assiduously began to approach record labels.

The band tasted success when they won the light music competition at IIT Saarang this January. The crowd, which was around 8,000 people, instantly warmed up to the radiance of their music. Their music was so well received at Saarang that the students of IIT Chennai dedicated a fan community to Udaan on Orkut. “Winning at IIT was a turning point for the band, we believe,” opined ‘Bhuji’.

Inspired by the support their music received, Udaan decided to put on their mettle at RC Live, a competition to search for India’s best Hindi rock band. “We were asked to send in our demo. Out of the 125 bands that sent their compositions, 15 were selected of which we were one,” says Suchith.

Euphoria’s Palash Sen and Parikrama’s Subir Malik were the judges for the competition. “We didn’t win, but our music did get noticed,” adds Philip.

“They are a talented bunch of young men,” says Dr. Palash Sen of Euphoria. “Their song ‘Mein chalaa (Udaan)’ is one of the nicest songs that I’ve ever heard. With a little more hard work, they can definitely be the future of Indian Rock,” he adds.

Suchith already has a solo career going for him. He made his debut in playback singing with the Tamil movie ‘Sadhu Miranda’ where he sang for music director Deepak Dev. He has also sung for quite a number of Telugu films. He has also sung the jingle for Malayala Manorama’s Radio Mango, which was launched last year.

Be it an informal jamming session or performing at a show, the band has set a high standard for itself so that it’s a new challenge every time they play. These young men seek to spread a very simple message through their music - to soar high and to never surrender to any limitations. “We don’t want to limit ourselves. We want to keep experimenting. One thing I have to add is that as long as we believe in our music, nothing could ever get us down,” says Suchith with a smile and he looks at his band mates. They smile as they nod in agreement.

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