Sulphur Snow is a 4 piece Vadodara/Mumbai based Hindi/English band. They have performed in various rock festivals throughout the country. We discovered them on Instagram and luckily they decided to answer some of our questions!
Tell us about the origin of your band name.
Originally our band was called The Avant Garde for over a year, but as it was an existing creative genre and there was already a band named Avant Garde in the late 60’s, so we decided to look for a unique name. Sulphur Snow was a unique accident that hinted to a very grey shade to things in life, moreover it sounded and felt right to us. It was nice and bright with a dark tint and felt like it had substance.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
We are not genre specific to be very frank as all our songs are very different and experimental. But our sound is something between Rock and Modern Progressive with Indian roots.
Who are your biggest influences?
All four of us have very different influences musically but band’s like Porcupine Tree, Metallica, Blackstratblues, Plini, Dream Theatre, John Mayer, etc. are a few who resonate with all of us.
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
We have Adhirath as vocalist and bassist, Akhil as vocalist and guitarist, Ivan as guitarist and Srujan as our drummer. Ivan, Adhirath and Akhil met in an engineering college and Srujan was a mutual friend in the music scene. They all played as freelancers for each other’s respective bands and collaborations then ended up making Sulphur Snow as a full-time project. We know each other form nearly 5-6years.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
We have played together for the last 4 years nearly and we are really passionate about making our own songs. We all were decent musicians who were really driven to write and compose something which felt real and genuine and the process together gave us a huge kick as our songs were jam-based and no one was telling anyone else what to do, we all were expressing ourselves. And once we got a hang of it, we all were pretty sure this is what we wanted to do. There was also an existing indie band culture in Vadodara which was growing at that time which was also a big inspiration as it gave us a community to share our music with.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Our songwriting process is initially very melody-driven where Ivan (guitarist) or Akhil (guitarist) come up with an arpeggio progression or a guitar riff which the whole band jams on for a couple of hours or maybe weeks bouncing different ideas. In those jams, there are unique rhythmic patterns and break downs which Srujan (drummer) comes up with which defines the flow of the song in a certain way. Meanwhile, Adhirath (vocalist/bassist) comes up with vocal melodies and words or phrases defining the feel of the song by ad-libbing on all the jams. Then we sit together, discuss and jam on those things to polish the ideas and decide what works best and write lyrics over it. So actually the songwriting process is inclusive of all of us mostly. Though there is no one set path we follow, if one of us comes up with an idea be it rhythmical, lyrical or conceptual we jam over it to see if we can create something out of it.
We don’t have a specific theme we talk about since we want to talk about different topics, expressions, emotions, motivations and colours we experience as young individuals. We try to talk about what is real and matters or affects us and society. Having said that we also sense that, Hope is something which we repeatedly have an inclination to lyrically. But if we see the songs there is a lot we are talking about with various different perspectives and no two songs will sound or feel the same. I am pretty sure our sound is evolving so will our songs and themes.
Where have you performed till now? Do you have any upcoming performances?
In the past 4 years, the band has performed over 50 gigs in Gujarat and all over India. Few of the shows are as follows:
- Spring Fest 2017, IIT Kharagpur (Winners)
- Atharv 2017 as well as 2018, IIM Indore (Winners)
- V-Fest 2015, Goa (Winners)
- Prakarsh 2016-17, SVIT-Vadodara (Winners)
- Paramarsh, 2018 (Headliner Act) (Winners)
- Mood Indigo 2016, IIT Bombay (First Runners-up)
- Mood Indigo 2017, IIT Bombay (First Runners-up)
- Sea Rock 2017, BITS Goa
- Hard Rock Cafe Worli, December 2017
- Hard Rock Cafe Andheri, July 2018
We independently released our first EP “Unbound” in July 2017. We are now releasing our single “Ho Tum” with Compass Box Studios early March 2019. The band is also working on a full-length album hopefully releasing October 2019. The band has been an active part of the Independent DIY Music scene of Baroda and has been organising gigs for the sustainability of the music scene. Recently we are planning another Indie DIY gig later this March. And a couple of intimate gigs here and there in Vadodara. That band is also in conversation with more popular venues like High Spirits, Pune, Hard Rock Cafe, The Habitat, Tuning Fork, etc. to take our music from Vadodara to larger audiences and big cities.
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
We have written 13 songs and 5-6 are in the making at this point. So our playlist is a mix and match for all these songs depending upon the time slot, venue, audience, etc. Recently two of these songs, Ho Tum and Higher have been really something though, our dedicated audience will not let us get off stage without performing. But as all the songs are different we have experienced everyone has a different favourite, which makes us really happy frankly.
We are full-time musicians now and to sustain we have to once in a while take up commercial gigs and play covers cover songs (one for the kitchen, one for the soul). Although this is something we don’t look down upon, we as a band would prefer not to and we are getting there.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Recently Adhirath and Srujan have moved to Mumbai looking for better gigs as the scene in Vadodara is growing yet is not out there. Moreover, there is an urge of playing music to fresher venues and audiences too that lead them there. Ivan is still in Vadodara holding it all together there and Akhil has moved to Ahmedabad exploring the scene. So we are 4 individuals in 3 different cities, plus we are a band which hung out and jammed for over 2 years literally every single day, so it is hard. As full-time independent musicians, economic sustainability is also not something you can brag upon which directly or indirectly affects a lot of things…
But we learning to record and share stuff which somehow breaks that void and keeps us in the loop so that on the weekends when we meet we can kick start things. Most of us have taken music teaching as a parallel career option too which helps us stay in touch with music, gives us more time to work on our individual skill and supports us financially. Collectively we all want to make fresh music and we have a chemistry between us which is keeping us together.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
Fame and Fortune, who doesn’t what that! But that is not the sole purpose… We enjoy exploring music together, different ideas, genres, sounds, topics. The journey of starting a song from scratch and giving it meaning, and then seeing how universal and abstract music is, that everyone has their own interpretation, their own storeys which are connected to it.
The process of making music feels great and that is the reason we got together in the first place.
What advice do you have for people especially from India, who want to form their own bands?
You have to invest time in it, so be patient. Stick together once you find the right combination. Stay inspired and keep making music rest everything else will take care of itself in due time.
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