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Metal in India is an interesting phenomenon

'Winning at Cannes is like getting a tattoo'

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BIG BUZZ: Krishnamoorthy's band Scribe was the only Indian band nominated for the Europe Music Awards in 2011

It's difficult to imagine Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy quiet. When he's not exercising his vocals - vigorously - as lead singer for the metal band, Scribe, he's busy practising his beatboxing - a form of vocal percussion that involves producing beats, rhythm and musical sounds using one's lips, mouth, and tongue. If he's not doing beatboxing, he is sure to be spouting lines of dialogue from Bollywood movies like Andaz Apna Apna - the band's last, and acclaimed, album Mark of Teja was inspired by the movie - and cracking everyone up around him. And he also plays the guitar.

It's also difficult to imagine him idle. When he wasn't making music or singing, Krishnamoorthy found the time to work in an advertising agency, where he started as a copywriter. He started doing voiceovers for commercials, acting in them - remember the Havells microwave ad where the guy in the yellow tee mimics a packet of popcorn popping - dabbled in theatre, flirted with standup and finally found his calling behind a camera making movies. The Dewarists, the TV show that combined travel and music, was loved for the songs created by collaborative effort and its lush look. It bagged the bronze for Branded Content and Entertainment, a newly introduced category at Cannes 2012. The man at the helm was Krishnamoorthy. He even directed seven 30-second TV promos of Satyamev Jayate that piqued the curiosity of an entire nation. He was last seen as the lead actor in bandmate - Scribe bassist - Srinivasan Sunderrajan's indie film, The Untitled Karthik Krishnan Project.
So the first question one is propelled to ask him is, how does he do all this?

"We used to get a lot more done as kids, you know, " he begins. "So it's not very different from that. You keep changing what you're doing. Leave something, start something else, and then go back to it. The trick is to not do everything at the same time. But honestly, most things depend on what mood I'm in. "

A bespectacled, bearded 29-year-old, Krishnamoorthy, whose favourite colour unsurprisingly seems to be black, is talking to us between breaks during the shooting of a 10-part mini series for a music channel. "I come from the world of advertising, " he says. "My canvas is advertising and for the show to win at Cannes. . . that amounts to winning an Academy Award. Winning at Cannes is kind of like getting a tattoo, forever etched onto your skin.

"With The Dewarists I threw myself into unchartered territory. I had never seen any of those musicians at work but since I am one, I knew what I had to deal with. Mastering the aesthetics of a show like this was an everyday battle, but luckily, I had a supportive brand team that liked the narrative pace I wanted. It wasn't a sensational pace. After a while, even an hour seemed too little to tell the stories. I feel there's a side of Dewarists that never got told, " says Krishnamoorthy, who joined Corcoise, the production house headed by Prasoon Pandey, a few months ago.

Scribe, who were the only Indian band nominated for the Europe Music Awards in 2011, isn't something that Krishnamoorthy has given much attention to lately. But he promises that a second album is due this year. "The demos will be out end of the year. It will be a Christmas gift to myself. "

The band is among a handful of Indian metal bands like Demonic Resurrection, Undyin Inc and Bhayanak Maut that have a loyal and devoted following in India. Metal in India is an interesting phenomenon. An acquired taste, metal isn't everyone's cup of brew. Still, every year big metal bands make their way to India - biggies like Iron Maiden and Metallica have played at sold-out venues while international bands like Opeth, TesseracT and Lamb of God have played at venues, both large and small. American nu metal act Korn are due to perform in India in September. Metal seems to be doing quite well in the land of Bollywood when all other genres, with the exception of electronica, are gasping for breath.

Krishnamoorthy is less optimistic. "While it's true that unfamiliar music is more acceptable now, the scene is in a rut, " he says. "Metal is extreme music, and frankly, it has never been allowed the space. People who like it are very passionate about it. You see whirling moshpits whenever someone like Iron Maiden performs. But it would be nice for clubs to have metal nights. We need to induct more fans. The young bands need to get better, be comfortable with experimenting. "

Experimenting is definitely not something Krishnamoorthy is averse to. His brief dalliance with Bollywood had him lend his guttural growl to Ami shotti bolchi, which has Usha Uthup's vocals. The frenetic track suits the metal man's vocal style and Krishnamoorthy is more than pleased with the response the song received. "I like to do things that I don't fit into but that doesn't mean I'll sing a romantic number next, " he laughs. Talking about Ami shotti, he credits music composer and rock singer Vishal Dadlani for coming up with the idea. "The song is all Vishal. It's a blinding hybrid of two genres. It's a really crazy dope track. "

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