Those were the days when pop music albums of Sonu Nigam used to be the most popular music among the youth. However, genres like Rock and Jazz took over. But here is a band that brings back the splendor of Pop.
SQS Supastars, a pop band launched by Times Music is striking a chord with Indian music fans with their pop album 'Supastars' on television music channels. The band of four guys from Mumbai was voted the best from West Zone by it's Facebook fans in the Times Supastars contest. Thereafter, they eventually won the contest in which bands from all zones of India had participated.
The band members Samar Puri, Sanam Puri, Quesh and Venky with their first music video 'Hawa Hawa' are already on the top 10 list of a leading radio channel. With the launch of their second video 'Behka' just around the corner, IBNLive catches the young band members in a candid conversation about the journey and their music.
IBNLive: Tell us something about your new album and the kind of songs it has?
Samar - Well, this album means a lot to us. In normal circumstances, It is not easy to record and produce an album of this level. A lot of money is involved. Besides, what are the odds of a Swedish company agreeing to mix and master a new Indian band?
This is our first released album ever! We are so excited about this and we can not thank Times music (Varkey) enough for this. What would otherwise have taken us years, Varkey made possible in a few months. This is a perfect start to this exciting new Journey.
In this album, we have focused on straight Pop. We've tried to keep this album easy to listen to and appeal to all audiences - it has massive dance tracks, pop/rock ballads and progressive pop/rock songs. There are a lot of vocal hooks and cool synth sounds that's new in this album. To add a little variation, we have added an acoustic song too. Some of the songs I wrote like 'Jaan Gaya' and 'Teri Aankhon Se' are very personal to me. 'Hawa Hawa' is doing good already, and 'Behka' is a very commercial track, so we have high hopes.
IBNLive: Which is your favorite song from the album? (All four of you choose one song collectively)
Sanam : I think "Teri Ankhon Se" is one song that all of us can't get enough of.
IBNLive: While the Indian youth grooves to what we call ‘Rock’ bands, yours is a ‘Pop’ band. Is it challenging?
Quesh : Most of us, and I mean most of us in this country, have grown up listening to Pop. MJ, Savage Garden, what ever. As we enter our teens, it seems silly to listen to the music you used to listen to as kids. So the progression begins to something that makes us feel more mature. Our story is no different. Each of us had our own little Rock Band. We have all played in many bands before and have mainly played Rock/Funk/Metal.
However, the one element that always stayed with each of us was the pop element. We always managed to bring that element into which ever style we tried. We all enjoy playing and listening to a lot of different genres and this shows in our album.
Now to answer your question, I don't think It is challenging at all because we have managed to fit in a bit of rock and electro/alternative into the album as well. Some people tend to love the club songs, the rock lovers seem to love the other songs. Our live gigs are filled with power and energy!
Even though our focus has been pop, we still have our own way of expressing our music. This is obviously influenced by our past (which was full of rock)
I think our advantage was the fact that we have all been playing in semi professional bands for so many years now. So no matter what the style is, the groove and the pop element have to stay strong for the songs to work.
Venky : Not really. Today's Pop Music has changed drastically from the 90's pop and is a much more exciting genre of music to play. The big names - for e.g. Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Beyonce, John Mayer, Adam Lambert, etc are artists who are extremely versatile and bring something new in Pop music from their own eclectic influences. We hope to do the same and we look at it promising and exciting genre. I would say its a good thing that rock bands are appreciated in India because it has taken a while for rock music to have gained a mass appeal.
IBNLive: From a group of friends, to the ‘Supastar’ tag, how has the journey been?
Quesh :The journey has been great! I still remember talking to the guys, planning different strategies so we can be smart and find a way for people to listen to us. We all had the same aim and drive. That's what got us so far.
The best part about this band is the fact that we all fit like a family. A family is not complete with out the father, who brings the food home, the mother who will love you no matter what you do, the brother or sister to fight with even though you love them more than anything else in this world. You get my drift? This band is complete. We all understand each other really well and bring out the best in each other.
The tag 'Supastar' doesn't change much. We are still a bunch of guys with the same dream and we know that there is no easy way out. You have to be smart, you have to stick together and you have to work hard. We all understand that and love each challenge that comes our way. It helps us grow as people.
‘Hawa Hawa’ is now the number 9 track on Mirchi top 10 on the radio, what next?
Samar : I would love for 'Hawa Hawa' to reach number 1. I would consider that a bonus. Our main aim was to reach out to people and make sure every one has a chance to listen to what we have to offer. Now we are waiting for our next song 'Behka' to do some magic.
IBNLive: There are several reality shows that bring in new voices in the Indian music industry. How do you see yourself fitting in?
Sanam : We have always believed in ourselves and our musical abilities. Each of us play a number of different instruments and continue to grow musically. Finding talent is not too hard. It is all around you. But the right combination to a band is the hardest thing to look for. That's what makes us special. The fact that we are in this together and no one can bring us down. So I guess my answer to this question is simply the fact that together, we will reach
our goals, no matter what. With or with out reality shows or talent hunts. Yes it would take us much longer to get where we are today, but we believe in our music.
IBNLive: Any Bollywood plans?
Quesh : Well, to be honest, we were just about to start working on some Bollywood projects before we decided to try for Supastars. I feel it is more of a challenge to make music for a scene that has already been created by someone else. Your music has to enhance that mood. The challenge seems inviting and none of us would miss a chance.
IBNLive: Where do you guys see SQS Supastars five years from now?
Samar : I see SQS as the top India band, known over seas as well. Touring the world, making contemporary music and looking to do things that no one has ever done before.
IBNLive: Do you plan to enter another genre of Music?
Venky : As a band, i think we'd stick to Pop. We'd definately bring lots of new elements and influences in each of our new songs and albums we make in the future.
IBNLive: Each one of you…What is ‘Music’ for you?
Venky : Music is the highest level of expression to me. It can make you dance, shout, laugh, cry, love, do wild things.. its fantastic.
Samar : Music for me is everything... my life!
Quesh : Music for me is very emotional. If I ever see a guitar lying around, I pick it up and start playing. When I am drumming, I feel connected and content with my self. Nothing else maters, I just feel the moment and enjoy the places it takes me in those few minutes.
Sanam : Nothing...seriously nothing is better than music. It's everywhere and it completes life. We'd be zombies without music.
IBNLive: Any musical personality or band that inspires SQS?
Venky: Inspiration happens to me everyday but to choose "A" music personality or band is impossible. I really dig the entertainer in Michael Jackson, the arrogance of Frank Sinatra, the storytelling of Bruce Springsteen & the power of The E Street Band, the psychedelia of The Doors, the genius of Stevie Wonder, the pure soul of Marvin Gaye, the blues of KL Saigal and the style of Kishore Kumar.
We can easily write a whole page of bands or people that inspire us in a BIG way. To name a few bands that inspire us - Nerverek, Dave Matt's band, U2, MJ, Linkin Park, Tiziano Ferro, etc.... The list goes on...
A lot actually. The smallest of things inspire us. I could be watching an amateur school band preform and something about them would inspire me.
IBNLive: A message from each one of you for your fans and the music industry?
Quesh : To our fans - Thank you guys so much for all the love and support you have given us till now. You guys give us the confidence and motivation to take this a step higher. I love you guys for that.
To the music industry - We hope to add another step to this ever growing musical ladder so people after us can explore higher grounds. I thank every musician, past or present for inspiring me and making me what I am today.
Venky : Sending all our love to our fans! Keep supporting us, buy our albums from Planet M and Landmark. Keep watching the videos. We'll be playing live for you guys in your city soon.
Samar : To our Supa Fans - Thanks for supporting us. It's because of you all we are here.
Music Industry - Its currently dominated by Bollywood... It should focus on private albums more. We are very very lucky to be here.
Sanam : Just be true to yourself and don't let anything distract you from what you believe will help you grow as a person. Nothing can stop you if you have a good heart.