Prashant Shah guitarist, songwriter, film fan, visual effects specialist and well known lover of Pav Bhaji takes time to chat with MetalTalk.net.
You have been around since 2005 - but some of you were well known in other bands before that. How did you all come together to form Scribe?
"The birth of Scribe was actually spawned by the demise of Chaos Theory (R.I.P), a band which our bass player Srinivas Sunderrajan and our previous drummer Niraj Trivedi were a part of. They started looking for members to start a unit once CT disbanded. The 'scene' for Metal and aggressive music in 2005 was relatively small, which meant that most bands knew each other fairly well. Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, our vocalist, played guitar for Sonic the Hedgehog, a side project of Niraj and Srinivas.
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"He'd do vocals for a song or two during the Sonic the Hedgehog sets, and expressed interest in doing vocals full time. I'd been playing guitar for my other band, Exhumation and wanted to play something different from what I did with Exhumation. Srinivas and I knew each other from college so he asked me to come onboard.
"The four of us got together and jammed on a few Hatebreed, Sick Of It all covers. It was in that first jam itself that it clicked and there was potential to make something out of this unit. Hardcore was largely unknown then in India, and the rawness of the genre was what shaped the initial influence musically. We'd play covers of Strife, Earth Crisis, Terror and Walls Of Jericho.
"We played four piece for a year, however, we knew we wanted to get a second guitar player to add more layers to the sound, we decided to get Akshay from Skincold to join us as the 2nd Guitar player. In 2009, after playing at the Inferno Festival, Oslo, we parted ways with drummer and founding member Niraj Trivedi. Within a week of that we started jamming with our current drummer, Virendra Kaith (Demonic Resurrection) and we've had that line-up since then.
"Apart from Scribe, Srinivas and Vishwesh are film directors, Akshay works in Advertising and Virendra plays/teaches drums full-time. I work in the Visual Effects industry.
You have been described as being 'technically proficient' - what does this relate to; we hear you are quite specific about expression of your guitar riffs...
"When we started writing our own material, influences from our previous projects were very evident. My personal influences were more towards the extreme and technical side of things. Apart from death Metal, I was inspired by bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Sikth, Meshuggah (who isn't) and that naturally influenced my writing with Scribe.
"What inspired me most about these bands was that they were technical, pushing musical norms and yet had great songs, ones you could recall. Over the years we've tried to ingrain that ideology in our song writing for Scribe. We like writing songs and not just a collective of ever changing riffs. Apart from music there are many things that creatively stimulate us. Films being a common influence amongst us all. We try and pay homage through our music, song titles and album titles as well.
"There are no rules with Scribe, an event, person, music, object, and nature - absolutely anything can trigger an idea, as long as it sounds good and cohesive, anything goes. Akshay and I write songs at home, prepare scratches with basic drums, present it to the band, we make the necessary changes according to the feedback the rest provide.
"Either Akshay or I will jam on the song with Viru (Drums) and then Vishwesh comes in with lyrics once the music is locked. That scratch goes through another round of review with our sound engineer, Kuber Sharma, before final tracking for the album/EP."
I have to ask - why do you 'Love Pav Bhaji'?
"It's very hard to not like Pav Bhaji if you've been brought up in Bombay. It's one of those 'must eat' street food dishes from Bombay, for anyone who hasn't tried it. I dislike homemade Pav Bhaji. It has to be eaten outside of home to truly enjoy it.
"Musically, I didn't write the song thinking about my love for the dish. The name came much later, because of an incident. After a late Jam on a Sunday, we were scouring the city to get some grub. Finally we decided to take a really long trip to the Airport (one of the few places open post midnight for getting a meal).
"We were just so famished and tired, that as soon as my plate of Pav Bhaji arrived, I just stopped, stared at it for a couple of seconds and I uttered, "I love you Pav Bhaji".
"I don't think words would be appropriate for one to understand why there is a song named after. There is a contrast in the song musically and lyrically, which is what we tend to do on a lot of songs. The fans seem to like it a lot. We write serious music but deliver it with a bit of fun. There are already tons exceptionally great bands there who have an out and out serious message or a vibe. Scribe has always been a reflection of how all five of us really are offstage.
You have played at most, if not all, the Indian Metal festivals. Which is your favourite?
"There are two that are closer to our heart, for special reasons. The first is the Great Indian Rock festival, which was organized by Amit Saigal (R.I.P). Amit started India's first magazine for rock music, Rock Street Journal and dedicated a very huge part of his life to the scene throughout India. G.I.R is very sentimental for us; it's where we earned our stripes. There is something magical about playing in front of 8000-9000 people at the Hamsadhwani Amphitheatre in New Delhi on a chilly evening.
"The second festival that we love playing at is the NH7 Weekender - organized by Vijay Nair, Bobby Talwar and their company, Only Much Louder. Apart from being very strong supporters of alternative forms of music and being part of the scene for the last 14 years, they are very sharp entrepreneurs. NH7 is the biggest multi genre festival in India, with six stages over 100's of Independent and main stream artists; it draws crowds of 20.000 and more. Tickets are well priced at roughly 40 pounds for a three day pass.
"The reason NH7 is special because, it's a great fun vibe, we know a lot of the bands that play there, so it's like a giant party, plus they've been kind enough to have us on the bill since its inception and lastly because the bands are exceptionally well taken care of. Personally, I wait for the time of the year when NH7 is slated to happen; we've had our best times at those festivals."
Most people are probably aware of you as a result of the huge success you had with 'Analyze That'. Tell us about this song and why you think it was one of your biggest hits so far.
"I wrote 'Analyze This' and 'Analyze That' as two parts, song titles are inspired by the Robert De' Niro comedy. Musically 'Analyze That' is very introspective, it reflects an inner turmoil. I'm personally very inspired by J.R.R Tolkien's writing, which has a very strong theme of having hope in the darkest of times. To go through all those feelings or failure, self doubt but yet prevailing. A strong belief in the fact that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel just depends how far you'd go to see it.
"The outro of this song is very close to my heart, makes me feel good every time I hear it. I'd wish the production quality on that record was better. We rarely play it live now, whenever we do though, it feels really good to see that people enjoy it as much as we do.
Many of the Metal bands and artists in India seem to have an interconnectivity and goodwill not observed in other music scenes - how connected are you with other bands and do you feel that the artists support one another?
"Every scene has its good and bad, we've never wished ill for any band. We're friends with most people who are like minded. The scene is growing here; the only way to keep it stable is that we have some sort of harmony.
"We love touring with Bhayanak Maut, were very close to them. Goddess Gagged is another band from the newer crop that we enjoy playing with.
"I guess we look at bands as allies as opposed to rivals. We take inspiration from anything good that people are doing instead of being threatened by it."
What is Scribe looking forward to in 2013, does this include a visit to the UK?
"We are on the last leg of recording our third full length album, 'Hail Mogambo' (title inspired from the film, Mr India). We've been supremely busy with our jobs the last year which is why it's taking over a year to get the album out. It will be out this year for sure.
"Were hoping that will result in some tours in the UK. We'd absolutely love to come to the UK and have a blast with the people there."
What are your favourite top five songs ever?
Personally, it's very difficult to choose just five songs, however the first ones that come to mind...
Sikth: Anything from their works
Soilwork: Anything which has Peter Wichers and Ola on guitars