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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Vijay: My involvement in music can be divided into two phases. When I was ten years old, my mom got me trained for a school vocal competition where I won first place. A year later she took me to one of the renowned music tutors in my hometown of Mangaluru (formerly Mangalore). At the time, I liked music but I didn’t know what I was getting into. But my tutor then took me through the basic ropes of music primarily folk rhythm guitar and vocals. He enlisted me in the local church choir as well where I sang tenor. I got trained, took part in competitions and did quite well at the time winning quite a few of them. But then, there was a sabbatical of six years where I barely touched the guitar possibly because of the pressure of academics and consequently, I lost interest as well. It took my colleagues at Grad School in the US to persuade me to play guitar for the Indian Students Association at The University of Akron, Ohio. I’ve never looked back since then. Believe it or not, I picked up electric guitar when I was 25, a lot later than most professional guitar players. But my sole aim, which is even today is to get better. If not for that persuasion, I would have continued working in the corporate world given my Chemical Engineering background.
Peter: My aunt, who I lived with during my school years was into music and I grew up on a diet of 80s pop. In later decades, more musical horizons opened up and while I enjoy most forms of music, rock remains close to my heart. Joining my first band was a fortunate “accident” of sorts. My close friends in college formed a band and were auditioning for vocalists. I had no intention of trying out. It was just about hanging with them and enjoyed the music they were making/playing and I knew all of the songs as a result. Through several auditions, I was asked every so often to guide the auditioning prospects through various parts of the songs. Eventually they asked me to join since I knew everything and they liked my voice. I am fortunate to pursue a part time career of a voiceover artist today and either this or a maybe career in radio would probably have been something I would have gotten into.
Warren: Music was always part of the house growing up. Dad and his brothers were all part time musicians and enjoyed their bit of playing the local club and pub circuits. Naturally i was drawn to the drums as dad is a drummer too. If not for the music, I would have continued working in the corporate world.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Pete: The COVID situation aside, I enjoy traveling and ticking various countries off my travel bucket list. I usually try and center parts of my trip around watching live music like concerts or festivals. While I enjoy listening to the music, I am also keenly observing the frontman / frontwoman of the acts I watch just to pick up some ideas to incorporate in our own shows. We are entertainers as much as musicians; So, it’s nice to be able to provide a more complete experience to our gig attendees.
Warren: When not playing music, I like to sit back and listen to music, watch YouTube...checking out the latest on all my favorite influences and players.
Vijay: My creativity comes from more than a few avenues. In my spare time, I like checking out movies. Apart from observing the expressions, dialogue delivery, body language and other nuances of the actors, I’ve also started to appreciate background scores and pay close attention to as much detail as I can and relate it to the scene at hand. I take guitar classes when time permits which helps me with a ton of guitar related ideas. Occasionally I read a bit of poetry and look up and analyze lyrics of songs I like listening to which helps my lyric writing too.
How long has your band been around?
Vijay: The core of the band has been around since early 2012 or so after quite a few line-up changes in the early stages
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Vijay: We’re based out of the metropolis of Mumbai in the western part of India. Our music primarily is Rock based but we dabble with subtle nuances of Indian Classical / Semi-Classical music that we have grown up with. India is a diverse country and the diversity is evident in our rich musical culture and heritage. We don’t profess to be experts in Classical music but anything that we can learn from the masters, we try to incorporate it into our style of Rock music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Vijay: The band’s name was one of the 25 or so names I’d come up with during the time I played with a couple of cover bands when I was in the US. When I moved back to India, I’d pretty much set my mind on InRegalia, though I didn’t have a band. So, when the band was in its nascent stages, all the members at the time were fine with the band’s name when it was proposed to them. I’d always envisioned the music to reflect a bit of ethnicity but yet have it resonate with a mass audience. By design, the name fortunately made sense from that point of view.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Vijay: The best show for me till date has to be a Festival we played in the regional town of Pune about a couple of years ago. It was a Music and Tattoo Festival and a near perfect show for us. The worst show I’ve played was at a bar in the US. I was playing with an R&B / Soul cover band at the time. To our shock, we ended up playing to an empty audience almost. There were barely a couple of people sitting out in the patio area. As such we played a good show, but for a performer it’s a thrill to watch the audience enjoy and that too a decent size audience for that matter.
Pete: Worst – It didn’t happen with InRegalia but with my college band. We had been hired to play at an amusement theme park and there were about 200+ people in the space which was pretty amazing for a cover band like us who were just starting out. The moment the first chord of the Weezer song was struck, the crowd started to disperse. We weren’t bad at all but this crowd was expecting to hear local film music (i.e. Bollywood music) and we were not it (haha). Eventually we ended up playing for about 4-5 of our friends who came to see the show. It was very disheartening but it also made us aware that we do need to take into account the audience we’re playing for and their expectations.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Vijay: I don’t have a favorite venue I’ve played at yet. But as far as places that I want to play, there are many which even a bucket list wouldn’t be enough (chuckles)
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Pete: For me, it’s the Foo Fighters. I love their music and they always look like they’re having a lot of fun onstage amongst themselves and with the crowd.
Vijay: It’s hard to pick one. But if I were given just a few choices, it would have to be Rainbow and Alter Bridge. Though both bands are in different spaces of the Rock spectrum, their music is memorable and not to forget, they’re great live performers too.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Warren: Keep at it. Stick around, play as much as possible with each other. It's not all about making it big, the small steps matter. The more you play with your band mates, the stronger the chemistry grows, and eventually, it develops into something good.
Pete: A) Practice, practice, practice. Individually and together. B) Set aside egos if the end goal is to create amazing music.
Vijay: If you’re gonna be playing music professionally, put your heart and soul into it. There’s no use doing it just because it looks glamorous or feels cool. This has been said before; if you don’t have your heart in it, it’ll quickly burn you out. It’s a lot of hard work, dedication, patience and most importantly in our times, apart from the music itself, you’ve got to learn to wear many hats too.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Pete: Pick up an additional skill be it an instrument or production-related and/or backing vocals if you’re not the singer.
Warren: Practice more (laughs)
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Vijay: Perhaps I might have a different answer if you ask me this question in the future. But so far, I have fond memories of our first song ‘Was It a Dream’ simply because I realized I could finally compose at some level.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Vijay: ‘Rock This House’, ‘Lalitha’ and ‘Best of Us’ are our favorites when playing live. ‘Lalitha’ gets requested the most.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Vijay: Generally, the process remains the same. The inspirations come primarily from my observations, musical improvisational sessions or even from non-musical situations. At times, I latch onto some good ideas from my band mates and try to work on them if I can figure out themes for the same. Basically, I like to narrate stories or experiences. I try to weave them together both lyrically and musically and then bring it to the band. We then go about working on the arrangements until we’re satisfied with it.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Vijay: Most of my messages are diverse. They delve on social issues, professional lives and of course, personal relationships. I also tend to write about unique experiences about life in Mumbai. I’m not into abstract themes since I don’t feel I’m convincing enough.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Vijay: Disagreements are part and parcel of any setup. We’ve had quite a few of those but we’ve always found a way to get past them. The good thing is none of us have huge egos and we all realize we want to make good music. We also realize our strengths and weaknesses, collectively and individually. We work on things that come instinctively to us but at the same time we work on bettering ourselves too. When the thought process is clear, it’s a whole lot easier to focus on the bigger picture.
Pete: I think we’re really fortunate in that everyone in the band seeks to improve the music. While Vijay does the bulk of the songwriting, the rest of us do chip in with various ideas. But the goal for everyone is the same – to create the best possible song we can. And if that’s your guiding light, then no matter if disagreements happens, they will get resolved.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Vijay: The simple plan is to grow and develop a good and loyal fanbase. We’d also like to engage our audience and build a community of sorts. We’ve just had our first instrumental release as a single and we’ve got a string of them releasing starting early next year. There’s plenty of music to come. Stay tuned!