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Mushroom Lake started on the other side of the globe, in sleepy Thrissur, Kerala, a far cry from the hustle of Mumbai, finding their wings and eventually flying. They met about seven years ago, bonding over a passion of rock music, blaring tape cassettes, trading their favorites with their friends and eventually trying their hand at instrumentation, at first playing heavy metal covers and going on to form a post-rock sound they can call their own. Their first album Live at Regional Theatre was released online late in 2014.
“We grew up listening to mostly Indian film songs, because that’s what our parents used to listen to,” guitarist and vocalist Raju KP says. “Fifteen years back the internet was not that common in India as it is today. So having grown up in a small town we were kind of cut-off from the outside world. So we used to dance to Bollywood tunes, and ABBA, and Bony M, and Michael Jackson back in the early school days.”
Growing up in a small town does a lot for the ethereal nature of Mushroom Lake’s music. Rooted in free-forming jams and a slanted psychedelic angle, the band has been heralded as a breath of fresh air by Indian media in recent times. Their live shows incorporate an improvisational aspect unseen in most Indian bands.
“It was kind of okay back then, we never felt like we were missing anything,” Raju KP adds, reflecting on their hometown of Thrissur. “We had a normal childhood growing up in a sleepy little town. And like most Indian kids, went to school, and then college, got our certificates. But now we wish we had more exposure to the outer world back in those days.” The band took time to answer a few questions, their answers are shared below.
Do you have musical families?
Yeah, our bass guitarist Pious Guit’s dad is also a bass guitarist. Our guitarist, Raju, has a cousin who is a well-renowned singer in Kerala, and his paternal grandmother and aunt were Carnatic music teachers.
How do you rate yourself in your instruments?
Has school or work ever suffered for the success of your band?
Not much, on the contrary the success of the our band may have suffered for school and work.
How have your personal lives changed since the formation of the band?
Not quite I guess, we are all still the same blokes.
Has Mushroom Lake helped you attract girls?
Haha, no. Might have gained a few supporters though.
How would you best describe the support from family and friends?
We have good support from our family and friends. We consider ourselves fortunate to have families who don’t stop us from doing what we do, unlike most other families in our country.
If you were able to sit under a table and listen to any two people speak, who would it be?
Do you ever go through periods where you sleep on the floor?
Fortunately, not yet.
What would you say to your 18 year old self right now?
Practice, practice, practice, without wasting a single minute, and keep on exploring music.
Do psychedelics play a big role in your creativity?
What films, books, etc would you say you’ve drew inspiration from?
Too many to mention actually. We draw inspiration from themes and motifs of soundtracks to movies, documentaries, and even ad jingles sometimes.
Members: Jitin Paul David — Guitars, Raju KP — Guitars/Vocal, Vijay Gopal — SynthBass/Keys, Pious Guit — BassGuitar/Keys, Abishek Amanath — Drums
Past member(s): Midhun Nishol — Drums, Govind Ashok Kumar — Drums
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Mustafa Abubaker is a novelist, author, writer, journalist and poet. He is in the process of writing his debut novel.