Published: 22nd September 2021
This band is much more than just chilling with music. They write music that is relatable to us all. Here's more on them
Chill Kaapi Samosa is an alternative rock outfit based in Kochi that's killing the original music scene
For the band Chill Kaapi Samosa, things have surely changed since the pandemic struck. But they are not ones to stand still. "I feel the pandemic has been a time where everyone has been frozen. But to all the artists out there, we want to send a message to not lose hope. Better times are on the horizon and until that near future is here, it is time we keep doing the stuff that we love and learn more. That is the message we want to give," says Dixon Dennis about the current predicament. I spoke with the lead drummer of the band as well as the bassist, Best Asok, about how the band was formed and what has kept them going during these times.
"So everybody has their own perspective, they have their own individual stories of how they came into the band. Nandhu (Nandhagopan V) and I were into music right from our school days. After school got over, we thought of getting more people and forming a real music band together. Nandhu then went on to learn sound engineering at Noise Head Quarters in Kochi. There he met Best, Sibin (Sibin Paul) and Vineeth (Vineeth Sreekumar). He came up to me one fine day and told me about the trio and how awesome they were. So I was like, 'Let's rope them in and get the band started'," recalls Dixon. This is how the band was formed in 2019.
Taking a walk down memory lane, Dixon talks about their first gig, "Our first live performance was at Avani Institute of Design in Kozhikode. It was the early days for us, we didn't even have a name for ourselves. The college actually called us Band NHQ. I don't even know how that happened. We performed a few cover songs and even an original song, Nammalind Bhai, which was written by Best. That was like our testing phase because we didn't know if we could actually work together as a collective."
Their first gig was a huge hit, as Dixon remembers, "Our connection with the audience that day was simply unbelievable. We synced pretty well together and that day, I knew that we were in it for the long haul." So how did they go from Band NHQ to now the uber cool Chill Kaapi Samosa? "We sat down and made a long list of names. We finally narrowed it down to Chill Kaapi Samosa. I don't think that it means a lot (laughs) except for the fact that whenever our band would sit for a jam session, all of us (except me) would have coffee. I hate coffee so I would have a samosa instead. And the name kind of stuck," shares Dixon. Speaking about the genre of music they play, Dixon says "We are mostly into alternative rock. We were influenced a lot by Mutemath, Porcupine Tree, Yellow Diary and The Local Train."
Best describes what the band stands for and the kind of music people have grown to expect from them. "Basically, we are a multilingual band as we perform in Hindi, English, Malayalam and Tamil. We are like barrier-breakers, in that sense. Our songs are a mix of simple lyrics that the crowd can sing along with and relate to with their real-life experiences as well. We started performing at open mics in and around Kochi. Last year, we were approached by Kappa TV for a music mojo performance on the network. That was probably the first time we actually sat down and arranged our songs in a proper structure and recorded them before we sent it out. They liked it and gave us a date to shoot in February last year. By then, we had six original songs," says Best.
The pandemic naturally halted their progress as an upcoming band, with nowhere to perform but the internet. Dixon says, "We've kept it going by doing covers on Instagram to just stay on the scene with our followers. We also launched the music video for our first original and another original called Bom Bay. The band members have taken this time to discover their own musical journeys. Mridul (Mridul Anil) and Nandhagopan, our vocalists, have sung for a couple of films too so they are playback singers now." Dixon also mentions what they would like to try in the near future. "We want to foray towards the funk genre of music. That is where we want to make a name for ourselves."