Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Coshish

Coshish is the first modern progressive rock band from India that Progstravaganza encountered on its pilgrimage. With lyrics in their native language and an album that was released by the Indian subsidiary of Universal Music, the band could be described as the next big thing coming from the land of all seasons and people.

How did you come to do what you do?

We started out as nothing more than a college band! In India, the rock scene is very different from other parts of the world. Out here, a lot of bands spring up in college and once they graduate, day jobs take over and music is forgotten.

However, we managed to keep at it by working during the day and rehearsing and giggin at night! We started realizing that we were on the right track because of the response we were getting.

We’d never dreamed of being on a Major Label. We just wanted to release the best, most enticing album that would take India Rock overseas and put India on the prog rock map!

With some luck and amazing management… We bagged the deal :) To answer your question… Maybe we were destined for this!

What is your first musical memory?

Individually, all the members have varied memories but as a band with the current line-up, our firt gig was quite memorable. We were performing at this college festival, where they had these random fireworks going off while we were performing. It was distracting and funny at the same time. After we got off stage, the organizers dropped us back in a car that was protected by a Human Chain of college kids on the campus. We were more worried about them and they were treating us like rockstars! Haha it was quite absurd… Even for whacky Indian Standards.

What does progress in music represent to you?

To us, progress in music doesn’t mean an increase in the number of fans or the number of album sales. Progress to us is to write better and more mature music as we age. If we make fans in the process… Then it’s great! Even if we don’t make new fans but our music affects only a few in a positive way, then that’s progress as well! It’s very important for us to have our music stand for something… Preferably on an intellectual level!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Thematically, we draw inspiration from everything around us! Most of the songs on ‘Firdous’ have been weaved into a story inspired by unconnected real events. Musically speaking, even though individual members have varied influences, we think bands like Tool, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Katatonia, Pain of Salvation, Isis and the likes inspire us to push the boundaries of music!

What message does the song on our latest Progstravaganza compilation carry?

‘Maya’ is the pen-ultimate track of the concept tracklist of ‘Firdous’. The album captures the essence of the protagonist’s journey towards attaining salvation. In ‘Maya’, he realizes that the world we live in is an illusion. We are stuck in rat race and everyone is fooled by this illusion, assuming it to be the only reality. He understands this fact and begins to see the world for what it really is and in the process gets a step closer to attaining ‘Nirvana’ or ‘Mukti’.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

On ‘Firdous’, the way we wrote songs, changed from the initial singer/song-writer method of composing to a more jam based, natural approach. The earlier songs were pretty much composed and
structured by Mangesh (Guitarist/vocalist) but as we grew as a band, it changed to a more cohesive effort. Everyone began pitching in ideas and that made the quality control more stringent as well.

What is your method of songwriting?

We really haven’t matured enough to have a fixed method as of now. That said, the last 4-5 tracks on ‘Firdous’ had the following approach. One of us would come up with a riff or drum groove or  a bassline. We’d bring that to the jam room and just jam on it till we had a concrete part. Then we’d record that part and do a lot of homework as to where it could go from there. We would then  bring the idea and jam on it some more. That’s pretty much how the music was written. Then Mangesh would take his time with the lyrics, while weaving it in to the concept. We take a lot of time to write cause we want every single note of every song to have a reason for its existence!

How do you see your music evolving?

We’d started out almost as an alternative rock band. However, the progressive undercurrents that we had, could not be repressed. The better we became at our instruments, the music started to  take on a more progressive sound. We wanted to push the bar technically but yet maintain the soul and spirit of accessible music. We didn’t want to complicate our songs just because we could.

In fact we get excited when we write a technical part and the audience can clap along without thinking about it! So we’ll definitely be more progressive in the future but our fans might not even know that.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Our advice would be to never ever ever lose hope. When we started recording the album, we had no label and no financial support. We undertook a huge project by ourselves. All we ever wanted to do, was put out the best album that we possibly could. We pulled in favors from friends. Zorran Mendonsa produced, recorded and mixed the album. Bharat Chandrasekar and Imran Ladak helped us with the CD Artwork and Graphics. We came across an amazing sketch by Bernard Dumaine and Daeve Fellows on Facebook, which became our cover art!! We got additional samples help from Ninad Lad.

Basically,  if it wasn’t for our friends, this album wouldn’t have been possible! Universal Music just happened because of all the hardwork, some luck and a lot of hope.

What are you looking forward to?

We’ve got 3 more music videos lined up. A few award nominations to look forward to :) We’re still waiting for some of the international reviews to come in. We’re definitely looking forward to a  lot more gigs. And if we start writing for the next album now, we’ll take about 4 years to release it haha.

We’d also like to thank Nick, Prog Sphere and Progstravaganza for their untiring effort in keeping the prog spirit alive!!