Jul 31, 2009

Urban Lads-Bengaluru's hip-hop band

Bangalore has nurtured different genres of music and a host of rock, jazz and blues bands. But how often do we get to listen to a band playing Kanglish songs?

New kids on the block: The members of the Kanglish group, Urban Lads
Yes, you read that right. Urban Lads is a hip-hop band, and they rap in an interesting mix of Kannada and English. Their second album is Urban Lads Reloaded.

The genesis

Sameer Kulkarni, co-founder of Media Company Cinimage and founder member of the band says, "I am a music composer. I have been composing music for more than 12 years for the Kannada film industry. Rakesh Adiga (the rapper in the group) was the one who sparked the idea of starting a band, and soon Urban Lads was born."

The band is one album old. Their album is called Urban Lads Explosion One. "We received an overwhelming response for our first album and it really encouraged us," says Amit, who is originally from Nepal.

"Rakesh was my classmate in college and he was the one who inspired me to join the band. I had trouble initially talking in Kannada. But this is my fourth year in the city and I am comfortable with the language now. My passion for music and my friends have made the acclimatisation process easy," he adds.

The journey

The band sold over 12,000 copies of their first album and performed in more than 30 colleges. "The journey has not been a bed of roses. We were a band of five members when we released our first album a year ago. We went out and promoted the album ourselves because we couldn't afford to pay for marketing or publicity," recalls Rakesh.

"We stood outside colleges and performed, we distributed pamphlets and we dodged angry cops who chased us away from colleges where we held impromptu gigs but we held out," adds Alok.

"What kept us going was the unflinching support from our fans," says Amit.

"We work as a team. Vinay Gunhalkar writes the lyrics, we offer our inputs and then start the actual composing," says Sameer.

"We spend such long hours at the studio that sometimes we are overcome by sheer exhaustion. Whenever any one of us drops off to sleep, Sameer is ready to revive us with a hot cup of tea," chuckles Amit. The band gives Sameer 'big brother' status!

The unique factor

"We offer something unique in terms of our music. We believe that Kannada as a language is losing its value in our city.

Our songs are easy for people to relate to. We also bring in the fun element through our lyrics," says Sumanth, who quit his job as RJ to work full-time with the band.

"Our new album, Urban Lads Reloaded, is produced and promoted by Cinimage. We also have a surprise element in this album," says Keerthi Anantharam, co-founder of Cinimage.

"We have a trance song in English in the album," adds Sameer. "It has been great working on this album," says Inchara, who joined the band three months ago.

She is also a playback singer who has sung for films such as Anu.

The challenges

As we perform in Kanglish, we might not find a ready audience outside the state. But we think music speaks a universal language, and we are confident about being accepted everywhere," says Keerthi. "People like the fact that we offer rock, rap and trance in Kanglish," she adds.

What next?

"We have grown to be a family. Urban Lads is our baby, and we are planning on building our dreams together to reach our goals as a band," says Amit.

The band is planning an all India tour and a music video to promote Urban Lads Reloaded.

"We might release our third album in another language. We love to surprise our listeners," says Sameer.

courtesy mid-day

listen to one of the song here


I'm proud that my cousin Sumanth is one of the member of Urban-lads!

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