They blew the metal scene in Mumbai to smithereens right from the word go, mixing their rants of the city with their own brand of metal, very comfortably christening themselves the propagators of tod-fod metal (wait, was it their fans who did that?) With Charan Singh Pathania and Shezan Shaikh on guitars, Shrikanth Rao on bass, and Aaron Pinto on drums,Providence are a bunch of madmen who revel in groove, mixing old-school heavy guitar play with the slickest of extreme metal elements.
Ahead of their set at Bombay Asylum Vol IV on September 26, 2013, we spoke to Shaikh, Pathania and Pinto about what the band has in store for the upcoming gig, their new material that will be more destructive than “Pacific Rim” characters, lineup changes (Bhayank Maut’s Sunneith Revankar and Karan Pote from Abraxas are former vocalists) and life post their award-winning debut record “Vanguard.”
“Vanguard” is one of the most critically and popularly acclaimed albums on the Mumbai metal scene. What has been the band’s response to this kind of appreciation?
Shaikh: Thank you for the kind words. “Vanguard” won Album of the Year (popular choice) at Rolling Stone Metal Awards 2012. We also won Best Band (popular choice), best artwork and best vocalist. Obviously, we are all really happy about the fact that Providence broke into the scene with a force. In our first year we achieved a lot more than we expected. And it’s all thanks to the fuckers who like our music and support us to no end.
Pathania: “Vanguard” was a brilliant start for the band, touchwood. I remember when we started working on the songs, we never thought about how many awards, words of appreciation or fans this EP would get for the band. We wrote it for ourselves, to put our own artistic expression as a band out there in the market. As is the case with most metal bands in the country, it was an independent release. “Vanguard” was also nominated for JD Rock Awards 2012 and Radiocity Freedom Awards 2013.
Pinto: “Vanguard” was pretty much a milestone in all our lives. I think other than Sunneith, this was everyone’s first actual release and the feeling was surreal. Personally, my favourite award was the Best Album Artwork, which was a huge achievement for me, as Providence was the first band I had done artwork for. The response we’ve gotten for “Vanguard” is overwhelming. We have a lot of loyal fans and that’s humbling. Some might hate us, some might love us, some might not even care, but one thing is certain; you cannot deny that “Vanguard” is one of the best albums in India.
”Vanguard” came out in 2011, since then Providence has been silent on the new material end. Are you working on anything new?
Shaikh: We’ve been chilling and playing a lot of video games. Charan has been owning me in FIFA. I own both Charan and Aaron in Street Fighter. And Aaron is busy owning himself in Killzone 3 by randomly falling off the map. Kanti is missing. We are putting out a reward for whoever finds him. We plan to hit the studio sometime in December. One of our singles from the new album will come out soon, it is currently hanging in USA with Nikhil Singh. It’ll come out soon though.
Pathania: For most part we have been chilling. We have been working on new material, the goal being to outdo “Vanguard” on the song writing front. I think “Vanguard” was pretty groovy. Our first full length album is going to be heavy and unsettling.
Pinto: Video games, a lot of video games, also Wei Shin should be President. “Pacific Rim” is the greatest movie ever made. A lot of merchandise is being designed, also album art drafts are being worked on. We will be releasing a new single in the coming weeks, it is going to destroy everything in its path. Think of the new single as a Jaeger or a Kaiju, (from the “Pacific Rim” realm, for the unaware) whichever, both are cool.
The band has seen quite a bit of shuffling with both Revankar and Pote going back and forth. Have you settled down with a vocalist now?
Shaikh: Settle down? We are a metal band. Settling down is for couples. Whatever that scene was, it’s between us. Maybe we should focus on how awesome both of them are for fronting a metal band. We’ve been lucky enough to be fronted by not one, but two of India’s most talented front men.
Pathania: The vocalist’s position in the band is not a code red situation. The priority for the band is prepping for the album.
Pinto: We like to mix things up, we like it that way (laughs). But seriously, we have had the chance to destroy some of the best venues in the country with two of the best vocalists in the country, and whoever steps up to the plate next, has some really big shoes to fill. I mean seriously, Sunneith and Karan have huge feet. I think it’s because of their love for “Dance Dance Revolution.”
What are Providence planning to do at the Bombay Asylum gig?
Shaikh. Fuck, I don’t know. The set is going to be the entire “Vanguard.” That album’s life is coming to an end, might as well do it with style.
Pathania: We are planning a great gig and enjoy our stage time. Hopefully the crowd will help us destroy the venue. This is probably the last time we will play the “Vanguard” set in Mumbai. So it’s going to be fun.
Pinto: We are planning to destroy the venue.
There are hints that Providence is planning an all-star jam of sorts. Can you let us in on the secret?
Shaikh: Yes, Ashwin Sharma (manager) is going to do a stand-up set, where he talks about how he told everyone that “Providence will do an all-star jam.” We are also playing some Iron Maiden. We are not having whiskey. And we won’t be wearing jeggings, because that’s just stupid.
Pathania: We might do a few covers with our friends from the scene who are always up for sharing stage and having a good time.
Pinto: Probably, probably not, who knows, maybe, maybe not, Yes, No, the possibilities are endless.
- Bombay Asylum Vol IV Brutal Assault featuring Wired Anxiety, Rectified Spirit, Orion and Providence will be held on September 26, Club Escape, Andheri, Mumbai. 8.30 pm onward. Entry Rs 500 for general (entry + cover), Rs 300 for students (only entry). Online tickets are also available at special early bird rates of Rs 400 for general and Rs 250 for students. Buy here. For more details, visit the Facebook event page here.