Monday, 29 July 2013

Interview: The Bombay Royale


The Bombay Royale has been impressing festival goers in Europe over the summer with their extravagant show. After a triumphant set at Glastonbury last month, Stage 2 at the 49th Cambridge Folk Festival became home for the Spaghetti-Bollywood disco dancers. I sat down with three members of the Australian 11-piece to find out their past, present, and future. So, without further ado: Under the costumes with Parvyn Kaur Singh, Andy Williamson, and Shourov Bhattacharya. 

 
Music Review Database: So first I want to know who came up with the name The Bombay Royale? 

Andy: I did. 


MRD: What does it represent? 

Andy: I was playing around with names and initially I was going to call it The Mumbai Royale or something, but pretty quickly actually found out half of India still calls it Bombay. But more than that, it was actually that music we were kind of inspired by and the music we were playing was all definitely from Bombay. It was from the 70s and 60s and that period. The royale part, perhaps it was from Casino Royale, well every second street in India has a royale, between all of that it just seemed like a, you know. 


MRD: We think you sound like Kill Bill meets The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, is that a good representation of your music? 

Andy: Tarantino is awesome, but he's fairly derivative I guess, he's taking those styles and all those old films and kind of having a play with them, which is sort of what we're doing as well. If you listen to the old Bollywood films, watch and listen to old stuff from India in the 60s and 70s, there’s that sound that he really loved Ennio Morricone, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and they dug all that kind of stuff but then they also fused it with their own folk music and classical music and came out with something different, so it’s definitely not a style we've made up, dreamt up all by ourselves. 


MRD: Is Ennio Morricone one of your musical influences? 

Andy: Yes, definitely yeah, but it was also the influence that he had on Indian cinema too. Like the Indian film writers in the 60s and 70s. They loved surf guitar and they loved those kind of Sergio Leone type westerns. You watch half the movies, those films, half of them have cowboy type characters, gunfights on trains and galloping horses all that kind of stuff. 

Shourov: Gunfights on trains are very common, it's a real staple. There’s a bunch of influences we have, that’s one of them. The directors themselves in India that time are household names. People like R.D. Burman, everyone in India knows those musical directors because they created so much great music, and so the songs and the sounds we started with was from those guys, that was a starting point, so there an inspiration too. 


MRD: Has blending rock and Bollywood been hard? You have an 11-piece band, has it been hard merging it all together as one sound? 

Andy: The hard thing was to make it that small. Taking something like a film score, it was not typically music that was ever performed live. It was done by studio orchestras, so they have string sections and brass sections. The hardest job for me originally when I put the band together was trying to figure out how I could even do half the justice to that sound. 


MRD: Do you get a better reception in Australia or in Europe? Is this your first European tour? 

Shourov: Yeah it is. 

Andy: We've had a really good reception here; we've had a really good reception in Australia too. I think we’ve got novelty value on our side here a bit more. The same as you would if the same came back in the other direction, that thing where it's not from home. 

Andy: It's probably been quicker [in Europe] because we’ve came straight into good festivals and all that kind of thing, whereas at  home we've had to work from the ground up doing clubs and building up an audience, so it's a different relationship you have. We have a lot more loyal fans [in Australia] that come to lots of gigs that are really solid, whereas here you just suddenly get the festival line-up and the day before you’ve played half the people here wouldn’t have known who you were and then hopefully you’ve hit them and you win people over. They might not get to see us play for another year or two, whereas our fans back home would come and see us a few times a year in Melbourne. 


MRD: So what was it like playing Glastonbury? 

Shourov: It was pretty epic yeah, it was huge. It was one of the biggest crowds we’ve played. 


MRD: What's your biggest crowd? 

Parvyn: We played at a show called White Night Melbourne, and I think there was about 30, 40 thousand people that time. 

Shourov: It was a big stage in the middle of the city. 

Parvyn: Yeah, on the streets of the steps of Flinders Street Station, which is the main train station in Melbourne. And then we have Federation Square and the Yarra river, so that whole area. 

Shourov: So there was just a river of people up all the streets. If you look on our Facebook page about three months ago, you’ll find this pretty amazing photograph of the stage and the crowd; that was a buzz. 


MRD: What are your plans for the future? 

Shourov: World domination? 

Andy: Private island. 

Shourov: Private island yeah, or at least a private jet. 

Parvyn: Yeah, the skipper wants a yacht. 

MRD: Private island and a yacht would go well together yeah. 

 Shourov: We've got another album in the works, we're always writing and yeah, excited about that.

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