WTF? The engineering grads making rock 'n' roll music!
Meet the trio who make up Wild Things Federation, the latest rock band to get Chennai grooving.
Three engineering graduates whose passion for music brought them together created Wild Things Federation, a band with a difference.
They believe in experimenting with different kinds of music to create songs that are totally unique.
"We play only our own compositions and all our songs are a blend of many different genres," says Abhimanyu Ananth, the frontman and guitarist. Abhimanyu is a biotechnology graduate from St Peter's University, Chennai and passed out this year. His friend Govind Jaya Shouri plays the bass guitar and Venkat Ramna Sai is on the drums -- both have also just graduated from Chennai's Easwari Engineering College.
Together they created WTF in January this year and landed their first gig the very same month, performing in a battle of the bands at the Ethiraj College Culturals. The trio were a smashing hit and very much appreciated.
"We were given a special mention by Benny Dayal, an Indian singer and member of the band S5, who was one of the judges at the show," says Abhimanyu. And there has been no stopping them since; in the past six months they have performed at various events and college events at Madras Christian College, Anna University and the Loyola Institute of Business Administration.
Their most memorable performance to date, however, has been their show at Geoffrey's Pub, organised by Unseen Underground. "This is an organisation that creates a platform to showcase new, upcoming talent like us, but we don't get many opportunities like these in Chennai," explains Govind.
WTF also recently performed at the Star Rock Pub in Nungabakkam, Chennai, along with another very popular band Adam & The Fish-Eyed Poets.
Image: (L-R) Wild Things Federation band members Govind Jaya Shouri, Venkat Ramna Sai and Abhimanyu Ananth
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj
Where bhangra meets jazz
They are very passionate about their work and spend hours jamming together. "Every little chance we get, we try to get together and put in some practice," says Venkat, whose house in T Nagar is where they love hanging out.
Though WTF mostly plays experimental and classic hard rock, they do experiment and have also incorporated elements of Indian music into their work. Their most popular number Don't Forget is a fusion of the Tamil kuthu, heavy metal and post-grunge. Another well-recieved song Ten Shots High is a blend of the blues, funk, hard rock and jazz. Everything they play is a fusion of various genres, giving each song a unique touch, which they believe is their signature.
They are presently working on a song that fuses bhangra with glam rock, jazz and hard rock. "We are very excited about this song and it is definitely going to be a great hit. We have incorporated a typical bhangra beat into the song, which the audience is going to love," explains an enthusiastic Abhimanyu.
When asked about their own favorite bands, they chat animatedly about several international and nationally acclaimed artists -- Maroon 5, Guns 'N' Roses, Lamb of God, Junkyard Groove and Blind Image are a few that inspire their work.
Image: (L-R) Abhimanyu Ananth, Venkat Ramna Sai and Govind Jaya Shouri
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj
'We want to be recognised among the top Indian rock bands'
Currently Abhimanu is working on his own solo music album to establish himself in the music industry. He loves country rock and is focusing primarily on this genre for his album. When asked how he manages his time between the band and his own musical pursuits, "the band always comes first," he states proudly. An excellent student in college, he also has plans to take up teaching, at least part time, sometime in the future.
Venkat has taken up a job at the Amazon Development Centre. He is also a volunteer with the ARAM Foundation, and Bhumi, a non-profit youth volunteer organisation. "Most weekends, my friends and I spend a few hours teaching underprivileged children in orphanages around Chennai," he says. Despite his busy schedule, he spends at least a few hours a day practicing the drums, which he states are his first love.
Govind plans to concentrate only on music for the next six months. "We do not get many opportunities to play to live audiences. We need more organisers to arrange events promoting rock music in India," he complains.
All three have been part of other rock bands that were not very successful and could not make it for various reasons. All these failures have made them even more determined to see WTF to success. Their motivation to succeed is very strong and they are willing to work hard to make this happen. "This time we are not giving up," asserts Venkat.
"We are a band of three self-taught musicians who have developed our talent and skill with sheer persistence, hard work and never-ending practice. We believe that if you really want it, you can get it," adds Abhimanu.
This attitude has taken them a long way since the inception of the band on January 12th, which is barely six months ago. They have many innovative plans which they believe will take them to greater heights. "We want to be recognised among the top Indian rock bands and be known internationally as well, of course. We know that this is a great challenge, but we are determined and believe that our uniqueness sets us apart and will definitely bring us the recognition we deserve," concludes Venkat.
Video: Sreeram Selvaraj
Image: Wild Things Federation perform at a practice session