‘EKA’ MEIN BAL HAI!
We had an awesome time interviewing ‘Swatantra’ rock band, EKA. Here are some excerpts from our chat with the ardent environment supporters.
What’s the story behind the band?
Rikki– Benny and I were members of ‘Euphoria’ for almost 15 years when we separated from the band in 2010. Lokesh and I are second cousins and we’ve had a band in school and college. Soon after college, Loke went into a corporate career but he always had a great passion for music and I also knew that when I’m gonna be out of ‘Euphoria’, we’ll do something together. Then the three of us got together and Eka was born in 2010.
Loke– I left music a year after college as I realised that it wasn’t meant to happen at that point. Then I went into the corporate world then I started on a back-foot which means I had to work thrice as hard as anybody else.I did that and I was one of the youngest GMs in my company. I think God had a plan for each one of us and the day that we jammed for the first time was when we felt there’s something really special out there and if we don’t do this, then we’re not going to do justice to our chemistry and respective talents.
Rikki– Why not Eka? (Laughs) We came across a lot of names and we realized that the most powerful of them was Eka. It clicked with us very well as it means oneness and unity. The whole philosophy is to be Eka; be one with yourself first, be one with the team members and then be one with the audience.
Benny– I’ll give you a small anecdote. In Goa, if they call you Eka, means you have made it. So you see, it literally means being one!
When we read about you, we learned that it’s about ‘Swantantra’ rock. So how is it different from the mainstream rock?
Loke– We wanted to be an ‘all-terrain’ band and play music for people around the world. We didn’t want language or genre to be a barrier; we didn’t want any kind of boundary to our music. The good part today is, and I take great pride in saying this, Eka’s performance and music at an event is like water; it doesn’t have a fixed shape and form, it takes the shape and form of the audience that evening and that to us is ‘Swantantra’.
Rikki– When you start a band, people ask you what genre you’re gonna play, but it was tough for us to classify our music in one genre. We thought we love rock, jazz, folk, classical and we wanted to take a little bit of everything. We wanted to create music which was free flowing, timeless and devoid of demographics. So that’s how we came up with the term ‘Swantantra’.
As a start up, you had some struggles. Would you put some light on it?
Loke– I think what was most difficult for us as a new band was to get shows and about a year or so, we went through a lot of financial turmoil because we invested so much time and energy in the band that it became our bread and butter. Things hit rock bottom in terms of number of shows, rate per show, building your fan base and network, reinstalling faith with event and artist managers, but we all stuck it out, stayed connected and believed in ourselves in all those hard times. Now, it’s that time for our band when the plane has just taken the first wheel off.
What was your first fan moment?
Benny– We played this gig in Bangalore and we were literally under a time crunch that without any technical or sound check, we just had to plug-in and play. We could not see or hear each other but we just went on for it and what we saw is that the crowd was actually going crazy; they were glorifying us!
Loke– And that was one of the most memorable shows. No sound checks, we were running out of time, just plugged and played. That was our impromptu at its best. The truth is, no art can go forward and flourish without its patrons and we are who we are because of our fans.
Describe each team member in one word.
Benny– Loke is Handsome. Rikki is Hard-working.
Loke– Benny doesn’t fit in one word. He is God-fearing, intuitive and clean hearted.
Rikki– Exactly! It’s so difficult to sum Benny up in one word, but I’d say he’s Loving.
Before we take your leave, a message for all your fans and aspiring musicians out there?
Benny– Never lose faith in yourself. If you think you can do it, then it’s yours for sure.
Loke– If there’s one thing that I can tell people, is that there’s absolutely no replacement for hard work. The most critical thing is to dream and if you’re willing to commit yourself to the dream, there’s nothing at all that can stop you.
Rikki– Have the spirit to dream, pursue it and give it your all. Do what you do best and this world will surely be a better place.