How did Smokestack happen? Tell us about how you guys got together and the journey so far.
Smokestack started off as a pretty purist Country Blues trio, something like Carolina Chocolate Drops or the South Memphis String Band, singing mostly covers of the classic blues songs across all styles. This concept expanded with the addition, first, of a percussionist and then a drummer and a bass player. We flirted briefly with a heavier Electric Blues sound and then settled for a rarer 'acoustic with drums sound'. At the same time we also made the move to completely original set list.
Elaborate for us on the tag 'Blues-world groove-jam band'?
Although the lyrically, harmonically and melodically we are very much a blues outfit, our rhythmic tastes are skewed towards a broader range of influences all mostly earthy, folky types from across the world with a special bent towards African and Indian rhythms. This gives it a special bounce mostly missing from the typical Blues Shuffle.
What do you guys do besides performing the Blues? Are some on the 9-5 schedule, entrepreneurs?
Yes, the band members do have a different day schedule.
Anoop - Owns an IT company in Pune... Michael - Is a Director of an International School... Vidula - Is the budding entrepreneur who sorts out off beat treks & nature trails... Shreyas - Almost convinced his Dad that he will be joining his family business (which we all doubt)... Vishal - Is just jobless and wasting time looking for a stable job!
Tell us what the audience at Simply The Blues should expect from Smokestack? What you got planned?
Gospel inspired Acapella songs, solo harmonica breakdowns, full band harmonies, Indian music inspired jams, dirty jokes, songs dedicated to Kareena Kapoor – anything can and will show up at the gig! It’s not a band we say, it is a festival.
How would you connect the Indian folk music to Blues?
We actually make a serious attempt at this. The modal nature of the melodies, the drone aspect especially in the guitar playing of the early blues, the wide open spaces for improvisation and the pliability of the rhythms actually makes the blues the best form to connect to the Indian sound without it feeling like a patchwork. And when it works, it is a wonderful thing indeed.