Rising From The Ashes: In Conversation With Zikrr

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If you love good music and good food, head over to Lanterns Kitchen & Bar this weekend. I have been told that they have got the popular Sufi-Rock band Zikrr lined-up for a live performance on Saturday.

The team behind the much-loved band Zikrr had initially thought of establishing a music school by the same name years ago. However, with time they felt they could make a good band, and you can see now how they are taking the city by storm.

Formed in 2012, the initial line-up featured Harpreet Kaur manning the mic, Mohit Sharma, ‘the gig-hunter’ on the bass, Prageet Chauhan on the guitars, Ankit Yadav on drums and Avinash Gaur on the keyboards. However, the search for their first show brought to light the need of a male vocalist. The radar stopped at Jatin Arora, a plastic baron by day and dashing singer by night. The Tryst Music Cafe was their very first achievement which paved scope for endless gigs. Later, the absence of Prageet invoked a desperate need for a guitarist, thus Rahul Simon was welcomed in their family. And to cover their events, Simon introduced the band to Zeeshan Saran – an expert photographer.

With a lot in their kitty, Zikrr was indeed riding high. But few months later came a hiatus and the initial line-up had begun to look for newer pastures. Ankit forayed into electronic music, Hunny became a music teacher, Prageet started on his many foreign trips and Rahul shifted to Pune in search of greener avenues to succeed at.

Zikrr laid low for some time. But like the phoenix rises from its ashes, so did Zikrr. Avinash was replaced with Lavanya Khanna, the guitars were handled by Himanshu Rai on rhythm and Dhruv Yadav on the lead, they had got a name sake for the drums, Mohit Sharma and then came along, Rashmeet Kaur, already a superstar in her rights to dominate the mic along with the evergreen Jatin Arora.

Now Zikrr is up and running. It’s been going strong ever since. With innumerous gigs at many prominent joints in Delhi and mega stage events in cities such as Dehradun, Lucknow, and Chandigarh, they are now soon planning an album.

By now you must have been applauding their dedication and confidence, like I did when I first heard the story. The rule to success is to not give up. In an interaction with Jatin from the band, he shared with me much more other than their uplifting story.

Here is the excerpt.

  1. How did you conceive the idea of forming the band? And why this name? Share in brief.

Zikrr was conceived in the brains of our bassist/manager Mohit along with a couple of our ex band mates. We knew that we had it in us to achieve big things for our music hence, we set off on the road with the formation of Zikrr.

The name ‘Zikrr’ was thought of by Harpreet, our ex vocalist. We were all discussing that our music should be worth talking about and she just jumped on her spot and said let’s call ourself ‘Zikrr’, for it’s meaning as well as it’s Sufi values.

  1. You’re a Sufi rock band. What made you choose this genre?

Most of us are classically trained; we were divided whether we should form a fusion rock band or a Sufi one. We felt that we’d be able to do better justice with the Sufi genre better than fusion. Another major factor was our respect for Sufi artists such as Nusrat Saab and our love for Rumi’s poetry.

  1. Other genres you love and might want to try?

We at Zikrr are people of varied tastes. Some of us love alt-rock, psychedelic, while some prefer a more mellow approach to music. We try and combine all our different preferences to make our music worth listening and one that we enjoy playing.

  1. Were your friends before forming the band? How do you keep the group intact?

The band’s gone through a line-up change (creative differences took their toll). Mohit and I knew each other before we formed the band. He had invited me to audition for his band and asked me to sing a song which I hadn’t listened to. A hilarious moment ensued and then a friendship took shape, and Zikrr became a part of our lives.

It was hard work with the new line-up but slowly and steadily we gelled and understood each other’s taste and have been going strong ever since.

  1. How do you keep the energy and focus on in this chaotic world?

Music is my getaway. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and I find peace in what I do. My band mates are my extended family as well as confidantes.

They keep me going through thick and thin.

  1. Share with us about your early passions and influences.

Singing has forever been my only passion. I had those mixed tapes of songs by Nusrat Saab, Euphoria, etc stored in my bedroom and listening to them was my favourite hobby as a child.

  1. What kind of themes your music is based on?

We try and infuse the peaceful texture of Sufism along with the breakaway vibe of rock. All we want is for our music to leave a lasting influence on our listeners. Our sound includes intensively foot tapping grooves, raging guitar solos and the odd instrumental solo thrown in to the mix.

  1. What’s your opinion on the importance of roots, traditions, respecting originals and sources?

They all play a very important role in how an artist or band progresses. One may be highly gifted but if he/she’s not grounded enough and not connected to the begging of his passion, then all is futile. The people we seek inspiration from were all masters in their own way and it was their hard work and them sticking to their roots which took them to the heights which they are at right now and that’s the same we try to acheive.

  1. Your most cherished moments?

It’s been almost 3.5 years since we’ve formed the band and each jam has left us with a moment or incident to cherish. Opening for Indian Ocean and Ram Ram coming and complimenting us for our cover of Bandeh, has to be THE MOMENT for me personally.

  1. If you have to define the band in one sentence, what would it be?

A bunch of music fanatics who’ve been together long enough that now are a family.

  1. Do you plan to come up with your own album? If so, what would it be like?

Yes, the album is in the pipeline, most of our song structures are complete, it’s just the last minute presentation recording stuff which is left. We hope to release the album pretty soon.

  1. Share with us about your upcoming projects.

We are working on our first album and apart from gigging all over Delhi. It’s a pretty packed month for us.

  1. What do you think is the biggest threat to the music industry?

Fame is a blessing as well as a bane; you can reach epic heights following what you love but once you reach there it’s staying there which counts. Evolving oneself is and not being a nuisance to both your fans and the people who help you is a big no-no.

  1. Message to your fans?

You’ve been showering your love upon us since we started. Just be in our front, we won’t disappoint you, promise.

Show details:

Date:​ April 16, 2016 ( Saturday)​

Time: 9.00pm onwards

Venue: Lanterns Kitchen & Bar, 163/164, Rajendra Place, New Delhi

Couple entry: ​Free

For reservations: 090154 47000​

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