An Element of Surprise at 40: Indian rocker launches debut album

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 03:30 hrs

Indian rocker Vin Sinners who lives in Dubai, talks about his upcoming album titled An Element of Surprise and his love for collaboration.

How did the name Vin Sinners come about?

I would be lying if I told you that there was a big story behind the name but there really isn't. I remember it was sometime in 1993 that I started using the name. Back then, the band and some friends would hang out trying to come up with names for ourselves in a make-believe world filled with dreams of being on a big stage with the big stars and somehow 'featuring Axl Rose and Vinesh Nair' didn't seem very right! (laughs) Vin is short for Vinesh and Sinners is just all of us...Sinners on this world...a collective statement of sorts, a representation of a large part of humanity.

What kind of music did you play in your college band Acanthus? How is it different from the music you are composing now?

Acanthus was just a few of us tooling around. We didn't practice as hard as we should have and didn't write material together. Gerard and I would hang out a lot and the rest would get together before shows. It was mainly Gerard and I and we didn't wanna do the typical wedding sh** that a lot of the boys did back then. Neither did we feel that it was our birth right to do a whole lot of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and The Doors. There were some great bands playing those covers so we went for contemporary (which of course is now Classic Rock). We played Guns n' Roses, Nirvana, Motley Crue and yeah, there was Iron Maiden too, and we had fun as long as it lasted. 

The material on the record for Vin Sinners is original to start with but has its influences. There's a track in there called Return to Solace that I remember writing sitting at the back bench in Cost Accounting class in Loyola college. There was so much sh** that I wrote and I laugh at some of it when I read them now...I would share the lyrics with my buddy Shekar and he would warn me that if someone saw the stuff, I'd get thrown out of class. Haa! Never happened...

The desire to cut an album was put on the back burner in 1994 when you decided to pursue a career in marketing. How was it getting back into the groove?

I've been involved in music since the age of 9 when I was put in a church choir. I loved it because it was my way of getting out of of those horrible study sessions in boarding. I went to Montfort High School in Yercaud and they had two study sessions early in the morning. I would skip the second one and run to the Chapel to sing my heart out. I loved it. I learnt to play the horn, the drums and just loved hanging out in Mr. Thomson's music room. My parents loved music too and I grew up wanting to do this but choices had to be made. Were we the top band in Chennai? No, we weren't. Was I willing to make that choice and go for it? Let's just say that extenuating circumstances ensured I focused on getting through college and getting a job. I worked in advertising, marketing and eventually made headway as a marketing professional, which is something I continue to do. 

I lost my Father in 2006 and I always wanted to write a song dedicated to him. In late 2008, I started writing fresh material and by the end of January 2009, I had finished about 15 new tracks. One of them was The Wise Man - that dedication to my Dad. My getting back to music was an accident almost. On May 25, 2010, I was introduced to Atif, a seasoned musician from Pakistan who runs his studio called The Playback Lounge here in Dubai. We decided to work The Wise Man out first and it all fell together from there. Atif, Mr. T (Tabraiz), Amer, all from Pakistan and I began producing the full album. Along the way, I started to audition the band and in a place filled with expatriates, it is extremely difficult. We've had changes to our line up at regular intervals but that is the challenge that many bands here face because people relocate, leave or just don't have the time to get into music in the way they would like to. I mean, this album was ready on December 25, 2010. It is getting released now!

Why 'An Element of Surprise'? What's the thought behind the title of your debut album? 

When you talk about a typical Rock n' Roll band, there's a picture in your head. Seasoned performers who have been working on music in their garages, dorm rooms smoking pot and doing other crazy things and finally coming up with music that gives you that inexplicable high. In my case, it was very different. Its a bit like Farhan Akhtar's character in Rock On!!. And when I saw that movie, I don't know but I just started to believe it can be done. I guess I sent out the right messages. So, I was more surprised than anyone else and if you listen to the music, you are expecting some things to happen and they don't and there are some others that you don't expect that actually do. None of the stuff has been a force fit but more of a flow. I am proud of the material we have on An Element of Surprise.

When is An Element of Surprise releasing? How can rock fans access it?

AEOS (i>An Element of Surprise) is set for a December 9 release. We don't have a record label yet, so I am just doing it my way. We have two confirmed gigs for the month of December at which the album will be made available. We are talking to a few companies currently about a distribution deal. I am not a fledgling musician who doesn't know how this stuff works so I ain't gonna sit around and get conned into some stupid deal. This record was made for the love of music and I am pretty sure that in this day and age of social media, good material will find its way out there.

Check out the Vin Sinners page on Facebook for more updates on the band and its music.

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