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Let’s hear the secret

Best Kept Secret, the Bengaluru-based music band, will perform in the city on June 14. This is part of their “full-blown” tour of the North East, including Guwahati and Gangtok. In an email interview with Heather Cecilia Phanwar, the electro-pop, rock and funk group’s vocalist and frontman Behram Siganporia says the band had performed in this part of the country before and had received “an incredible ovation”.
Best Kept Secret has performed at numerous corporate and private events in India and abroad, fashion shows and even IPL after-parties. Other members of the band are Hemanth Diwakaran on guitar, Abhilash E K on drums and Steve Rajan on keyboards.
“We’re adrenalin junkies and sports buffs. We’re team players and we love scoring,” says the band’s website. And the “team players” from the southern city are ready to raise the tempo in Shillong and make the audience sing and dance with them.

Why did you decide to come back to the North East?
This is our first full blown tour of the North East…We decided to come back because it’s our favourite part of India and many of our fans have been asking us to perform here.

How is Shillong special to you?
Shillong is special to us because we made some amazing friends here. We meet people from Shillong even when we are performing in different parts of the world and they all love music. It’s always special playing for an audience that loves our music and supports our dreams.

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What do you expect from your audience when you perform live? What are you expecting from the audience in the North East?
We expect the audience to sing along with us, dance with us, jump with us and clap with us. We are expecting all our shows in the North East to be sold out and we are looking at making more friends and ‘secret keepers’.

Who are your major influences?
All four of us come from different backgrounds of music and have different influences. I am influenced by a lot of eighties’ rock and pop like Queen and Bon Jovi but my biggest influence has been Coldplay.
Hemanth is influenced by the blues like Eric Clapton and John Mayer.
Abhilash has grown up listening to a lot of funk and soul such as James Brown and MJ (Michael Jackson).
Steve is heavily influenced by Dream Theatre, Coldplay and a few bands from the gospel circuit such as Hillsong.

How did you guys meet?
Hemanth, Abhi and I happened to meet by chance. We have a common friend who was getting married and he wanted us to play at his wedding as we were all musicians. While Hemanth and Abhi have always been full-time musicians, I was working as a pilot then. We came together to perform at our friend’s wedding but the chemistry we shared was unreal and we decided to pursue this seriously. We completed the band when Steve joined us.

How many shows do you do in a year?
Close to 100 shows.

Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play covers?
We initially started off as a cover band. That’s what we played at our first gig and we still enjoy playing covers. It’s great to see people sing the words to our own song though and it’s the best feeling to hear them scream for us to play our own songs.

When were your Europe and Asia tours?
We performed in parts of Asia and Europe last year. It was a great feeling to see our Germany concert sold out. We also performed in the beautiful country of Jordan last month.

How is the popularity of electro-pop in the country?
Electro-pop is a genre where we belong, broadly speaking. We started off as an alternative rock band and naturally transitioned into an electro-pop band. Our music has a long way to go and we don’t know if we will further transition into another genre as we have done in the past. Although we belong to this genre at the moment, we are heavily influenced by rock.

What do you think about band potential in the North East?
Some of the most talented bands are from the North East. There is a great music culture and it’s great to see and meet so many incredibly talented people from the region. According to me, NE is the home of Rock ’n Roll in India.

Who are your favourite artistes in and outside your genre of music from this region?
We really like the senior musicians like Soulmate and Lou Majaw from the North East. These guys are immortal.

What do you think is the reason that NE bands are not popular nationally?
I think NE bands are quite popular in the circuit but since most northeastern bands sing in English and India is dominated by Bollywood and regional music, this could be one of the reasons. Leaving the popularity aside, the bands in the NE have a reputation of being talented and staying true to the art.

So what is the “Best Kept Secret” in your band?
If we reveal that, we won’t be the ‘Best Kept Secret’ anymore.

Do you have a set time for jamming or is it spontaneous?
We jam almost everyday. If we are not jamming, we are either recording or at a photo or video shoot or performing.

Any secret to share with the potential audience here…
We have a lot of surprises for the audiences in the NE. As the NE is close to our heart, we will do everything to keep our fans satisfied.

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