With the release of Evolve in 2012, Indus Creed embarked on a new musical journey that marked a turning point in their career. The band, known for delivering headbanging arena rock, shifted to a more mature and intricate sound, exploring the nuances of progressive rock. Originally founded in 1984 as Rock Machine by guitarists Mahesh Tinaikar and Aftab Currim, bassist Mark Selwyn, vocalist Ian Santamaria, and drummer Suresh Bhadrachia, the band released two albums, “Rock N’ Roll Renegade” (1988) and “The Second Coming” (1990), before rebranding themselves as Indus Creed.
Throughout the years, Indus Creed underwent several line-up changes. Jayesh Gandhi replaced Currim on the guitars, Mark Menezes took over Bhadrachia’s spot on the drums, and Uday Benegal stepped in as the band’s vocalist, replacing Santamaria. Zubin Balaporia assumed keyboard duties and has remained an integral part of Indus Creed to this day. The rest is, as they say, history.
Hailed as one of the pioneers of the independent rock movement in India, Indus Creed has proven themselves as some of the most adroit musicians upholding the ethos of rock music while also serving as an inspiration to others. Under the “Indus Creed” moniker, the band went on to release two full-length records – an eponymous number in 1995 and Evolve in 2012. While the album received mixed reviews from the audience, it was highly acclaimed by music publications like Rolling Stone India.
Indus Creed Releases Evolve Vinyl
Eleven years after the release of Evolve, the band has released a vinyl edition of the album, that was made available in mid-March this year. The vinyl was released on Free School Street Records, a Kolkata-based record label co-founded by Rajiv Pandey and Aveek Chatterjee. The LP has been released in a limited edition black and blue vinyl with the blue variant having already been sold out. The vinyl comes with a Japanese-style OBI strip containing information about the LP release. On the backside of the OBI strip, the discography of Rock Machine is displayed. There is also an insert that features pictures of the band members on the outer part and all the credits and the lyrics to the songs in the inner section.
When vinyl is slowly making a comeback in the era of streaming apps and services, Indus Creed’s release stands to be one of the first vinyl releases from an independent band in 2023. “It feels great to see Evolve pressed into vinyl alongside the other formats. It’s been a long time coming but it’s never too late,” says Zubin Balaporia.
In recent years, vinyl has experienced a resurgence in popularity, despite its declining appeal over time. While only a small fraction of people now turning to vinyl as a medium for listening to music, there is a unique aspect to this format that cannot be replicated by digital alternatives. People from the older generations will perhaps relate more to this. The significance of vinyl is gradually gaining prominence, with several venues across the country now hosting weekly vinyl listening sessions. “While CD and lossless digital audio formats are superb for listening to any music, recent or old, vinyl has a certain sound that is its own,” comments Balaporia.
“There is also a certain ritual that vinyl elicits that makes the whole listening experience very special… peeling of the shrinkwrap, admiring the artwork, poring over the credits, delving into the liner notes and, most importantly, unsheathing the record and setting it upon the turntable. There’s something very special about the whole practice,” he adds.
In Evolve, Indus Creed display their growth and maturity as a band by drawing on their musical roots to craft a mesmerizing prog-rock journey across eight tracks. In contrast to their earlier self-titled album from 1995, which featured restless and tumultuous soundscapes, the sonic textures on Evolve impart a sense of liberation and introspection. This album marked a transformative period for the band, justifying their choice of moniker, and also represents a drastic shift from self-indulgence to a more disciplined and restrained approach.
Despite facing an uncertain future after disbanding in 1997, Indus Creed found hope with their eventual reunion in 2012. Uday, Mahesh, and Zubin regrouped to bring the band back together with an “evolved” sound. With the addition of bassist Rushad Mistry and drummer Jai Row Kavi as session musicians, the band became a five-piece outfit, leading to the creation of their first album in 17 years – Evolve, released via Universal Music. Uday primarily wrote most of the songs in a raw format, which the band then worked on together. The album was further enriched by the individual influences and inspirations of Jai Row Kavi and Rushad Mistry, who brought their own distinct flavors to the project.
Zubin says, “There’s always multiple influences that inform our music. It’s what makes any musician what they are. So, the influences and inspirations have long lurked in the deep as well as shot through the surface.”
“Sound-wise though we were looking for a similar sonic latitude and depth (but not the same sound) as Porcupine Tree’s album ‘In Absentia’, which led us to Tim Palmer in the first place,” he adds.
Recorded in Mumbai, the album was mixed by Tim Palmer, an accomplished American producer known for his work with notable artists such as Porcupine Tree, Pearl Jam, and David Bowie, among others. The band was fortunate to have Palmer on board, as he brought out the precise sound they had envisioned. The collaboration was a great success, with the band feeling as though they had struck gold.
“[Working with Palmer] was one of the most interesting, illuminating, seamless and fulfilling experiences that we as a band have ever had. Working with a craftsman of such calibre was enriching beyond description,” recalls Zubin.
What does this mean for the future of vinyl?
The vinyl release of Evolve is a significant and exciting event for Indus Creed fans, similar to its original album release almost a decade ago, which is quite a long time to wait.“It’s pretty remarkable how much change the music world has seen in the last 10 years,” remarks Zubin.
While vinyl remains a niche interest in current times, the reception from fans has been supportive, indicating enthusiasm for the release. “Vinyl fans are a very specific breed and thus don’t boast the numbers that simpler listening formats do but Evolve’s vinyl release has received a pretty amazing amount of support from vinyl lovers,” he adds. One can head over to The Revolver Club’s official website to purchase the black vinyl of Evolve.
One can hope that the example set by Indus Creed in embracing the resurgence of vinyl records will encourage other bands to follow suit and release their own records in this format. It would be exciting to see more bands adopt this approach. Well, here’s to wishful thinking!