Girish Pradhan Of Sikkim's Top Rock Group GATC: "Being A Band From A Newer Generation, It Kinda Feels Symbolic"

Girish Pradhan Of Sikkim's Top Rock Group GATC: "Being A Band From A Newer Generation, It Kinda Feels Symbolic"

FPJ did a deep dive with Girish Pradhan, frontman of Sikkim's top rock group Girish and the Chronicles, before they head to Mumbai for Mahindra Independence Rock 2023

Kasmin FernandesUpdated: Saturday, October 28, 2023, 10:31 PM IST
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Girish Pradhan

Picture the rugged terrain of Sikkim and the lush Himalayan mountains. It's amidst this backdrop that frontman Girish Pradhan was raised. His band Girish and the Chronicles' (GATC) sound is fresh yet steeped in the mysticism of the region. Imagine an ‘80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal meets the LA Sunset Strip kind of a sound. Fans of Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Dokken, Whitesnake and Skid Row dig GATC. Their tracks Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay, Hail to The Heroes, Loaded, Love’s Damnation and Primeval Desire are modern classics. GATC is one of the few metal bands from India that has not only toured Europe successfully but also supported Guns N Roses (earlier this year in Abu Dhabi).

Their internationally sought-after vocalist Girish is part of metal band Firstborne with former Megadeth drummer Chris Adler, and also of The End Machine and Joel Hoekstra’s 13 project. Lead guitarist Suraz Sun's masterful work has become synonymous with GATC's sound. Bassist Yogesh Pradhan is the rhythmic shaman of GATC. He's the steady hand that keeps the band grounded. Drum dynamo Nagen Mongrati's untamed beats and intricate rhythms are the backbone of the band's thundering live acts. Fans are eager to watch these Northeast bangers tear up the stage at the iconic I-Rock music festival in November. Girish told FPJ, “Being a band from a 'newer generation,' it kinda feels symbolic. We feel privileged to be a part of I-Rock’s history. It will be an honour to be a part of the legacy and get a chance to fill in the boots of legends.”

They will be performing songs from all their three albums, but they are looking forward to jam to their anthem-style songs with the audience. All their albums have a wide range of songs, which also include very different kind of tracks such as Shamans of Time, Angel and Identity Crisis. It hasn't been an easy ride for these rockers from Sikkim. Girish revealed his struggles of founding GATC. He said, “Coming from Gangtok, having a dream of making it in music was a struggle in itself. Back in 2006, I really had no guidance.” He dropped out of engineering to pursue music. The pressure on his parents was equally dire. Long story short, after spending a couple of years experiencing the “grind,” he was finally ready to start a new journey by 2009. He explained, “We jumped into the so-called “scene”, competing in college-level festivals and six months on, we were already on our way to becoming an unstoppable force. But there were long gaps in between and I’d often fall prey to anxiety and depression. I’m so thankful that I got a band that stuck with me through thick and thin. We’ve had our fair share of struggles, but when your band becomes your family, it’s stronger than anything out there.”

Their latest album, Hail to the Heroes, has garnered attention and critical acclaim. Girish explained the creative process behind it: “After we released Rock the Highway in 2020, I had a strong feeling about what I wanted to do next. We took a gamble and decided to go old school with the sound. Especially the drums and the guitar tones. I decided to dive in deeper with my vocals and try out a lot more styles compared to my previous works. But it was not easy, as we faced lockdowns a lot. It was a slow process, but it eventually gave us a lot of room to keep improving on it.”

Their influences for Hail to the Heroes included bands like Dokken, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Van Halen, even some Iron Maiden. “We dived into the universe of larger-than-life, reverb-oriented style. Of course, we also gave (bassist) Yogesh the full liberty to use his modern mixing techniques which resulted in a great blend of the old and the new,” added the frontman. The title track is the most memorable one on the album. Revealed Girish, “In a way, it was a tribute to all the rock heroes we grew up listening to, who passed away in recent years. The lyrics and the solo were specially about Eddie Van Halen, who left the world while were making this record. It also represented the state of the world during that time and how Covid warriors gave their lives to protect us. I still can’t believe wrote and released two of our albums during a pandemic.”

The rockers from Sikkim are pleased with the current state of independent music in India. He observed, “The best part is, everyone has access to upload and showcase their music, all over the world. It’s all there and it’s kind of in its golden era. I feel like now it’s time for a change in the scene, where the older bands start supporting newer ones and give them more chances whenever the opportunity arises. I feel like this is the only way now, to preserve the rock scene and not let it totally crash.”

Girish has exciting news. “We are planning our fourth album and a bigger European tour in 2024. We already have shows lined up in Dubai and India in December,” he signed off.

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