Interview with Pauly: Bassist with "Masala Coffee"

In less than 2 weeks, one of South India's hottest bands, Masala Coffee, will perform at the iconic Victoria Theatre and Concert hall as part of the Sarvesh Festival of Arts. The band which rose to fame though the Music Mojo Programme on Kappa TV, has come a long way since their formation in 2014 and has recently made their foray into Cinema with action- thriller, Uriyadi.

In our interview series with the band members, we catch up next with the oldest member of the band, Mr Pauly who plays the bass for the band. At first glance, Pauly who is in his late 50s and is married with 3 children, may seem out of place with the Youthful and energetic Masala Coffee.  But he does remind us that age is just a mindset more than anything else.


How did you first get introduced to music?
I first started playing in a school band. When I enrolled in the pre-university, I joined a band and picked up the guitar and it just took off.

So it has always been guitars from the start? Any particular reason?
No. I used to play the flute, the drums, side drums and bugle. I particularly liked the drums although I was not as good in it, as compared to the guitar. When the opportunity to  permanently substitute the bassist arose in 1978 for 13 AD,one of the pioneering rock bands in Kerala, I jumped on it.

How has your music journey been thus far? It has been about thirty years? Any memorable moments?
Yes, it has been a long journey. I have been playing music for the majority of my life. I enjoy every moment of it, actually. Although it is different playing with Masala Coffee, as it focuses on folk rock, different from what I used to do, I definitely enjoy every bit of it. So far, we have released two albums in English and now we are venturing into the Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi scenes too. It may be of a different genre, but at the end of the day, it is all about music, and that is something I love creating.

How did Masala Coffee happen for you?
Two years ago, when I was living in Dubai, I caught one of their performances and had a chat with Varun. When I returned to Kerela, their manager, who used to perform with me in Dubai, asked if I was interested in joining the band. Of course, I agreed.

How has it been like being the most experienced player in Masala Coffee working with the younger ones?
Age is just a number. It does not matter how old or young you are, it is the mind set. What is more important is that you are ready to accept the views of the younger ones, who could be better performers than you are. In music, age does not equate to how excellent of a performer you are. It depends on your experience and the talents that have been bestowed upon you by God.

How different is the music scene in the 70s and now?
The music in the past set the foundation for the music in this era. In the past, we had influences by Aerosmith, Deep Purple and Rolling Stones who had great sound. The past was the best era for music, and from there, music started evolving into various genres to become what it is today to suit society and people’s tastes.

If you had to choose your favourite Masala Coffee song, which would it be and why?
I like “Agni Kunjondru” because it has a different texture and sound to it. It blends different time signatures together, has heavy guitars, drums and yet at the same time sounds melodious. It is not easy to achieve such a sound by combining all these various components together. It is a complete package and hence I like this song.

What do you love about Masala Coffee?
I think it is very hard for a band to stick together and these guys really gel together. We all may have different mind sets but we know how to put our differences aside and make it work. That is why I really adore these guys

If music was not an option, what do you see yourself doing?
I might be at some desk, working on computers.

Any thoughts about your upcoming performance in Singapore
I’ve heard that Singapore is a lovely place and labelled the cleanest city in the world. I would love to experience that.


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