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Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ) / Press

“Thermal And A Quarter is bad news – for other bands who have suddenly discovered higher standards and expectations to live up to”

Ed - The Hindu

“You have Indian rock bands… and then you have Thermal And A Quarter”

Amit Saigal - RSJ Magazine

“At the heart of the (TAAQ) enterprise is the creation of songs that resonate with the mood of contemporary India”

Allen Mendonca - The Times of India

““…oodles of talent; TAAQ’s music is unique and refreshing””

Ed - Emirates Today

““With influences ranging from jazz to rock to funk, (Bruce Lee) Mani’s playing is instantly recognizable: sinuous wah-wah riffs, funky rhythms and staccato solos.””

Bobin James - Rolling Stone

“Defiantly original, unabashedly Indian, unquestionably unpeggable ”

Amit Saigal - RSJ Magazine

““It’s not just jamming or polishing of songs that TAAQ concentrated on. They’ve also set a high bar for themselves when it came to the actual production.””

Priyanka - Rolling Stone

““It’s about time the West has something to listen to from India that isn’t born in Bollywood… I could see this band blowing minds at Bonaroo or the Newport Jazz Festival. Wherever they end up playing, they are sure to catch the attention of anyone who has an ear for great music.””

Ed Douglas, President - Brash Music, Atlanta

““Thermal And A Quarter ventures far from the straight-ahead four-beat patterns of American music… all sorts of tricky syncopations…””

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers - National Public Radio (All Things Considered)

"Just say the words "Indian music" and immediately tablas and sitars, Bollywood and bhangra spring to mind. But Indian rock band Thermal and a Quarter are as far from this musical cliche as they are from their homes in Bangalore - and their UK tour appears to be opening more than a few minds to the breadth of the sub-continent's music scene."

Miranda Heggie - The Herald, Glasgow, UK

"Songs such as Sunset Man, Without Wings and the excellent Look at Me rest on a genre-defying, impossible funky, but irrefutably Indian rhythm section which rocked in 5/4 time all night. Let's see the Red Hot Chili Peppers try that. They finished with Sting's Roxanne, with 50 backing vocalists and Aaron Copland's Hoedown, which made ELP's famous version sound limp by comparison."

Stuart Morrison - The Herald, Glasgow

"For the large majority of musicians here and abroad, yes, the day job is what pays the bills. That's the way the industry works now, and the way it has always worked. How does an artists capture the imagination of the madding crowd? There isn't really a formula, even though the B-schools of this world keep churning out bright sparks that believe they have it cracked. But you can't explain the shelf life of The Dark Side of the Moon with something from Kotler. The solution - well, keep at it dude. Don't play that guitar expecting to become a star. Play it because there's nothing else you really want to do more..." - BRUCE LEE MANI (in interview)

“Not all rock musicians are bankrolled by indulgent parents. The ones I work with are in their 30s and send kids to school. We’ve quit secure jobs to make careers in music. We’ve sold four albums in 15 years without benefactors in the media or the absent “industry”. We play for love. And we won’t stop.”

“About AR Rahman's just-launched CWG theme song: For Bruce Lee Mani, guitarist and vocalist with Bangalore-based Thermal And A Quarter, whose own song for CWG games Kickbackistan has just been uploaded on YouTube, the track hasn't left an impact "although I have heard it a couple of times. It didn't stick in my mind."”

“Bruce Lee Mani, lead guitarist and vocalist for Thermal and a Quarter, one of Bangalore’s most successful bands, says, “It is definitely easier now than a few years ago to make money from music. Today, young bands can sustain themselves, if not their families, by playing enough gigs. Music needs an ecosystem to thrive—venues and platforms, access to quality instruments, places to learn and practice music. This ecosystem is slowly being set up in Bangalore.””

“A thousand or so 30-something Bangaloreans might remember the date 24 July 1999. That day, Taaq performed at the Potatoe Junkie concert and hauled the city’s underground rock music movement to the surface. The theme song—its title inspired by former US vice-president Dan Quayle’s infamous spelling howler—sneered at the city’s growing obsession with cable television. The band played a 2-hour set consisting mostly of original songs and, after breaking even, donated Rs15,000 to a relief fund for the families of soldiers martyred during the Kargil war.”

“Bollywood composer Ram Sampath on Thermal And A Quarter: "You can smell Bangalore in their music."”

“TAAQADEMY, set up by rock band Thermal And A quarter (TAAQ) in April, teaches music and songwriting. It also offers a rehearsal pad and a fully-equipped studio to create demos for upcoming bands. Such alternate revenue streams are critical for independent musicians in India who also have to contend with the stranglehold that Bollywood and regional music have on the country’s music industry. Film music accounts for nearly three-fourths of revenues. “Independent music is hardly an industry in India, it’s still a tiny fraction,” says Bruce Lee Mani, lead guitarist and singer for rock band Thermal And A Quarter.”

“Bangalore-based band Thermal and A Quarter counters Sidhu’s assessment of the Indian rock scene with a tirade of questions like “What is uniquely 'Indian' about the Indian rock scene?” They ask why journalists don’t do “some legwork to find out what’s really happening in India’s underground music scene? For instance, how do Indian bands approach songwriting, where do they learn to play their instruments, where do they rehearse? How do they finance gear, studio time and production efforts? What level of initiative does it take for a band to bag concert dates at Hard Rock Cafe or Blue Frog, or plan a five-city tour? Or to cut an album and market it independently?””

“TAAQADEMY’s rehearsal studios are both sound-treated and kitted out with a PA system, mixers, an assortment of amplifiers, microphones and effects processors, and a drum kit. Apart from the state-of-the-art equipment, the jam rooms also offer the option of recording rehearsal sessions. “The creative aspect of making music is something that varies from band to band,” said Rajagopal. “No matter what your style is, there’s a lot that needs to go into bringing the music out in the best possible way.” And that’s where the stage gear at TAAQADEMY will come in handy, he explained.”

“A fully equipped, sound-proof rehearsal studio, this space makes it simple for everyone, from start-up school band to seasoned professional musicians to get together and play. “About three bands are using the place right now and one of them is a school band actually,” says Bruce, guitarist from TAAQ.”

“Thermal And A Quarter.. is on the vanguard of the Indian Rock Scene.”

“The kind of music we play is I guess, for a huge broader spectrum of people. The audience profile isn’t restricted to that narrow band of 17-24, of course that is still the bulk of what the industry classifies as the ‘music buying audience’, the types who buy music or at least they used to, now they download. In fact, I think tables have turned, like older people go ahead and buy an album. The whole pattern of consumption has changed; the younger people prefer consuming music as one song, rather than an album format. Artists also are coming out with such formats, they produce one single, and an album has only one good song the rest of them being fillers. Young Indian audiences are not paying for music at all; they go ahead and download it like everywhere else in the world.”

“Online or off it, the new record is an eminently listenable effort, with sharp, precise instrumentation, great vocal harmonies and nice hooks. If one was to make comparisons, Steely Dan would come up, with slight detours into Phish territory. It’s also beautifully put together. Recorded at Mahati studios in Chennai by Didier Weiss, it was mixed at AR Rahman’s AM Studios. This happened in late 2007 and early 2008, and they managed to rope in Jeff Peters for the mix-down. Peters is the Grammy-winning producer and engineer from Los Angeles, who has worked with the Beach Boys, Little Feat, Ringo Starr, Brian Setzer and countless other artists. The CD mastering was done at Joe Gastwirt Mastering in LA, whose clients include the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Paul McCartney and Tom Petty. Not bad at all for any band – let alone one from India.”

“For fans in the city, the concert in 2001 might have been a treat but it was much bigger for local band Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ) which opened the concert. "It was our biggest gig till then. We played for about 40,000 people, I think. We had never played a gig as big and for so long, about 45 minutes. We were asked to play covers but we played own compositions. It was a risk but it took just two songs and the crowd got the vibe. We had a blast. The Deep Purple roadies and engineers enjoyed it and told us to continue," says Bruce Lee Mani, TAAQ vocalist and guitarist.”

"An artiste has to be like a sponge. You have to keep absorbing everything. If at any point you stop absorbing, you're not really an artiste, you're a technician. Growth is inevitable if you let it happen," says Bruce Lee Mani, Thermal And A Quarter

“Bruce Lee Mani, Thermal And A Quarter: "Lots of folks in the audience may not really care about the opening act — they're here for the big thing — but if you can get those guys on your side, get them to sing along, get 'em jumping, then you know they're going to have an even better time when the main gig kicks in. That was our focus when we opened for Deep Purple — when we started, it was to quite a hostile crowd, but when we were done, we had a good lot of them yelling for more. It's quite a feeling, that."”

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