Big Fish for October- Indian Ocean





Indian Ocean: Biography


The Indian Ocean story starts back in 1984, when Susmit met Asheem during a concert. He was a fan of Niharika – a Bengali band Asheem played the tabla for. They hit it off right away, and for the next three years, they jammed as a duo, with Susmit on guitar and Asheem on tabla and drums, and no vocals. They made a memorable public debut at a concert in Roorkee, and with that, the journey had officially begun.



In 1990, Susmit sold his electric guitar to raise money for a demo recording of the band, named Indian Ocean. The name had been suggested by his dad. With Shaleen Sharma on drums, and Indrajit Dutta and Anirban Roy on bass, the seven song demo was recorded in a day. That rushed recording bagged Indian Ocean their first album deal from HMV. 


In 1991, Rahul Ram, replaced Anirban on bass, and 'Indian Ocean', the album, was recorded. Over 40,000 copies were sold within a year of its release, making it the highest selling record by any Indian band ever. In 1994, college-goer Amit Kilam, took up drumming duties. This has been the line-up since then- Susmit, Asheem, Rahul and Amit. Despite the lack of opportunities and finances, the band kept at what they were doing, and Susmit and Asheem left their jobs to be in the band full-time. All four members kept afloat by taking on various musical assignments like composing music for serials, ads and documentaries. 



On New Year’s day in 1997, the band performed at a concert in Mandi House, Delhi. Indian Ocean wanted to bring out a live recording of this concert, but owing to the lack of cooperation from music companies, a label called 'Independent Music' was formed to release this. 'Desert Rain' was a landmark album for its time and even almost a decade later, the album continues to sell, and placed #2 on the iTunes charts in 2006.


Indian Ocean was signed on by Times Music in 1998 and, the next year, the band went to Mumbai to record a new album. 'Kandisa' (2000) went on to acquire cult status, becoming one of contemporary Indian music's most significant releases. This album also opened up the international scene for the band, and since their first overseas show in London in the August of 2001, the band has played at various shows in multiple continents and have played with some of the greatest musicians in the world. Their fourth album 'Jhini' was released in 2003, along with the band’s first music video for the title track. 






Tragically though, Indian Ocean lost one of their founder members in December 2009. On 12th October, Asheem suffered a massive heart attack and slipped into a deep coma. He was brought back to India in early November and was slowly coming out of his coma. In fact, he had returned home pending open-heart surgery, when he suffered a second massive and final heart seizure.


The band continues to perform and compose, and have taken the help of several friends and musicians to fill in for Asheem. And though the sound of the band will probably change with the departure of Asheem, it is impossible to predict what direction the band will go in. And the band continues its journey, staying true to what they've always believed in- making good music.



Here's a video of the band playing "Desert Rain":




 ‘16/330 Khajoor Road’



The new Indian Ocean album has been named after the band’s rehearsal space since May 1997. ‘16/330 Khajoor Road’ is the address of a picturesque 100-year old bungalow in Delhi's crowded Karol Bagh area. The band was offered this house by their friends who were living there at that time. Nicknamed KB, the place became a home away from home, where their albums ‘Kandisa’, ‘Jhini’, ‘Black Friday’ and, of course, ‘16/330 Khajoor Road’ were conceived and polished. The album is a dedication to this house where hundreds of their friends have visited them, had chai and spirits and Rim Zim with them, played cricket with them, sung with them, and who’ve partied and contributed to the spirit of this amazing house. 




The decision to name the new album after the house was taken almost three years ago, and the decision to give away the songs for free evolved over the last year and a half. Asheem was an essential part of these decisions, and though it is saddening that he cannot be here to share its fruition, he will continue to be with Indian Ocean in spirit.


Indian Ocean


‘16/330 Khajoor Road’’s music is classic Indian Ocean in every way. Almost all the songs were originally made for some film project or the other, though as far as their experiences go, only one out of every eight film projects gets completed. This album will also be the first Indian album to be given away completely free as mp3 downloads. One song will be given away for free in a month, and post-February 2011, the album will be released as a physical double CD.