• Thu, Apr 18, 2024

Enraged but not defeated- Underground Authority

features Dec 15, 05:12pm

We explore the current state of mind with Kolkata based Underground Authority talking about their latest release with vocalist EPR.
 Photo Courtesy: Underground Authority, Sougata

Not a lot has changed, since the turn of the decade, on the socio-political front in India. And while some may argue citing policy and ideological variants that have arrived, it's quite evident that the usual targets of poor electoral decisions continue to exist. That and the the generic magnitude of challenges resulting into dissent appear in the evolution of Kolkata-based act Underground Authority's latest single, titled 'I'm an Indian'. 

The song, first conceptualized five years ago, led to necessary tweaks and edits, concluding with its eventual release only four days ago. "The band has always written about things that we see everyday; on the streets, in our homes, on social media and so on so forth. 'I'm an Indian' is a documentation of the same," said EPR Iyer, the vocalist for this decade old rap-rock band. Shot entirely on an iPhone, the video - barring Howrah bridge - captures unsuspecting lanes and typical streets of Kolkata while the locals act as a consistent background to the cinematography throughout, allowing the viewer from any regional background to instantly connect with the effort. The song does not beat around the bush or rely on metaphorical alternatives to uncover its essence. And yet again, the vocalist does not shy away from strong analogies to get the 'blood boiling' with early references like "economy being gang-raped by paedophiles" further drawing caution to other inflating sinister campaigns like corporates feeding on your lingering loans. 



As the song progresses, the consistent rhythm helps offer an uninterrupted attention to EPR's lyrics. The entire song is EPR's rage, his bottled emotions towards the apathy that's refusing to leave the economic and social vulnerability, the angst towards helplessness and the dying desire to prove he's as much a patriot as the ones who oppose him. And the vocalist argues, that's the best he can do. "I am a musician, man. I can demand change as a citizen buts I cannot resort to violence. I am a patriot and it's extremely enraging when the country you've grown in, is identified as the rape capital or finds itself amidst other controversies," elaborates the songwriter on the latest single. 


“We all grew up, and we have learnt things, and it's pretty visible when you walk on the streets, on one side there are beggars and on the other side there are massive political banners. I mean, isn't this the picture everywhere? This hasn't stopped globally no matter what party or ideology has come in power”
- EPR, Underground Authority


Underground Authority has had a pretty busy week with regards to their recent singles releases and the reactions that have emerged with the same. The band's last single 'Boatman', once again, put the band in a welcoming spotlight and publications' speed-dial. "All the followers we have gained, online and offline, is a result of an organic approach. As you know, like most bands, we cannot afford to be PR-driven, the attention we receive is purely due to the topics we want to scream about." So what's leading to growing clicks on 'I'm an Indian'? "We all grew up, and we have learnt things, and it's pretty visible when you walk on the streets, on one side there are beggars and on the other side there are massive political banners. I mean, isn't this the picture everywhere? This hasn't stopped globally no matter what party or ideology has come in power." EPR sounds understandably disturbed over the issues that have plagued the common man's daily life but conveniently missed the mainstream media's daily headlines. 


"It had only been a week since we released 'Boatman', but the recent developments on social media revolving around the man hacking a Muslim man to death in Rajasthan and some fans in Chennai mocking the girls from North East in an ISL game triggered me to go back to the song and release it with some changes in the chorus and outro," the vocalist explains further. The band has always acted as a catalyst to broken voices in difficult times, and another similar contribution where Underground Authority, once again, took the lead came through music community's darkest episode. "Karan Joseph's death affected us all, man. We have had a history with Rishi Shah, and we decided to speak about him," explains EPR referring to the band's video uploaded a few days after keyboardist Karan Joseph's death. The band called Shah "sad case of a human being", providing the necessary strength to other isolated and sombre voices in the music community surrounding the alleged suspect behind Joseph's demise. 



When Underground Authority began creating music, the motive revolved around something similar. Rap-rock and alternative rock come close to describe the band's genres of music, and 'enraged but not defeated' comes close to describe the band's current mood. Ten years since the inception, neither the genre changed nor has the music, and if the latest single can be considered, the band's adding another feather to its 'pissed off' hat. 

The vocalist concludes the telephonic interview further emphasising that he's no lesser Indian for pointing out the obvious loopholes and shortcomings of our governments. "Governments are shit everywhere. I treat my country as my own country and my people as my own people, no matter which party they support. I do not discriminate, these people (politicians) do. I am proud to be an Indian but if you elect a clown, then he will fool around with you."??When asked if the current political discourse on social media discourages him from logging into his accounts ever again, the musician replies, "Sadly, I cannot. As a band not signed to any record label, social media is the only promotional tool we have got. Plus, even if I do not log in, these things will continue to happen. The leaders will change, but someone somewhere will hack someone to death just because he differs in caste, language or opinion."


Watch the video of "I'm an Indian below" below:




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