Storytellers of a new generation
This All-Girl Punk Band From Arunachal Pradesh Is Going Places Cover Picture

This All-Girl Punk Band From Arunachal Pradesh Is Going Places

Getting in touch with the The Vinyl Records turned out to be harder than I had imagined it to be. It took me a few days and a host of text messages and phone calls to finally get a chance to speak to drummer Mithy Tatak. And just when she answered her phone, I also received a text from the vocalist Cheyyrian Bark, apologising for the delay in replying to me since the band had been travelling a lot lately.

The past few months have been a roller-coaster ride for this four-member punk band from Arunachal Pradesh. Gigs have been pouring in, and there’s just so much else to do – making more music together, crowdfunding videos and managing studies on the side.

Here's excerpts from a chat with the 20-something young girls.

Hello girls, thank you for speaking to me. I have been following your music for a couple of years now and really like your on-stage spunk. So when and how did you decide to start the band?
We started back in 2011 in Delhi, where we came to attend college after completing our schooling from Arunachal. The three of us (guitarist Banu Jini, bassist MinamTeksang and Mithy) used to have jam sessions with our mentor Getem Apang; we met (vocalist) Cheyyrian at music school. We played our first gig as The Vinyl Records at an open mic event at a club. We got an encouraging response from the crowd; it was a sweet gig.

The Vinyl Records at one of their first gigs at a cafe in Gurgaon
The Vinyl Records at one of their first gigs at a cafe in Gurgaon


How did you decide on naming the band The Vinyl Records? 
The name The Vinyl Records complements our sound and music which is influenced by the post punk and new wave eras, when analogue and digital sound was popular!

Who are your music idols?
We are inspired by Riot Grrrl, an underground feminist punk movement, and bands that supported it like Bratmobile, Bikini Kill and L7 which created history. We are also big fans of some new-age women-fronted bands like The Donnas, Sahara Hotnights,Haim, CSS, Best Coast, Shonen Knife. And we are super lucky to had shared stage with two of our idols -- Sahara Hotnights and Shonen Knife. 

American band The Donnas is one of their biggest influences
American band The Donnas is one of their biggest influences

 

What is the best and worst thing about being an all-girl band?
Being an all-girl band, we do deal with many stereotypes like ‘Girls can’t play rock music’ or ‘Maybe they are just a visual treat!’ It’s sad how society is still judgmental about women picking up music. We sometimes hate being called an all-girl band! Nevertheless, we stand up for a purpose. We are also tired of boy bands; today we have women doing it too but glamorously!

What makes your band unique?
Girl power!

What have been your biggest achievements?
Touring Sweden last November. We shared the Red Bull Music Academy,Stockholm stage with one of our biggest idols, Maria Anderson from Sahara Hotnights. It was both enthralling and emotional.

Any memorable experience you can share with us?
We are still not over with our Sweden tour; it was our first international tour. We had an overwhelming response from people at all the three cities we toured.  

The band pulled in quite a crowd at their Sweden tour last November
The band pulled in quite a crowd at their Sweden tour last November
 

 How do you divide the composition work? Who writes the lyrics?
The composition is a random process. There is no strict agenda and mostly we follow a tune or guitar riff and structure the music followed by lyrics or vice versa. Each one of us contributes towards lyrics.

Was it a conscious decision to keep the band all girls? What if a great male guitarist wanted to join. Would you consider taking him in?
Our band’s ethos is feminist and not sexist. Occasionally, we have welcomed people who are feminist and like-minded friends to join us on stage. Our friend Takar is one of the best guitarists in the country and together we have composed and written a song called ‘Coco Bomb’.

Which artistes from the North East do you admire?
We like young indie artistes like Street Stories, Frisky Pints,Still Waters, Digital Suicide,Yesterdrive, Dossers Urge and Mod. We also love traditional and folk acts like Omak Komut Collective,Tetseo Sisters, Guru Rewbenwho are making beautiful music amalgamating traditional and western styles.

Caption: Testeo Sisters is one of their favourite bands from the North East

Caption: Testeo Sisters is one of their favourite bands from the North East

 

Have people ever made any rude comments because you are girls?
Yes, there have been moments when people have said, ‘You have to keep in mind how the world works for girls’. But it doesn’t really bother us.

The members of the band say that the face racism on an individual level almost daily
The members of the band say that the face racism on an individual level almost daily
 

Have you ever faced any form of discrimination/racism being from the North East?
On an individual level, we face racism almost on a daily basis, but as a band we have never faced any ill treatment; infact people are humble and kind to us. Being outsiders in Delhi and making music is itself a challenge, but our fans understand and respect our identity. On the national level, we represent both Delhi and the North East. Delhi is our second home.

Do you have a big dream that you want to fulfill as a band?
Yes we want to play bigger festivals, travel and experience the world. 
 

With a successful international tour behind them already, we must say the girls are already one step closer to achieving their big dream. Currently, they are working on their new songs and gearing up for an action-packed gig season ahead.

Check out their latest video, ‘Whims’, which is a crowdfunded project.

 

 

Words: NS