After their recent gig in the Annual Bhutan International Festival, we had a candid conversation with the man behind the Koniac Net, David Abraham. the Koniac Net is one of the most successful international acts from India. “the Koniac Net” was recently nominated for BEST ROCK ACT at the 2014 VH1 Sound Nation music awards. Harking back to 2000, the Koniac Net grew out of the womb of David’s intellect; his bedroom being the surrogate and their music has been loved by millions across the world since. David has been the inspiration for many aspiring musicians in this country but wouldn’t we all want to know how David Abraham walked the mile to understand Abiogenesis a little better?
Ananda: David, why don’t you tell us a little about your teenage days? Where did you grow up and who were your influences while you were growing up? Where did you go to school at?
David: I grew up in Bombay itself – studied in St. Andrews School (here in Bandra West), and then when I was 13, moved to Kodaikanal International High School (a boarding school down South of India). I actually began discovering and differentiating good music from all else when I was around 8 years old. I grew up on the metal scene – Megadeth, Testament, Pantera, Sepultura, Slayer, etc. By 1991, I fell in love with the grunge, alternative, and hip hop scenes. That, to me, was the 2nd Golden Age of music (the 1st being between 1966 + 1976).
My influences were (and still are): Prong, Rage Against the Machine, Toadies, Superdrag, Stabbing Westward, King T, Daz Dillinger, DJ Quik, DeVante Swing, Deftones, Helmet, Lemonheads, and about a 1000 other bands. Pretty much 9 out of 10 bands that came out every month between 1990 + 1999 were brilliant.
Ananda: When did you think of taking up music seriously? Who were your major influences back in those days?
David: I was brought into this work with my dad playing music on a stereo, so I kind of always have been part of music, and vice-versa. It’s been in my blood since birth, but I only began realising how important it was in my life when I was around 13 (1993). As for it being a part of my profession: I think I knew that this was what I wanted to do when I turned 16. I just didn’t know how and what, right up until I was in college. I, unfortunately, did not begin learning music, or guitar chords, notes, etc. until I was 19. Late start for me, but I can’t complain as I have been able to write music nonetheless… and music that people like too!
I also began appreciating music from the 60’s & 70’s like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, Van Morrison, Sam & Dave, etc.
Ananda: I for one love the new album as much as the last:“One Last Monsoon”. How did the Koniac Net find each other? Jason D’Souza must have had a gargantuan task at hand playing and recording for the Koniac Net?
David: Actually, I owe the initial introduction (to Jason D’Souza) to my aunt Sylvia Joseph. She knew I wanted to record my 1st album, and she mentioned Jason (being the son of a very close family friend of ours – Otis D’Souza), and Jason & myself gelled instantly. He really liked the music, believed in it, and I loved the way he had mixed the Rosemary album – reminded me a hell of a lot of Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger.” To me, that was an immediate like. And we’ve been together since. Jason mixed “One Last Monsoon,” and after he found out that I wanted to put a band together, he suggested himself, and we’re still going strong.
Adil Kurwa has been a friend of mine since before the Koniac Net. In fact, he was a guest musician on “Divine Submersion.” When getting the band together, I asked him if he knew of a bass player, and he suggested himself on account of him liking the direction I wanted to go in. From there, they introduced me to Karun Kannampilly & Ishaan Krishna. However, Ishaan left to the UK to pursue his music education, and we’ve gotten another very close friend & great guitarist, Aaron Dmello, as part of our the official line up now.
Ananda: Who are some of the authors/poets/musicians that have influenced the Koniac Net collectively thus far?
David: We all have different influences, but at the same time, listen to a lot of similar music. All of us are indie, grunge, alternative, hard rock, and heavy metal fanatics. Aaron & myself are hip hop obsessors as well. For example: Karun is a huge Bombay Bicycle fan, and Jason is now officially a Helmet & (old) Nada Surf fanatic… two bands I NEVER thought he’d love to this extent. We share a lot of similar tastes & influences, and I guess that’s why it’s really easy, & a hell of a lot of fun to write music together.
Ananda: What went into the songwriting process with Abiogenesis?
David: Some of the tracks only had a verse or chorus written. I remember with “Rose Coloured Glasses” and “Floor-less,” before we even began talking about releasing new music, I was randomly playing a verse or chorus of each song at one of our band rehearsals. Karun heard the chorus of Floor-less & began jamming with me. I immediately fell in love with what he was playing, and we, within an hour, had finished writing the rest with the entire band. Same process with “Rose Coloured Glasses.”
I could say that we sat for weeks, intensely scrutinising each bar of each of the 5 songs, but that would be a lie. Writing with the entire band has been, so far, a complete breeze. We have an idea that’s brought to the table, each of us immediately come up with parts. If we don’t like any particular section, we put it aside, and compose something new & better. Before even we know it, the song is 90% done.
Ananda: Chasing after you has been a recent addition to the ‘fav list’ of mine after Bricks and This Time Around. Meren Imchen has been brilliant with the interpretation. Why don’t you tell us a little about the song, its ambiguity and it being quintessentially the Koniac Net?
David: I actually wrote this song, I think back in 2007… but only the 1st half. I went through writer’s block with this track, and put it aside for a couple of years. The rest of the band added absolute brilliance & melody to it, completing it, and making it what it is today.
As for the video: Meren & myself have been pretty much brothers since 1993. We went to the same high school (he was 1 year ahead of me), played in the same band (covering brilliant music like Radiohead, Bush, Collective Soul, Live, etc.). Somehow, we’ve always stayed very close. In fact, he stays 2 mins away from me. He has always had a fantastic imagination, and we’ve always shared the same views on what good music & art is. In addition, he has been a true supporter & believer of my music since day one, and hence told me that he wanted to do a music video for one of our songs. One thing led to another (I loved his ideas the 1st day he discussed them with me), and voila! The song itself represents a huge part of that we are: good indie & alternative melodies. We place a great importance on vocals as well, which is immediately noticeable.
Ananda: Tell us a little more about the other songs on the EP? Floor-less (de profundis) has been another very popular song. Also tell us a bit about the history of the Ardent Companion That You Are.
David: You know, it’s odd: when we were about to release Abiogenesis, we were so dead sure that Floor-less was going to be our hit song. Much later, we thought that nobody was interested in the track (since “Rose Coloured Glasses” got a hell of a lot of praise), but as time went by, more and more radio personalities, bloggers, and fans began writing to me, informing me that “Floor-less” was their favourite. It’s truly amazing, because I received so many e-mails from various people, of all ages, and very different backgrounds / countries, each of them in love with a different song.
The Ardent Companion That You Are: wow, I wrote this in 2004 as a semi-tribute to the band Helmet, who until today, will remain the godfathers of hard rock. I had played the track with my old band in New York (called “One Last Monsoon” – yes, the same name as the Koniac Net’s 1st album), and got quite a bit of praise for it. However, my band over there was short-lived.
It was only when Jason randomly heard that 2004 version on my iTunes playlist, he paused the song for a second, looked at me, and goes: “Dave, we are doing THIS song next. PLEASE let’s do this song next – let’s do it for the EP.” Now when a band member is THIS excited over a song, you just don’t say “no.” I think we made a great decision adding it to the EP, thanks to Jason… because it clearly explains to our fans that we don’t JUST do indie, or only alternative… we do it all… indie, alternative, grunge, shoegaze, hard rock, etc.
Ananda: What have been a few of your most memorable moments in at the Koniac Net? Which has been your favourite gig that you have played so far?
David: I know I am going to sound like a pansy, but this is the god honest truth: the most memorable moments have been ALL our band rehearsals (we haven’t had one where we don’t laugh like a bunch of idiots). As for the best shows: there are a few.
1. Our very first NH7 performance in 2012. We got a SICK crowd who literally roared for us after every song,
2. The GQ “Best Dressed” event that we played a 90 min set for. It was a tremendous amount of fun,
3. Our Hard Rock Cafe all-India tour… Hyderabad & Bangalore being the best, and
4. Our recent show in Kohima (Nagaland) for the Hornbill Festival. That whole experience was just ridiculous… from the journey, to Kohima itself (what a beautiful place!), to the organisers who treated us with so much respect. They complimented our music the entire night after our performance… the ENTIRE night. We felt so at home in a place all five of us had visited for the first time ever.
5. Bhutan marks our very 1st international show. We’re proud of this because we achieved this without a booking agent or manager. The culture, country, and especially the people… wow. The organisers, fans, and local artists: they made us feel like family. And our performance had a brilliant turnout. I’m still getting messages from new fans in Bhutan. Has the be the greatest feeling.
Ananda: What does the future hold for your fans?
David: Right now, we have 3 new songs we are planning on recording and releasing to our fans for free… at least that’s the plan. And yeah, after that, I think everyone who knows the Koniac Net really well, knows that we will FINALLY start working on our double album (something that I put on hold since 2010, because I didn’t think people were ready for it). We are VERY excited about the double album. The boys have already heard 80% of the songs that are going to be on it, and we are extremely eager about working on these songs for all of you.
For those who haven’t checked out our music video for “Chasing After You” (it was exclusively playing on MTV Indies for a while), it is now available on YouTube. I strongly believe in incorporating music with other forms of entertainment & art…. be it film, graphic designing, dance, etc. Meren Imchen has done a brilliant job with this music video, and we want to continue working with people who can bring something unique to our music. I personally love promoting our talented friends & other people trying to make a mark in the entertainment world. Hence, we would love your support, likes, comments, and shares on our music video. The more exposure it gets, the more it will get noticed here in India, and abroad too. And my goal is to show the world that India has some magnificent music.
Music: the Koniac Net – Chasing After You (Music Video)
1. All Pictures: the Koniac Net official Facebook Page
2. Featured Image Of Article: Photographer Credits: Upasana Dahal