In this extensive interview, Lavanya of TFword spoke with The Detour – a three-piece progressive-rock/metal alternative fusion outfit from Hyderabad, India comprising Niteesh Kondiparti, Navneeth Krishnan, and Rohit Eragula.
The talented lads of The Detour don multiple feathers on their hats, both as part of the band and also in their solo ventures. Frontman Niteesh Kondiparthi does his magic on everything strings, words work and emotive crooning, Rohit Eragula handles low-end rumbles and some side chants, and Navneeth Krishnan takes care of all-things-beats, some maths, and production.
Formed in 2016 by Niteesh, the band has filtered in and out a list of performers before landing on the current line up. They also had a handful of breaks in between owing to their engagements, but luckily were tethered together through Niteesh’s solo career taking off.
The Detour has been supporting Niteesh Kondiparthi’s singer/songwriter pursuits and solo projects for a while now, shadowing as his trio on stage and also in the studio. They have been a constant floating name in the city’s indie scene, performing either Niteesh’s solo material, or their own songs, at various gigs, now, slowly fleshing out, intending to branch into heavier outlets of music.
“We write/record and perform a melange of almost every musical genre possible, trying to turn our abstractions into one cohesive piece of music,” they said.
The band earns recognition outside of Hyderabad with their multifaceted feats, and with the release of their debut single ‘Clementine,’ their reach is expected to soar. The Ticket Fairy got in touch with The Detour’s Navneeth Krishnan for getting to know the band better!
Talk about the song ‘Clementine’, how did it come into being, and what went on behind it until its release.
Through ‘Clementine’, we try to talk about the issue of a ‘neo-addictive world of life and function’ that most of us are stuck in. It’s quite obviously grim, but rather a coloured version of forbidding growth, that we find ourselves in.
The song is also very suggestive of how difficult and unsettling everything is – the physical being is detached from the mental self, very much in a facade, with a “tangerine (sour) smile”, as is sung, right in the start – the brain dulled, fighting, trying, failing and more importantly, insincerely forging everything, whilst subconsciously waiting for a goodbye.
The motif that follows is representative of the lyrics that it succeeds, with a very dissonant melody fighting itself, around a very moving rhythmic structure, leading into a rather melancholic resolve, post which, the individual seeks a reset and is left only with confusion and more battling. We tried to write around a few tension-building structures and a very linear yet moving resolve, as the song progressed into it’s the heavier second half.
I still remember when we were on a break when Niteesh had moved to Mumbai briefly, he sent me a minute’s worth of motif to Clementine, through Whatsapp, accompanied by a text that read “let’s do something with this” and a few days later, I started sketching out some drums to it and that’s when it all began – and now this memory is almost a year and half old.
All kinds of static passed and this year is when we decided to finally put our foot down and actualize our ideas into full songs and well. A few months in & a life-altering virus later – here we are, with our debut single.
It was quite a fun process, recording and capturing the entire thing; loads of iterations and fixes, both musical and technical, rather enduring to sketch something out like this. Because it’s very easy to lose the sense of direction, especially when writing something this new, without a template, but we somehow held our ground.
A pinch of improvisation and a bunch of detours (pun intended), and lo & behold, we finally managed to finish tracking the entire song.
How would you describe your creative process?
Our creative process is quite simple, really. It’s a mix between an individual member of the band coming up with the structure/motif of a track & all of us (fortunately) getting together, jamming it out and cooking up something from zero. More often than not, we have Niteesh building scratches to most tunes, and then the rest of us adding our colours and flavours to it and shaping the whole arrangement.
We also sometimes brave ourselves and just start recording our flow of ideas without even sketching them out physically, and this has given life to some very interesting results. This has become primal to us because we are just a 3 piece outfit with such a heavy sound, the interaction between technology and our playing is rather vital.
Because only when recording, we get to colour an idea without thinking twice about the requirement of another set of hands on any given instrument, or even maybe play with creative restraint. Once done, we work around how to deliver these sounds live. It’s chaotic, but very much stimulating, and a test to our ever-growing technical and musical skills.
Are there any people/artists who have influenced the way you make your music? If yes, tell us about them and the impact they had on your music and otherwise.
Our influences/references for both writing and production were/are some of the biggest prog names in the industry – Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Animals as Leaders, Tesseract, King Crimson, The Contortionist, Haken, Pink Floyd & a few others bands.
All our previous bandmates and the current ones have had a very diverse range of musical interests and influences, shaping our versatility as a collective set of performers. This very general colour, coupled with what we bring to the table as individuals, is what we wish to share through this single and our EP.
Our individual likings are a part of these particular genres: Progressive Metal/Rock, Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Acoustic Pop/Rock, Funk, Punk Rock, Regional Music, Gospel, Soft Rock, Country, Metal Fusion, World Music, Indian Classical – to list out more than a few.
The bands mentioned earlier, are all representations of most of these genres, if not all, and we too wish to be a multi-genre experimental act – after all, these titles are just mere demarcations, one is bound to cross.
What is your most favorite part about being a musician? What is your least favorite part?
Collectively (& I also quite strongly presume, individually), the best part about being musicians or “a” musician, would be the very act of putting out a finished piece of music and relishing its release, and sinking in the very feeling of believing, that a part of your creation is emotively translating into an amply perceivable chunk of art. And maybe the next best thing, band or no band, would be taking that music on stage and playing your heart out, in full synchrony. It is pure musical joy and something we miss as a band right now, haha!
Well, there is no least-favourite-bit to being in this musical world. But there definitely are a few troubling attributes in the journey of a musical creation that bug us, and by us, I assume, most of us pursuing this professionally and more so, independently – the marketing, scrounging for gigs, scoring reach/views/numbers, whatever you’d like to call it, etc, and I dare not get into the financial side of things, quite the buzzkill – but yes, at the end of the day, it is an amusing and gratifying journey
Tell us about your songwriting process
Our songwriting process is very much the same as our creative process, there is not much of a difference. It’s all a new hybrid form of writing music that is employed with the help of various technological recording based tools, that are valuable to both the songwriting and creative process, one might even say, they unify the both, there is no difference now.
We try to cover as much ground as possible whilst writing and recording together, usually maxing out our creative juices, leaving not much for me to produce over. I just make sure that it is all engineered to perfection and that everything is tidy and sitting well for the mix.
We do try and stick to the idea behind our name (The Detour), by taking as many detours as possible, while composing, and making the journey as exciting as possible, bouncing off of each other’s ideas and motifs, altering arrangements as need be, until all our musical needs and purposes relative to a particular piece of music are satisfied.
Where have you performed? Tell us about your most memorable performance and any upcoming live shows you are looking forward to.
As a band, true to our 3 piece outfit, we have performed at various venues across Hyderabad – Tabula Rasa, Houz of Blues, Hylife, Zero40, Novotel, The Park – to name a famous few. These venues have had us over for different kinds of indie festivals, showcases, gaming festivals, private gigs and many other performances. Sometimes we’ve played as a part of Niteesh’s lineup and sometimes as The Detour.
We have opened for the world-renowned Raghu Dixit Project, at The Juri, on one of his visits to Hyderabad, making us the first & only band to open for him till date. And we’ve also played festivals where we’ve shared stages with acts like Aswekeepsearching and When Chai Met Toast.
Our most memorable performance would be when we got to play for the first time in Bangalore, at the celebrated “Humming Tree”, invited by Indie Graffiti (a well known multilingual indie act from Bombay) during their album tour.
We have no upcoming shows that we (can or) have been looking forward to, thanks to the pandemic, although we do expect things to kick off by this new year or earlier, it’s still difficult to predict the future of live performances – yet, YET, we are quite excited for our own very tour of sorts, that we have been putting together in our heads, for now, once our full EP is released, hopefully, the logistics of which, will come to life once the world starts getting back to normal.
How do you feel the internet has impacted your career in music?
Although the internet has turned into quite the anxiety-inducing platform, full of our most real fears, haha, it has been the most vital tool to impact our music and the lives that we lead tethered to it.
We are still in our most fetal stage – no matter how grandiose and complex our music may be, no matter how good our production and output maybe, the internet is a great leveler and has in ways, made us what we are and will always continue to do so. It has been the gateway to all our influences, our very sound, our styles, etc.
It will now also help us put ourselves out there, and well, whatever little fanbase we have now, is thanks to the internet – it’s even impossible to imagine music without the internet, as a big wholesome medium. It’s as beautiful as it is dangerous, and now I realise answering this, is also quite ironic, that a part of our writing is a little against the use of and partly also, addiction, to the very internet. But that being said, we genuinely do appreciate it for all its real value – all hail AI and the cloud!
What effect did the pandemic have on The Detour?
We are really grateful to the pandemic because it gave us the needed impetus to finally finish writing our music. Before this, we were quite busy with commercial undertakings and productions for other clients, session work and also live performances with moving schedules, which really left no time to sit and prioritize the band’s will to exist, although we did perform as a band.
This time gave us some purpose to see things through and align the band’s activities and also alter it’s personality a bit, with how we, as individuals have grown to be. Things are still in the pipeline, but well, so is the pandemic, and this has really helped us embrace personal and band studio times and helped shape our focus and effort that goes into recording.
The initial house arrest was a good time to rework demos, and as the major lockdown ended, we got things done quickly – recordings, video, etc, and something was finally ready, after years of waiting and pushing around – we thank the virus (not really haha), from the bottom of our hearts!
What do you hope to be remembered for, within and outside your music career?
As a band, we wish to be remembered (quite obviously) for our creative efforts and pursuit. But more so, the courage that we displayed to walk away from usual patterns of creation and step into unknown lands of music and emotion. Making the best of everything – to stitch together moving pieces of music, owing much to our own feelings of rebellion and motivation. Amongst various other passions and for maybe successfully managing to stir and trigger those feelings, with the same intensity in others, even if just a handful, and inspire them to create, with heart and soul, unafraid and loyal to themselves.
We also do wish to leave a mark, with our performances (whenever we get to) and be a source of tasteful musical energy, again, breaking barriers of thought, creation and performance, as a really small outfit, but with a blasting dynamic range of sounds, with all the skill we can conjure.
What do you do outside of music?
There is no outside of music for the 3 of us – all of us are full-time music professionals.
Niteesh is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, indie musician (English & Regional), composer, writer, actor and multilingual performer with a solid theatre background.
Rohit is a bassist/guitarist, songwriter, composer and performer, working on his solo music and also part of other outfits in the city.
Navneeth (I) is a drummer/percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, mixed-media producer, photographer and performer, with multiple projects in the making.
All of us are session artists, recording for various other clients and also producers as a band, having collectively produced and played for other musicians.
And all of us also have very active solo musical careers, that are slowly taking off, with The Detour as one of our primary projects too.
Upcoming projects in the pipeline?
The only upcoming project for The Detour right now is the EP. We are still polishing our demos and rewiring recordings and words, to make the release as wholesome as it can be and we are really, really excited about it.
The only thing that I can tell you right now, is that it’s going to be a 4 track EP. The logistics of the whole thing are slowly building up and production is in full swing. All we can ask of you is to wait it out with us, till then, you have our single to bite into, it will take some time to digest.
Find The Detour Online:
Feature Image Via The Detour, shot by Kevin George.