Ever since I came across this oddly named band (What exactly does one mean by a bulletproof peach?!), I wanted to find out about them. When I came to know that the band started in Manipal, I took the opportunity to contact them and set up an interview! That was almost 15 months ago! Today finally I get to publish this interview!
Add a guitar and percussion addict to a digital sound processing genius. Bulletproof Peach is what you get. The band was started in Manipal (India) by Tavish and Hiren as a way to vent their outbursts of musical ideas while pursuing degrees in Architecture and Engineering respectively. The wide variety of genres that influences the bands’ members has led to a style that is a genre in its own right. The band constantly keeps listeners on their toes with every song being wildly different from the one before it. Bulletproof Peach operates out of a studio apartment with all recordings being done on the most basic equipment – a guitar, a mic and a laptop. (good recording equipment is just too bloody expensive!) Today Bulletproof Peach has over 700+ fans in over 60 countries with singles like “Pick Up Your Guitar” becoming instant hits in the local music community.
Hiren Vara answered the questions for this interview, though Tavish was the person I got in touch with initially. That is typical Manipal Culture, What?
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): A little about your background, and the genesis of the name for Bulletproof Peach.
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Bulletproof Peach is a two-man band. Tavish, who studied Architecture and myself, Hiren who studied mechanical Engineering in MIT. Both of us had a similar music ideology and background. We used to exchange tunes and explore new tracks, try to break them down. Tavish was crazy on the guitars and I was really into production and we thought it would be cool to record and get the music in our heads out there. Currently both Tavish and I handle complete production with the guitars, effects, synths, etc.
The name Bulletproof Peach came after much brainstorming. I think the two hardest things we faced were coming up with suitable lyrics for a song and the name of the band. We wanted a name that would make people wonder about what the music would be like. That’s how the name Bulletproof Peach was born.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Tell us about your initiation into music and training in this art form?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Well, music has been in our blood since a very, very young age. The very thing that makes you close your eyes and move your head to a tune, the feeling that makes you want to pick up a guitar, the feeling you get when your beats and strings collide with that guitar to level you to trance.. this has always been our initiation and addiction.
Both of us have had no “training” in production or playing the guitar or writing notes for music etc. It is something that we just picked up because it sounds right. We believe that this is how music is supposed to be made and felt, down to its bare essentials just to be judged by the ears. I remember times where we used to ask each other what each of us were playing on the guitar, and since we didn’t know chord names or notes we just showed each other the finger positioning. It used to be a long process sometimes but it was fun.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): As a musician what kind of fitness regimen do you follow?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach):Umm.. the regimen that keeps me smiling most of the time.. fall asleep with my earphones, wake up, go to work, eat and work more, hunt for beers when the weekends hit, love, laugh. (Oh and hit the gym at least 4 times a week *cough cough*).
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): What does music mean to you? What is your goal?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Music to me is a universal language in which people don’t need to have a race or colour to communicate. It has the power to evaporate your sorrow, implode your anger, share your smiles and give you moments that make you feel invincible.
Our ultimate goal I guess would to make more songs and get them out into the world. We want to have a fully equipped state-of-the-art recording studio where we can just go and drown into all the sounds.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): According to you, the greatest album, ever?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Tough question. I wouldn’t be able to single out an album even if I were given days to think about it. A few favourites: Highway 61 revisited – Bob Dylan, Nevermind – Niravana, Carlos Santana greatest hits, Are you experienced – Jimi Hendrix, Come with us – chemical Brothers, Tycho and many, many more.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): I’ve heard that many of the maestros have a spiritual approach towards their music. What is your approach? Do you believe music connects with a higher being?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Our approach to music is usually generated by our feelings and I believe that’s how it has been ever since the beginning of music evolution. Of course this is catalysed by everyday happenings and we see people just walk by and neglect them, or people that make the world a better place or heck, even beautiful women
The fact that music does connect you to a higher being is correct. That higher being is within yourself and if you notice yourself elevated by the sheer power of a melody (which I’m sure a lot of people have felt) then, for me, that’s the higher being.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Your ideal brain food?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): A good tune, good lyrics and an inspirational piece of writing.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Bulletproof Peach is something that we spill over into songs straight from what we perceive and it’s amazing to see that people have a similar perception. We get a good response when we release a track and we want to see our listenership grow. There are not a lot of people who dream of infusing their feelings into songs and follow through with it. We are proud to say that we have done it.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Coldplay, Chemical brothers, Tycho, A.R. Rahman, Amit Trivedi, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jack Johnson, The Kilimanjaro Dark Jazz Ensemble, Incubus.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Tough one again. There are so many but if I were to pick one.. Jimi Hendrix – Little Wingman.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Your hidden talents . . .?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach):Well, I’m also an artist and a graphic designer. I love drawing dark art. I hope to release a web comic in the near future called “Snafusis and Duck”. I also take part in theatre.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Stop hoping, start acting!
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Best thing would surely be the Yamaha Pacifica Guitar I bought off a friend in Manipal (got her at a bargain and love her to bits).
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . .?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Neither. I’m not too big on brands. I’d rather wear a guitar
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Music has been transformed so much by technology in recent times. What has that meant to your music and the way you view music?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): I think that technology has improved the music scene in that the type of instruments and recording equipment in recent years have surely made a difference in production. There are cheaper alternatives for home recording which means more people can show case their talents. And the web has made it easier for musicians to get their songs out there.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Which are the places you will be performing next? Any chances of performing in the tiny town of Manipal?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): At the moment we are heavily into music production. After university obviously the band had to rest the jamming part because we were out looking for jobs and working. But if all goes to plan, we want to get back together, practice out performances and get ourselves out there. Manipal would probably be the first place because that’s where Bulletproof Peach began!
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Time travel: where, when and why?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): This is an interesting question because travel lies in the heart too. If I could go anywhere at anytime in history, it’d probably be to the pyramids of Egypt before industrialization took over and commercialized them. Or to the Great Wall of China when it was being built so I could make a beat to the hammer drops. Or to the ancient M?ori settlements to see the original tribal dances. Or to Vesuvius when she was erupting…I could go on and on.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . .?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Sandwiches *cough*
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Can you single out any special experience that has left an impact in your career?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): That’s an easy one. It sounds cheesy but the experience that left an impact on my personal career was when I met Tavish because he taught me a lot about music and the guitar and that was the inception of Bulletproof Peach.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog): Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Hiren Vara (Bulletproof Peach): Currently we are working on getting our first set of singles out. A lot of them are already out and are available for download on our Facebook, Reverbnation and Myspace pages. We want to get the collection of 8 perfect singles (plus bonus tracks) that define Bulletproof Peach. This will be our first album “Rainbows Underwater”. You can get updates if you follow us on twitter @buletproofpeach. We are also working on getting our website up and running.
We have a web comic planned for the near future (on our site). A weird, twisted, surreal web comic that defines our thoughts. It is called “Snafusis and Duck”.
Dr.Vishaal Bhat (ManipalBlog):Thank you Hiren for answering the questions and Tavish for staying in touch throughout the 15 months or so! It was a pleasure getting to know that two individuals can create beautiful music even though there is a lot of distance between the two of you!