XTC – Giving ‘Music’ a ‘Chance’
It is said that songs reflect the consciousness of the particular generation during that period of time in history. One of the greatest points of discussion among the musical fraternity of the region is whether the regional musicians, and their music, are even relevant in the context of the modern world. Meet XTC, a four-piece outfit from Nagaland whose original compositions reflect the ongoing chaos in the strife-torn land proving that creating an identity is a mere matter of choice.
XTC comprises of Naga Idol 2006 winner Moa as the vocalist, veteran Naga musician Akum Jamir handling the Bass, Sosang with the Guitars and Akum Jings on the Drums. Formed in 2003, the band likes to call their music ‘melodic rock’, which is heavily based on Classics. Since its inception, the band has collaborated with a host of musicians from Nagaland. Moa elaborates, “We are all musicians from a young age. As we matured as musicians, it felt great to interact with stalwarts. I always wanted to play with Akum, ever since I was a child. We named our band, XTC, as we wanted the joy we found in music to last for ever”.
Though the band started off by playing covers, it has been only three years that they have started playing originals. “In the beginning, we were influenced by bands like Dream Theatre, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bryan Adams and System of a Down. Right now, we try not to be influenced by anyone”, Akum says. He adds, “When we talk about influence, we play different genres. We discuss the situation first and decide the music depending on the lyrics. Sometimes, it’s the music first and at times, it’s the lyrics that take precedence”.
Mostly based on issues in contemporary society, their songs’ focuses on human relationships. As lyricist Moa says, “We want to find out the real nature of mankind – man’s relationship with his environment, conflict between men”. This feature can be gauged from the ongoing fractional violence in Nagaland, which they have aptly captured in their songs. Moa adds, “Sometimes, we try and direct our consciousness towards politicians”. While most of their songs are on human relationships and while a few are based on contemporary issues, they also work on motivational songs.
An example of their motivational song’s, is their composition, On Love after Death. Akum says, “It was a transcendental experience to work on this composition”. Moa elaborates, “As human beings, we all need some kind of motivation or the other. If we do not have motivation, we will cease to be live. In the face of the ongoing difficulty all over the world and not just Nagaland, our songs are a source of motivation for others to keep going”.
XTC feels that a lot has changed in the music scenario of Nagaland over the last decade. “In the 80’s and 90’s, a lot of substances were involved in the music scene of Nagaland. However, that has changed. Youngsters are getting responsible and are learning the basic concept of music,” says Sosang. Akum adds, “In short, drugs in music is outdated and pure music is the in thing. Playing music makes me a better man. For me, I’ am working when I play music. It is not just a futile exercise. Thankfully, this attitude has sunk in the mentality of today’s youngsters”.
One of the greatest achievements of the band was the Peace concert, which they organised on the streets of Dimapur during the clash between the NSCN factions on May 7. The show, organised in the heart of the city amid widespread devastation, was participated by groups like Illusions, Higher Ground, Eximious, Tia Tribe, Project Rattle n Hum, besides XTC themselves. The show evoked mass participation from the local people of Dimpaur and their endeavour was commended by one and all.
The 1st runners-up of the Hornbill festival 2007, the members are planning to launch their own album in the coming few days. Here’s wishing luck to the talented bards and hoping that their spirit of creativity passes over to other aspiring musicians and bands as well.