Pineapple Express headline BMSCE Utsav 2018

 
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BMS College of Engineering is like a second home to us. It’s here that we got to hone our skills, first as The E-swara Project, and later as Pineapple Express. We have also had the privilege of writing three of the theme songs for their annual cultural festival, ‘Utsav’, between 2013 and 2015 (including the very popular ‘Blast from the Past’, the Utsav 2014 theme song). Naturally, returning to our home ground was an exciting prospect, and we prepared our signature audio-visual experience to serve up to the folks there, headlining the event for the first time! We were especially stoked to be playing alongside stellar supporting acts, the likes of Space is All We Have and D’s Kitchen.

Utsav is not merely an event, but is an amalgamation of emotions which drives everyone to put in all they can to make it one of the best evenings the city has to offer its music fans. The morning of the event saw all three bands with rough waters ahead of them. Subpar planning and logistics had led to loads of technical hiccups, the piece de resistance of which was the fact that the PA was way too small to be heard by the typically massive Utsav audience. A few hours and a few more phone calls later, we were able to organize an appropriate PA system for all the three bands to play through.

The crowd, however, was another story, altogether. Attentive, energetic and responsive, they jumped and swayed and sang along with every song we could play in our shortened set, and ultimately made our evening, reminding us why we keep returning to a fest we proudly call one of our favourites.

Bengaluru Prog Fusion Act Pineapple Express Release Debut EP

Anurag Tagat talks to founder, producer and keyboardist Yogeendra Hariprasad about the long road to putting out ‘Uplift’ and how the band went from trio to full-fledged collective.

 
 

The following is taken from the Rolling Stone India article featuring Pineapple Express' debut EP launch Uplift. Here is a link to the original article. Although the article is dated April 17th, Uplift's worlwide release happened on the 23rd of April, 2018.


This probably sounds familiar – young, talented classically-trained vocalist discovers rock and metal. But what made it different for Bengaluru-based Yogeendra Hariprasad was that his gateway into the world of English music was American prog veterans Dream Theater. He says of fusing prog and Hindustani classical, “To me, the sonic handshake between these two vastly different genres of music comes pretty much instinctively.”

Producer, keyboardist and vocalist, Hariprasad founded Pineapple Express in 2013 and in the last five years, although they’ve seen plenty of members come and go, they’ve made every opportunity count to gain audiences steadily, right up to the release of their debut EP Uplift last month. From appearances at college festivals to performing on video series Music Mojo, Pineapple Express went from Hariprasad jamming with guitar whiz Bhargav Sarma (whom the bandleader calls a huge catalyst in building up the lineup again) and powerhouse drummer Gopi Shravan to adding five more members. There’s vocalists Karthik Chennoji Rao (formerly a vocalist for guitar virtuoso Baiju Dharmajan) and Jimmy Francis John, flutist Arjun MPN, violinist Shravan Sridhar (currently also part of fusion band Anand Bhaskar Collective) and guitarist Ritwik Bhattacharya. Guitarist Sarma apparently calls this lineup “world domination dream team.”

To a perfectionist like Hariprasad, the four tracks they’d picked to feature on Uplift were reworked and toiled over for about a year before being deemed fit for release. The difference, perhaps, lies in the band’s approach to writing music. Unlike most, especially prog-leaning bands, Hariprasad says, “There’s always been a part of me that has taken the audience into consideration while I write these songs. A highly debatable issue, and probably a crime to some musicians, but I believe that I’ve got nothing to lose artistically if I think from a probable audience perspective while making music.”

And it’s certainly paid off. Hariprasad says he already knows of listeners who share the EP with their parents and grandparents. “We’ve had a person message us saying that children with autism are responding positively to the exact same music,” he adds. With a music video coming up next and more singles, Pineapple Express intends to take their brand of electronic and classical-infused progressive rock and metal into the mainstream. He says, “I think this music has endless game-changing possibilities demographically and beyond, which we’ll continue to discover and nourish.”

Listen to ‘Uplift’ in the embedded YouTube link below.

Pineapple Express w/ H.L.I live at FANDOM at Gilly's, Koramangala

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On the 17th of March, we had the honour and pleasure of playing a pub gig for our home fans in Bangalore after a long time.
The venue was Fandom at Gilly's Redefined with an early set by Haiku-Like Imagination.
Haiku-kicked things off with their intricate brand of math rock, dishing out tight guitar harmony lines combined with groovy basslines and drum grooves.
A ten-minute change-up between the two bands saw the crowd wait in eager anticipation as Pineapple Express took the stage, all set for a two hour journey through modern progressive fusion interspersed with a few audience favourites.
The crowd was super fun to play for and we had the experience of our lives on stage playing for them, better than any other pub show we'd played in the past. Magic happens when the artist and the crowd connect and that is exactly what happened. While the crowd hummed and danced through some popular AR Rahman, Tamil and Kannada covers, they were absolutely with us when we played our originals, grasping the complex genre and time-bending elements we put into our music.
It was also a very special gig for us because we announced the release of our debut EP 'Uplift' for which we sold a few exclusive limited physical copies at the gig.
We'd like to thank everyone involved in making this event a memorable one for us. Fandom is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best venue in the country right now and we look forward to playing there again sometime in the future.