Pineapple Express live at Tathva '18 at NIT Calicut

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We have had the honour and privilege of playing at a few NITs across the country, but our gig at Tathva '18 at NIT Calicutwill be something which we'll remember for a long, long time.

Early showers before the show couldn't dampen anyone's spirits and we saw an entire amphitheater bouncing to our tunes, a sight we simply can't forget.

An amazing audience, superb hospitality, and overall fantastic vibes of happiness marked the evening for us and we really look forward to playing there again.

NIT Calicut, you rule!

Pineapple Express live at Kochi Rocks IV

All gigs are born equal. But some gigs are born more equal than others. Heading to Kochi this time was a unique experience for us. Not only were we playing at a beautiful venue, with a lineup of six immensely talented bands, at one of the country's more prestigious festivals, but we were returning to Kerala just about a month after the ravaging floods had ceased. No one knew what to expect.

Kerala, however, has been characteristically resilient this time around. Roads were immaculate, surroundings were clean, we were surrounded by colours, and it looked like nothing had ever happened!

Upon reaching the JTPac auditorium, we got to watch the rest of the amazing lineup check sound. Names the likes of Rockazaurus, Chaos, Maiden Voyage, The Derelicts, and, of course, the mighty Thermal and a Quarter, promised a memorable night, to say the least.

Technical issues (#justpineapplethings) had led to a change in our slot. We were to follow TAAQ, who had put up an exceptionally sublime performance. Bruce fronted the band with energy and aplomb, Leslie held down the groove and the low end, and Rajeev, who held the band's dynamics in the palm of his hand, played beautifully and musically. We were stunned at their demonstration, almost a lecture in performance, musicality and stage presence.

Following TAAQ was no easy task. But our set soon got the audience grooving and jumping to our songs, and we were pleasantly surprised to meet a bunch of people who'd come to watch us at the Mojo Rising festival as well! The day ended with all of us feeling happy-tired, and enriched from the amazing experience.

Pineapple Express headline Festember '18 at NIT Trichy

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One of the things we as a band with this extremely unique sound, pride ourselves most about is how we push ourselves on every front right from the technicality of the music and the soundscapes, to the execution of the entire "Live Act" both sonically and visually in every single concert of ours. Festember NIT-Trichy was one such mammoth night as we laid our eyes upon the massive stage and light rig right when we walked into soundcheck. It definitely looked like the grandest stage we had played together as a band!

The biggest challenge however was that the concert was happening inside what seemed to be this hugely massive auditorium hall, which although was impressive to look at, was a nightmare soundwise as the entire room would function as just one giant reverb chamber. It was probably one of the biggest challenges for Yogi and Akash to tame the venue and anticipate the sound absorption that the 5000 strong audience would bring in.

Needless to say, not only did the band sound extraordinary, but once the audience literally heard the very first song, all hell broke loose! There were a couple of technical glitches with the wireless mics cutting off but that was soon a thing of the past as the crowd lost themselves to the audio-visual spectacle!

Pineapple Express live at MGB Mall, Nellore

Every show with Pineapple Express is super exciting and you never know what to expect. But this show turned out to be one of the most memorable ones for KC personally. Travelling to Nellore for MGB Mall’s 2nd anniversary celebrations was an adventure by itself, considering the car broke down because of a flat tire mid way. The band reached Nellore tired and roughed up by the long journey. Fast forward to soundcheck and KC had to really squeeze his soul to get a note out of his throat. Once the soundcheck was done and the boys were back at the hotel room, the band had to discuss the course of action. As Underground Authority started off the evening, Yogi and Jimmy distributed KC's vocal parts between themselves and got on with the show. KC's disappointment at missing the show quickly turned into a unique experience as he got to watch the band perform from an audience perspective.

Despite a few interruptions by power cuts and rain, it all fell into place when it needed to and we made sure that the audience had a great time. The band looks back at the whole experience with a laugh and sigh of relief after handling so many unforeseen circumstances.

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.