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Interviews |  22 Aug 2016 15:39 |  By RnMTeam

We have toured Asia earlier as a band, but never India: The Aristocrats

MUMBAI: The Aristocrats, the rock/fusion instrumental trio featuring Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller, and Marco Minnemann, is all set for its India debut tour. Brace yourself for the rock supergroup,who call themselves 'rowdy' sometimes,  and are poised to visit the country for the first time ever for a multi-city tour during September 12-18, 2016.

Formed in 2011, the band consists of Guthrie Govan on guitar (associated with Steven Wilson of late), Bryan Beller, the bass guitarist and Marco Minnemann on drums - and is well-known for their work with Joe Satriani. The Aristocrats’s first namesake album ‘The Aristocrats’ was released in 2011, followed by ‘Culture Clash’ in 2013 and most recent album ‘Tres Caballeros’, released in June 2015. got an opportunity to get to know about the band’s niceties and much more, in an email interaction.


The Aristocrats is known as Instrumental Rock/Fusion’s ‘Rowdy New Democracy'. How would you describe the term?

That phrase was something a magazine writer said about us during the Culture Clash tour, and we liked it and stole it! We are a band in the true sense of the word, in that we make all of our decisions together, even when we’re not physically together. We even decided to answer these questions as a band, in one voice! That is the magic of e-mail, and also our chemistry, which seems to work well as a three-person group.

Are we rowdy? Sometimes. ;-)

This will be the band’s debut India tour, how does it feel? Were you planning on doing shows in India and in other countries as well? How did it work out?

We have toured Asia earlier as a band, but never India. Guthrie has been to India before to do a clinic and play with some local musicians, and he really enjoyed it, saying we needed to go back as a band. So when we started planning this tour, we all said, we have to play in India this time! We’re grateful to the folks at The Humming Tree and all of the fans in India who are making it possible for us to come there and play our strange music.

What are you looking forward to in 2016 and in this multicity tour in India?

At this point in our touring cycle, we have toured Europe and North America already, so now we’re looking forward to bringing our Tres Caballeros show – which has music from all three of our studio albums – to Asia and South America in the next few months. And, of course, we’re very excited and honoured to be playing in India as a band for the first time ever!

Your music is intense, how does the creative process work and how would you describe your sound to the audience in India who will listen to your music for the first time?

For the creative process, we all had individual solo albums out before forming the band, so we’re all capable of making our own demos on our own. That’s how we do it. We each write three songs for a nine-song album, and then present them to the band. Once we play them together, we tweak the arrangements, and they become Aristocrats songs. For a first-time listener, we’d just say that, if you enjoy instrumental rock and fusion, and appreciate dynamics and band communication, and also don’t mind a sense of humour in your music, we think you’ll find something you’ll like.

The band’s name and the song titles are inspired by the venerable Aristocrats joke. Is there any specific motive behind that?

Only that we were exchanging demos for the first album, and the song titles seemed to have obscenity built into them: ‘Sweaty Knockers’, ‘Blues Fuckers’, even ‘Boing, I’m In The Back!’ It was Guthrie who noticed a theme developing, and suggested the band name that stuck. So it happened in that order.

The Aristocrats have played a lot of countries. How would you differentiate the audience in different parts of the world?

That’s part of the fun of being a touring musician, seeing the different reactions to different crowds in different countries, or cultures, if you will. We see a more reserved and polite response in Japan or Finland than we might see in Spain or Italy, where people are louder and more spontaneously rambunctious. But that doesn’t mean the people anywhere are more or less appreciative – they just have different ways of expressing themselves, which also affects the energy in the room, and therefore, the show.

What are your favourite venues? Does it make any difference when you’re playing abroad?

We couldn’t possibly name a favourite venue as we’ve been fortunate enough to have played so many beautiful places. We’re just happy to play for people who appreciate what we do, no matter where it is.

How and when did you guys collaborate? How tough is it to be touring with so many different bands such as Joe Satriani, Dethklok, Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, and Steven Wilson?

As we mentioned before, our writing process is individual. It’s when we play live that our energy becomes collaborative, and the music really comes alive inside the ‘Aristocratic’ unit. There’s a lot of communication while we’re playing, and the energy flow is constant. In terms of touring with so many different bands, it is sometimes difficult to schedule everything, but in the end that’s a nice ‘problem’ to have – and in some way, all of the artists we play with are a factor in the energy we bring to the band.

The Aristocrats will be performing on September 12 at Swabhumi, Kolkata, on September 14 in Mumbai at Sitara Studio, September 16 is scheduled for The Humming Tree, Bangalore and Hard Rock Cafe, Delhi for September 18.