A peppy tune, relatable lyrics and a very anglicized chic music video, Cosmopolitan Kadhali of Namma Ooru Boy Band (NOBB) aims to break the stereotype of the usual music scenario in the city and attempts to be much more. In conversation with singer, founder and front man of the band,Josh Vivian about NOBB and much more.
How did Namma Ooru Boy Band (NOBB) happen?
NOBB happened in the most un orthodox way, While working on my recently written and composed song “Cosmopolitan Kadhali” with my best friend and music producer Varun Parandhaman, I happened to talk about how Indie music has still not kick started in Chennai even in 2014. Being influenced by 90s pop music, I randomly mentioned about not even having a Tamil Boy Band. That line made the difference. It was a spark for an idea to start the first ever Tamil Boy Band – Namma Ooru Boy Band (NOBB). Hence including Varun in the song & the band.
How did you guys conceive the idea to execute for the shoot? locations? costumes? cast etc.
After finishing the song, I was very happy with the output, the audio had very commercial lyrics that every Chennai guy can relate to and the music is sounds pretty international. So I wanted the video of this Acoustic pop/Reggae track to have a similar blend. To differentiate it from any movie video songs we see on TV everyday, I decided to direct the video myself though I don’t have any knowledge on direction or movie making. I think that aspect and my childhood friend C.S Kirruthi Vasan (Cinematographer of Cosmopolitan Kadhali) helped to bring a new flavour for the video. Along with the well-known model, Surya Ganapathy who was the lead cast, we picked pool-side areas, coffee shops, fashion boutiques & pubs to shoot the song to give the video a very urban look. Similarly with the clothes, we made sure it was in trend and fitting to the song & music.
The whole video had a kind of vintage feel to it? Did you actually want that? Why so?
The introduction of the song did have a vintage feel to it, but not through out. As we had the Billy Joel’s uptown girl used as the back ground for the Guy’s (Josh’s) first look on the urban beauty. No other song will be a better fit for the scene we felt. The 1950’s Ford Prefect helped us convey that vintage feel to the audience as well.
The Ford Prefect in the song. Where did you guys arrange it from?
One of my school friends, Dwarakesh who was also the unit manager for the song had a friend Vikram whose father owned the Ford. They were kind enough to let us use it for the shoot.
Was Billy Joel’s Uptown girl an inspiration? For some reason I relate the tune and feel to this song.
Billy Joel’s uptown girl was definitely an inspiration apart from one of the top Boy Bands in the west (West life). I am no exception . I would like to call Cosmopolitan Kadhali, a Tamil version of Uptown girl
An acoustic reggae track replete with tamil lyrics. How did you make it possible to blend in the music and lyrics?
It wasn’t hard to blend them at all, In fact I came up with the lyrics and tune simultaneously. As I’m a typical Chennai guy with western music influence this happened pretty effortlessly
How did you get people to produce?
This was a challenge, but luckily one of my friends & supporters of my music, Mr. Andrew Arun (VGP) who is a play back singer / Business man who attained fame with Harris Jeyaraj’s viral hit number “June Ponal July Kaatre” along with singer Krrish was looking to make a come back as he moved on to make gospel albums. Agreeing not only to sing in our track, he also agreed to produce the whole music video. Me along with my school friends Mohan, Sanjeevi were the co-producers.
Apart from singing do you still have your full time job going on?
Yes, I still work for Amazon.com as a Catalogue Associate.
Is playback singing on the cards? (I heard u did backing vocals for some one)
Yes I will love to get into play back singing as well when I get the right song for my kind of voice and style of singing, and I did get an opportunity to sing backing for my friend Anirudh Ravichandar for the hit track “Un Vizhigalil” from Maan Karate. He also helped us promote Cosmopolitan Kadhali. However, my co-artist Varun Parandhaman just made his play back debut for Imman sir’s up-coming flick “Sigaramthodu” starring Vikram Prabhu.
How does it feel to get famous all of a sudden? How has fame changed you or your life?
Fame has changed nothing about me, however my Facebook friend list is increasing rapidly. (chuckles) And I’m a lot busier than I used to be. There is also an added pressure about making a track that surpasses the expectation Cosmopolitan Kadhali has created.
What’s your parents and friends’ reaction to the video?
Parents loved the video, all though they don’t relate to it the way a youngster does. They felt proud or I’d like to think that way at least.
So what’s next after “Cosmopolitan Kadhali”?
Our second un-titled single is on talks simultaneously as we plan to do our first ever life performance
*What’s the song running in your mind/ Ipod right now?
Justin Timberlake – What goes around, comes around
* Name 5 singers you admire.
Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars & Jason Mraz. Influences from India are A.R Rahman & Anirudh.
*If not for NOBB or your current career profession, what would you be working as?
As a banker I guess, but personally I don’t want to see myself as anything else other than a music artist.
*If not found hanging out in a studio for singing practice where would you be hanging out?
Movies, Coffee shops / Tea Kadais, Restaurants, Clubs. Pretty much any place you’d find a 23 year old would hang out.
*What do you think of the current music scenario? Is it anywhere close to 70’s or 80’s?
Music has evolved same as any other art. I believe that it isn’t art if it doesn’t change or evolve. The current music scenario has some of the best artists, singers and musicians however, since I grew up in the 90s, its much closer to my heart.