“There’s two bits about punk, right. There’s like that bit that’s relatable and there’s that bit where it’s just like, you look at people and they’re really cool, like they have like this bigger than life personality.”
Saurabh Roy, The Lightyears Explode
I somehow managed to make it to the cafe on time during rush hour in Mumbai. Bhanuj was going to introduce me to the band ‘The Lightyears Explode.’ We were meeting with two members of the band: Shalom Benjamin (who plays bass) and Saurabh Roy (lead vocals and guitars). The neighbourhood where the cafe was situated has narrow and winding streets that feel magical by night with so many small shops with so many great finds.
The Lightyears Explode feels like one of those great finds for me. These two musicians couldn’t have been more honest or real with a total stranger about how they felt about being weirdos and making punk music. We chatted a lot about playing your first instruments – the shared influence that Green Day and that SoCal pop-punk sound had on our punk dreams, being drawn to Hindustani music but it not necessarily being a direct influence in our sound, and being misfits even among misfits:
Saurabh talks about how their first show never really happened:
The aspirational nature of punk:
I saw their live set earlier in the week at the Roots – Punk Edition show at Anti Social in Bandra. I was really taken by their energy and their really unique surfy sound which is simultaneously awash with guitars but still extremely rhythmic. What I loved the most talking to these guys is just how much they love making music and being good friends.
That’s the gist of it all and for a jaded, neurotic, over-anyaltical solo artist like me, it was so lovely to just feel the camaraderie between these two and to put into focus why any of us pick up guitars in the first place. It reminded me how much I miss being a band and how important it is to connect to others when I’m creating. The Lightyears Explode and I had a common origin story – the first time I was ever on stage in a band – someone else had signed us up to play. Sometimes you just need an encouraging shove to keep moving in the right direction.
Without a drummer, someone else signed them up for battle of the bands: