“People would say – man – what the fuck is this? And we would say, man – this is interesting. This is some kind of expression. They don’t have that fake image. That’s the beauty of it.”
Kaka, Punk on Toast
These guys are some of the most low key, hilarious and yet surprisingly political dudes I met during my time in Mumbai. I thought I’d be meeting a laid back band like Blink 182 as their sound has a heavy pop punk vibe. But Punk on Toast, just like all the bands I met, although they are influenced by NOFX and Blink 182 and the others, they keep their hearts in the local. Mumbai is a population of roughly 21 million people, in a country that is the largest democracy ever in the history of the planet. “Your democracy is a fucking lie,” the opening line of the first track of their ‘For Hire’ EP, and is a great example of their mixing of pop and politics. Punk on Toast’s lyrics deal with being let down by politicians, just as much as the mundane-ness of their daily lives.
Punk is inherently influenced by the immensity of the city it’s incubating in – if you think LA, NYC or London are massive gritty cityscapes for the backdrop of punk- none of those cities remotely compares to the intensity of people, ideas, cultures, languages, religions, and political systems that make up Mumbai. Punk on Toast are really interesting to me – they’ve got that mix of pop punk and politics in their work, that I didn’t necessarily notice in their live, show because their energy is so high and I kinda got carried away on the rhythm.
I got to chat with two members of the band, Prathamesh Sandansing (also known as Kaka – Bass/ Vocals in the toque) and Kalidas Shenoy (also known as Kali, Drums/ Vocals – white shirt).
We chatted on a cool Mumbai night, in my hotel lobby with grand pianos and businessmen in the background, near the famous tourist trap that is Juhu beach. It was a really animated conversation full of passionate exchanges about our experiences trying to convey complex and socially radical ideas through pretty simple but high-energy and extremely meaningful music. We also got to touch on their influences and how the politics of language affect the punk scene in Mumbai.
The influence of one of the oldest punk bands in Mumbai, ‘Tripwire,’ in introducing them to punk:
Kali talks about his influences in NOFX and Travis Barker from Blink 182:
Kaka and Kali (and Bhanuj) discuss the use of Hindi, English and other languages in Mumbai punk songs: