An Interview With Cactus
“CACTUS” was formed way back in 1992, inspired by the likes of DEEP PURPLE, PINK FLOYD, IRON MAIDEN, and many others. CACTUS started their journey with the purpose of doing rock ‘n’ roll with their own language –Bengali. CACTUS is the first ever professional bangla rock band!
“Rock n roll music and musicians are all the inspiration, their creativity to lifestyle…we do vernacular language rock music because we believe you can best express yourself in your mother tongue only, ours is Baangla.”
CACTUS saw its first success with its self titled album in 1999, under the record label HMV. Back then, the line-up comprised of Siddhartha and Rajesh on vocals, Sanjay on guitar, Kanishka (Pinky) on keyboard, Shubayan on bass, and Sibaji (Baji) on drums. Last but not the least, their Lyricst was Abhijit (Babi).
Feelings after the first recording:-
“We recorded the 1st album in HMV studio…its huge both in size as well as the equipments there…though we had a tough time to make them understand about the band’s sound…it was also a tough fight specially when we tried to share our idea regarding the voice level with the music level…everyday travel was a bit too long but the lunch n the lunch room adda/chat with the production team was just more than fun…we recorded eight songs in twelve days…”
CACTUS got a great response after their first album. People accepted them and their style. Still there is a huge collection on the music stores, even after the decade.
Cactus has travelled all around the globe with performances in the USA (2006 n 2008) and UK (2010, at Bilaat Banga Utsav)
There were no prominent obstacles in their journey so far, except for the constant change in their line
The present line up is as follows:-
Siddhartha: If medicine taught him the human anatomy, music taught him the ways of the mind. For Dr. Siddhartha Sankar Ray every song is a personal journey. A journey where he shares his love, hate, laughter and anger with every face in the crowd.
His favourite authors are Rabindranath and Jibananando.
Sibaji:backbone of the band. He does a double role for the band… gets us started and holds us together when the rest of us fly…the drummer boy!
His favourite movies are ‘Sholay’ and ‘Bring on the night’.
Sandip: The Creator was going through one of his mood swings… and Sandip was born… he provides the groove with his flamboyant bass playing… a rock head…
He contributes to the band as the bass guitarist and backing vocalist. His areas of interest include photography, digging supernatural stuffs, and other stuff.
Abhijit: The singing machine who loves to ride the highs…
He contributes to cactus as the vocalist. His favourite movies are ‘Message in a bottle’, ‘Forest Gump’, ‘Far Away’ and all other Satyajit Ray films.
Ratul: Quiet and unassuming, Ratul loves being part of a rock n’ roll band and believes that is the only way to get high!
He is the guitarist of the band. His favourite dishes are Indian cuisine and chicken, chicken and only chicken.
Sudipto: He is a bagful of surprise… believes in rock till u drop… Ready to set the keys on fire…
According to Cactus, rock music is a belief or lifestyle which is beyond music… it’s more than a philosophy.
The Bangla rock band was associated in a bangla movie named ‘NIL NIRJONE’ (2003). This was first time in the history of Bangla music that a rock band was associated. CACTUS composed and performed all the songs in the movie, along with acting in the movie! Cactus then consisted of Siddhartha, sanjay, kaniska, shubayan, sibaji and pota. In 2004, came the second album titled ‘Rajar Raja’ released by ASHA AUDIO. Their latest composition is ‘Tuccho’ in 2008. They received a great response from their fans. Cactus is presently working on an album consisting of 8 songs, and will be released soon.
FEW ACHIEVEMENTS OF CACTUS:
1· Allaince Francaise, Chandigarh
2· Fete de la Musique, World Music Day 2001 concert, Delhi
3· Indo-UK workshop on Cultural festivals and tourism,Kolkata
4· Doordarshan New Year’s Eve programme-2000-2001; 1999-2000; 1996-97
5· Concert for Kargil
6· Hero Honda/ Thums Up Bangla New Year
7· Indo-Bangladesh rock concert
8· Freedom 50 Concert
9· Anandalok-Ujala Awards night
10· ATN World launch show
11· Rockbaaji—–Patshala2.com & Britannia
12· Bengal Film Journalists Association ( BFJA) Awards Nite
13· Anando Award ‘ for music 2002
14· Shalimar ABP ‘ Additiya Tour ’ 2003 .
15· Kalyani Black Label/ Pantaloons/ Pepsi – Cheer India World Cup series of seven concerts 2003.
16· ABP Aditiya 2003
17· Haldia Utsav 2003
18· Kalyani Black Label’s… Bangla Rock 2003
19· Bajaj Hot Tour, Swabhumi Festival, Epar Oper Concert on 2005
And many more…
Their recent event counts to,
* Oye its Friday (NDTV, Imagine) Shah Rukh Khan presided on it and was hosted by Farhan Akhtar.
*love story (SAB TV) directed by Anurag Basu.
When Thousand Miles team asked them about cherish moment, they shared a wonderful moment with us –
“When we did the acting part in the film Neel Nirjone…it was a nonstop party for the band for 5 days at Mukuthmanipur, 350 km from Kolkata.
Also the first time when we got out of the country and crossed the customs and immigration department to board the international flight.”
A peculiar question we asked them and they answered wonderfully–
your predictions about the future of CD and vinyl sales and what if digital music completely replace these formats… and what is your view about online selling of music and illegal music downloads?
This is a question to b asked to the music companies or who markets it…our believe, a good song or a hit song, both will b appreciated by all, and in this era of internet its much easier to promote a song.
Online selling is becoming popular now, and you can’t do anything with illegal downloads.
We were pleasantly surprised when they shared their views on Thousand Miles –
This kind of efforts must have warm welcome from all corners of the society … keep growing with lot of ideas which helps us (the musicians who are experimenting and evolving) or motivate to do more music.
Fans don’t go…. we are not done yet… Cactus has something for you...
“Don’t ever get frustrated n keep learning.
The world is full of elements which lead to hope n success.
Be honest with your work n have trust for your companions”