Pratika Prabhune (Chronic Phobia)

  • Interview by: Madhav R
  • Date: June 6, 2011

This June, we catch up with Chronic Phobia from Mumbai to talk about their music, their gigs, newer material and much more! Exclusively on Headbangers India!

HB: Hey, good to have you here. Congrats on being the Artist of the Month on Headbangers India!
CP (Pratika): Thanks so much, it’s an honour to be here! 🙂

HB: Talk us through the band’s history to date, right from the start until now.
Well, we have come a long way since we began back in 2007. With limited views on music back then, we started jamming as just the three of us, – Pritesh (my brother – drums), Kedar Warty on guitars and me on bass, keeping a strong perspective of creating only thrash metal. Then we added Arnab Dasgupta (former Necrosis) on lead guitars and Kiran Pradhan on growling vocals. We played our first gig at a band competition at Podar college in 2007 itself, and realized that because of our musical differences and playing Metallica covers and having a growling vocals only on originals didn’t make sense, Kiran was no longer a part of the band. There was a split between Arnab and Chronic Phobia too. The band carried on as three-piece for some gigs, and found Eldon Rodrigues as rhythm guitarist. Kedar, wanting to do the most of everything in the band, and musical disagreements between him and us, led to him drifting away from us as well.Then we found Charan Singh Pathania on guitars and Jugal Jagwani on vocals, which was a revolutionary change for the band. At the time, we were selected for the first ever Furtados “Because You Love Music Vol. 1” compilation album alongside bands like Guillotine, Five8, etc. We didn’t want to cease the opportunity so Pritesh and I came up with the song “Kill Drag Die” ourselves and got Charan and Jugal to record on guitar and vocals respectively. It was a little before their board exams. While recording the track with Sahil Makhija (Demonstealer Records, Demonic Resurrection/Workshop), he made us understand our ability as a band and how we could completely enhance our music and take it to a whole new direction.That is exactly when the band started getting heavier. But with differences again (foof!) we had to part ways with Eldon as well. Contemplating over whether we really feel whole being four-piece really took us some time, but we did start to become popular in the local band competition circuit. Then Charan found Nikhil lying around in some corner of his SAE classroom (not literally like that! But..) and we decided to let him at it and see how it felt. We felt complete after Nikhil started jamming with us. Then again, we started listening to a lot of new wave music, and the incorporation of clean vocals did seem to make a change. Nikhil’s roommate Shrikanth Rao who filled in for me during my prelims and board exams seemed to just fit in, and it felt great to see the band with him on stage. We were experimenting a lot with our sound, and so we gave this new six-piece lineup a shot. So far, its been going really well, we’re working on new stuff and I hope it continues this way!

HB: CP’s music started out as being straight out brutal grind/death metal but more recently, you’ve started experimenting with the music incorporating melodic sections with clean vocals. What brought about the change?
CP: Hmm.. Well, we were heavy and did have some death metal elements, especially because of Jugal, that made a major change with his unique low pitch growl and one of the few vocalists I knew around who could pig-squeal (I learnt the term from him too!). Then again as I said, we started listening to so much new wave stuff that we totally thought we could experiment around and see where we fit best. That is mainly what brought about the change. We kept telling each other about stuff we listened to and then we’d go home and all listen to it as well!

HB: A few months back, Chronic Phobia opened for Orphaned Land in Pune, which must have been a great experience. Tell us about the show.
CP: It certainly was a golden opportunity! We had other cool bands to the lineup like PBS (Pitch Black Symphony), Silver and Degradead from Sweden to add to the experience. With Anupam Roy on sound, all our worries were put to sleep! Surely we were nervous. The venue wasn’t all that packed, but then playing on good sound (emphasis on that) meant that we had to deliver our best no matter what, for how many ever people. We gave our best, and according to us, it was a very good gig. Orphaned Land kicked ass!

HB: So what’s next on the agenda? There are a few songs up for streaming, will we see an EP or a full length some time soon?
Yes! We’ve given a lot of thought to really, really recording something. We featured on the Rock Street Journal’s Breaking Boundaries 6 compilation with A Dark Orbit, The Arusha Accord, Monuments, and Indian bands Artillerie and Escher’s Knot. Two of our songs were up on the compilation – “Paisa De” and “Scribble”, out of which “Paisa De’ is up for streaming. We are currently working on new stuff, still searching for that perfect niche. We are also working on new parts with vocals, so it may take a while. Talking about recording, I think it really depends on how much matter we finish making at the soonest. We were also thinking of basing it on a concept, but then that may not work out this time. Whether its going to be an album or an EP, is not decided yet. There is sure to be a release at the end of this year.

HB: Having a brother-sister partnership in a band can lead to great chemistry or really bad arguments. What’s the case like in Chronic Phobia? Do family relationships get in the way of your musical pursuits?
To be honest, brother and sister are mostly in favour of the same opinion! As far as Chronic Phobia siblings are concerned, there has never been a quarrel over anything music. It is more of great chemistry than bad arguments or fights. The band as a whole does have ups and downs sometimes wherein music is concerned, but we’re learning to deal with it!Talking about our individual families as a whole, yes, we do have problems. All are parents are extremely supportive of what we do, but sometimes they must have surely thought that we should have left playing in a band as a hobby only, because of the commitment and us stepping out of the way to play gigs for free (which we’re trying not to do anymore).

HB: What gear does the band use?
Vocals – As long as we have two separate microphones, it’s all cool! 😀 – Shure SM 58s preferably!
Guitars – Both guitars are ESP Ltd SC-207. Nikhil uses a POD X3 live, Charan has a POD HD500Bass – Ibanez GSR 205, Hartke Bass Attack
Drums – (This is long!)Drumkit – Pearl Vision VBX standard 5-piece drumkit (minus tom 2), Snares – Tama Metalworks 14”x5.5”, Mapex Pro Series 14”x5.5”, Pearl SST Steel Snare 14”x5.5”, Hardware – Pearl 900, 1000 Series boom stands, Pearl B70 boom arms, Pearl S1000 snare stand, Mapex T750 Drum throne, Pedals – Mapex Falcon double bass pedals (the best pedals in the world! :D), Cymbals – Sabian 14” B8 pro hi-hats, 16” Zildjian K Dark Medium thin crash, 17” K Custom Dark Crash, 18” K Custom Dark Crash, 18” Zildjian A Series China High, 18” Zildjian ZHT EFX Effects Cymbal, 18” Zildjian ZBT China, 5” LP Bell, 20” Zildjian K Custom Ride, Sticks – Vater 5A Los Angeles, Vic Firth 5A, Pro-Mark 5A, Pro-Mark Chris Adler Signature.

HB: Thank you for your time and best of luck for the future.
You too gaaaaaaais! Much love! <3 xoxoxoxoxo

Chronic Phobia is:
Pritesh Prabhune – Drums
Charan Singh Pathania – Guitars
Nikhil Iyer – Guitars
Jugal Jagwani – Vocals
Shrikanth Rao – Bass
Pratika Prabhune – Vocals