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While Thermal and A Quarter breaks boundaries, Suraj Mani promises a conversation

This year marks 20 years of Thermal and A Quarter. And lead singer-guitarist, Bruce Lee Mani, assures us they are finalising plans for a big celebration. But first there is a concert in the city tomorrow and a possible European tour in the offing. Having released two new albums last year—The Scene and No Wall Too High—Mani says we can expect more new songs from them, along with some old hits. “Fans keep asking for old favourites, which can be tough sometimes because there is so much new stuff that we want to play,” he laughs.

Across borders

The winner of Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘Guitar Player of the Year’ award, he says the three-piece band’s sound has evolved a lot. “In the last two albums, we have been working a lot with different sonic textures; I have been using a guitar synth, too,” says Mani. In fact, what he is really excited about at the moment are the 10 tracks from No Wall Too High.
Then and now

Launched in October, at the UN Day Celebrations in Bonn, Germany, this is the first album that they’ve worked on with a collaborator. “Mathew Kurian, who works with the UN in Germany, wrote in to us last year with a bunch of ideas for songs. Interactions followed via phone, emails and Skype and, before we knew it, we had another album,” shares Mani, adding that ‘division’ is the main theme. So does that mean they’ve moved away from their brand of Bangalore Rock? “Not at all,” he assures us. “Though the inspiration is from a country that broke a wall that separated them—some of the songs have inputs from people who lived through it—the idea of division is universal. The album talks about divisions between the young and old, the past and the present, etc,” he says, adding that the process of working on the albums has also brought a change in how they wrote songs and given their music more reach.

Tomorrow, at 7.30 pm, at Phoenix MarketCity. Details: 30083007

—Surya Praphulla Kumar

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