I first saw this band at the 2017 Nariyal Paani festival in Alibaug, India. They rocked the crowd with their energetic arrangements, their pounding ska riffs, and their punk-rock ethos. I know they're gonna hit the live stage of Goa Sunsplash with a bang. Check out our interview with frontman Ramon Ibrahim...
Kavin: So, what are the Fanculos like off-stage? Crazy and energetic like the music, or relaxed and stoned on the couch?
Ramon Ibrahim: Definitely more the first one! When we're on tour in new places, we really like to get out and see and do things as a band. We all have a similar sense of humour (stupid yet highly developed!) which really helps.
K: A couple of questions about Gangsta TV. How has the reaction been, in India or abroad, to the EP?
RI: Its been an amazing first release for us and the response has been excellent. We have had positive feedback from all over the world and especially a few Latin American countries who are really into ska. We've been getting really good feedback from people in India too. Some (a few) are hardcore ska fans and are obviously delighted that there is another ska band in the country and some have never heard of ska but are loving our sound. Its really gratifying when people new to ska start searching online for more ska. We've also had nice comments and reviews from the press.
K: I think the title track is my favorite, I’m intrigued by it. Who are these gangstas you refer to—real Mumbai legendary gangsters? Movie villains? The cover art is brilliant, it seems to suggest a social commentary about families and kids. Or is some other double meaning behind the lyrics that I’m missing?
RI: Hehe, no, the song definitely doesn't refer to real gangsters but it can be interpreted in several ways, like many songs I guess. I got the idea when I was watching 'Breaking Bad' a few years ago and realised how much I was enjoying it, even though I'm an extremely non-violent person. The lyrics just came from what I was experiencing while watching it although they can apply to any TV gangster or cop show. The amazing album art is by Priyesh Trivedi/Adarsh Balak and it does show a somewhat different view of the song. It's a tongue- in - cheek look at a dysfunctional 90s family. In this case the parents are so caught up in their own lives that the kids turn to the TV for guidance.
K: Tell me about the ska scene in India. Is it niche or is there commercial potential? I know of the Fanculos, the Ska Vengers and… who else would you say is part of the scene?
RI: Yeah, the live ska scene in India is a very tiny part of the indie scene which in itself has only a tiny chunk of the listening public. So, yeah, I guess it is pretty niche as a genre. But the main goal of The Fanculos has always been to entertain our audience with very high quality, high energy live indie music and ska for me, has always seemed to be the best (and most fun) way to do this. I think that all good music has commercial potential even if their main genre is somewhat niche, as long as it is entertaining. As far as I know its just us and our buddies in Delhi 'The Ska Vengers' who focus on ska. The other thing that I notice is that there is a very healthy caribbean music scene that has been developing in India for a while, and we're very proud to be a part of that!
K: Goa Sunsplash 2018. What are you looking forward to the most at the festival? Any words for your fans and future fans who will be listening and dancing to your set at Goa Sunsplash?
RI: Definitely looking forward to listening to as many of the other artists as possible. We want to soak up the atmosphere and vibe - I mean it's the only reggae festival in India and it's been a long time coming.
We're looking forward to performing a tight set of with a couple of songs from our 'Gangsta TV EP' that's just released and some unreleased material. We promise a really good skanking!
Special thanks to Ankita Roy for coordinating the interview.