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February 2004

Medicis: going places

- by Emmanuelle

Medicis on stage at the NLS Strawberry Fields, BangaloreIn July 2002, four young Aurovilians got together and formed a band – Medicis – in order to express their creativity through music. The members define their style as ‘nu-metal' (contemporary metal, the music is more raw and primal than the metal of the 1980's and 1990's) and comprise Julien (23) on the vocals, Nicola (24) on the drums, Samai (18) on the bass and Davy (20) on the guitar. All of them have been interested and involved in music for many years, and are almost entirely self-taught musicians.

Left to right: Nicola, Samai, Julien and DavyOver the past months, Medicis has been gaining ground, and the band is becoming known and popular in south India. They have staged concerts at various venues in Auroville, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. In November 2003, they also participated in a national rock competition: NLS Strawberry Fields, in Bangalore, where they were awarded the best band title, and Julien and Nicola were voted the best vocalist and drummer respectively.

“It's only the beginning,” explains Julien, “Though we have been working hard and struggling for the past year and a half, it's only since the past few months that things are starting to move and happen for us as a band.”

“It's a bit like a birth,” continues Davy. “Our style has evolved a lot since we started playing together, and is only now starting to define itself. We have a lot to say, but it is only now we are learning to express ourselves in the right way. We are learning to find our identity as a group, build ourselves on stage, work on the dynamics of the performances and interact with the audience. When you're stage and there is a response from the audience, you feel very powerful.”

For the members of Medicis, music is not just a pastime, it is a profession. “Our life is based on music”, stresses Davy, “Music influences the decisions we take, the sacrifices we make…”

Right now they are concentrating on moving forward, improving the compositions they already have, scrapping some old ones, composing new ones and working on their technique while taking care it doesn't overshadow the inspiration and power of the music.

Nicola feels that each musician with his instrument has a specific place and role in creating the band: “On the drums, I have to give the power and the drive to the music,” he explains, “The guitar, with its melodies, creates the ambience; the bass, while accompanying the melodies, also serves as a link between the guitar and the drums. Basically, all the instruments are there to support the voice, so that it has a good foundation. I find the voice is especially important, because it is what everybody can identify with.”

“It's been quite a challenge to learn to play as a group,” feels Davy, “We have learned to not let our egos as individual musicians get in the way of the band as a whole. We are trying to go beyond our individual needs and desires to be listened to and heard. Slowly as a group we have developed a common vision of music. We are lucky, because it's first and foremost a story of friendship between us. As we can afford to be frank with one another, communication is easier. We have all embarked on the same adventure and we know we can trust each other whether it is in the studio, on stage, or in life. “

The members are also realizing that Medicis is not only about the music they play. They are at present starting to work on recording and producing their first album themselves, which they hope to come out with this year. And that represents a lot of work: working on the compositions and lyrics, on the sound engineering and actual recording. This project of theirs also requires funding, and their only source of income at present is the concerts they perform. Though they have the chance to practice in the new, relatively well-equipped Kalabhumi studio, which has a great acoustic, they eventually will also need to invest in new equipment. And then there are the costs of touring, and promoting and distributing their album when it comes out…

But whatever struggles lie ahead, these young musicians seem to have the necessary drive and

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