Bamboo Shoots
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Bamboo Shoots


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"A Different Kind of Americana / Platform Magazine (India)"

A Different Kind of Americana

The Electro-Dance-Rock Band Bamboo Shoots

One with a wall street job, another on his way to med-school, the third a biology major, the fourth prepping to be an engineer and the fifth a student of political science – Shiv, Avir, Ahmed, Ankur and Karl are currently full-time musicians and recording artists. Born and brought up in the US, four are of Indian descent; they call themselves Bamboo Shoots and are a four-member pop/dance/electronic rock band! While they might not seem to fit the quintessential idea of the All-American Rock Band, they just might be a prediction of what the twenty-first century version of the All-American Rock Band will be.

If Classicism stuck to boundaries of purist thought and Woodstock to its need to feel free, our current ear has begun to lean toward the heterogeneous mixture of a hydra-like sound. An oceanic maze of genres, sub-genres, categories and labels overwhelm the music industry into a vast soundscape of identity, style and structure, as hybridity takes on unimaginable proportions. The music of Bamboo Shoots best exemplifies this intermingling as they create their kind of rock, as they do their thing and give voice to who they are.

In 2006 they casually signed up for the mtvU Best Music on Campus Contest and soon became one of fifty bands to be selected to participate. A couple of months later they were not only declared winners of the contest, but also expected on the Late Night Show with Conan O’Brian and signed on by Epic Records! Over the past two years, they have been working on their album and touring with bands like Plain White T’s and Tyga, all along gearing up for their debut album Armour, which is scheduled to release in September 2009. With a bunch of good reviews, power packed performances, and rising online and onstage popularity, they are definitely worth watching out for!

What got the four of you to create music together and what makes you get along with each other musically?

KARL: Avir and I grew up together, our parents met through the Parsi community in New Jersey when we were pretty young and we were always playing music, recording and song-writing. Yeah, we were strange kids – music was like my sports when I was young. It still kinda is.

AVIR: We met Shiv when he was at NYU, and then Ankur a bit later.

SHIV: Before we were Bamboo Shoots we used to play a lot together and pass around our favourite records. I suppose that is a big part of why we get along musically.

Future-feeling yet retro, Brooklyn cred, open lyrics, sexual undertones, the unmissable sound of the dhol, dance rock – countless tiny descriptors have been attached to your sound. What makes your band sound the way it does?

SHIV: I think we all have a deep appreciation for the spaces between the notes. I mean we all know when to play our instrument softer, loud or not at all. This stems from the way that Avir and Karl write songs where there is a meaningful place for every sound.

KARL: And when Avir or I song-write, we always start with the beat and then the melody. I think that comes from a love of beat music like hip hop or electronica, which then gets pushed up against the rock elements of guitars and big synths.

From college band to Epic Records, a record label known for its star studded line-up. What are the changes felt within your setup?

SHIV: Being on Epic gave us the resources to create the album that we really wanted to, and then as a band we really had to rise to the challenge of being able to pull off these songs live with the same impact they had in the studio.

KARL: We had to add on a lot more gear, the MPC drum machine, the samplers, and lots of keyboards. Just a bunch more to juggle live.

Who handles the business of music for the band?

ANKUR: Aside from our lawyer and our management, the whole band really gets involved in both the day-to-day stuff and the big picture things.

KARL: For example, Shiv put together our last tour in India and Ankur keeps track of finances. Stuff like that.

What has the album composing and studio experience felt like?

SHIV: It was great to be able to work with people like our producer, Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, and our mixer, Mark 'Spike' Stent. Spike has mixed everybody, from U2 and Madonna to Bjork and recently the last Beyonce album.

KARL: For the first time we really had a great team with us in the studio and we learned so much from people like Jerry and Spike. Life lessons, you know, like the birds and bees.

Tell us a little about your debut album Armour, and your plans with it now?

AVIR: Armour is our debut record. It’s equal parts love and protection (amour + armor), and we think it’s unique. It’s a little different from most of the music I hear out there now.

KARL: I agree, and because of that we have to carve our own niche, but I think a lot of people will connect with the songs and the sound.

SHIV: Currently we are spending our summer touring across America and we are working on two videos to go along with the US release of the record in late September.

There hasn’t been a major entry of South Asian musicians or bands into mainstream international music. Do you see yourselves breaking into an uncharted market?

SHIV: The fact that we’re brown with roots in India and have grown up in America, just opens up so many more doors for us. I think we see ourselves as an ‘American band’ but after touring India we can see our potential internationally.

KARL: We have a unique sound (even as individuals), but people all over the world connect to our music. For example, we put out a mixtape this past winter that was downloaded in over one hundred countries, and now radio DJs in Indonesia are asking for permission to play our music!

What composites the Bamboo Shoots live experience?

ANKUR: We play our hearts out… we put a lot of energy into our performance whether it’s for five people or 5000. Shiv sweats like crazy; he is totally drenched after every show!

KARL: DANCE DANCE DANCE! We love to move and we love our audience to move.

You toured India a while ago and received a decent response. Any plans of coming back here for another tour?

AVIR: Definitely – we had such a blast in India last Spring, and want to come back when our record releases. We want to hit the college scene.

SHIV: And we want to stay longer. Although we played the major cities in India our trip was too short!

Your take on the Indian Music industry. Do you see yourself fitting in here in any way?

AVIR: We enjoy being outsiders no matter where we are.

KARL: We all know Bollywood dominates the Indian music scene. But there seems to be a real grassroots movement involving young, live bands; some with whom we played, and I think we fit right into that scene.

What kind of music has inspired and influenced you?

AVIR: Prince’s Purple Rain concert video, the part where he’s having a conversation with God.

SHIV: Ustad Vilayat Khan is a huge influence on me personally and is my favourite artist of all time, he inspires me with every note. For a short while I was learning sitar from his son, Ustad Shujaat Khan, and separately during another time with Ustad Shahid Parvez. There’s nothing else like being at the feet of such masters. As a drummer though I’d say that Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Roots have the biggest influence on my playing.

KARL: Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis, the part where he’s having a conversation with God.

Future Plans & Projects…

ANKUR: Bamboo Shoots: The Porno Video Game.

KARL: Bamboo Shoots: The MMORPG! (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games)

SHIV: Bamboo Shoots: The MMORPG Porno Video Game.

AVIR: They said it can’t be done! - Platform Magazine (India)

"Making the Bands / Billboard Magazine"

>Making the Bands
>Can an MTV Series Still Create A Music Career?
>By Brian Garrity
>When Bamboo Shoots recently made their national debut on "Late Night
>with Conan O'Brien," they were an obscure booking, even by the standards
>of a show that specializes in spotlighting lesser-known acts. The band,
>which plays a funky, South Asian/Indian-influenced variation of pop-emo,
>didn't have an album, had never been on a label, claimed fewer than 3,00
>MySpace friends and had never performed in front of a crowd larger than
>a few hundred people. But they had a backer that most bands with such a
>thin resume do not: MTV. In mid-May, Bamboo Shoots were named the winner
>of a discover-the-best-unsigned-college-band contest from MTV networks
>mtvU- selected from a mixture of fan voting online at and
>vetting by executives at MTV and Epic Records. And in a Cinderella turn,
>the quintet with ties to Middlesex County College in New Jersey, found
>themselves thrashing about in front of the "Late Night" cameras just
>days later.
>"These kids come on and I invite them over to the couch afterwards and
>they're high-fiving each other, they're just jumping off the couches
>they're so excited," O'Brien says.
>The gig was part of a prize package worth more than $1 million that
>included a recording contract with Epic and a substantial promotional
>commitment from MTV once the album came out.
>The mtvU promotion, called Best Music on Campus, (BMOC) is just one of a
>number or reality band initiatives MTV Networks has in the works for
>emerging acts across its channels. Other recent and pending projects:
>-- "Making the band 4," now airing on flagship channel MTV, season four
>of the Sean "Diddy" Combs- fronted series "Making the Band" features a
>the hip-hop impresario looking for the best male performers to shape
>into a new chart-topping act. An album is set to follow through Bad
>-- Menudo. After trolling malls across America and Puerto Rico for
>months, casting has wrapped on a reboot of the 1980's Puerto Rican boy
>band franchise that launched Ricky Martin's career. The show, which will
>document the development of the new five-person Latin-infused R&B group,
>is set to air on MTV Tr3s later this year. MTV and Reveille, the
>production company from NBC Entertainment chief Ben Silverman, are co
>producing. An album is set to follow through Epic Records.
>-- Band in a Bubble. In a much-publicized move, the members of pop-punk
>act Cartel at the end of May sealed themselves inside a huge transparent
>bubble on a New York pier and dedicated themselves to making their self
>titled sophomore album for Epic Records during a 20-day span. Fans
>visiting the bubble could witness the band in action, and MTV cameras
>captured the whole thing for an accompanying reality show on MTV 2.
>First-run episodes of the series wrapped in June. The network is now
>putting together a rollout strategy for the video for the fist single.
>To be sure, band-making shows are just one of a variety of ways MTV
>approaches music promotion and programming (see story, below). But the
>current surge in discover-the-next-great-artist series comes as that
>reality TV subgenre - long a strong suit for the Viacom-owned network -
>has become increasingly crowded with competitors.
>"American Idol" has become of the gold standard in launching new music
>careers and is dominating TV ratings in the process. Meanwhile, a glut
>of other networks and shows are getting in on the act too. Witness
>everyone from CBS' "Early Show" to online programming initiatives like
>MusicNation and OurStage (see story, below) all trying to find
>"undiscovered artists," often with the help of viewer voting.
>"Right now the public is interested in these reality shows," MTV
>president Christina Norman says, "It's important for us to keep
>stretching the definition of what that genre is."
>MTV VP of music and talent Amy Doyle says the appeal of such programs is
>clear: The audience wants a voice. They want to be credited for their
>choices around music, they want to feel empowered."
>Still, MTV is attempting to largely retain its role as a "curator" for
>new music rather than turn over the A&R process to the public in its
>reality initiative. Besides BMOC the new programs are as focused on the
>artist development process, not fan voting.
>"It's all in the making-the-band genre, but the paths to being made are
>all very," Norman says.
>Beyond "Idol," MTV remains one of the few outlets with a proven track
>record of launching successful careers from reality shows that take an
>insider's look at the music-making and star development process.
>Ashlee Simpson's 2004 debut "Autobiography," subject of MTV series "The
>Ashlee Simpson Show," has sold more than 2.9 million copies, according
>to Nielsen SoundScan. And Danity Kane, the last "Making the Band"
>creation from Combs, has sold more that 900,000 copies of its self
>titled 2006 debut.
>"The model works. And I think as long as it does, we'll find a way to
>keep doing it," Dole says, "What we hear a lot from our audience is the
>more they get to see behind the scenes and know the story and access to
>artists, the more they commit to the artist."
>Yet it doesn't always result in a home run. Cheyenne Kinball's 2006
>Epic/Daylight debut "The Time has Come" sold 129,000 copies following
>the run of her self-titled reality series on MTV,
>Just how much fans commit to this latest wave of made-for-MTV acts
>remains to be seen.
>Albums are yet to be made for Menudo and the "Making the Band" casts.
>And Cartel's album is still on the way. "Lost It," the first single from
>the new Cartel album, has sold more than 9,000 downloads in its first
>two weeks.
>Meanwhile, in the case of Bamboo Shoots, MTV execs are hoping the early
>buzz of the "Late Night" appearance will carry over once the band
>actually has a record to promote.
>mtvU GM Stephen Friedman says the point of the launch is to set the
>stage for what hopefully is a long-term relationship with the band.
>"You do this stuff because you want the talent to resonate with the
>audience," Norman adds. "Sometimes you have incredible successes and
>sometimes things don't play out the way you like them to. For us it's
>providing a variety of opportunities for the pop-loving fan, the
>rock-loving fan, the Latin music fan."
>O'Brien thinks nontraditional methods for breaking bands are a necessary
>experiment. "None of us really knows where television or music is
>going in the next 10 years, so you have to try things. There might be
>some version of this that happens more often in the future," he says.
>And in the meantime, he'll be keeping an eye on Bamboo Shoots'
>development in the mean time. "If this works I'll be all over them," he
>says. "And if it doesn't go well, I will distance myself so quickly." - Billboard

"Bamboo Shoots' Major Label Debut on Epic Records"

September 27, 2009

Bamboo Shoots' major-label debut features Parsippany native


When Parsippany native Shiv Puri, 29, was studying finance at New York
University, he had no idea he would one day trade in a lucrative
career on Wall Street to play the drums in Bamboo Shoots, an
alternative dance-rock band.

Described by Puri as "Daft Punk meets Hall & Oates," the
Brooklyn-based band, composed of fellow New Jerseyans Avir Mitra, Karl
Sukhia and Ankur Patel, will release its debut studio album, "Armour,"
on Tuesday.

"I remember leaving work at 4 p.m. to play a show in Boston, taking
the bus back at 5 a.m., sleeping for an hour and going back into the
office," he said.

That's why, soon after a 2007 performance with his bandmates on "Late
Night with Conan O'Brien," Puri decided to quit his job as an oil and
gas equities analyst and pursue music full time.

"I was nervous about leaving the comfort and security of a good-paying
job and having my future mapped out," he said. "But I've been playing
in bands since middle school ... I've always dreamed of doing this."

Puri had been interning at Goldman Sachs when a friend passed along a
demo made by childhood friends Mitra and Sukhia on an antiquated PC
with a pencil microphone. Puri found himself instantly drawn to their
unique music and songwriting.

"I e-mailed them during my lunch break to tell them I was a musician
and asked to meet up next time they were in New York. Lo and behold,
they responded, and we clicked right away," he said.

At their first practice, Patel, a friend of a friend and an
up-and-coming DJ, arrived with what became a Bamboo Shoots signature —
an Indian folk drum — and the band landed its first official gig in
New York in 2005.

The Bamboo Shoots' claim to fame turned out to be winning an mtvU
contest for Artist of the Year/Best Music on Campus in 2007.

"A friend randomly signed us up," Puri said.

The prize was the coveted slot on Conan O'Brien's show and a deal with
Epic Records. That summer, they hit the road with the Plain White T's,
and that's when Puri knew it was time to leave the corporate world for

"Looking back, I know I made the right choice," he said.

They were embraced by India during a recent tour — they made it into
Vogue India, Rolling Stone India and CNN India. They also nabbed a
Gibson guitar sponsorship and completed a national ad campaign with

Recently, the Bamboo Shoots performed at Six Flags in Jackson and were
invited by Parsippany's mayor to perform at the Fall Festival.

"It was a great reason to call old friends and reconnect with my
town," Puri said. "We got a lot of love from people who were proud to
see someone from Parsippany trying to make it on the national scene."

The Bamboo Shoots have been classified as "DIY pop," with undeniably
catchy, upbeat songs like "Hey Girl," the first single. The songs are
known for their South Asian influences, as well as their innate
danceability and dueling rhythm section. Puri added that there's an
electronic element to their music — and everyone has their own

"Our music is accessible, but there's something a little more
interesting going on than just your average pop/rock band," he said.

Of course, they did not work alone. Thanks to a couple of cold calls,
the band was lucky enough to team up with legends like Jerry Harrison
of Talking Heads and Modern Lovers as producer. Brian Gardner (Jay-Z,
Van Halen, Eminem) mastered the album. It was mixed by Mark "Spike"
Stent, who has worked with such stars as Madonna, Beyonce and U2 in
addition to indie acts MIA and Arcade Fire.

"We're not successful yet, but I feel like we've been dealt a good
hand so far," Puri said. "Whenever we've just done our best and tried
to do what's right — and not cared about what other people think —
somehow, things have always worked out."

"Armour" will be available at and iTunes. To learn
more, visit They'll be appearing at the CMJ
Festival in New York City on Oct. 22. - The Daily Record


Currently our single, "Hey Girl" is on rotation on mtvU TV channel and internet.

Armour LP (Epic Records, Sept. 2009)

"Hey Girl" single (Epic Records, Sept. 2009)

Music for Coatillions MIXTAPE LP (Self released, March 2009)

"Hey Girl" 7" single (Self released, Nov. 2006)

Blue EP (Self released, May 2006)

Research & Development EP (Self released, Apr. 2004)



There’s something odd about Bamboo Shoots. Certainly a band of four brown-skinned boys whose collective faces look equally at home on a terrorist watchlist as any promotional poster is, well, unique. That all of the members are of Indian descent at a time when Indian culture is exploding globally is surely… noteworthy. “We gave up on fitting in a long time ago,” states singer/guitarist Avir
Mitra with a shrug.

Mix innovative hooks and lean guitars with urban inspired beats and subtle world flavor, add a dash of Brooklyn cred but temper it with a lyrical openness – now you begin to get at the sound of Armour, their Epic Records debut. It’s future-feeling and it’s retro and it almost didn’t happen.

As the story goes, Avir was only days away from joining medical school when the band got a life-changing phone call: they had won MTVu’s Best Music on Campus
contest and would be signing with Epic. They would perform on “Late Night with
Conan O’Brien” in a few days. Welcome to Bamboo Shoots’ world.

Avir and bassist/vocalist Karl Sukhia began playing music together after bumping
heads as kids in the Zoroastrian community to which their parents belonged. They recorded songs on an old PC with a pencil mic. It was several years before they met
drummer Shiv Puri, a brilliant finance student who needed something more to crunch
than numbers – Shiv soon found his salvation in drumming with the duo. At their first practice, friend of a friend Ankur Patel showed up with what was to become a key ingredient – an Indian folk drum called the dhol.
They covered Hall and Oates.
Ankur, an up-and-coming DJ, wove 808s and percussion into the mix and was in the
band by day’s end.

Fast-forward through the time spent lugging gear, sleeping on floors and scrounging cash for studio time. It’s 2008 and the band is signed and ready to record. They’ve toured with Plain White T’s, rocked shows with Soulja Boy, locked in a Gibson sponsorship and just finished a national ad campaign with Virgin. Jerry Harrison (of Talking Heads and Modern Lovers) was the first to see Bamboo Shoots’ potential and signed on as producer.

“Talking Heads’ style stemmed from rhythm – we saw a common thread there,”
explains Avir. “Jerry dusted off old Heads’ synths and guitars that hadn’t been
touched in years,” adds Karl. “Avir played most of the album on the same Strat that
was used on Stop Making Sense.”

The band proceeded to cold call their favorite mixer, UK-based Mark “Spike” Stent.
His familiarity with both pop (Madonna, Beyonce, U2) and indie (MIA, Arcade Fire,
CSS) matched perfectly with the band’s vision. Despite more lucrative offers, Spike
heard something in the tracks and eagerly signed on to mix. "Everyone in the studio was curious to see who this baby band was that Spike had chosen to work with," notes Shiv.

The result, Armour, is a debut that effortlessly sounds unlike any of its peers. “Hey Girl,” a throwback to Prince’s “Controversy,” sets the tone with a sing-along verse
and a bassline that stabs you over and over. From there, the band never loses their
laser-like focus on hooks, beats and vibe. “Where the Ocean Meets the Road” feels
like it should have been on the Days of Thunder Soundtrack. You would focus on the retro cool, but you are too busy humming it in your head. Ballads like “Whenever
You’re Around” conjure up comparisons to Justin Timberlake’s solo work, until of course a shrieking guitar comes in and throws off the entire comparison. Tracks like
“Milk, Satin & Silk” get the hipsters blogging, while “Wrong All Along” cuts to the
angsty chase and gets the teens bopping. Bamboo Shoots is equal parts Brooklyn and suburban New Jersey, and Armour reflects it.
Still, it’s hard to describe the reaction Bamboo Shoots gets at their live shows, where
sets become excuses for all-night dance parties.
Things just connect. A recent
media-frenzied tour of India only fuels suspicion that the appeal of Bamboo Shoots
could be exceptionally broad. Indeed, there is something unpredictably odd going on
here. Let’s hope it stays that way.