Exclusive interview with Sholo Thong, Front-man of The Gluttones
Meet Sholo Thong, talented artist from Dimapur, Nagaland; a music teacher by profession, and a singer/song-writer by nature. As a child with innate talent he was well-guided by the Board of Royal School of Music and Board of Trinity College, London and as time passed his love for Indie and Alternative Rock developed and progressed.
Sholo is currently the front-man for an Indie/Alternative Rock band from Dimapur known as 'The Gluttones'; the band comprises of Nesavo Vese on guitars, Binto Semy on keyboard/synth, Mulong Lkr on bass and Katovi Sema (Alex) on drums.
Let us hear from Sholo himself how it all started –
TNT. Hello Sholo, greetings from TNT, Shillong. A small introduction?
SHOLO: Hello TNT, Thank you for having me. I am Sholozu Thong from Dimapur, Nagaland.I am a Singer/song writer/music teacher by profession and music is my passion. I am currently the front man for "The Gluttones"
TNT. What genre of music do you enjoy / play?
SHOLO: Like most North-Easterner I was introduced to music from a very early age and listened to almost every genre of music. My first love was Classical music and hence I did my 5th Grade Music Theory under the Associate Board of Royal School of Music, London and my 8th Grade Vocals from The Board of Trinity College, London. With time and age however, I have now fallen in love with Indie Rock and Alternative Rock.
TNT. What influences you?
SHOLO: It may sound like a cliché, but my biggest strength and inspiration is our God Almighty as I was introduced to my love for music by singing in the Church Choir. Then bands like Imagine Dragons, Artic Monkeys and The Kooks have been my staple "go to" bands ever since I fell in love with Indie Rock and are the biggest contributors to all my current music creations.
TNT. Tell me about your first gig and the response you got?
SHOLO: Though I had performed in a lot of events like Churches, weddings, school etc. I only started performing professionally in the year 2011. It was during the winter month of December in Dimapur when I sang a classical duet entitled "I believe" by Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Janekins along with my close friend, Kalino Kinimi for a charity concert organized by Golden Crown College. Luckily we had a packed crowd that evening. We received an overwhelming positive respond from the audience and this further cemented my decision to pursue music as a full time career and have never looked back ever since.
TNT. What do you think of the music scene in Nagaland and Northeast as a whole?
SHOLO: Nagaland and the Northeast as a whole are considered the music capital of India, with Shillong leading the region. However to be honest, as a musician/artist from the region it is not as rosy as it sounds. Music is a tough profession, period. We have a lot of raw talent in our region but very few avenues. Despite the current political situation, music has always endeavored and continues to entertain true lovers of the art. And with bodies like Music Task Force, a Government of Nagaland undertaking, we are optimistic about the future of the industry. But most importantly we need the support of our fans. Where there are true fans there will always be true artist ready to entertain and spread the language of love (music).
TNT. When can we expect your original release? And what lyrical theme do you prefer writing and sing about?
SHOLO: You can find my single debut at Indi hut entitled "My Love" in collaboration with Alo Wanth Link. Currently my band "The Gluttones" are working on a couple of songs which will be out in early 2016 and lyrically we are moving to showcasing human emotions of a person during his/her journey of life.
TNT. You covered songs and my favorite one has to be 'I wanna hold your hand' by The Beatles, what made you want to cover that particular song?
SHOLO: Actually during that time I was competing at a Northeast Singing Contest called "You Know You Got It" and luckily at the semifinal we had a Beatles round and since this song being my all-time favorite song, I decided – I'm doing this song.
TNT. What made you to form a band?
SHOLO: Yes, I am in the band "The Gluttones" formed in mid -September of 2015, we are a five piece indie/alternative/pop rock band, with me on the vocals, Nesavo Vese on the guitars, Binto Semy on the keys/synth, Mulong Lkr on the bass and Katovi Sema (Alex) on the drums. I always dreamt to be in a band ever since I fell in love with the indie/alternative music, so when they approached me to form a band, since we all love the same genre, I didn't even give a second thought and the next moment …. We are "The Gluttones"!!!
TNT. And how would you classify your band's musical genre?
SHOLO: We listen to all type of music, and we love experimenting with a lot with different genres but nothing describes us more than the current genre we are in i.e. indie/alternative/pop rock.
TNT. Any shows outside Nagaland?
SHOLO: Yes, but nothing major. I performed when I was a solo artist, but with the band not yet but if we ever get a chance then we would just love to.
TNT. What keeps you going?
SHOLO: Ever since my childhood I love music and sports more than my studies, which means I was really bad at school. But my family was really supportive at whatever I wanted to do, so I took Badminton coaching at first then to kickboxing and taekwondo but finally landed back to my love of my life, music. So I have to say that my Mom and my Dad and God who gave me the love and support and not to forget my sheer love for music and dream of making it big someday.
TNT. You were a participant at "You Know You Got It" show, was that how you got started?
SHOLO: Yes, as I have mentioned earlier. I was singing at places and events even before that show but I would say that I became even more serious after that. It was an amazing experience… there I got the opportunity to be mentored by professional singers. I believe that I grew even more as an artist after that show.
TNT. Does perception of people affect you?
SHOLO: Art is very subjective and music in it truest form is one of the most expressive art. Just like any art form there are lovers and critics alike. I would say we received both positive and not so positive responses from our audience and we appreciate ever feedback that we get. We are truly blessed to have received an over-all good vibe from the people, even though we recently entered the industry as a band.
TNT. Would you like to play outstation? Just curious
SHOLO: Oh! We would love to… if we get a chance we won't want to miss it.
TNT. Any shows this year?
SHOLO: Though our band is still very young, our band got lots of love and support from our people, and that's how we did a number of shows and still counting. But we are now focused on the upcoming International Hornbill Rock Contest 2015; my band also got selected to represent our state.
TNT. Alright, let's round this interview up, thank you for the interview Sholo, you've been really awesome. Hope we meet again. All the best with your musical career, got any last words for the people reading this interview?
SHOLO: Thank you TNT. It was a pleasure interacting with you. I will just wind up by saying that we are nothing without your love and support; we don't just play Music for fun… Music is our life and your love and support gives breath to our life (Music). Continue to love and support us musicians. God bless. Khublei shibun.
There you have it folks! And people keep supporting 'The Gluttones'… they are a band to watch for at the Hornbill Festival International Rock contest in Kohima, Nagaland this December!