Gear up to savour some indie rock with Rum and Monkeys at Shillong Cherry Blossom fest

On the eve of the band’s performance at the festival on November 25, The Northeast Today (TNT) caught up with the Shillong-based indie rockers for a tete-e-tete. Read on to know what they have to say about their inspiration, style of music, the art of making honest music and more.



If you like a dash of experimentation sprinkled on your daily dose of indie rock and believe that having varied musical tastes among members brings the best out in a band, Rum and Monkeys is right up your alley.

The Shillong-based indie rockers have been making all the right noises in and around the Northeast for about four years now, and in the process have garnered quite a steady fan following with their energetic yet groovy compositions.

Hailing from different Northeastern states and varied cultures, this five-member ensemble makes music that is broad in its musicality but rooted in its presentation. Comprising of Atom (vocals/guitar), Daniel (guitar), Anon (keyboard), Thot (drums) and Bindu (bass), Rum and Monkeys are a sheer treat when it comes to live performances.

On the eve of their performance at the much-awaited Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival on November 25, The Northeast Today (TNT) got up, close and personal with the band to get a glimpse of their musical journey. Excerpts…

What inspired you all to get a band together?

Initially, the idea behind getting a band was pure adrenaline and ecstasy of playing music. But, eventually making music became a way for us to escape, to vent and most importantly, a medium of expressing our emotions.

We do not want to sound pretentious or dramatic, but right from the kind of shows we played, the way we recorded our music to the kind of money we were paid, all these played an important role and inspired us as well as our music.

"Rum & Monkeys", not a run-of-the-mill name of a band. Can you guys tell us what is so unique about the band?

The name of our band was derived from two words - the British word 'Rum' meaning peculiarity and 'Monkeys' signify being carefree. There is absolutely nothing unique about us (laughs). We are merely a bunch of overgrown kids who are extremely grateful to have found music.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is happening in the city after two long years and Rum & Monkeys is performing! I am sure you guys are excited…

The Cherry Blossom festival has always been a great event in our musical journey. We are glad that we are playing again at the festival this year. Driven by the motto “hard work beats talent”, we would like to tell you that we are loud and energetic and that is something that you can definitely expect from out setlist at the festival.

Your genre is indie, is there any other genre that you are interested in?

Rock has always been of great influence to us. But the musical taste within the band is very varied - it ranges from math rock, punk to the blues. So, yes, we’re quite a heady mix of different musical disciplines.

How has COVID-19 affected the artistes – especially, the indie musicians?

COVID has affected a lot of people and probably, the artiste the worst hit. The lockdowns put a stop to a lot of projects we wanted to do and the shows we needed to play. Honestly, it affected us to the core.

What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?

Music is the sound of one's feelings. It is a rush; a way of life for us... an expression! We'll leave it at that.

If there are any musicians you guys would like to collaborate with, who would they be and why?

We are taking one step at a time when it comes to our music and the way we produce it. We are at that phase where we are finding our musical path; our musical bent. So, right now, to name artistes we would like to collaborate with, would not be a good idea.  

Is there any message that you would like to give to the people of Meghalaya, northeast and the country as a whole?

If you are looking to form a band and make music, the biggest advice for you would be to do it with people you like. We think that that is extremely important. Also, be self-aware; have the courage to acknowledge your failures. That is the only way you can grow and be better versions of yourselves. Lastly, always, always, write honest music, something that comes from within. See you at the festival!

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