- About Us
Words: Ouseph Chacko
Photography: Vikrant Date
Raxit, Rahul, Sid and Harsh. Vocals, guitar, bass and percussion. Sky Rabbit. Rolling Stone calls them an Electro Post Punk band.
Rahul couldn’t make it for our little experiment today, but we’ve got the other three. The experiment is unusual but vital because, let’s face facts, we journalists are stuck in a rut when it comes to describing the sounds a car makes. Hair-raising, blare, bellow, blat, yowl, scream – that’s pretty much our vocabulary for flat sixes, V8’s and V12’s.
What we are going to do today is get Sky Rabbit, bonafide musicians, people with a real ear for this kind of stuff, to rate the AMG ermm… bellow.
The ideal car for this test would have been AMG’s heavy metal band, the SLS AMG, but it doesn’t have the one thing the Mercedes GL 63 AMG has – real estate. The big AMG has acres of it, enough for the band, two guitars, a kayamb (it’s a percussion instrument), a photographer, his camera kit and the musically challenged driver – me. Hell, there’s even space for a mascot and a few groupies!
Our experiment starts in Mumbai, Sky Rabbit’s burrow. I’m going to be the band’s chauffeur for the day while they listen and, hopefully, trip on the effects of the 550bhp, 5.5-litre twin turbo V8.
It’s a civilised beast!
Sky Rabbit is big. They’ve played at Ziro, India Bike Week, NH7 and Live from the Console in Goa and are widely regarded by music critics as the right kind of sound. I’m eager to hear what they have to say.
Right now though, they are collectively bleary-eyed when I rouse them from Friday night’s shenanigans. But not for long. They’re lounging in the back seat when I give the AMG its first prod of the day. Three pairs of eyes widen, collective souls awaken and ears perk up.
Sid says he felt butterflies in his stomach.
Because the monster Mercedes GL 63 AMG (as Raxit calls it) is too big to let loose in Mumbai, we’re heading towards the general direction of Lonavla – the open expressway should give us the space to let the engine ermm.. roar to its redline.
If you’ve heard Sky Rabbit (download them on oklisten.com), you won’t believe their sound. It’s mature, sophisticated and carefully constructed and completely at odds with their easy going, don’t-care dishevelled appearance.
Trying to break out of Mumbai’s traffic, I ask them what they think so far and it’s funny then that their initial impressions of the Mercedes GL 63 AMG’s ermm…. blare, is exactly what I think of the band’s sound. Harsh says it sounds polished, never annoyingly loud, but you know it means business.
Of highs and lows
Sky Rabbit says great sound comes in a package. It’s not a single frequency or a note. It has great low end, it has thump, and you feel it. You know it instinctively. It’s not something you can describe easily in words. Phew, I’m going to quote them everytime I’m asked to describe a car’s sound from now on!
The Panvel McDonald’s whizzes past on our left and I can stretch the Mercedes GL 63 AMG’s legs a bit as we hit the expressway. I think it’s the fact that I’ve been hanging around with the band, but even my ears are picking up new sounds from the Mercedes GL 63 AMG. At low speeds, its rumble is an underlying cello in a muted orchestra – it’s there but it’s never intrusive. As revs pick up it builds into this full bodied … forgive me, it’s hard to explain … tingle that you feel in the pit of your stomach. Hit the redline and pull in the next gear from the paddleshift and there’s a minor thunderclap from the pipes before the next gear plays the whole baritone to gritty double-bass drum roll all over again.
The band has gone quiet. Someone mentions g-force. 0-100kmph in less than five seconds has a way of pushing you into the seat. It gets your attention like a great concert gets your attention. Not bad at all AMG! I think Sky Rabbit likes your sound and lightspeed show.
Into the freeze
Our destination is Sahyadri Farms – a farmhouse on the outskirts of Urse near Pune. It’s the kind of out of the way place you can go to get away from it all. We’ve come here because Sky Rabbit has agreed to play an acoustic set of their new single, Into the freeze, for us. You should hear the song. It’s really cool.
As I park up at the place, Raxit wants to have a look at the mobile musical instrument. I pop the hood as the band gather around the hand-built block of emotion. Holy f*** says Sid! I think that pretty much sums up the AMG sound.