By Susan Miller
They've been together for seven years now, playing alternative rock/pop mainly in the Gauteng area but have big plans in the pipeline and are edging towards completing their first studio album with Grammy award-winning producer Darryl Torr (who used to be one half of indie band Dear Reader).
So what did I find out about the band? That they're a bunch of guys living their dream, still mad about the music.
Who are they? Well, there's Nikolai Viedge (lead guitar) who met brothers Shahir (lead vocals) and Shahan Chundra (rhythm guitar) while they were all working at a branch of Exclusive Books. Then there's Anton Chetty (bassist) and the brothers' childhood friend Shakti Satyapal who decided to buy a drum kit in order to be part of the band. He had never played drums before this.
Anton, might be the newest addition to the band but it is he is responsible in some ways for MadLove existing. A uni friend of Shahir's, he taught Shahir how to play the guitar about seven years ago. Shahir then taught his brother the same few songs he had learnt and moved away to London on a working holiday.
When Shahir returned he still new those few songs whereas his brother had become a prodigy of sorts.
The brothers met Nikolai while working at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park JHB, and the idea of starting a band was thrown about. Shakti Satyapal, a childhood friends of the brothers from Pietermaritzburg, watched the three play their first gig and decided he had to be a part of the action. He bought a set of drums and taught himself to play in three weeks and the band's first ever-proper gig was at the global Battle of the Bands in Sep of 2006.
And so MadLove became the vehicle for five best friends to live out their dreams.
Where did the name come from? At their first test gig their then bassist Nicholas 'Smithy' Smit joined the band. The great name hunt commenced, and sms's flew back and forth. It was a random sms from Nikolai to Shahir, detailing the perils of love, ending with the words MadLove that sealed the name of the band.
A year later, Smithy immigrated to the UK and a huge bassist hunt began. Grant Sissons, who was in turn replaced by Shahir's old friend Anton, replaced smithy.
And while the band is kept pretty busy doing gigs and cutting the new album, they've all got pretty amazing sounding day careers too.
Shahir works as a television director and freelance writer, Shahan is an investment analyst and trader, Shakti is a marketing Strategist, Nikolai a professor and lecturer in Philosophy busy doing his Doctorate in Philosophy while Anton is a chartered accountant.
The band range in age from 28 to 34 years old – and as Shahir says: "We're pretty old for a new band. But many of us only learnt our instruments in the first years of the inception of MadLove so we did get a later start than most but it also informs our music in a more mature way, we think."
Based in and around Greenside in Joburg, Shahir says the band's sound is "definitely more rock, with some pop-rock thrown in…mind you it is a tough classification because we feed into a few genres."
The South African rock scene is still growing and the band is happy to acknowledge that there "is some great quality out there."
Influences included Shahir and Shahan's dad who was into 70's music in a big way and a whole range of bands across the board – U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Goo Goo Dolls, Nirvana, SoundGarden, Sting, and the list goes on.
This eclectic mix of musical interests birthed a rock sound that is both dynamic and unique.
Nikolai was also a kid of the grunge era, and Shahir says the band had a "varied musical listening history from R&B and hip hop and pop to harder stuff."
They write all their own songs with Shahir writing the melodies and lyrics and the band writing the music.
Shahir says they're hoping that work on the album will be "done by September with a launch at the same time."
And they've got the dreams that all bands are supposed to have: "We want it all. We want to tour the world and have our music reach as many people worldwide as possible. We are in this for the long haul!"
Their much-loved stage show is energetic and exciting driven by the great chemistry, friendship and mutual love for music, the boys share.
MadLove has become the vehicle for five best friends to live out their dreams.
Check them out at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/madloveband
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