Art & Culture

Rock and Roll with the Sun

Bangalore played host to a very unconventional music performance by the band Solar Punch whose music is about the environment and our future. The American Band which comprises of Alan Bigelow (Lead Vocalist & guitarist), James Conklin (Lead guitarist), Frank Marino (Drummer) and Andy Matini (Guitarist) got talking to about the unusual way they make music.

How was the idea of Solar Punch Conceived?

Frank (Drummer): We play for different bands in New York. Once when touring in Egypt, the vastness of the desert and the sun above made us realize how much more can be achieved through music in regards to social and environmental issues. We could address immediate solutions to global problems with the help of music concerts as a means of reaching out to people. So the four of us (Alan, Andy, James and Frank)  got together and came up with the idea of Solar Punch - a band that would use renewable source of energy instead of electricity.

James (guitarist): I drew inspiration from a colleague who spoke about environmental problems through music. That’s when I got together with the others and decided to form this band. 

What music does Solar Punch play?

Alan(Vocalist and guitarist): Our music is about the environment and our future. Our music sends out the message that solutions to climate change are here now and Solar Punch is the living proof. We mostly write our own music. We have 4 original songs in iTunes’. People are encouraged to download them instead of us making CDs as they are again non biodegradable material adding to the already heightened pollution level. 

All the four of you are from different professional backgrounds. Where does the common bond lie?

James (Guitarist) : Laughs. Yes I know what you mean. Alan is a physicist in Columbia University, Andy works for a law firm, Frank is a professional drummer and music teacher and I am into film making and art. But we all love music and care for the world. And all of us actively wanted to do something about the global environmental problems. These common goals brought us together and form the basis of our bond. 

What is the purpose of this tour?

James: The world is threatened by high levels of pollution, toxins and depletion of non renewable energy. We want to let people know that there are solutions to these problems and they are quite simple. We use relatively simple solar technology to power our small portable amplifiers and musical gears. The purpose of this tour is to lead by example! 

The concept of Solar Energy to power a performance sounds very interesting. How does this really work?

Alan: It is quite a simple technology that we use. (He shows us how it's done). We have some portable solar panels. First a connection is made from the solar panel's DC to the battery. Oh by the way we bought this little battery in Chennai. Then we make a connection to the inverter which changes the DC to AC. The panels add up to give around 106 Watts which is enough to get us going through out the night. The solar panel uses CIGS elements. (Copper, Indium, Gallium and Selenium). It is ideal for travel and band performance. All day long the sun gives us power and we store it in our solar panel. Once the sun sets we make use of stored sunshine to give us light! See how simple it is.



Tags: solar energy, Solar Punch, renewable energy, Swadesh

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