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Best Kept Secret Festival Preview - An Interview With Indian Askin


Amsterdam’s Indian Askin are Chino Ayala, Ferry Kunst, Jasja J. Offermans and Bart van der Elst. Their debut album, Sea Of Ethanol, came out last month and continued right where 2015’s eponymous EP left off. They’ve been called nu-punk, now-punk and various other fabricated appellations because they don’t sound like a traditional punk band but they play with the speed and energy of one. Ayala’s intelligent indie pop tunes are married to some frenetic riffing from the frontman and Offermans.

The album tracks are tightly written and executed but check out their live work on YouTube. There’s plenty of it. Indian Askin rock out hard without actually sounding like a rock band. All four members contribute backing vocals and each of them throws everything into the performance. They do all this with a smile on their faces too. Indian Askin are the type of band you want to dance about to, then go for a pint with.

Frontman Chino Ayala spoke to Musos’ Guide.

MG: You’re billed as Dutch-Paraguayan, are you originally from Paraguay?

CA: My father is from Paraguay. I was born and raised in Amsterdam. I’m not really Paraguayan but I like to brag about it.

MG: You’re a big fan of the Dandy Warhols.

CA: I have listened to the Dandy Warhols for more than ten years. I’m a big fan, man. I can’t even explain why. I just love that band.

MG: I can hear them in your music, particularly in ‘Answer’.

CA: Oh yeah, the vibe, the poppiness but kind of edgy, the soundscapes, yeah.

MG: Playing live, the songs are longer, there’s more jamming and instrumental stuff. Do you have a different approach playing live than going in to the studio?

CA: Yeah, I recorded the album myself and then I got the band together. I didn’t want to be a dictator and have them play exactly like the album sounds. I wanted to give them more freedom. That’s why we are rocking way harder than the record. And it’s more fun too, playing loud and stuff.

MG: You can tell that you are enjoying playing together.

CA: We’re best friends now.

MG: This is your first time playing Best Kept Secret.

CA: We went there last year as fans to check it out and now we’re playing this year. It’s the festival of our bookers so it’s an inside job.

MG: Are you a festival person?

CA: No, I hardly ever go. I think Best Kept Secret last year was the first time I went and did camping. I’m more a ‘stay at home and make music’ kind of guy.

MG: I was watching your YouTube videos and I loved the song ‘Roof’.

CA: It’s strange that it’s not on the record. It’s a demo that’s kind of old. Maybe I will put it on the next one. It was just a fun thing. Playing guitar on my mum’s garage, just running around and throwing beers. Sometimes cool songs write themselves when you do stupid shit like that. I’m working on some more videos. It’s hard to say if they will ever make it to record. Maybe I will just leave them on YouTube. It’s a cool thing. There are no rules, man!

MG: Do you play just with your fingers?

CA: In some songs I use fingers because it’s hard to switch between that and grabbing your pick to do the hard stuff, but it’s mostly with the pick. My fingers do hurt with the amount of gigs that we’re doing now. I like to hammer on.

MG: You wrote and recorded the music yourself. How did you get the band together?

CA: Just asking around. I asked other bands. The bass player of another band said “You don’t have a drummer” and gave me this number, “Just call it, you need this dude.” I was just asking around and they magically appeared. I’m not sure how it all went down but now I think this is the best band I ever had. It just happened like this.

We were a three piece and we saw this keyboard player playing with another band on the same night and we said “We need this guy”. We asked him and he said “Yes, I’ll play in your band” and now we have him. The whole process was just a fluid thing. I think it’s meant to be. They all studied at the conservatory in Amsterdam. They are trained musicians, which helps because I have no idea what I am doing! The combination works really well. I know chords now!

MG: Who made you want to play music and be in a band?

CA: Dave Grohl. I used to play drums and I was air-drumming to Bleach, Nevermind and especially In Utero. That was the noise album that made me pick up a guitar for real. It’s a cliché to say Nirvana but everybody listens to Nirvana, it’s a cool band. I used to listen to them all day. I think that’s why it’s so noisy. He was a noisy guitar player.

I had a VHS tape of Metallica at Woodstock. I used to watch that with my brother. We went crazy, all running around and screaming. It inspired me too.

MG: You’ve been touring the record at the moment.

CA: Yeah, we play the whole record and throw in some B-sides. At the same time, we are writing the second record.

MG: Will you do this one the same way?

CA: I still come up with the ideas but I let them fill in the parts a lot more than I used to. It’s not right or fair that I make another record by myself when I have this awesome band.

MG: Anything you want to add for our readers?

CA: Yes, everybody should listen to the Meat Puppets.

Indian Askin play Best Kept Secret on Sunday June 19.

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