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News |  11 Dec 2015 16:29 |  By IANS

Michael Learns to Rock set for æbig adventureÆ in India

MUMBAI: Danish soft rock/pop band Michael Learns to Rock (MLTR) is back to India to “paint their love” on their loyal fans in the country, where they will perform in five cities starting Gurgaon from tonight (11 December, 2015). It’s going to be a big adventure, says the band’s drummer Kare Wanscher.

“I think it’s been seven to eight years since we performed in India. So, yes, we are excited to come back,” Wanscher, who along with his bandmates singer-keyboard player Jascha Richter and guitarist Mikkel Lentz visited cities like Shillong and Bengaluru in the past, told IANS in an interview.

With a global record sale of 11 million physical albums, over six million paid downloads and estimated 50 million video views on YouTube, the three-piece band has been entertaining music lovers with their melodic numbers since 1988.

And now, to celebrate their 25th anniversary tour ‘25 Live’, they are set to play at Showshaa Arena at Kingdom of Dreams Gurgaon tonight. Then they will head to Guwahati (13 December), followed by Dimapur (15 December), then Kolkata (17 December), and finally to Goa (19 December). The Indian tour has been put together by 7 Sisters Entertainment.

“It’s the most extensive tour we are going to do in India. These cities... we have never been to before. It’s going to be a big adventure,” added Wanscher.

India, where genres like Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and rap are booming, is an important audience for the band, and irrespective of the change in taste for music here, they say they would like to stick to what they are known for - soft, romantic and easy-listening songs. In fact, they give credit to maintaining their style for their survival in the industry, where one-time pop stars have mostly gone the hip-hop way.

“We chose to maintain our own style. EDM is a new expression of dance music. We have never been a part of a movement. We don’t work or struggle to make people like our music,” said Lentz.

Interestingly, their band’s name is inspired by the late King of Pop Michael Jackson. But unlike the ‘Beat It’ hitmaker, whose signature dance moves are often tried by amateur and professional dancers, the musicians like to stay away from shaking a leg.

“We all see ourselves as musicians. It’s the love for playing music that brings us together. That’s why we formed the band. We like to play instruments and sing. We are not dancers. I don’t think you will see that from us,” said Wanscher while tapping the table with his fingers.

What about Bollywood?

Lentz, who watched a Hindi film featuring “a famous Indian actor, quite muscular with a slight beard, not very tall and very good looking” after landing here, said he loves Bollywood.

Wanscher, who has given hits like ‘The actor’ and ‘Take me to your heart’ with his bandmates, added that the band would love to work in Bollywood. “But not act. We are not actors. We would like to get our music in there and may be do a music video with some of the great guys. It would be great fun.”

While there are no “immediate plans to collaborate with Indian artistes”, they are content with performing in the country and other parts of Asia, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam and Mongolia.

“It’s kind of an interesting career that we have. You know...playing at places which are not visited by most foreign artistes,” said Richter.

Pakistan, which has a strong fan base for rock music, is yet to be explored by the band.

“We are yet to visit Pakistan. We would love to go there. But we have never had any serious requests from Pakistan,” said Lentz.

Wanscher added, “Some have requested us to come and play there, but it takes a lot of work to make a concert happen. Bhutan and Pakistan are two places where we are yet to perform in Asia.”

Any album in the pipeline?

“We did release an album (‘Scandinavia’) three years ago. Right now, we are focussing on singles and compilations. We haven’t decided whether to release or not to release an album,” said the drummer.