New Faces NJ: Bamboo Shoots

A music contest victory spells TV exposure and a recording deal for this Jersey-bred band.

When the Bamboo Shoots won mtvU’s Best Music on Campus contest in 2007, drummer Shiv Puri was working on Wall Street and guitarist/vocalist Avir Mitra had just started medical school. Now 29-year-old Parsippany native Puri and 28-year-old Mitra of Voorhees are dedicating themselves to the alternative/dance band, which also includes bassist/vocalist Karl Sukhia, 29, of Cherry Hill, and Ankur Patel, 23, a DJ from North Brunswick.

The spoils from the Bamboos Shoots’ contest victory included a spot on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and a recording deal with Sony-owned Epic Records.

“I see what happened to us as a wave, and now we’re going to ride it,” says Mitra. “We’re just a bunch of local kids, and we want people to be a part of what we’re doing.”

The group’s studio debut, Armour, was released by Epic on September 29. Produced by Jerry Harrison, a former member of the Talking Heads and the Modern Lovers, the album is an infectious, danceable mix of retro and electronic rock, dueling rhythms, and South Asian influences—Indian percussion instruments like the dhol have become a Bamboo Shoots signature. Puri describes the music as “Daft Punk meets Hall & Oates.”

“We don’t fit into one category, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re from Jersey…where there was always more than one music scene,” Sukhia says.

Since their contest victory, the four Bamboo Shoots have devoted themselves to the band full-time, performing with the likes of the Plain White T’s and Soulja Boy. They also cut a sponsorship deal with Gibson, appeared in a promotional campaign for Virgin America, and toured in India. Now, the Brooklyn-based band is touring clubs and small theaters in the United States to promote Armour, but not without a stop back home: catch them October 30 at the Cherrywood in Clementon.

“We’re the biggest small band you know,” Patel says.

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