Off The Record: Inside the Kraken With Infidel Castro

Off the Record is a new multimedia series featuring artists on Boston College's campus, providing added depth to the lives of talented student-musicians. To introduce the project, The Gavel has partnered with BC's Music Guild to showcase artists set to perform at the 'Break the Bubble Festival.' The festival will be held at Faneuil Hall from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 25. For the lineup or to find out more about music on campus, visit bc.edu/musicguild or follow the Music Guild on Twitter

“It’s the moment the Kraken surges from…”

Shravan Challapalli, guitarist and singer for Infidel Castro, pauses for a moment so he can best answer the question at hand—how would he describe his band’s music to listeners who haven’t heard it before?

“I want the perspective of the guy in the Kraken,” another band mate interjects. Finally, Shravan looks up and motions his arms so he can more accurately convey the image in his mind.

“You’re inside the Kraken, and it’s the perspective of the mouth of the Kraken opening, and the water flowing in and penetrating your lungs.” The whole band bursts into laughter at the absurdity of his statement, and I can’t help but laugh along with them. Beyond the guitars and the drums—beyond the music—this undeniable sense of humor is key to who they are as a band.

John Guzzi, guitarist, looks over at his fellow musicians and grins when asked the origins of the band’s name.

“This was an accidental band name,” he reveals, giving me the background story of playing a fundraiser for The New England Classic, and realizing that all the other band names had puns in them. “And it was the same week that Obama normalized relations with Cuba, so there was all this talk about Fidel Castro… so I renamed our band. It was supposed to be just for that show… but it stuck.”

The other members begin reminiscing on the names they tried in times past. Dan Miller, bassist, shakes his head at the thought.

“Atomic Pizza Slab,” he admits.

“Well, we were Atomic Mamas first,” John says with a chuckle.

“We were never Atomic Mamas,” Dan replies hastily. They think back to that time around their first gig—playing at the Homecoming Pep Rally.

“I actually think I might’ve introduced us as Fallout Boy,” Shravan says, and the others turn to him and share another laugh.

When asked about balancing music and schoolwork, the four can’t help but smile. Besides Shravan, the band consists of second-semester seniors.

“It’s hard to focus on just school anymore,” Dan says, a statement met with unified agreement.

“I kind of forgot what school is like this semester,” claims Dan Hartel, the drummer for the band. John looks around at the others, and decides to put the jokes aside as our conversation comes to an end.

“This takes up a lot of time. But we enjoy doing it, so it makes it a lot easier.”

Selly Sallah / Gavel media

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

Video by Lauren Becker / Gavel Media.

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