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Camarillo, California is an hour outside of Los Angeles. It might be one of the most unlikely places that you could find a band that has been able to mix technical mastery with a sound that can appeal to music enthusiasts across the board. In 1994, Prem Panicker decided to wake-up his town with some fresh new music. He dusted off his drums, recruited Jason Park to sing lead vocals, and found Grant Umeda (a classically trained pianist and guitarist) and Sameer Sharma (a classically trained violinist and guitarist) to alternately play guitar and bass. They formed what became the roots for the band now known as Calcutta.
Over the years, Calcutta's unique sound, a fusion of emo lyrics, screaming guitars, catchy melodies, and energetic rhythms, created the background for many high-energy shows that attracted a loyal hometown following. The culmination of their years of musical training and their love of rock music immediately distinguished them from local garage bands. As the demand for the "Calcutta sound" increased, the original band produced their first album in 1998, self-titled Calcutta. With many requests to play at local venues, such as the Ventura Theater and Camarillo's Constitution Park, Calcutta quickly honed their live performance skills. Jason Park decided to pursue his filmmaking dream and left the band in 1999. Shortly after, the remaining members of Calcutta joined up with Michael Moshy and Nathan Villa. Later that year, with their fan base growing, Calcutta released their second album, Far Away.
As the offers to play shows at Los Angeles venues such as The Roxy came rolling in, Nathan Villa who also was an award winning jazz-trained saxophonist/singer took over lead vocals. Prem took over the bass putting Sameer and Grant both on guitar, and Calcutta recruited Matthew Villa to play drums.
After graduating from Camarillo High School, Grant and Sameer decided to pursue engineering degrees at UCLA. Prem went to UC Irvine as a Political Science major, and Nathan Villa went to Cal State Fullerton, as a Communications major. Balancing college life with their passion and commitment to Calcutta, these best friends and musical soul mates went on to win the KROQ and UC Sponsored UCLA Battle of the Bands, the prestigious UCLA Spring Sing, the Thousand Oaks Battle of the Bands, and the Moorpark College Battle of the Bands. In between recording sessions of their third release, …and I remain unchanged, Calcutta also performed with Sum 41, Yellowcard, and on the 2002 and 2003 Vans' Warped Tours.
In the Fall of 2002, Calcutta's latest full-length release, The World Alone, expertly produced by Sameer Sharma and Grant Umeda, reflects Calcutta's matured and fine-tuned style, that has developed as certainly and steadily as their enthusiastic following.