Vernon Noronha

 

146160202593135 (1) Between ensuring that you frequently come up with new stuff and get to perform as much as you can, you also have to deal with all the stuff life throws at any of us from time to time. However the beautiful part is that, as a musician, you can always use these experiences to create something that’s truly marvellous. Mumbai based singer-songwriter Vernon Noronha is a shining example of one who refuses to let life get him down. The emotional ‘Come Back Jack’ is a message to his missing father, a man he was very close to, whose whereabouts are still unknown. There are few songs that really touch the soul like this and both it, and his recently released debut EP ‘Closer To Home’, truly speaks volumes about Vernon’s abilities as an artist. Having been a part of the scene since 2010, Vernon is an upcoming singer-songwriter who as prolific as he’s talented. When he’s not making songs at a prolific rate, he’s opening for brilliant acts like Lucy Rose and organising gigs for his potentially game changing initiative ‘Songwriters Unplugged’. It may have taken a while for his first EP to come out of the pipes, but once you’re done listening to it, you will definitely forget about the wait. Closer To Home is a beautiful collection of songs that one can listen to at any time. With each track being a journey on its own, this well produced EP will leave you feeling nostalgic and once again bears testament to the relatability that great singer-songwriters possess. With a debut EP like this, Vernon truly makes a compelling case about it being high time that singer-songwriters be regarded more seriously and we can only hope that the day we see him headlining an event is not too far.

We talked to the singer-songwriter about a bunch of cool stuff. Here, check it out!

Q) You’ve finally released an EP after being in the scene for such a long time. How does it feel? Were there any songs/artists who you think might have helped you get through this testing period?

It feels really good that the EP is finally out. I contemplated about it a lot, I never knew of the challenges that were to come while doing the EP. Come Back Jack was a special song to me and that was one song that I really wanted to release.
When I started work on the EP that’s the one song we worked on first.
I was really lucky to have a supportive bunch of good friends who helped shape the EP in their own ways.

 

Q) You’ve so many songs under your belt. Which are your favourites outside the EP? And why go for an EP and not an album?

Yes, I have written a lot of songs. All of them are in different bunches which have undergone various treatments depending upon my mood and stage of life. For example the songs I wrote in college cannot be put together with what I’ve written 4 years post that.

Closer To Home had songs which I had composed between a specific time period, and I couldn’t put the much newer songs in that, because they weren’t going well together. Hence the EP and not an LP.

My favourite song outside of the EP is a song called ‘House in the Sky’, which again is a song I wrote for my father. I think I should just release a small EP, dedicating songs to him and one song for mother.

Q) What was the theme behind the EP?

I have no home left to go back to; I’m still shifting places and living on rent.
And I’ve really been longing to finally go home. I keep dreaming about my imaginary home. While I did all of this, I shifted quite a number of times and wrote plenty of songs which went through a lot of different things. I picked the five songs I wrote and it really reminded me of my old home. Keeping that in mind, I named it – Closer To Home.

 

Q) How do you approach your lyrics? Was it tough writing ‘Come Back Jack’ given the story behind it?

Nowadays I write the lyrics as I compose the melody. I had written the first two lines about Come Back Jack and left it for a long time. It was just supposed to be those two lines because I was hoping for things to change so I could erase those lines. Things never changed and got worse, so I started compiling memories with my father which I then ended up putting in the song. It’s really tough for me to sing the song at times, because I go through a whirlpool of emotions with every line that I sing of it.

 

Q) What’s your take on the position of songwriters in India? How do you think it should change?

Not many people know what singer-songwriter actually means. I get questions like – ‘What’s your band’s name?’ after which I tell them I’m a singer-songwriter or an artist. Right now I feel that this whole culture of singer-songwriters is slowly starting to bloom and the number is definitely increasing. Most of us songwriters are absolutely capable of playing a headlining act apart from the usual opening acts that we are usually remembered for.

 

Q) What was it like opening for Lucy Rose?

I was introduced to her music when someone at the production house had suggested one of her songs as a reference. I was hooked immediately and in a few months I was following her on Facebook, Instagram etc.
When I got a mail to play before Lucy Rose, I couldn’t believe that it was happening at all. That has got to be the best confirmation mail I’ve ever received.
Lucy was there while I sound checked, and I got to meet and speak to her for a bit post her insane gig. As soon as she saw me she said (British Accent) “Hey, you’re one of the supporting acts right? I really enjoyed your songs.” I then went on to praise her and get photos which I have framed.

Q) An EP and a music video recently released. What’s the rest of the year like for you?

Pushing the EP as far as I can.

Working with the band more and strengthening the sound.

Play as much and travel much more.

By November I plan to release some more music if everything falls in place.  And a music video for another song from the EP.

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/VernonNoronhamusic                  https://www.instagram.com/vernon_noronha/

Follow Vernon on Twitter.

You can also buy Closer To Home on iTunes.

Picture Credits to Sukruti Anah Stanley.

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisements

Celestial Teapot

imageedit_1_9153799425.jpg

Celestial Teapot is quite an apt name for this Pune based instrumental rock act. While it may be intended as more of a reference to an intriguing analogy by Bertrand Russell, I feel that it’s a great description for the band – an entity that keeps pouring surreal and otherworldly music into the bottomless cups of instrumental music fans like me. With Nishant Karve and Kartikeya Dixit on guitars, Tushar Verma on bass and Ashwin Naidu on drums, this powerful four piece masterclass is one of the hottest acts in one of the freshest scenes in the country. Having released their debut album One Big Sky in December, CT has really made a lasting impact on listeners both old and new with a collection of tracks as beautiful as they are varied. Be it the haunting Nacreous or the awe inspiring Opia, each song has something unique for the listener as it showcases both, each member’s immense individual talent, as well as the result of their brilliance coalescing into a magical, harmonious whole with dreamy guitar progressions, booming basslines and skillful drumming patterns galore. With an opening statement like that I, for one, cannot wait to see what they have in store for us in the future. A future that looks really bright for both this wonderful band as well as the instrumental rock scene.

We got to speak with Nishant regarding the band’s journey, future plans and a lot more. Here’s how it went:

Q) Your first album is finally out. How do you guys feel? What has the journey been like for Celestial Teapot?

We feel really proud of our first release. It’s come out exactly how we pictured it and we’re really happy about it. The journey’s been pretty good till now – A short one and of course there’s a long way to go but I think it’s been a very educating one to say the least. We’re learning at every step about every aspect and that’s what matters eventually. The most fascinating and important thing of it all is that we get to meet and know new people at every step which is really great.

Q) What is the creative process behind CT’s compositions? Being an instrumental act, in what ways do you guys feel that you approach a song differently in comparison to bands with vocalists?

The process is I think very generic. We’re not going to be dishonest with you by saying that we’re oh so different from how other musicians write music. Most of the stuff is laid out on the guitars first and then jammed over with the rest of the band. It’s pretty straightforward.
The approach for us is not majorly different from a band having vocals, I guess. Sure, we have a few layers going on, but we like to pay great attention to the underlying melody in everything we write so that negates the need for vocals most of the times.

Q) The name One Big Sky signifies how the world is boundless, yet united. The tracks on the album make the listener feel that way too. Was the album a result of the compositions over the years or was the theme decided beforehand? Also, do you guys have any favourite tracks?

The songs in this album were all made from stuff off our personal inventories built up over time. The theme was decided later. I think we followed what was collectively felt of the world and life by us in general.
I think I’ll answer the second part of your question from a live perspective because it’s impossible to choose from the studio versions. Since Opia, Change is Constant & Say When? are a lot of fun to play live, they could be counted as favourites.

Q) What do you guys think about the current state of the indie scene? Is it kind enough to artists, especially to instrumental bands which people are less likely to be used to? What aspects do you feel should change?

The indie scene isn’t as brittle as we’ve heard it to be. Yet it’s not the most lucrative either. You could call it kind if all artists needed was “exposure”. But unfortunately, exposure isn’t enough for musicians to go ahead and invest in things that in turn are necessary to land gigs in the first place. But it’s heartening to see even the slightest increase in the interest of paying for the services of the indie artists you like. It’s tough, but we like to believe things can change.
I feel Instrumental bands are slightly better placed only because of the freshness and the fact that in India it’s still finding it’s feet among the listeners, although there’s no dearth of such bands in the country now. There are plenty growing but only a few have surfaced, which is promising. The thing that should probably change about this whole indie system is the over-dependency on particular individuals for landing shows.

Q) Ashwin, Tushar mentioned how you brought about a professional mindset to the band and acted like the mentor figure they needed. What would your advice be to any new bands who might just be starting out in earnest?

Ashwin:

I don’t know if we are capable of giving advice to people, but if you are starting out, then yes you need to get out of your comfort zone and write music and not follow the herd. If you are new in the scene, just be calm, believe in your music and the people who connect to your music will automatically support you. Go to venues, speak to the people there. Attend more gigs, meet new people. Try to land shows yourself, because nobody else will. 

Q) You guys have been gigging for a while now. Which event has been the highlight so far? Also, have there been any interesting or weird incidents on any of your performances?

We haven’t gigged a lot but I think the performance at the Harley Rock Riders 2015 in Mumbai was something we’ll not forget very soon. The whole experience was overwhelming for us. The recent tour too was really amazing. We’re really glad we got to play with the super awesome and sweet guys from Ioish. There’s every possibility we might do this again with them in the future. There haven’t been many weird incidents apart from maybe soundcards falling off mid-song and pedals going off. These are more frightening than funny but I guess we have a good laugh about these after all’s done. 

Q) You guys consider limitless experimentation to be the only constant in the band’s sound. Will the next few releases have a completely different sound from One Big Sky? Is experimentation a conscious decision or is it something that just happens?

Won’t say it’ll be completely different from OBS, but from the looks of it we’re definitely experiencing a slight change in the characteristics of our sound. There are some elements which would be instantly recognizable but most of it is just us trying to evolve as musicians and as a band. So, the feel may not be different but the intensity most probably is going to change.
Experimentation in music, by nature, is not something you can decide beforehand and pull off, I feel. I mean, you can probably make up your mind one day to try something different today, but unless you realize why you’re choosing that path and what it is that is pushing you in that direction, it most definitely won’t work. It has to happen naturally. It’s again that thing about art or any creative field wherein if you try to force it, it’ll most probably be shit. So we don’t decide anything and always go with where the sound takes us.

Q) Debut album out and a lot more to go. What’s CT up to now? What can fans expect from you guys in the near future?

I guess we’ve gone back to our cocoons for now, sort of this hibernation period where you work on your individual skills and try to improve as a musician. We definitely have this one really interesting thing lined up which we’re just eagerly waiting to execute. Other than that, we’re constantly writing new stuff and hoping to gig more often.  

A huge thanks to Celestial Teapot for that great interview! Do check out the links below and don’t forget to like CT’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube channel to keep up to date with the latest releases.

Buy One Big Sky at OK Listen!

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Frame/Frame

imageedit_1_8291954360.jpg

True musicians have never been bounded by the formal genres created by journalists over the decades. They very naturally respond to their artistic instincts, utilize every sound motif available to them and successfully create masterpieces along their way. If it wasn’t for this very ethos followed by these artistic individuals, a Delhi singer songwriter wouldn’t have had the courage to turn into an electronic producer, he wouldn’t have had the courage to use frying pans and bathroom tap noises in his songs and we, at the losing end, wouldn’t have had the pleasure to listen to five incredible EPs. Thank God that did happen, cause looking at the mark Nikhil Kaul has left in the past four years, it is very evident that the Indian indie scene needed his alter-ego, ‘Frame/Frame’ (Frame by Frame). With five EPs under his belt along with numerous collaborations with his fellow indie brethren, you never know what to expect from a Frame/Frame song. There are so many intricate noises along with detailed textures which are beautifully interwoven with trip-hop and deep house influenced sounds. Some of my personal favourites are hard-hitting tracks like ‘Rogue’ which sounds almost like a robot war chant and ‘Feather’ which is such an amazing embellishment of guitar parts, ambient tones and water noises. To top it all off, Nikhil is the man behind the upcoming record label ‘Lowlit’. Clearly, there’s no stopping this powerhouse of an artist.

We got to speak with Nikhil about his journey as a musician, his influences and his record label, among other things. Here’s how it went:

Q) From a debut gig with FuzzCulture in 2012 to not only being a household name in the Indian electronica scene but also founding a record label namely Lowlit, what’s the journey been like?

I wouldn’t say I’m a household name by any stretch. But I have managed to make exactly the kind of music I’ve wanted to make at any point of time and I suppose that’s the biggest reward of it all. With Frame/Frame, there have never been compromises with regard to fulfilling my personal vision to the best of my ability. The fact that I can sit in my bedroom and pretty much do whatever I like is pretty amazing. It’s all because of these wonderful people sitting probably in their own bedrooms listening to this kind of music. Lowlit aims to find all these people and put them together in a one room metaphorically and if we’re lucky, maybe someday, literally.

Q) You mentioned how your initial influences were acts like The Doors which you were exposed to because of your dad and that your recent influences are Trentemoller and Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ album to name a few. Could you tell us about your influences from the Indian independent scene over the years?

Some of my favourite music makers from the country are Big City Harmonics, Soulspace, _RHL, Kumail, Nicholson – honestly there are a lot of amazing acts. For a better idea of who I’ve been listening to lately, the upcoming Lowlit compilation tells the complete story.

Q) You’ve collaborated with the Keshav Dhar, Imaad Shah and even with the likes of Talvin Singh. What does a collaboration mean to you? Are there any special memories attached to the collaborations so far?

Each collaborative experience that I’ve had has been vastly different from one another. Writing with Big City Harmonics was a walk in the park. Whereas Imaad and I went back and forth a few times before deciding the final fate of ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland’. However, that is not to say that I enjoyed one more than the other. It’s really not easy to pick so simply. I believe that for musicians like me – who hole themselves up in dark rooms making beats – it’s important to step out of that comfort zone once in a while and try a new process. Whether a great track comes out of it or not, the worst possible scenario is that you end up learning something, which really isn’t a bad place to be.

Q) The golden rule to your song writing process is that at the core there must be some kind of musical sensibility. You’ve used a frying pan for high-hats on ‘Feathers’ and your bathroom tap for ‘Swimmers’. What’s the songwriting process like? How does your past history as a singer-songwriter affect it?

I think coming from a singer-songwriter process has been extremely vital to Frame/Frame – and that influence finds itself appearing in my music all the time. Being a solo acoustic performer meant that I often found myself in a situation with just a guitar and voice. The idea was always to make just those two elements sound as rich and full as I possibly could. It’s the same philosophy that I apply to writing music – that sometimes you might just need two or three simple things to make it work. I spend hours and hours trying find the perfect melody and the perfect sound to go with it that serves the song. This could be whole sequence of notes to just a one shot sample – but it has to fit like a piece in the puzzle, nothing bigger or smaller.

Q) Not only as a musician, but also as a record label owner and an active member of the independent music scene, what’s the scene like now? How far has it come from the time when you started back in ’12? What are the things that you feel should change?

There’s a definite sense of growth – both in terms of the number of artists as well as the number of artist managers, booking agencies, blogs and festivals operating within the independent electronic music community. This has led to the independent music scene turning into more of a “music industry” which is very interesting to watch from the vantage point of an artist. The influx of so many quality international acts to India is also a testimony to the fact that this market is definitely growing.
I do however think that this growth is a bit chaotic and definitely needs to be catalogued and presented better. The domestic pool of artists is just getting better and better, but the number of outlets for this art are limited. Creating content that documents our scene is definitely the right way forward – so that a global audience is educated about some of the amazing stuff that’s happening here. Thanks to the internet, the world is becoming a smaller place everyday. I think the responsibility is in our own hands as both artists and listeners to take control of this situation and create awareness about the music.

Q) Coming back to Lowlit, could you tell our readers about it?

The idea for Lowlit really stemmed from this void that seemed to be the electronic music scene. Vishnu (Soulspace) and I founded Lowlit as not just a record label but also as somewhat of a curator for the scene. While Lowlit Records definitely is an amalgamation of our combined taste in music, Lowlit as an idea goes much further. Our goal is to get to the very grassroots of the Indian electronic community and be able to create a platform for communication and collaboration for both artists and listeners – BeatDesk ver 1.0 was our first attempt at doing something like this and we will definitely have more such gatherings of like-minded individuals in the future. There is really quite a daunting but hugely exciting task we’ve set out for ourselves.

Q) For someone who has left his mark on the scene, what advice would you give young, upcoming musicians?

As clichéd as it might sound, I think constantly learning is the key. I don’t think one can ever stop doing that. In one word – YouTube.

Q) What’s the rest of the year like for Frame/Frame? What can the fans expect?

I’m slowly working towards developing the idea for an album. However, I do think it’s going to be a long time coming. However, I might get impatient and release a fifth EP because I like to get things out before I start to hate them, something that happens a fair bit when I’ve lived with a track too long. However, there are some remixes that I’m working on and they’ll be out soon enough.

Cheers to Nikhil for having that interview with us! Be sure to like Frame/Frame’s Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel to stay up to date with his latest releases.

Check out Frame/Frame’s Bandcamp page.

 

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Short Round

145952052433067

The indie scene is really filled with immense talent. Some of the acts make their mark soon after they start performing while others take their time, working on their craft till they are finally ready to awe listeners with their first release. Jishnu Guha a.k.a. Short Round is one such example. Having performed abroad for the last 8 odd years, even on the streets initially, this singer-songwriter is finally here for good with his debut EP ‘Desperate Times’. Stripped down and filled with vibrant instrumentation in equal parts, Short Round’s passionate vocals takes us on a roller coaster ride through life, exhibiting the highs, the lows and everything in between in this small, albeit brilliant, package of impeccably produced tracks. His journey as a musician seems to be an integral part in this heartwarming recipe as his experience as both a busker as well as a member of a backing band, among other things, has clearly lent his music a unique and soul stirring edge. From the energetic chorus of ‘Ex’ to the driving tunes of ‘Golden’, the EP grips you right from the start and refuses to let go, till it is the only thing playing in your head as you go about your day. This uplifting EP is almost educational in a way since there’s always a valuable lesson to be learned from each track. The instrumentation on each record, coupled with the arrangements, is really a breath of fresh air with no two songs sounding the same. Short Round has really made a strong first impression on the scene with this wonderful debut and it will indeed be easy to forget about the ‘Rainclouds’ if we get to see more such records in the future.

We got to speak to Jishnu about ‘Desperate Times’, his stay abroad and his journey as a musician. Here’s how it went:

Q) From playing on the streets, opening for bands, doing covers to having your first EP released. How does it feel? What’s the journey been like till here?

Playing on the streets was a dream of mine that came true out of necessity when I couldn’t find any steady pay while living in England. It may not have been the best circumstance, but it was an incredibly joyous and educational experience nonetheless. Playing with a cover band was a great way to let off steam and be reminded of the euphoria of playing alongside other like minded musicians and great friends and re-instil a drive in me to write and record music of my own. Getting to record and release this EP in the company of some of my dearest friends whose talent I respect to no end has been incredibly rewarding.

Q) Why ‘Short Round’? And why the EP name ‘Desperate Times’?

Short Round was a name that my friends in college gave me and kind of stuck ever since. When it came time to start performing and recording professionally I chose the pseudonym because

a) it was already given to me.

b) I’m really bad at naming things.

c) I thought it would a lot easier to spell than ‘Jishnu Guha’, easier to remember.

d) I find it mildly amusing.

Desperate Times functions as a thematic umbrella for these five songs. In one-way or another every song is about a breaking point, a turning point or a moment of desperation in ones own life or a relationship between two people.

Q) Could you run through the EP and tell us about the idea behind each of the songs?

Ex: Relationships (romantic or otherwise) will often be faced with a moment where both partners have to speak their truths, even though things might get ugly, intentionally or not and for any number of reasons. I wanted to speak about the feeling of swallowing your pride and pleading as you search for answers in that conversation. One way or another it inevitably will be for the best.

Rainclouds: There’s a great book by Leonard Cohen called ‘The Favorite Game’. In it is a very short chapter that talks of a young boy hiding under his bed with the girl he is too scared to confess his love to, but enjoying biding his time in her company nonetheless. Rainclouds is a short song that tries to find the silver lining in the darkest clouds.

Three-Minute Record: This was written and recorded within 24 hours of its conception. I had another song (that will definitely feature on my next release) that I was considering for this EP, but I wanted to include a song that specifically paid homage to the streets of Portsmouth, England where I started to write a lot of the music I play today. Nobody, including the band, heard or even knew of its existence, until after it was recorded. Maybe not the most advisable way to go about producing a record, but this will make things interesting moving forward when the song goes live.

Lies & Promises: One of the few instances where the lyric got penned in a matter of seconds and the music was very easy and quick to follow. The whole song is just three sentences; “should I lie and promise more than I can deliver, or tell the truth and disappoint you before I begin? Hello invisible friend, I haven’t seen you in a while. Not since you left me to fend for myself in my lonely mind.” The music needed to be just as sparse and sparing as the lyric. The sentiment is very simple, yet a cumbersome and an unwieldy challenge to figure out how to tackle.

Golden: “You’re golden if you try”. We often feel the urge to compare ourselves to others, and we rarely ever see ourselves in the best light because of it; at least I don’t anyway. So long as we keep sweating through it we can at least say that we’re not done yet, and that they have yet to see everything we’ve got. The days that I can honestly say that I’ve done that are followed by the nights that I sleep well.

Q) You’ve lived in the US for a fair share of time. How do you feel your stay there and here in India have influenced you and your music?

Living like a nomad makes you pause for thought a lot, maybe a lot more often than I’d like, but it is great fodder for the muse. There are nods to certain specific instances of my experiences in various places, but what I find encouraging is that the sentiments, questions asked and lessons learned are the same no matter who the people are or what side of the road they drive on.

Q) Who have been your influences? Have there been any from the independent music scene?

I’m incredibly lucky and grateful to be in the company of people who I respect and have such adoration for. All three musicians who featured on this album, Adil Kurwa, Aditya Ashok and Rohan Rajadhyaksha continuously astound me with their talents, dedication and ingenuity. I’m an ardent fan of all of their various musical incarnations (The Colour Compound, The Koniac Net and Spud In The Box) and when the guys who have my back have that kind of a résumé it’s hard for me not to stop and say ‘thank you for toughing it out with me’. I have to also mention Blackstratblues even though my work scarcely enters in his blues-driven instrumental soundscape. It’s his impeccable melodic sensibilities and command over his unique approach to songwriting that continuously inspires me. I want to write music that makes my audience feel the way I do when I hear Blackstratblues. As for my influences that I haven’t (yet) met: Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Frames, The Traveling Wilburys, U2 and Van Morrison feature at the top of the list.

Q) What’s your thoughts about the scene as someone who has been an active member? Do you feel differently about entering it ‘officially’ with your EP release?

I’ve had a very on-again-off-again relationship with my involvement in the music scene in India. For the last ten years I’ve been in India for just a few months, or even weeks at a time, which didn’t give me too much of an opportunity to make an impression. I could only play a handful of shows at a time and record very infrequently. Now that I’m settled in my ways and am in it for the long run, I’m nothing but nervous, excited and anxious to sink my teeth into it.

Q) How do you think has Jishnu Guha the geek, filmmaker and photographer influenced Jishnu ‘Short Round’ Guha the singer songwriter?

The songwriter has always come first. I started writing songs when I was about 10 years old. I shared them with my most trusted friends when I was 15. I set out to record my songs and share them publicly when I was 25. The filmmaking, photography and geeking will always play second fiddle at the end of the day. Some days will challenge that notion, because a guy’s got to eat, but with everything I do nothing compares to songwriting and performing.

Q) What’s next? How much are you planning to tour in the forthcoming months and what can our readers expect otherwise?

Kadak Apple Records is prepping for a soft-launch ‘Kadak Nights’ gig that will feature myself and a few other artists from the Kadak Apple label. Details will be posted in a few days. I’m looking forward to playing as much as we can through April and May until the majority of performance opportunities get washed away with the rains. Come September I will have more content to share and use that to fuel my performances through the festivals.

There are already a number of live performance videos that are waiting in the wings and shall be released in a matter of days. There are a few further still waiting to be filmed. And if all goes well a music video might just follow.

 

Cheers to Jishnu for that great interview! Don’t forget to check out the links below and make sure to like Short Round’s Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel for the latest updates.

 

You can buy ‘Desperate Times’ on OK Listen!

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Peepal Tree

T710_1433_Peepal_Tree_redeyephotographyAn exquisite amalgamation of members from the bands like Bhoomi, Thermal and a Quarter, Moksha and The Raghu Dixit Project, Peepal Tree is the hottest alternative, folk-rock Bangalore act of recent times. Singing their songs predominantly in Kannada and Hindi, these guys have garnered a lot of attention in a short span of time. Glazed with pop-appeal and heavily influenced with Hindi classical vocals, this classic four-piece act comprising of Sujay Harthi on vocals, Tony Das on guitars, Praveen Biligiri on bass and Willy Demoz on drums have been charming audiences wherever they go. The beauty of good music has always been the audio-visual atmosphere it creates that establishes a palpable heart-to-heart connection with the listener. Keeping this historic tradition alive, they have skilfully broken barriers with their soulful sound and wooed audiences like me, who might not necessarily understand Kannada. I may happily sing along to their track ‘Nayi Khushi’, but will also find solace in the ambient dark tone of ‘Tangi’. I’ve been lucky enough to see them live and have witnessed how gracefully they keep the audience engaged, which is a testament of the calibre that these talented scene veterans possess. Hitting check point after check point, they have represented India in ABU Radio Song Festival in Myanmar, played with the amazingly talented, world renowned drummer Jojo Mayer and recently released the video for their track ‘Rosahn-E-Kaafile’. The band’s clearly on a roll and have a lot more to offer with their unique brand of bi-lingual alternate folk rock.

We got to speak with Tony on the band’s journey so far and their short term future. Here’s how it went.

Q) What’s the story behind the name ‘Peepal Tree’?

We’ve answered this one a few times before so it might sound a little rehearsed, but it’s really the truest answer we could give! We liked the fact that it also sounds like “People” Tree, which kind of alludes to how we’re all connected, and rooted in one big human family. That in turn, connects to the idea that all the Peepal Trees in the world supposedly came from 1 tree. There’s a number of interesting facts about the Peepal Tree that we found we were able to connect with on some level, so the name stuck. Willy was the one who came up with it.

And plus, it’s always cool under a Peepal Tree B-)

Q) We can’t talk about Peepal Tree without talking about Bhoomi. You guys changed your entire sound. How important is it for musicians to stay true to themselves? What advice would you give to an act which is thinking about experimenting with new styles?

Yes we can. Haha! Seriously though, each band does what each band does, and that’s all there is to it! Neither band has changed its sound, because that would imply that one band has morphed into the other. But both bands still exist, so that disproves that theory 🙂

As for staying true to yourself, I’d say that that should be the prime goal of any musician. Any person, perhaps (But that’s a topic for another day!) Of course, first one needs to find oneself. Before going into deeper questions of who we are, perhaps we should just talk about music, or this interview will get very long! So in short, yes. Stay true to yourself. To your musical conscience, your tastes, your judgement. It’s all a part of how we grow. Be true to who you are in the present. Because in all probability, who you are will change. And then you should try to be true to that new version of you. It’s the best thing you could do for your music.

Experimenting is where the joy of making music lies. Everything we do is experimenting, isn’t it? Writing a new song is experimenting. Trying to play a strange new guitar lick you’ve never done before is experimenting. So when we talk about experimenting with styles, it’s just taking that idea and applying it to another variable, really. Again, continuing the ‘be true to yourself’, idea, don’t experiment just because AC/DC (random example, just for effect!) is doing it. Do it if you think it will make you happy.

Q) You guys have been in the scene for a long time. How has it changed over the years? How do you think it should progress?

Yes. We are old :-/

But yes we were around when lots of changes started taking place in the independent music scene, and we were fortunate to be a part of these changes in some small ways, and some not so small ways.

The biggest change that comes to mind is the shift from a covers-only scene to an originals-only scene. I think that’s the greatest change we’ve experienced. Songwriting is a skill, as much as playing a musical instrument, or singing, or playing the drums (Sorry, drummers!). So how is a music scene supposed to thrive and grow and create anything original, if no one is allowed to perform songs that they have written? It’s great that it finally happened!

Of course many other things have also changed. Band management is really growing and helping artists, venues, and promoters get organized and synchronised; musicians are getting much more adventurous, simply because home recording setups now afford us the luxury (or curse) of endless tweaking and experimentation; people don’t look at you strangely any more when you tell them you’re a musician.

Q) Over the years, we as a country have become more westernised. Singing or even speaking in English is considered to be ‘cooler’ than say, doing the same in a regional language. For a predominantly bi-lingual band, what do you have to say about this? What advice would you give to artists who want to sing in their native language, but might be a bit hesitant?

I really don’t think that’s that case any more! Look at how well artists singing in many Indian languages are doing. You’re ‘cool’ if you’re making your music work, and lots of English and non-English bands are doing just that. Again, being true to yourself plays a big role in the direction you decide to take. For example, if I decided to start Peepal Tree, and sing in Kannada and Hindi, I would be a complete fraud. I’m terrible at both languages, and if I were to go out and sing words that had no meaning to me, that would be completely disingenuous. I did not grow up speaking or learning either language. Why would I decide to sing in either, unless I was just jumping on a bandwagon?

In reality though, my role in the band is entirely different. I work on the musical side of things and leave the lyrics up to those who know what they’re doing. Similarly, Sujay has grown up speaking Kannada, and learning Hindi, so he can deliver every phrase with the meaning that was intended. 

So I’d tell anyone who wants to sing in any language in which they feel they can express themselves without restraint, to go right ahead and do it!

Q) Sujay, you’re trained in Hindustani classical singing. In earlier interviews you mention that the lyrics to your songs have been inspired by Kannada poets like Shishunala Sharif and Kuvempu. How important do you think it is to preserve our rich musical history?

Sujay:

Kannada literature has contributed a lot to the Indian philosophical thought. It’s come in various forms and poetry is at the forefront of it all. Some of the poems can stun you and shake the very foundation of one’s thinking. As a band we’ve always wanted to sing songs that are about philosophies of life and to be able to do it in languages that a lot of people can understand is great. We do have elements of Hindustani classical music, which is an ocean in itself. We mix this with elements of funk, pop, folk and even electronica to create an interesting mix. It’s very important for us to not just preserve but continue the thought itself. Music and poetry have for long complemented each other and it’s one of the best ways to carry forward both in our own, albeit small way.

Q) Last year itself you represented India in the ABU Radio Song Festival in Myanmar. You’ve performed with Jojo Mayer, Christian Galvez and Paolo Di Sabatino. Are there any other special moments or memories in the band’s history?

Well we’ve had quite a short history, really. But that being said, we have had a number of memorable moments, including the two you’ve mentioned.

•Launching our first demo, Chetana, on SoundCloud 
•Our debut gig at BFlat, Bangalore on the 8th of August, 2014
•Recording vocals for Roshan E Kaafile with Sandeep Chowta
•Doing the video for Roshan E Kafile and watching it air on MTV Indies for the first time
•Playing the 2014 and 2015 editions of the NH7 festival
•Launching the Ford Mustang in India

Q) You always connect to your fans on social media pages and that’s one of the many reasons why you’ve garnered such an audience. For musicians who have been in this scene for a long time, how important is modern social media for a band? Is there anything you would want to improve in the overall section of independent artist promotion?

Well it’s a big part of forming some sort of relationship with your audience, that’s for sure! When we think of ourselves as fans of the bands we grew up with, we love the idea of knowing what they’re up to, or when the next release is going to happen, or when they’ve gotten new gear, etc. So we just try, as far as time permits, to do the things we’d love to see, as followers of other bands.
As far as improving artist promotion… It takes a lot of time to manage your social media presence, and that can take away from the time spent doing what you set out to do primarily – make music. Right now we’re managing to strike a balance, but as we grow, that’s going to be really hard. I’d say we just need more manpower, because everything is growing.

Q) Your last activity was releasing the official video for ‘Rosahn-E-Kaafile’. You are also rumored to release your self-titled album this year. What’s 2016 like for Peepal Tree?

Well that’s definitely happening this year, although it’s too early to say exactly when. Apart from that, we’re hoping to put out a few more videos, and to play as many shows as we can. Simple plans. We’re easy to please 😀

A huge thank you to Peepal Tree for having that interview with us! Do check out the link below and don’t forget to like Peepal Tree’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel to get the latest updates.

Check out Peepal Tree’s official website.

 

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.