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?
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!
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