The perpetual growth of the independent music scene in India has been marked by the unbroken flow of artists, venues, gigs and great music. So it was only time that our talented artists pioneer uncharted territories and push the envelope further. In my opinion, the lads from Spud In The Box have triumphantly done that with their debut album ‘Lead Feet Paper Shoes’.
The twelve track album is filled with surprises. The mature progression from their peppy EP ‘Attention Please’ is hard to ignore. The songs have more depth, character and are demanding. The real victory in a six-piece band with two vocals is not when all of the eight elements are mindlessly plugged in, but in fact when there is restrain. When only some elements are shining one at a time to create magic.
However the reason why this album shall be remembered for years to come is what it has aspired to be. The album grips the listener’s imagination as they dwell in an enchanting world of images which accompanies each song. The rather mysterious, captivating images by the talented Parizad D engage you in a one of a kind audio-visual experience. That’s not all, the band recently got a lot of recognition for immersing their audience in their much talked about album launch at antiSocial Khar. There is a substance to this work of art. The band and their entire creative team have gracefully nurtured a vision and brought it to life in a way the independent scene has never before.
So what is ‘Lead Feet Paper Shoes’ about? I think it’s a concept album revolving around an unnamed character and his journey to find balance between the dual personas, the public and the private, we all have skillfully grown to inhabit in modern times. But it looks like the band wants you to draw your own conclusions. Check out our interview with the band as we talk about a variety of topics from their influences, album launch to their future plans.
Q) Could you pan out your journey so far with two Spud In The Box songs, one for ‘then’ and one for ‘now’?
A) Then would definitely be ‘Attention Please’, the title track off our EP. Peppy, straightforward and bouncy. Now (way to put me on the spot by the way) would be ‘Hold Your Horses Closer’. I feel like it captures sound we’re trying to go for with this new album as a whole.
Q) Tell us how concept albums like ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ influenced you? Do you guys have any other favourites?
A) Kendrick’s writing itself is something that pushes you as a songwriter to write better. Some of us in the band have been listening to him since Section .80 and it’s been phenomenal to watch his growth in real time. good kid M.A.A.D city was also a concept album, but TPAB blew it out of the park musically and lyrically and that’s why it’s got G.O.A.T. status. Ours is more from an individualistic perspective in comparison to Lamar’s social commentary, but it’s the mix of musical and lyrical interplay that inspires us. Not just the words or even recurring musical motifs.
Some of our other favourites would be The Raven That Refused To Sing by Steven Wilson, Illinois by Sufjan Stevens, OK Computer by Radiohead, In the Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel, Crack The Skye by Mastadon, and some others.
Q) Without giving too much away, what is Lead Feet Paper Shoes all about? What was your vision for it?
A) One of the threads that runs through the album is the story of a character we wrote about; the songs are like snapshots of phases in his life or different conclusions he reaches along the way. We’d rather people form their own conclusions about who he is and what happens to him. We did sneak in clues to the story we had in mind when we wrote it, through the lyrics and the live visuals we have for every individual song. The point was to allude to the world we imagined, but allow everyone to create their own little universe too.
Q) What has been the trajectory of the album? When were the songs written, themes conceptualized, visuals added?
A) These songs were mainly composed between 2012 and 2014. When we recorded the album, we found that some of them seemed to naturally flow better and tell a sort of story. It was an idea we toyed with a bit during the mix phase of the album. When it began to develop into something more substantial, we approached Parizad D (the photographer of our album art) with the idea and she brought all the wonky visual ideas we had to life. A few intensive photoshoots later, with tons of help from some very talented videographers, designers and a very handsome, accommodating model/actor (Himanshu Singh, you the man!), we had the visuals ready and used them to flesh out our musical story.
Q) Mumbai recently witnessed one of its most immersive gigs of all time at your album launch. What was the idea behind the little things in the gig? Will this be a standard Spud In The Box gig from now on?
A) Glad to know you guys think so. Bombay is home turf, so it seemed befitting to go all out with the launch gig. All the little things and detailing we added were basically motifs from the album to bring the atmosphere of the album to life. Stained sheet music hanging from the ceiling, eyes hanging from the walls looking back at the audience while they watch us perform, and the little room in the venue where our character was living and performed some beautiful shadow theatre.
The gig was a very resource intensive effort that couldn’t have happened without our amazing collaborators, friends and technical team. antiSocial let us do whatever we wanted to, and that was surprising and fortunate! So if and when time, venue and other resources permit, we’re up for doing it like this all over again. But till then we still plan to put on a pretty banging live set on the road, and hope to keep raising the bar in future gigs.
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Nice to see pictures of our launch gig all over @LBB.Mumbai 's latest post about why antiSOCIAL in Khar is the city's most exciting venue. Gotta say that we totally agree. . . . #spudinthebox #LeadFeetPaperShoes #albumlaunch #littleblackbook #mumbaimusic #musicjournalism #nightlife #musicvenue #Antisocial
Q) You guys have clearly put in a lot of thought into your debut album both musically and otherwise. Is this the approach we’re going to see Spud In The Box take with future releases as well?
A) It’s an approach we want to keep taking for every major release, at the least. We might just mess around and drop a couple of fun covers or demo-ish releases for kicks. But every major full length release we do, we would treat as a concrete slab of music. If we’re going to be making a statement, we’d like to make sure we do it as well as we can and use the right words to make some noise.
Q) When are you going to give away the meaning behind the band’s name? If not soon, can we at least know why your twitter handle is called ‘thejuicykiwi’?
A) Never. And nope. The latter is easy to figure out for people who happened to hear the first songs we ever put out (few as they may be). But points for introducing this question so late into the interview. It’s usually the first one we get.
Q) What’s next for Spud In The Box?
A) This album isn’t going to promote itself, so we’re very happily going on tour at the end of October, playing a butt-load of gigs all around the country to get people to have a listen and decide for themselves whether they like what they hear. There’s certain sections of India we haven’t played at all, but this tour will change that. Keep an eye on our online portals for updates.
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