In an almost fairytale like story, Neil Simon and Gaurav Govilkar met at a local gig. They were smitten by their common affinity for soulful acoustic sounds. They formed a band called Iram and started composing music. One year down the line they finally gave birth to their lovechild in the form of a great debut EP, named ‘Azal’!
It’s not surprising that the band mentions the likes of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree as their key influences. The entire EP reeks of lush dreamy sounds. With rich acoustic elements at its helm, these five tracks maneuver you through a somber atmospheric trip.
Neil’s control over the Urdu dialect matched with the sufi-ness of his voice and introspective lyrics really drive this EP home. It’s a treat whenever the subtle instrumentation fervently blends with the powerful vocal arrangement.
There’s a great instrumental track called ‘Descend’ to freshen your sonic palate. The EP seems well arranged and mixed. A personal favorite track would be the delightful ‘Aaina’, the more urgent and heavier of the lot.
Sometimes the EP seems arduously long and needlessly lingers in certain sonic spaces. It could have been a bit tighter and thus more impactful. However, it’s a solid debut effort to say the least. There’s no doubt that the duo are a nostalgic gem in the growing sounds of the electronica. ‘Iram’ means shining and we hope these crazy diamonds shine on!
Q) What’s the first thing you saw in each other that made you to start this band?
The common affinity we had for music that is sound and melody driven. We both have never felt the need to do more than what is absolutely necessary for the song which is what the basis of minimalism is, that is when we felt we could work together.
Q) Who are your musical influences from the Indian music scene?
Coshish, Nicholson, Parvaaz, HOIA, Parekh & Singh to name a few.
Q) Tell us about your debut EP.
Azal which was released in December last year is our shot at arriving at something tangible after years of writing and composing. Lyrically it speaks of how generations of abuse in various forms have put empathy for life in the backseat.
Q) Is the creative process easier or harder with only two people in the band? What’s the dynamic like?
Honestly, recording was easier, as in easier to find and manage the time between just the two of us. There were times when we did have a few difference of opinions when it came to what sound suits particular parts of the song. But we could always agree on a common ground without compromising the quality, which can be attributed to the common influences and the musical intention we had, right from the beginning of this project.
Q) You recently played your debut show. Tell us about that experience.
It was indeed a pleasure to be invited for a debut gig at a festival which was a complete DIY effort. Zero Gravity Festival in Hampi was beautiful. The surrounding Boulder Mountains across the lush green paddy fields made the entire experience, an ethereal and immersive one.
Q) How do you approach the lyrics. Did you ever feel of singing in English to appeal to a larger audience?
While writing we are philosophical in our approach. We love the idea of the universe being one with us and believe that a divide exists only in thought.
To me Hindi and Urdu feel more natural than when I sing in English so the thought of singing in English never occurred.
Q) In a world where electronic/club music is at the forefront, what’s your take on the position of bands such as yourself with more of an atmospheric and acoustic sound?
Music is a very subjective art form and even if you have connected with one mind you have done a lot. That said, we also believe that, for an artist, writing music is a very selfish act, as in He writes/composes music for himself and not for a particular audience in mind. It is here, when that music sounds more genuine and ironically it develops a stronger potential to appeal to a wider audience. We hope to touch more minds that are looking for an atmospheric and a minimal approach to song-writing.
Q) What’s 2017 like for Iram?
Playing live as much as we can, and working on a few nascent ideas so as to convert them into another complete release.
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