Blackstratblues : The Last Analog Generation.

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I get less time to practice!“, says guitar virtuoso Warren Mendonsa on his recent fatherhood. However his 10-year old brainchild, Blackstratblues, just added another iconic album to their stellar discography called ‘The Last Analog Generation‘.

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India’s finest rock bands have returned two years post their previous release ‘The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour‘. The album has come at a perfect time for the multitudes of fans wanting new material. Warren says, “I think by the time we recorded this one, the four of us were very comfortable playing together as a unit and as a result it was recorded very organically.” The 8-track album is definitely a stimulating release from the act. It has a very charming 80’s flair to the sound and is seasoned with the pristine musicianship of  Jai Row Kavi on the drums, Adi Mistry on the bass and Beven Fonseca on the keys. Charging through it all is Warren’s signature guitar playing which evokes a different emotion with every song. The album is a very distinct feather in Blackstratblues’ revered cap and it was a conscious effort. Warren says, “There’s no point repeating what we’ve done before.

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The title ‘The Last Analog Generation’ does encapsulate the sound of the entire album. It does numb down the synthetic electronic sounds that floods today’s mainstream music. The album isn’t necessarily drunk in nostalgia, for it does dwell in current themes. The album name came about when Warren and his wife, Uttara, were blessed with their first child. It struck them how different it would be growing up now with the influx of modern technology, social media, music consumption and more. It wouldn’t be anything like growing up in the 80’s. “The difference would be way more than the one between our parents generation and ours“, says Warren. Thus, ‘The Last Analog Generation’.

 

Most of Blackstratblues’ songs are these illustrious rock epics over 5-6 minutes long. Warren mentions how most of the songs are divided into two sections and are written together. They usually start off as guitar loops, home demos or have a pre-existing live version before they enter the studio. The track ‘Mediatrician’ revolves around how the modern mainstream media treats adults as children who are incapable of formulating their own opinions. Warren says, “These days we get mainly opinions and entertainment disguised as news, all designed to get maximum eyeballs and advertising.” It starts out with a sample of his daughter crying with a news debate going on in the background. Warren adds, “She does recognise her voice at the start of Mediatrician and is all smiles whenever that plays.

After some time playing blues, Nia tries her hand at some shred. I think she may prefer the former…

A post shared by Warren Mendonsa (@blackstratblues) on

The track ‘Love Song To The Truth’ features singer/songwriter Tejas Menon. It’s a dreamy track with the words and the melody from Warren championed by Tejas’s soothing vocals. Warren says, “What you hear on the album is his first take, minutes after he first heard the track. It was a pleasure to work with him, and he added heaps of soul to that track.” The track also has an audio snippet from a Joni Mitchell interview that Warren really resonated with. Warren says, “The best music is open to interpretation, and causes the listener to introspect or find a personal connection with the music that could be very different from what the songwriter may have originally imagined.

Having been the guitar player for the legendary rock band, Zero, and with Blackstrablues leaving it’s mark for more than a decade, it’s safe to say Warren has seen it all. “There was a quantum leap in the 2000s with audience acceptance of original music, and it has only grown since then”, says Warren. He fancies acts like Nicholson, Parekh & Singh, Kush Upadhyay and obviously Tejas, from the current indie scene. But with electronic music in the forefront, it does seem that the true craftsmanship of musicians is fading away and rock might not be the hip thing to follow. But Warren believes otherwise, he says, “I don’t really think the popularity of one genre affects another. Both can coexist and influence each other. Rock has been around for quite a few decades and keeps changing with the times, and I’m not fearful for its survival.

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Between promoting the album via shows across India and being a father, Warren is pretty busy and content at the same time. There’s nothing exceptionally new on the horizon. With the legacy that he has, he can take all the breaks he wants. Who knows, maybe we might get another iconic video like for the track ‘Renaissance Mission’ on the previous album? For now, simply forget your blues with their latest gem, ‘The Last Analog Generation’.

 

 

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, Instagram and Twitter.

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Zenguin

Zenguin

The name is a bit self explanatory itself. If you’re into feeling like a penguin swimming through an ocean of zen-worthy lush soundscapes, Zenguin is probably for you.

A duo based out of capital city, Zenguin serves as yet another testament to the quality of the booming instrumental scene in the country with their take of electronic ambience infused with live elements which, while not being a novel concept in itself, comes as a breath of fresh air by virtue of their impeccable execution.

The act has wasted no time in making their mark on the scene, with two EPs out in quick succession over the past year, the latest of which, Toska, was released not long after the start of 2017.

 

 

Ambient, fresh and intricate; that’s Toska in a nutshell. It may only be a couple of tracks long, but that’s enough to give you glimpse of what the new project might have in store for you.

Coming not long after their debut EP Binary Breakfast, another release that’s worth listening to, Toska sees the band move in a bolder direction, with clear improvements seen on their previous work as they get more comfortable with their identity. Taking a more experimental approach, the duo employ the use of subtle tempo changes, unconventional drumming and math rock-esque guitars, all while maintaining an all encompassing atmosphere through the wise use of electronic elements that gels brilliantly with the foreground.

Zenguin has definitely set the tone for what looks like a prolific year ahead for them with this timely release. With their next EP Kensho coming out in a matter of days, It’ll be interesting to see where the act goes from here. 

Q) How did Zenguin come to be? What is your aim with this project?

ZENGUIN happened through sheer coincidence or synchronicity, when two school mates met years after passing out from school and decided to make music. Although there is a myth that ZENGUIN has been around since prehistoric times, being by taken up by various musicians through the ages.

Our aim has always been to generate large quantities of quality music.

Q) Can you tell us a bit about your latest EP Toska and your upcoming release Kensho?

TOSKA is about isolating yourself from the world and entering a contemplative state for self reflection and KENSHO is about expressing the insights gained from such an experience.

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Q) What is the creative process behind your compositions? Do you find your work influenced by any non musical aspects?

The creative process of our compositions revolves around finding the right blend between : analog-digital soundscapes, modern-vintage vibes, chaotic-easy listening, complex-simple arrangements.

The distinction between musical and non-musical sounds is a blurry one, we tend to find inspiration from movies, books, people and everyday experiences.

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Q) You guys have released two EPs now and a lot of singles apart from those in a very short period of time. Would you attribute this prolificacy as a result of you guys being in a good space creatively? Or are these tracks something you have been working on for a while and feel that it’s the best time to showcase?

Its actually a bit of both. Also, like we said :

Our aim has always been to generate large quantities of quality music.

Q) Both your EPs feature some incredibly detailed artwork revolving around Buddhism, the making of one of which has been shown in your video for Toska. Could you tell us a bit about how they came to be and how they relate to your music?

The TOSKA artwork was a result of our collaboration with a group of incredibly talented artists, where the artwork and music complemented and inspired each other.

We don’t really subscribe to or wish to promote any one particular religion, but we often find inspiration from Zen ideas and philosophy.

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Q) You guys have stated that you will be collaborating with various artists during your live sets. What do you look for in a collaboration? Is this a format Zenguin prefers to follow?

ZENGUIN is primarily a duo, where the two of us write and produce the music.

Our collaboration with different musicians depends on what we feel is the best way to perform the songs according to the particular set or setting.

Q) What’s your take on the music scene? Do you feel that experimental acts like yourself get enough love in the country?

The quality of music that is being made by people from the scene today, some of whom are our friends and peers, is absolutely incredible.

Its great to see a lot of experimentation and new ideas being explored.

The amount of love and recognition that we have got already in the short span of time we’ve been around, is amazing!

And we hope that it only grows from here on out.

Q) On a similar note, are there any acts from the country you look up to? How different do you feel is it for an act to get its music out now as compared to around 10 years ago?

We really dig a lot of acts from the country like : Zokova, Submarine in Space, Perfect timing, Corridors, Skyharbor. to name a few.

Technology has made it much easier to get your music out nowadays as opposed to a decade back, both in terms of producing, as well as promoting.

However, there is a flip side to this as well, since there are a lot more acts and hence its harder to make a space for yourself.

Q) Two EPs down and another to come shortly. What’s next for Zenguin?

We’re looking forward to releasing a lot more content, and playing lots of Live shows, Starting off with our upcoming gig on 23rd March at AntiSocial, Delhi!

Cheers to Zenguin for that interview! Like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram to keep up to date with the latest releases including the imminent Kensho EP.

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Iram : Azal EP.

Azal

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Cheers to Iram for that interview. Like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram to keep in touch with the latest updates.

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Donn Bhat : ‘Connected’

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Photo Credit : Srijan Mahajan.

Donn Bhat is a gem in our Indian indie music circuit. His distinctive sound is synonymous with an eargasmic blend of electronica, folk, rock & DnB. His unique brand of music is predominantly electronic, heavily dabbed with several live elements. Last year he dropped his third album ‘Connected’ which garnered a lot of attention everywhere and was considered to be one of the best albums of 2016!

Having played guitar in bands like Friday The 13th and Orange Street, he started his solo career as a studio project and then took it live to form ‘Donn Bhat + The Passenger Revelator’. His previous two projects ‘One Way Circle’ & ‘Passenger Revelator’ galvanized his position as one of the most interesting and genre-defying acts of our countries.

Donn is also one of the few Indian acts who performed at the prestigious music festival, Glastonbury. His music video for the very groovy track ‘Disco Disco’ was selected in the SXSW Festival. He frequently dabbles in music production for films and advertisements.

‘Connected’ is a piece of art. This musical journey beautifully flows from soulful tracks like ‘The Beer Was Over’ and ‘XXL’ to darker psychedelic tracks like ‘Desh Bhakti’. It plays around with a variety of themes like social media taking over our lives, false national patriots and more. All in all, it’s neatly packed into a 7 track masterpiece oozing with an eclectic mix of different genres. Donn Bhat is a veteran musician with a laser sharp precision of taste, creativity and passion.

We got a chance to speak with the man himself about ‘Connected’, his thoughts on the scene and future plans. Here’s how it went:

Q) Tell us about the great album art. Was the overall album theme pre-thought or did it develop as the songs came along?

Sonali Zohra also known as Dangercat did the art work. I found some of her work online and really liked it. So I mailed her,sent her the songs  and we approached it pretty organically after that. She spent some time listening and soaking in the songs.We discussed what some of the themes on the album were and then she just took off with it.

Q) Having a background of doing music for films and advertisements, how do you think the visual medium affects your music? Do any other art forms inspire you?

Of course. Its very interesting to juxtapose visuals on music and see where it takes it. I have been getting into some editing softwares and downloading seemingly unrelated old abandoned content and making a visual set out of that,that runs through our performances. It’s still a work in progress but a lot of fun to do. The last one we did is a new song called “marching” which has a lot of footage of the North Korean army which seems to fit perfectly on it!

We will be playing with it at SULA fest this year.

Q) Is it tough transitioning your brand of music live? What are some of your best and worst memories of a live show?

Well as an electronic set up, I think the worst memory for anyone will be technical glitches or the laptop just having a bad day! I can remember a couple over the last 3-4 years where it just crashed on me! That’s quite a bummer because you really can’t do much about it except restart and well, that can’t be that exciting!

Best would be every time you can connect well with an audience and get them to really listen.

And yes, its always  work in progress to transition this music live. But I think it’s getting there.e

Q) Are there some things that still make you nervous or insecure as a musician and an overall creative entity?

Well, yeah I think as a creative pursuit there always  remains that insecurity of what if that was the last song/idea/film/writing I make or believe in. What if this is it and you’ll never have another one after.

I guess it’s good to feel that in a way; or at least be aware of it, because it’s easy to stop working on your craft and get comfortable with even a tiny bit of acceptance and fall into some kind of easy mediocrity.

I guess one never knows  until one starts doing rather than just thinking about it.

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Q) Since some themes revolve around the internet ‘connecting’ people, what’s your take on its influence on the music industry and particularly the Indian indie scene?

The internet is the best thing that has happened to the indie music scene. I think it’s great!

Q) How is the songwriting process different as an individual artist as opposed to a collaboration? Is there a one you prefer?

I like making songs. What ever that needs I’m game. It’s not really deciding if this is a collaboration or a solo thing so there is nothing fixed like that.

Of course with Passenger Revelator we have Toymob and Anand who I know will be taking the songs somewhere else when we work on it further.

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Q) Having been in the scene for a long time, what’s your take on its current status? Are there any fresh acts you would love to have as your ‘passengers’ for any future projects?

I think things are going great in our scene considering what it was like a decade ago. Originality is getting its long overdue respect and some kind of platform is around for original music to be heard on festivals etc.

But as a model which can let non commercial bands/artists really thrive and  build a body of work and really do this over a long period of time, especially if you choose a language like English, I don’t know if that’s going to happen anytime soon unless the bands/artists find ways to supplement their situation. It seems that there are a lot of people waiting to sell the next new thing/fad but only a handful who are genuinely interested in taking the scene forward.

Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator live at Blue Frog

Q) With ‘Connected’ doing so great, what does 2017 hold for Donn Bhat + The Passenger Revelator?

We’re going to be recording some new music and releasing singles over the next few months. Cheers!

Thanks to Donn for that great interview! Stay ‘connected’ with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with his latest releases.

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Mali : ‘Rush’ EP.

 

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Mumbai based Maalavika Manoj, who goes by the moniker Mali for all her musical exploits, is a singer songwriter with experience that belies her years. Having started out as an artist at a very young age, the Chennai born artist has already worked with a a plethora of big names with AR Rahman, Anirudh Ravichander and Dualist Inquiry being some of them. And she showcases this experience in her brand new five track EP Rush.

The entire EP boasts consistency, both musically and lyrically, which results in an intimate sense of personality. With this effort it feels like Mali lets you into her world and by the end of the five tracks, you get to know her better. The well structured songs supported by great quality instrumentation keeps the vibe fresh as you yearn for multiple listens.

One of the highlights is Mali’s soothing voice that flows through each of the songs. She beautifully explores different vocal ranges and combines them with a melodic pop appeal. The songwriting finds a perfect harmony using subtle guitar notes, bass lines and drumming patterns while keeping the artist and her voice at the creative fulcrum. A great example of this would be the opening track ‘Poor Girl’s Dream’. It’s bold and groovy and perfect way to get you hooked on to the EP. The title track ‘Rush’ is a treat as well as it sonically explores the feeling crafted out in the lyrics.

It’s great to hear a quality release so soon in 2017 and it gives me a rush to think what more she might have to offer in the future.

We talked to the young artist about a variety of things from her collaboration, to the EP and any future plans. Check it out!

Q) You’ve been writing and performing your songs from a really young age. What sparked your interest in music? How’s the journey been so far and what are some of the highlights?

It all started when my parents enrolled me in piano lessons when I was 5. I loved music but didn’t know I had it in me to do it as a full-time career. I used to write poetry as a kid, but when I wrote my first song, all my poetry precipitated to music and I haven’t turned back since. It’s been around 7 years since I started performing and doing music seriously. In the first few years I wasn’t sure of my sound or what I really wanted to do with music so I experimented with many different genres and collaborated with other musicians. I sing playback once in a while and I’ve had the pleasure of working with big names in the south like AR Rahman, Harris Jayaraj and Anirudh Ravichander. I was a part of a band called Bass-in bridge for a year and after the band disbanded I went solo and took ‘Mali’, my childhood nickname as my artist name. Moving from Chennai to Mumbai was a major step in my career and it has made me grow so much as a musician and a person. 

Q) Tell us about your EP ‘Rush’?

‘Rush’ is the title track of the EP. It’s about getting a Rush from doing what you love. In the past few years I’ve been unsure about whether I’ve wanted to do music as a full-time career. Rush is about actually taking that leap of faith, throwing yourself in the deep end, accepting yourself and enjoying the journey.

Q) Which would you say might be your favourite song from the EP and why?

Each song is special to me. Each time I listen to it, I have a new favourite. The current favourite is probably Sooner or Later. It’s the most recently written song in the EP, and it still resonates strongly with me. I like that it’s the last song in the EP because it’s a great sign off track. 

Q) What’s the songwriting process like for you? What are the things that inspire you to write?

I go through phases. My first lot of songs had to do a lot with understanding people and realising how complex people can be. These days I think I write more about change – both internal and external- and how we react to it. 

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Q) What are your main interests apart from music? Do you find them influencing the music you make?

I love animals and would love to work on something animal welfare related when I can. So far I’ve written just one song related to it. It’s got to do with rescuing a stray kitten.

I love food. I’m currently in the process of experimenting with cooking and learning new recipes. I haven’t written a song about food, but it might happen soon! 

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Q) Tell us about your collaborations with Jehangir Jehangir of Cotton Press Studios and Tejas, who are your producers and also live bandmates?

I met Tejas last year and we hit it off. Since then we’ve been performing together extensively. I met JJ at Cotton Press on one of my visits to the studio. When it came to choosing who to work with on this EP, it was an easy task. JJ and Stuart already work together and it’s important that the drummer and the bass player vibe well with each other. Tejas and JJ have a wonderful working relationship. So we’d all worked with each other in a way. JJ, Stu and Tejas have an unconventional approach to making music. They like to make things sound interesting without cluttering the track and for me that was of utmost importance. Less is always more, and we all shared this philosophy. 

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Q) Who are some of your major influences from the Indian independent music scene? What’s your take on its current position? 

Tejas is probably my biggest influence only because we’ve worked together so much. I love Spud in the box, Short Round, Blackstratblues, Donn Bhat, the Fanculos, and many others. I think, as independent musicians in India, we’re on the brink of something huge. We’re slowly starting to get noticed and appreciated for the music we make without needing to make film music or world music. The world is flat now and the internet has made it easy for independent musicians like me to hold their own and market themselves the way the like. I’m excited for what’s to come!

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Q) What message would you like to give young female musicians who might look up to you?

It’s not gonna be easy. Your parents are right. Music isn’t a stable career, but then again, what is? If you’re willing to take this step, treat it as a commitment and work hard at it. Unfortunately this job doesn’t come with a manual so be creative and go about it the way you want to

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Q) How does 2017 look like for Mali? Could you describe it in a lyric from your EP?

I see myself traveling a lot in 2017, both in India and abroad. My ultimate goal is to take my music to the world and I’m looking to do some interesting collaborations with fellow singer songwriters and music producers.

“There he was, there he was. And all the people stood before him. He strummed his guitar and the people, they screamed for him. He never thought that he’d be loved for just what he did best”

That’s a lyric from ‘Dreaming’ written about my alter ego who is a spaced out little boy.

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Cranknob

cranknob

Cranknob, the alter ego of Ahmer Khan, is an electronic rock-crossover project based out of New Delhi. Back from London after a spell abroad for a few years, Cranknob burst onto the scene with his debut EP ‘Electronic Experiments’ in 2014. A delightful 5 track listen, it set the tone for Cranknob’s next EP, the recently released ‘Black to White’, perfectly. Ahmer’s second EP deals with the five stages of depression, with which he dealt with himself, and each track represents one aspect of it. Melding live sounds and electronic elements perfectly, the release is a truly stimulating listen. We could go on about both this great release and the immensely talented artist, but we’d rather you check out the EP and see what Ahmer had to say about it, and his journey as an artist over the years, himself.

From the frontman of Overdose to releasing a great crossover, concept EP; what has the journey been like?

Wow, I’m getting nostalgic! As far as the evolution of my own music is concerned, it has been nothing but incredible. The journey has taken me from strength to strength and to greater maturity in creating the art that I want to create. In totality though, it has been a mixed bag. When you’re part of a growing independent music scene you are bound to face a multitude of challenges. I think since starting off in 2003, I’ve been in more than 15 bands!

Overdose, a Thrash Metal band that I fronted, took off in 2005 with us gigging all around Delhi. I still love how the scene was between 2005-08. There were so many good bands making such great music. Overdose had to disband in 2010 after changing line-ups started crippling the progress. After a little hiatus, I was motivated to start experimenting under my moniker “Cranknob” in 2011 when I moved to London, mostly because I wanted to keep making music as a solo artist without having to rely on having a band. I have never been more excited making music.

Being an independent musician is a tough journey, so I try to focus on doing it solely for the music and for the joy of creating, because I feel the rest is just fluff. I’m just happy I can create, share and hopefully keep transfiguring my perspective into music.

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Could you tell us a bit about each track from the EP? Which one are you especially proud of? Were there any significant challenges you faced while recording the EP?

The recently released Black To White EP is based on my personal journey of overcoming depression and grief over a period of two years. In human psychology, it is noted that a person in grief or depression usually passes through five stages. For me, these stages were – deep depression, anger, false recovery, relapse and finally transformation. Each of these stages that I went through, transfigured into five songs that I wrote over the two years of my dark journey: “Pulsate”, “Shedding Skin”, “Throw Caution To The Wind”, “Relapse & Redemption” and finally “Metamorphosis”.

Though each song has been created from a very honest place, I especially find “Pulsate” and “Shedding Skin” to be a fascinating outcome of what I was personally going through.

I believe that when art is created without too much thought, the creator is able to conjure a sub-conscious catharsis that brings out something very true and previously unexplored. Perhaps the state of mind I was in when I wrote these songs brought out a new ideology for my own songwriting and self-expression.

Recording the EP was a lot of fun. I produce and perform my music at my studio, so there were no hitches in infrastructure, but I just wish I had got this music out sooner. The mixes were sitting on my system for more than a year before I actually put it out. I guess the more you know about production, the more you become a slave of the desire to seek perfection. I will try to be more spontaneous the next time!

What is the process behind creating your music? How do you make the live elements gel so well with the electronic aspects in your tracks?

Being organic is the key. I don’t care much for a fixed methodology or to limit myself to certain instruments. I like writing lyrics and writing phrases/riffs separately. I usually glue elements together later, instead of writing lyrics for a piece of music I made or vice-versa. That’s my way of writing in an unbiased way. The selection of instruments has always been emotionally driven for me. I would usually try a bunch of instruments before zoning into a sound that best describes the emotion that I’m trying to communicate.

I’m a pretty big analog and hardware junkie. During the last couple of years I’ve gone even further away from a typical Computer/DAW driven production. So, I guess the sound for Cranknob comes from the ideology of how each sound element becomes something like an instrument of it’s own. I steer clear of using any loops or any additional software crutches. I like knowing that each aspect of the song is played live and has a sense of “humanity” in it.

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What is your opinion about the indie scene in India at the moment? As a musician who has witnessed the scene firsthand both here as well as in England, what are some striking differences you find between the two? Do you feel that your stay abroad has affected you as a musician in any way?

The indie scene in India has evolved like anything. Back in the day, the goal was to somehow play at Hamsadhwani at Pragati Maidan, Delhi, or at OAT IIT-Delhi. That’s how a band “arrived” in the scene. And boy, the scene has come far from that! The sheer talent all around is amazing and promising. The only thing I however feel is that certain promoters/organisers/venues and even artists/bands are creating “camps” in the scene which benefit only those artists/bands. This is counter to what is actually needed to sustain the indie scene here. Trying to create monopolies and pulling others down is surely going to plague the scene instead of helping it. I hope that will change.

Bands/artists in the UK certainly get far more opportunities and audience, but I’ve also seen them working harder and persevering more than most Indian artists. Sure, they have a support system, acceptance and access to gear, but they leverage all this through their discipline. As far as the audience is concerned, Indian concert/gig goers have always been too judgmental (haha). Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I found the audience in the UK to be far more open and far more intuitive while consuming music.

My stay in London was such a blessing! I firstly got to dig deeper into the journey of some of my favourite bands of all times – Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden and Jimi Hendrix. In addition, the UK underground electronic scene in 2011-13 was booming. Dubstep, Drumstep, DnB, Grime, Garage etc. was doing the rounds around town every night. In fact, I got to see Skrillex and Flux Pavilion at a small club before they got big! So just being there and witnessing this whole explosion first hand was a rush. My ideology of crossing rock sensibilities with new electronic sounds got fortified by hearing great music all around me.

What/Who influenced you to get into electronic music? Who are your main influences? Are there any from the indie scene here?

The UK underground mainly influenced me to get into electronic music. I was frequenting clubs in London such as Koko, Fabric, Funkyzeit, and Cargo etc. I had never seen such talent before. Dubstep, Industrial and Big Beat became instant favourites of mine and artists such as Noisia, Skism, Flux Pavilion, Skrillex, Prodigy, Chase & Status were constantly playing on my iPod together with Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Sepultura and the likes. Complete blasphemy as per Indian “methcul” fans! (haha) I’m also inspired by other crossover/industrial acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Modestep.

My list of Rock/Metal influences is endless, but at the top is Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi inspired me to pick up the guitar when I was 10. I don’t have any Indian electronic music influences but I have grown up listening to some amazing bands from our country, most notably Zero, Millennium, Indus Creed and Motherjane.

What are some of the key differences between working as a part of a band and as a solo artist? Are you open to the idea of getting back into a band setup sometime in the future?

After having spent years being in bands, working alone is such a relief! The music creation process for me got simpler with less stress, less delay and more overall productivity. Also, as a songwriter my vision stayed intact without having to face ego trips or childish discussion about who will play which part! Another great thing I feel is that there is no one else to blame but you. I know how stressful being in a band can get when everyone is busy trying to ascertain who is to blame for the collective failure of a gig or a song.

I would love to put together a live band for Cranknob at some point. There is nothing more exciting than performing live with amazing musicians. No synths or drum sequencers can replace that feeling. However I think actively writing in a band and relying on other people’s commitment is something I don’t think I have the patience for as of now. I need to get shit done, and being a part of a band has proven to be unproductive for me. People come, people go, and the music suffers. At least that’s how I feel right now.

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What have been some of your favourite moments as a musician so far? What are some personal milestones you would love to achieve?

Ah, there have been so many! Some notable moments are – touring Siberia (Russia) with my now defunct band Dilligate, getting featured by Akhil Sood in the print edition of The Hindu for the story behind Cranknob’s Black To White EP, winning the Got Talent show in London in front of a huge crowd, having young bands cover Overdose’s songs and winning the IIT competition with Gulaal, another one of the bands that I’ve been a part of.

Now, I really want to set out to create more music and plan more frequent EP/album releases, to play national and international festivals and to collaborate with some great musicians live as well as in the studio.

What’s next for Cranknob?

 Much frequent music releases, more performances and endless experimentation. I plan to continue to stay out of my comfort zone and keep kicking it up a notch with everything I create. One step at a time.

A big thank you to Ahmer for that great interview! Like Cranknob on Facebook and follow him on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with the latest updates.

Buy the Black to White EP on Bandcamp.

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Sandunes : ‘Downstream’ Music.

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Sanaya Ardeshir’s, aka Sandunes, striking new album, ‘Downstream’, is a breath of fresh air. The entire album is a beautiful confetti blast of zany noises, unusual (perfect)timing and refreshing song structures. It pushes you as a listener as you groove along to these charmingly unconventional tracks surfacing from a bolder musical landscape.

With this album Sandunes reinvigorates her love for the fun in music. Devoid of any form of self-judgment. It’s art arising from a sense of rapture rather than duty. This makes it bold, edgy and free-flowing. It mirrors the spiritual space Sanaya occupies as an individual.

A follow up to several EPs & a great debut album, ‘Downstream’ is everything you want it to be. It’s a eclectic mix of garage noise & glitchy sounds. There are some lovely tracks like ‘LBDF’ & ‘Crystal Pink’. We also have the tenebrous ‘that’s been following me’ which is a treat. My personal favorite however would be ‘Indigo Village’, absolutely compelling to put your dancing shoes on!

With this creative endeavour Sanaya also rekindled her love for live music. Pushing the bar for live music for electronic acts and creating a unique audio-visual experience for her fans to revel in. We talked to Sanaya about her new album, the process behind it and her future plans. Check it out!

Q) You recently said that the idea behind ‘Downstream’ relates to ‘moving in the direction of who you really are’. What kind of individual are you at this point of your musical career that separates ‘Downstream’ from your other records? 

Through the making of this record I was in a bolder, more risk-taking space. 

I definitely had a bigger picture for the entire body of work, in a way that felt different to my previous processes – which were more incidental or had a song-at-a-time kinda approach, if that makes any sense!

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Q) What’s your process for each song like? Was it different with ‘Downstream’?

Each song came from some different nugget of what I’d was playing at my gigs. Chord progressions, or arrangements that worked stayed – and in the production process, I tried to recreate everything else around those ideas.

Q) Is it fair to say ‘Downstream’ has rekindled your love for live music given that there is less ‘button pushing’ and more of actual playing? Any reason that it happened with this record specifically?

Well, it’s one small step in that direction for sure. I think the high amount of exposure to night clubs and dance-floor oriented music has definitely curbed my current level of enjoyment for anything that’s not super risky and/or emotive. Live music and discovering efficient ways of performing it has become far more appealing to me now than it’s been in years. 

I’m on a quest to discover a super ideal live experience. 

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Q) What makes you tick, creatively? What does Sanaya Ardeshir bring to Sandunes beyond the music?

Nature, routine, silence, and yoga create a great bed for me to get into a good creative flow. But also the hyper buzz of good ideas, being exposed to expertise and great performances.. Beyond the music, I think I try to create a structure for Sandunes that’s highly methodical and disciplined in it’s approach, one that leans towards learning and growth.

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Q) As a student of music what are your thoughts on musical education? What advice would you give aspiring musicians who are toying with the idea of pursuing it?

What’s cool about being a student of music, is that it’s kind of like being a student of life – the learning really never stops. To me, the scope of ‘music education’ is so vast and I would highly encourage musicians who are toying with the idea of studying further, or taking up an academic approach to their own music career in the form of teaching or mentoring.  

However, music education needn’t be defined by a course in a highly reputed music-institution or something specific – I think it’s possible for it to be more of a frame of mind and personal approach – and with the various resources on the internet and professional musicians activated in the country today, it’s easy to further an education in any number of open ended ways. 

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Q) Over the years which are the Indian indie acts that you have grown to love? Which are some of your non-electronic music influences that sub-consciously or consciously shaped the sound of Sandunes?

I have grown to love Skrat, the F16s, Nicholson, Parekh&Singh. Mostly because they’re all so engaging to watch in a live setting. Kumail’s new live set is also a complete treat. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of jazz from the 1920s – I’m hoping it will influence my output in the months that follow! 

Q) Tell us about your recent ‘listening parties’. What advice would you give aspiring musicians in terms of getting their music out there?

When the album was ready, I sent it to a few really close friends in different cities and we began chatting about having album-previews, or listening sessions. Really organically, this idea arose to have album listening sessions from different parts of the country – all at the same time. So on the same day, at about 9pm, we had a bunch of people in Calcutta at a live-visual and Biryani party hosted by Jivraj Singh, Bangalore was a music-studio-listening party hosted by Sanjana Nyapati, there was one in Delhi that Tarqeeb (Ashish Jose) took on and played the music out at Bandstand, and we did an intimate and slightly sombre listening at Sohrab Nicholson’s house in Bombay. It was a totally organic thing, but I wanted to seed the music, or basically – get it out there to the people that were really keen on engaging with it – and I’m so grateful that they actually went out – just to ‘listen’. 

Q) Suggest one song to describe your expectations from the future?

‘The best is yet to come’ – Frank Sinatra! 

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Big up to Sanaya for that great interview! Like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest updates.

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Wolves : The Visual Artists Behind Your Favorite Shows

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Visual artists truly are an amazing species. Turning the mundane into the fantastic is probably just another day in the office for them. And one group seems to be particularly good at precisely that. We’re talking about Wolves, one of India’s leading visual agencies. With a portfolio spanning across the most renowned acts both within the country and outside such as Noisia, Mutemath, Nucleya, Karsh Kale and Dualist Inquiry, to some of the biggest events which includes the YouTube Fanfest and Sunburn 2015 editions. I think the following video gives a pretty good idea of what these guys are capable of:

And that’s only one year.
As for 2016:

 

Yup. Giant killer robot kings. And that’s just one event.

Stellar representatives of the burgeoning visual artist scene in the country, Wolves started off as a duo comprising of Jash Reen and Josh D’Mello and have grown into a full fledged pack that handles everything from projection mapping to augmented reality, the latter being quite indicative of the pair’s love for Pokemon Go. Even if those terms sound fancy to you, the bottom line is that if it’s visuals, there are few who can beat Wolves at their game. This fantastic group has grown from strength to strength and become an integral part of the music scene in the country, so much so, that it’s worth going for the gigs even if it’s just to see the mad visuals these guys come up with.

We talked to Jash about everything from what makes them tick, favourite artists, their inspirations and their opinion of the scene. Check it out!

Q) What’s the story behind the name Wolves? How did you guys get into the visual artist industry? What were your first steps as professionals and what do you consider your breakthrough moment?

We’ve told so many different version of the ‘name story’, I’m not sure which one’s right anymore. Where we’re at now, we like the fact that an artist, a group of artists or even a company can exist under a completely inconspicuous and unrelated brand name and give weight to that name, rather than the name define them. The Wolves title for some reason just clicked with us and people who enjoyed our work. They instantly recognise the name and the symbol that goes with it. We’re really grateful for that.

We’ve never had formal training or an educational background in visual work (and I guess that’s all the more reason to hide behind a strange name). But we firmly believe that curiosity in this, the year of our internet, crushes all myths related to professions. If you’re determined to create, work hard and stand by your art, the designations will follow. Best case it’s a designation you’ve created for yourself.

Our breakthrough moment was at a relatively nascent stage when we did a small projection mapping setup for (a then upcoming) Nucleya. It’s still a bit overwhelming how things built up from there.

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Q) What are the things that inspire you to create the things that you do? What is the process behind creating visuals for any particular artist or event, and how collaborative is the process?

We (Josh and I) grew up as best friends in the golden age of nineties pop culture, film, comics and videogames. Mainstream superheroes in tights, left of centre anti-heroes, cult horror icons, you name it — they took up a lot of our time and they still do. I feel that everything we create till date somehow pays homage to that era.

Collaborating with musicians and artists that are totally out of our comfort zone is the only reason we still find relevance in what we do. We go by a strict code of starting with an empty canvas and customising our sets and installations to a collective vision between us and them. We rarely repeat ourselves. What could have easily remained a pet project is now ravenous just in terms of the ideation work we put behind every project, right down to the technical all nighters that help bring them to life.

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Q) Who are your favorite Indian indie artists? Jash, you used to play in a metal band, do you think that the musician in you has influenced your work as a visual artist?

Haha I love that you dug that up. I’ve honestly been a punk/ hardcore fan for as long as I can remember. I played in metal bands because that was the only kind of aggressive music that had an audience in India. This music — bands like Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, The Ghost Inside and Vanna — still drives me because of the DIY ethics and strong communities they hold together. They’re not always very well accepted on the charts and that drives them to package their music with stronger themes down to their album art and merchandise. It’s definitely influenced my work.

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Q) Which has been your favourite visual set up with an Indian indie artist so far? What was the idea behind it?

It’s come full circle. We just had the honour of doing Nucleya’s latest live visual rig for his Bass Yatra Tour. It’s a giant LED fortress that pays homage to each of the iconic avatar’s from his various albums (created by his wife Smriti airphish.com). We’ve adapted a ridiculous amount of larger-than-life size animations to the whole layout, and the fact that it’s complementing a boundary crushing artist like Nucleya makes every night on the tour special.

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Q) Who are some artists that you would love getting the chance to work with?

Joris de Jong is an absolute mentor and I don’t even think he knows it yet. Besides being a vital contributor to live visuals worldwide (he co-created Resolume Arena) his thought process with every update has been shockingly parallel to our workflow. It would be great that are schedules so that we can work with him. Other visual companies that are constantly keeping us on our toes are Eye Supply, V-Squared Labs and Neither Field.

If you’re talking about artists in music, Josh and I would argue for a bit, but I think we’d settle on Deftones, M83, Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack.

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Q) What advice would you guys give to aspiring visual artists and to musicians looking to implement visuals into their live performances?

Don’t wait for someone to give you a chance. Get the software, show up at clubs/venues and take your best shot. Any ground you achieve with that, is more than any art degree or educational institution can offer you.

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Q) What’s your take on the current indie scene and the position of live visuals in it? What are your expectations from the future?

I think the word indie is exhausted. It’s just a subconscious term that keeps crawling up in conversations with artists, and for the most part it translates to them being amateurs, but we’re all getting pretty good aren’t we? Let’s ditch the indie brand and start powerful brands of our own. I’m not pointing fingers, I just want every artist coming up locally to know their worth right now. I perceive every dedicated artist in about 5 years to be a force to reckon with; when I say dedicated, I mean right from the creation stage to marketing it and making a whole lot of noise, till everyone is listening of course.

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Q) What’s next for Wolves?

Honestly? Shows, Long car journeys playing Pokemon Go, Shows, Mortal Kombat, Repeat.

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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, Instagram and Twitter.

Farfetch’d

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Let’s make one thing clear at the start; listening to Farfetch’d could be one of the best decisions you will make in a while.

I think the the following video should be pretty persuasive:

And if that isn’t enough, the final version should do the trick:

What you just witnessed was the evolution of the opening track of what has got to be one of the finest albums to be released in India this year. Southern Skies Motel, through the entire duration of its 7 tracks, is a breathtaking journey that makes you, to put it simply, want to live, something that not a lot of music is capable of doing nowadays. It is a beautiful narrative, conveyed in a multitude of styles, with something different for every listener to take back with them. I guess the bottom line is that this act from Bangalore, over the course of its two albums, has influenced me enough to wax lyrical for not the first time over its music, and I believe, given a few listens, it isn’t too Farfetch’d to say it might just make you fall in love with it too.

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A three piece act that started out as a bedroom project by the immensely talented Akash Murthy, Farfetch’d is truly a joy to listen to, regardless of whether you’re listening to their debut album The Alchemist, which was exceptional by itself, or their second full length release, which I’ve gushed about enough already. With both being solo efforts by Akash himself, the act is a breath of fresh air with its willingness to experiment, the result being a discography that’s already versatile. I could go on about the band, but I’d rather you check out what I consider to be the best track on SSM and read the great interview we had with Akash.

Q) From the guitarist of a metalcore band to creating two great albums while working at an IT firm; what has the journey been like?

It’s been smooth sailing really. The transitions from metal to post rock was quite seamless and without much drama. But it wasn’t all cheerful on the employment front. When I was in college, I came out with the first Farfetch’d album, The Alchemist. I had a lot of time on my hands then, and I could really delve into recording at my convenience. But straight out of college, I was pushed into Wipro, in the midst of recording pieces for what was later going to be the second album. Though my time at Wipro was very productive on a technical standpoint, I couldn’t spend time on music, or more precisely, I lacked the motivation to do so. A couple of years later, I realized that IT wasn’t for me and I quit. This was 5 months ago, and it’s been a ball! I have more time than I need and getting back to recording after a 2 year hiatus was easier than I thought.  

Q) Could you tell us a bit about each track on Southern Skies Motel? Why has it taken so long to release as a whole? Has the album turned out to be as you envisaged at the start?

Southern Skies Motel is a very abstract album. It doesn’t stick to a particular genre, rather it is an amalgamation of variety of styles. I always wanted to diversify from generic post rock, and this was my attempt at it. Each track is associated with a short story, so vividly different from each song, but sort of come together on a cosmic scale, if that makes any sense at all! You can check out all the stories associated with each song here: www.farfetchd-official.com/ssm. I wouldn’t change any part of any song. I was completely satisfied with the whole album before releasing it. True, Southern Skies Motel was in the pipes for a very long time, 3 years in fact. But, as I mentioned, I spent 2 of those years on a break from music.

Q) Your latest album has tracks spanning a variety of styles. Is that a conscious effort? What is the creative process behind Farfetch’d’s compositions?

It was a pretty conscious effort at diversifying. I wanted to have a mixed bag of everything on the album, from orchestral, symphonic acoustic to progressive, experimental, electronic music. I threw in a bit of pop as well in “Collide”! So yeah, I definitely tried hard to variate. The process behind the songwriting is fairly straightforward. With Southern Skies Motel, all the songs are based primarily on acoustic guitar lines. So once I compose a structure to a song, I roughly record the acoustic parts, and I try adding layers of ambience, soundscapes and synths. Next, I program the drums, add the bass and then re-record everything, paying more attention to detail.

Q) You are a DIY electronics enthusiast and your compositions involve a lot of technical wizardry behind the scenes. Any tips to musicians on how to make the most of software and equipment in their songs?

Well, you definitely don’t need to be an electronics guy to make good use of software or equipment. I would say, know your basics and have the courage to experiment. Modern plugins, softwares and equipments are very user friendly, with interactive GUIs which give you full control. But with that comes a whole host of parameters that you can tweak and play around. Experimenting is fun, but doing it blindly will get you bad results more often than not. Read articles and blogs on all the different parameters and aspects your device has to offer. For example, what’s a compressor, what does the ratio knob on a compressor do. What’s the pre-delay parameter on a digital delay? Having a working knowledge of these will give you enough insight into sculpting the sound that you want.

Q) As a part of what could be defined loosely as the ‘ambient rock’ scene, what is your opinion regarding the other acts in India? Do you feel that the ‘India’ tag should have an effect on the music one makes in any way?

The ambient rock scene is such a bliss right now in India. I see so many band with such amazing material, all of them a class apart. Bands like Space is all we Have, aswekeepsearching, Mushroom Lake, Celestial Teapot, Ioish and so many others have been creating music so vividly different from each other, yet coming together under one banner. The ‘India’ tag should never be placed on any band. They are consequently from India, yes, but their music is universal and on par with any international band.

Q) Southern Skies Motel has got a great reception from people around the world. How significant has the support from abroad been in comparison to things at home? Do you feel that experimental acts like yourself get enough love in the country?

I was a bit skeptical on how the audience might receive this album, because it was quite experimental and Farfetch’d hadn’t had a big enough fan base for the music to reach out. But I was extremely pleased with the response that I got. A lot of blogs picked it up and reviewed it. Many people from around the globe and from India as well, have generously donated whatever they could afford while downloading the album, even though it’s free to download. It’s great to get emails from Bandcamp titled ‘Cha ching! You have received $X from this guy’! There are more than a handful of experimental acts in India, and I think there is enough love to go around!

Q) You have expressed earlier that major venues and event managers in the scene generally shy away from acts that aren’t natural crowd pullers. Do you believe that highly experimental acts like Farfetch’d can exist as full time musicians? Have you considered working as a one?

Well, it is true. Venues and event guys choose bands with high face value, bigger fan base and generally upbeat music that a large majority can enjoy or groove to. But it’s not to say that experimental acts can’t exist as full time musicians. A lot more hard work and determination is need to get more and better gigs, pull in crowd, manage your budget, market your band, rehearse, make new music and engage with your audience. But as for me, I have never wanted to be a full time musician. My interest lies in the technical aspects of audio and production. That’s what I am working toward.

Q) You have mentioned that there’s another album in the works. What can the fans expect from Farfetch’d in the coming months?

Well right now, I’m in Maynooth, Ireland, studying audio technology and programming. I’m also writing some math rock stuff, influenced by Pretend, Clever Girl, Stuck in November and the likes. I have no idea how the next Farfetch’d record will turn out. I haven’t put much thought into it. But it’ll definitely be nothing like before!

Cheers to Akash for that great interview! Like Farfetch’d on Facebook to get the latest updates and do check out The Alchemist below.

 

 

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, Instagram and Twitter.

Unohu

Unohu

Almost everyone comes across a point in their teenage days when they think about starting a band and wowing the masses with the music they’ll create. For most part, this remains a fantasy as people are either daunted by the task as hand, thinking of it as a futile attempt that won’t really pay off. On the other hand there are some people who go through with it, against all odds and actually make their dreams come true. One example of that is Unohu. Started in 2012 by the Karkare brothers, Sarthak and Shashwat, who were in school at that point and later expanding to include Yohann Coutinho, this power trio isn’t just one of the youngest bands in the scene, but is also one of its most accomplished. Winners of the first edition of Bandcubator, finalists in the Converse Rubber Tracks event and performers at the NH7 weekender, Ragasthan and PUMA loves Vinyl music festivals, amongst others, Unohu has certainly come a long way in a short time. With moody music at its center, Unohu’s compositions are packed with a blend of genres, something that is reflected in the diverse range of artists that serve as influences, stylistically speaking. This is perhaps one of the reasons why their recent second EP ‘Babel’ has turned out to be the fine release it is.

The 4 track EP, which rages against the socio-political situation of today, displays what we love about Unohu best, yet offers a different, more mature side in comparison to their debut EP Asunder which clearly reflects the band’s growth over time. With classy riffs, groovy basslines, and energetic drumming aplenty, Babel has great loop potential especially given its short duration, which is about the only gripe since we couldn’t get enough. Sarthak does a commendable job on the vocals as well, with his distinct voice being perfect for the role of the outraged citizen. With Babel being as good as it is, one can only wait in anticipation till this young trio releases their first full length album which is hopefully soon. Till then, Unohu who to keep an eye out for.

We got a chance to talk to the band about a bunch of topics, including their latest EP. Check out our interview with this powerhouse of a trio!

Q) Four years, several shows and accolades and two cracking EPs; what’s the journey been like?

It has been extremely gratifying in every way. We’ve been inundated with the kind of love and support we had never dreamed of. We can expect more from ourselves because we know we’ve been pushing ourselves every step of the way to do more, and its paying off.

Q) There is an old video of your second gig ever at Control Alt Delete III where you guys are 14 & 17 years old. If you had one message for these familiar lads below, what would it be?

Make more mistakes to learn that much more.

Q) Who have been your influences from the indie scene over the years? Do you remember the first indie gig you guys attended?

Skrat have been an indubitable inspiration. Stalwarts such as Blackstratblues have been a pleasure to watch and learn from, because the one thing you learn from them is that you can really pursue whatever you want if you love and enjoy it enough. In their case, it’s visible every time they take over the stage. Other bands closer to our age, such as Spud In The Box, have been equally important, if not more.

Q) Could you tell us a little about each song from your new EP ‘Babel’?

‘Babel’ is a political standpoint. It’s about resisting political onslaughts and carving out a space for yourself as an individual, to know where you stand and belong. In that context, ‘Call My Name’ and ‘Incognito’ are songs about resisting a herd-mentality that obscures and reduces people to numbers and faceless, nameless masses. ‘Waiting For Caesar’ is an assault on a system, created by us, that makes us complacent and complicit in electing leaders who misguide and mislead us. ‘Time’ is simply about accepting the fact that time, as a force, has its own way of dealing with things; that often some things are beyond our control, and that is a fact with which we must reconcile.

Q) Sarthak and Shashwat, you guys are brothers. How is it having a brother as a band-mate? Do you think it affects the songwriting process in some way?

It’s really no different from having friends in a band. The environment is unbiased and rather conducive to let everyone’s opinion be shared and critiqued. We do not play a song live unless we are all conclusively on the same page and content with what we’ve made. The only advantage is that we can practice more, given the fact that we share a room and live together.

Q) You have said that Porcupine Tree has been a big influence. If you had a chance to present one song from your new EP to Steven Wilson, what would it be and why?

We would probably make him listen to ‘Time’. He’d dig the vibe. It’s a dynamic, melodic and melancholic song.

Q) What was it like winning the Bandcubator earlier this year? Could you recall some of the other special highlights of your journey so far?

Winning Bandcubator was an unanticipated success. It was overwhelming and really took us by surprise, given the extravagant rewards we won. But in no sense would we like to belittle the achievement, because we really learned a lot along the way and met some amazing bands and new people. Some other interesting highlights would include the time we played Ragasthan and the Weekender in 2014. It was a real high for us and really cemented us as a band. What we prize most throughout the journey is how we’ve changed as people and all that we’ve learned because of having started out young.

Q) You have an EP launch tour ahead of yourself. Could you describe your expectations from the coming future in a Unohu song lyric?

“Are we waiting for the night?

Until forever, we’re losing the light

Are we waiting for the night?

Oh forever, till the light”

This is from one of our new songs titled ‘Forever’.

Cheers to Unohu for that great interview! Do like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel for the latest updates regarding the band. You can also check out their debut EP ‘Asunder’ below:

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