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’.

 

 

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Sid Vashi : The big theme of ‘Azuma Kazuma’ is fear.

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“The big theme is fear. We are so uncertain about what we want to do next. So it’s really about coming to terms with your fear and saying, fuck it, let’s do this shit”, Sid Vashi on his starry debut album ‘Azuma Kazuma‘.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Sid had a varied spectrum of influences. His music is an eclectic mix of different genres structured by elaborate instrumentation and accompanied by sparing appearances by his distinct saxophone playing. Formally trained in jazz music, Sid insists everyone should dwell a little in music theory for it fosters creativity. He says, “It’s new ways to categorize your expression.”

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A fan of music first, Sid tries to listen to a different album every day. Currently rocking out to some Beach Boys, African artist Francis Bebey and the new Brand New album – ‘Science Fiction’. Sid doesn’t shy away from his Bollywood influences and is nostalgic of the over the top, synth driven music of the Burman era. He says, “I never saw it as the establishment music”. Given how visual his music can be, it’s no surprise that he cites the likes of Mani Ratnam, Vishal Bhardwaj and Anurag Kashyap as some of his favorite Indian film directors.

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After returning to India couple of years ago, he channeled his emotions of being an outsider in his home country into a heavily Bollywood sampled EP called ‘Motherland Tourism’. But later having felt that it didn’t represent him completely, he decided to take it down. He made a rather elaborate return with his extravagant album ‘Azuma Kazuma’.

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The story of ‘Azuma Kazuma’ revolves around a prospector in a large space mining conglomerate who undergoes a near death experience and decides to take control of his life. The story mirrors the time when Sid was bed-ridden for six weeks and decided to make this album. The album is two-part out of a trilogy, which shall be completed in Sid’s next album. Sid decided to work with visual artist Johnny Ghanta for this visuals to serve as an aesthetic guideline to the entire experience. “He’s one of the most inspiring people. He’s so creative he’s so driven and so interesting to be around”, Sid on his collaborator.

Where the album shines is the details in the overall experience. There are minute sonic detail which make the album all the more interesting. “I think of mixes like sonic architectures, you are creating an environment”, says Sid on his choice of sounds. Another standout factor would be the use of samples like the iconic vocals from Nicholson’s ‘For What‘ on the track ‘Paper Bones’. Indie artists rarely do covers or remixes of other acts, but this kind of sampling format has been dominant in hip-hop for the longest time. “That’s how you build a culture by being referential within it” , says Sid.

Given how geeky the Azuma Kazuma story is, it comes as no surprise that Sid happens to have a degree in neuroscience and philosophy. He makes no distinction between his artistic and academic side and embraces both wholly. He says, “I think all explorations, academic or artistic, are ultimately trying to determine what is true.”

Sid also is a part of Salvage Audio Collective which is group of producers  who provide audio solutions for several commercial and indie projects. Sid says it really helps him try different things. He continues, “I see other projects as an opportunity to be a sonic chameleon.”

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It’s been three odd months since Azuma Kazuma has released, but Sid doesn’t feel the pressure to put anything out. Besides the conclusion to his debut album, a possible reinterpretation of ‘Motherland Tourism’, Sid plans to drop couple of remixes and B-sides of Azuma Kazuma. With the festival season  around the corner and couple of DJ sets along the way, it’s pretty safe to say that this space boy is ready to go to infinity & beyond!

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Easy Wanderlings : Decide what you want people to experience.

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“You gotta be worried when things are alright”, says Sanyanth Naroth. His infectious enthusiasm cuts right through the lazy Sunday morning vibes. He’s equally grateful and vigilant to the overall appreciation his band, Easy Wanderlings, have been getting lately. He continues to passionately talk about music, his journey, the band, and of course their debut album, ‘As Written In The Stars’.

For the longest time Easy Wanderlings had been quite the faceless band. Communicating solely via their music and artwork, not even the ardent of fans knew where the band came from or how many members it had.  Sanyanth insisted that the art had to come first and all he wanted was people to – “hear some good music, sit back & relax”. Things really blew up for the Wanderlings when their single ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ made it on the playlist of the YouTube channel ‘Mostly Strings’ and garnered international recognition.

The band was co-founded by fellow wanderling Malay Vadalkar who happens to also be the recordist/mixing engineer for the album. Both have known each other for 10 odd years making even the most intense of creative disputes feel like “fighting with a sibling”. Pratika Gopinath was brought on board when her mesmerizing vocal chops perfectly fit the melody of ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ and the songs that followed. Soon enough the wanderling family easily expanded to more members and even more places, with the wanderlings hailing from the likes of Pune, Darjeeling and Denmark.

Describing their sound as a ‘music journal’, the 8-track debut album is the testament that the wanderlings have come a long way from their first entry of home recorded singles. The entire album chronicles multiple stories of love, loss, ambition and everything in between, laced beautifully together with soulful acoustic melodies. A personal favorite would be ‘Dream To Keep Us Going’ as an intriguing intro if followed by some energetic chirpy tunes.  Sanyanth insists on always delivering a high quality product and giving it your best. He says, “Decide what you want people to experience.”

The wanderlings have currently cherry-picked only 8 songs for ‘As Written In The Stars’ and have kept some for future records. They have couple of exciting gigs on their way including the Barcadi NH7 Weekender later this year. They also have a music video out for ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’. Due to the single’s initial international success, they have found a great following overseas and when asked if they plan to tour abroad, Sanyanth says, “We have to. There’s no question about it!” So it’s safe to they have already taken steps to write the next chapter in this music journal, but we just might have to wait for a little while. Till then, enjoy while it lasts!

 

 

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.

 

 

Akash Vincent : ‘Singer-songwriter’ is not a genre.

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“For a long time I really had a problem with how ‘singer-songwriter’ is referred to as a genre”, says Akash Vincent. This statement is perfectly applicable to Akash who  recently dropped his sophomore EP ‘Polaris‘ which creatively explores varied sounds palettes like pop and r&b tied beautifully together by his voice and songwriting skills.

 

 

Akash’s music journey started off with being a metal drummer back in college but he finally found his footing in being more of a solo act. His influences range from the likes of Sting, Bob Dylan to local acts such as Soulmate, Donn Bhat & Red Mawkin. This 5-track EP is a follow-up to Akash’s debut effort ‘Postcards’.

 

Initially to be named as ‘North Star’, this EP is a reminder to be true to one self. This expression is encapsulated perfectly in the bouncy opener ‘Who I Am’. In an era where electronic music is on the forefront, it can be tough for ‘traditional’ singer-songwriters to find their space and be honest to their craft. Akash says, “It’s really easy to lose track of who you are and who you want to be.”

Staying true to the opening statement, there’s not one song that sounds remotely similar to the next. He manages to soulfully use a variety of instruments and meshes them together to deliver a distinct sound. His creative efforts were equally critiqued and supported by his collaborators Nikhil Mawkin, Abhinav Khokar & Gaurav Chintamani. Akash also keeps the band in mind while writing the songs and welcomes any sort of feedback. He says, “Musicians come in with their own colors and it is always welcomed.”

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A personal favorite would be the track ‘Anyway’ which has an overall sense of excitement and tension created by the cello melody flowing through the song. Inspired by how much effort gets put in to the packaging of albums like ‘Meteora’ by Linkin Park, Akash made sure the EP had a visual appeal. Each songs has its individual artwork created by the artist Nadini Bansal.

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At this very moment, Akash is tirelessly trying to push the EP and honing his craft as a live performer for the gigs in the upcoming months. It’s evident that his presence can no more be ignored as one patiently waits for his next set of songs. With EPs like these, Akash is likely to become a star of his own in India’s independent music galaxy!

 

Akash Vincent - live at Depot29

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Phatcowlee : ‘Cinema EP is an extension of self-expression’.

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Rajan Shrestha’s moniker originated by superimposing a huge cauliflower on a cow’s head, much like how his influences are a delightful amalgamation between the likes of Tool, Perfect Circle and that of Mathew Herbert and Trent Reznor.  His debut effort as Phatcowlee has been making waves in the indie scene for being raw, ethereal and well, cinematic.

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Predominantly known as being the bassist of Nepal’s stellar rock outfit, Jindabaad, Rajan first dipped his toes in electronic music production two-three years ago. Having an experience of being a musician for years, along with the confidence stemming from his days as a co-producer and recording engineer, Phatcowlee seemed like a natural metamorphism.  He doesn’t see much difference working alone or with a band. Both have their pros and cons. Being in a band and collaborating helped him grow as a musician, but Phatcowlee felt more like an intimate form of self-expression. “Sometimes we need to express ourselves in our unique way and I felt Phatcowlee is that extension of me”, says Rajan.

Released by India’s very own Consolidate records, this EP is really eargasmic. He chose his samples from famous old Nepali films and named the songs after them. Wooed over by the surge of nostalgia he faced while randomly flipping through channels, he record all the samples from the T.V. or YouTube. Even the cover art is from the film ‘Chino’. Terming his genre to be ‘Post Adhunik’ music, this EP is everything you expect it to be. Perfect blend of nostalgia with modern aesthetics.

It’s clear how visual Rajan is as a creative entity. From the EP name to the samples, there’s no doubt that films have influenced him. It should come as no surprise for he happens to be a video editor along with a photographer. So there might be a music video somewhere down the line.

Talking about the lack of a viable ecosystem, Rajan describes the Nepali music scene as, “bubble which might expand, but won’t burst.”  The lack of collaboration along with the dearth of long lasting entities to provide a sturdy platform for young artists seems like the every other day for this scene veteran. Amazed by the response to this EP, Rajan feels that collaboration is where the world is headed. This EP is a testament that in the internet era, you can find fellow creatives and help them out. It just might result in your art being experienced by an entirely new audience.

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Photo Credit : Prasiit Sthapit.

With the Sine Valley Festival this October, Rajan has decided to dedicate the rest of the year to his band Jindabaad, however he has already started working on the next album for Phatcowlee. And all we can say is that we can’t wait for his next endeavor!

 

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Worm’s Cottage: ‘To Each Their Own’ EP Review

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Worm’s Cottage of the Bangalore Consolidate family combines outdoorsy acoustic elements with soft electronica to deliver a crisp four track folktronic EP.

There’s a noteworthy sense of precision in choosing the sounds. He takes a minimalist approach to give a very raw and groovy feel. Tribal elements are abundant throughout. All the songs feel fresh, airy and light. The opening track ‘The Simplest Thing’ has some beautiful guitar parts. It’s exciting to see heartfelt acoustic elements pushed on the foreground in an electronic record.

 

Rocky at some parts, the entire EP does seem very cohesive and flows smoothly from song to song. Worm’s Cottage has been churning out music every year exploring different sound spaces. It’s going to be exciting to see where he goes next.

 

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.

Aerate Sound: ‘Only For External’ Album Review

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Aerate Sound is a Bangalore based audio/visual duo who recently released their debut album ‘Only For External’ via Consolidate Records. While Naquash orchestrates the visual elements of the act, Joe Panicker paints with sound. This interesting powerhouse clearly shouldn’t be missed.

This nine track album is an interesting blend of smooth basslines, vibrant melodies and a diverse range of subtle sounds and samples. There is a clear sense of precision in the arrangement of sounds making all the songs feel rich.

The opening track ‘Nafiri’ is really indulgent with it’s rough folk appeal followed by a softer and immersive groove. We have tracks like the quirky ‘Soul Harvest’ and the hypnotic ‘Battle’. However the highlight of the album would be the gritty ‘Down Baby Down’ featuring Bangalore MC Smokey The Ghost. It has a really dirty hip hop beat to it. Smokey’s slick cadence along with his suave lyrics drive the song home.

At times the tracks on the album do feel too long. Some tracks lack the sense of experimentation when compared to others, making it feel repetitive. But all in all it’s an interesting album. What’s worth keeping in mind though is that simply giving the album a listen won’t do complete justice to the act as the other half of it deals with visual artistry. That being said, I am excited about Aerate Sound’s future projects and even more excited to see them live!

Get the latest updates regarding Aerate Sound by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter and Instagram.

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.

Kumail: ‘From You To Blue’ EP Review

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It’s great to see artists evolve with the material they put out and it’s fair to say Kumail has done precisely the same with his new EP, ‘From You To Blue’. 

Released by Mumbai’s independent record label ‘Knowmad Records’, this 7-track EP is thematically structured. The songs are vibrant and somber at the same time. If you are familiar with Kumail’s previous work then you wouldn’t be surprised by the obscure and subtle sounds that whizz by frequently. 

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With this EP, Kumail flirts with a lot of danceable textures. There are a lot of garage sounds for you to groove along to. A personal favorite would be ‘Blue You’ which has a sweet guitar riff smoothly flowing through it. 

Even though I’m a massive fan of Kumail’s previous album ‘Links’, it wouldn’t be fair to bracket him in a certain space given that he clearly has a lot more to offer. This EP does lack the softer ethereal elements of ‘Links’ but it’s not to discredit the new musical direction he has embarked upon. Wonder what he’s got stored for us next!

Also, Kumail’s going on a sweet tour in the coming month. So if you are in town, check him out!

 

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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.

Short Round: ‘With Friends Like These’ EP Review

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Jishnu ‘Short Round’ Guha’s sophomore effort, ‘With Friends Like These’ is a wholesome concoction of lush acoustic sounds, soulful vocal banter and thoughtful lyrics. And it’s finger-pickin-good!

The seven-track EP consists of an ensemble of classy-collaborators ranging from scene veterans like Siddharth Basrur to fellow Kadak artists like Mali and Fat Yellow Moon. Each bringing in their own flavour and vocal textures to these well composed songs. Feeling very much like a box of assorted chocolates, this EP is conceptually fresh and is bound to go down as a hallmark singer-songwriter album in the Indian indie scene. 

The track ‘Nowhere To Go’ features Saurabh Roy of The Lightyears Explode and is a really great up-beat folk rock song which complements the mellower appeal of the rest of the EP. The track ‘Autumn’ has a sparkling vocal performance by Mali. ‘Ghost Of Your Stories’ featuring Fat Yellow Moon is a gem of a track which is well-structured and has a beautiful explosive end to it.  

The highlight performances would be by Basrur on the track ‘Losing Day’ and by Anna Holmquist on ‘Get It Into Your Head’. The entire EP is sonically & lyrically rich. 

Even though Jishnu’s mesmerizing compositional skills throughout the EP are noteworthy, it’d have been good to see more of his singer side on some of the tracks. Sadly, he doesn’t deliver a standout vocal performance and at times it’s hazy to figure out his contributions in the duets. Same goes for Rahul Pais on the track ‘Autumn’.  

That being said, this EP is hands down one of the finest material to be churned out by any Indian singer-songwriter in a long time. With Collaborations Like These, this kind of outcome was inevitable.

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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.

Zenguin

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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.