Post rock has been growing in India over the last few years. In the past 3 years there have been releases from bands like The Eternal Twilight, Kaav, Until we Last and others. Polish post rock act Tides from Nebula and Russian electropost rock band I Am Waiting For You Last Summer toured India. Festival organisers have taken notice of this new movement, this year Scottish post rock band Mogwai and American post rock act Explosions in the Sky will be headlining festivals later this year.
Earlier this week, I came across Aswekeepsearching and was really impressed by their single ‘What if_?’. I spoke to Uddipan Sarmah (Vocals/Guitars) about their album Khwaab, their tour of Russia and other plans for the rest of the year.
There are not many bands from Ahmedabad and Gujarat. How did you start out?
Uddipan: Just like how every band starts. Me and shubham wanted to record some music and while doing it, our friend did the drums and so it shaped up to a studio project. From there, it was all our determination to get out of the city, play to new people and spread our music. That led us here.
How did you’ll get into post rock?
Uddipan: Let me not talk about a genre. I would say, music like post rock was always there from quite sometime in our lives. It’s just that we recorded it late. Also, me and shubham has been working on different projects, but this kind of music got us to connect more. In short, we realized, we love emotional stuff.
I am influenced by lot of post rock bands and to name a few would be God Is An Astronaut, Caspian, This Will Destroy You, Mogwai, Mono, Maybeshewill. I would say, as a genre, post rock to me came from these bands. It’s not a very commercial genre yet, its still underground. And I am happy of the fact that in India, people have started talking about it.
You are one of the few “indie” bands that sing in Hindi. What is the reason behind it?
Uddipan: I am sure there are lot of indie bands who sings in hindi. In fact, we have very minimal vocals on our songs. There is no planned reason behind us doing hindi vocals. We wanted to stay true. And while writing music, we felt more connected with hindi lyrics and alaps. Also, I have been singing in hindi for sometime and that helped me to write some words for aswekeepsearching. Also, now after 2 years with the band, I realize we made the right choice, as singing in Hindi has got us doing something new. Rather it helped us to stand out of many indie bands.
Your debut album Khwaab is out tomorrow. Tell us a bit about your album.
Uddipan: Khwaab, as the name says, is like a dream to us. Starting from a place like Ahmedabad, where you have no scene, no venue, no festivals happening, working hard day & night and finding a way to come out of the city, travel my bus, train, save money to perform at a different city, come back home only with empty pockets, yet keep doing it to reach a place where we are now, all like a dream. I know the world is not over and we have a long way to go, but it feels good to look back and realize from where we started 2 years back. The album is dedicated to everything that has happened in our journey until now.
What was the recording process for the album?
Uddipan: We have been writing the songs from more than a year now. Constantly analysing and re writing parts while performing them live. It took some time for the songs to get matured and give us the confidence to hit the studio to record. But finally on Aug 9th 2015 we started tracking the album. For the 1st time, we had a deadline to complete the album as we were getting signed to a label and they wanted files in time. So yeah, we had to prepare ourselves, plan things well and make sure the we do things when we are supposed to do. Recording started with Drums and Bass recorded together at That Studio, Sion, Mumbai. It was in presence of some experienced guys & actually we were a bit nervous initially, which later vanished on their extended help and support. Rahul Hariharan (Bhayanak Maut) let us use his snares and also got one floor tom on rent for us. Abhishek Kamdar (Devoid) let is record Bass with one extra signal via his pedalboard, which definitely added the required texture in the sound. Anupam roy, to set up everything, Adhiraj Sing to track and patiently bare our mistakes. Lol. It was a great experience.
After that we tracked guitars. As we are not a band with good gear, so we had to ask for favors and we are so lucky to have some amazing friends around. I went to Siddharth Basrur’s house and tracked my guitars, as i wanted to use a fender for the clean tones. Later in Ahmedabad i borrowed a friends Epiphone & Gibson to complete the dirty parts. Vocals were tracked at my studio, Bluetree Studios in ahmedabad. We have added 3 songs from our EP as we think its important for those songs to be in the album considering the change in our sound and the way the band has evolved.
All files were sent to Adhiraj at Refractor Studios, Pune for post production. What followed next was sleepless nights, constant review of mixes and exchanging edit mails. It was a super 60 days. And yes, we completed everything in time,
How does Khwaab compare to your EP, Growing Suspicious?
Uddipan: Its completely different from our Ep. Though we have the same emotions like that in Growing Suspicions, but the emotions have gone a little aggressive. We as a band have evolved with our sound and songwriting, I won’t talk much about it and leave it completely to the listeners to figure out and see how they can connect to the new sound.
The album is being released by Russian label Flowers Blossom in the Space. How did the deal come about?
Uddipan: I have been in conversation with the CEO of the label from 2014. Sharing our old music and also scratches from the album. We have been planning things and waiting for the right moment to release the news. And I guess it is happening at the best time when we are releasing a full length album. Our meetings were on facebook and emails, to figure out things and plan ahead on how the band will grow. Yeah, that’s it, nothing fancy.
You are heading on a five show tour of Russia this week. How did it come about?
Uddipan: So we are releasing the album under the label Flower Blossom In The Space, which is from Russia. They are also a booking agency and have been doing lot of big instrumental, neo classical events worldwide. I have been in conversation with their CEO form quite a long time now, right after release of our EP Growing Suspicions. We have looked on the possibility of expanding aswekeepsearching’s reach and try to push the band as much as possible. The label has booked us for a tour on the album release. We will be going to Russia for 12 days and will be playing 5 shows. We will be supporting I Am Waiting For You Last Summer on their Album launch tour on 4 shows. All details in the poster attached.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? More tours?
Uddipan: We like being on roads. We are working on Indian dates, or it must been out by now. November we tour in India, then shoot our music video. December we might play couple of festivals. And then 2016 is in the planning. New music on the go always.
Listen to ‘What if_?’ below and pick up a copy of Khwaab from here