Bangalore based folk-rock band Swarathma, takes stage at Hard Rock Café today. Their newly-minted album, Topiwalleh, has been doing the rounds for a few weeks now, and though we’ve heard some of the new tracks being performed live, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the album. Spectacular production, we must say.
We spoke to Jishnu Dasgupta, bassist for the band, about the album, its songs and what’s next.
TTS: The tone of the new album has changed quite a bit from the last one. It’s heavier, more political and societal. The album artwork suggests so as well. What led the band to write in this direction?
JD: It wasn’t a conscious decision on our part to explore a set theme. We’ve been writing material for this album for the last two-three years now and it’s a progression in terms of our thoughts and beliefs as a group. The lyrics, indeed, a bit serious and a reflection of our generation as part of our personal and public lives. The music style hasn’t changed. It’s still fun.
TTS: You’ve been performing some of these songs like Yeshu Allah aur Krishna and Koorane at gigs for a while. Now with the album out, is there any change in performances keeping in mind the direction of this album?
JD: There isn’t going to be transformation as such. You’ll have the regular fun and interaction that we do. After all, the gig’s as good as how much the audience enjoys it. We’ll leave the meaning of the songs for later when they’re listening to the album on their own.
TTS: You’ve worked with Shubha Mudgal earlier for Pyaasi’s video. And now your collaboration with her for Dewarists has found its way on the record. Are you working on any new collaborations?
JD: It’s funny that you ask. We just got out of a rehearsal with Indian Ocean for our Yamunotsav gig on 1st June in Delhi. We’ll be playing some of their songs and vice versa.
TTS: Do you plan to write new material as well?
JD: As of now, no. To co-write something, both the parties need to be on a similar level of understanding. The option to do something like that is always open.
TTS: Naane Daari is the only song on the album which is completely in Kannada. What’s it about?
JD: The title means I’m the way or I’m my way. The song’s about believing in yourself and if you do that, no matter what your age is, you’re always young. It’s the feeling, the thought that counts at the end.
TTS: And, do tell us what Koorane means.
JD: It’s an interesting story, and a rather by chance one. In the middle of the album’s writing process, the band took off to Mysore for a few days to do a writing workshop together. Koorane, Rishton ka Raasta and Mukhote were born during that time. For the workshop, we had requested folk artiste Devanand Varaparasad, who plays a percussion instrument called the tamte, to join us. He sang us a tune that the South Indian-tribe Jenu Kurubas sing when out hunting a rare animal called the Koorane. In our song, we’ve adapted the name of the animal to represent the common man in the age of consumerism and how the corporates are out to hunt for our souls.
TTS: We heard you took a fan along with you on a tour?
JD: Yes! It was through a competition. He joined us on the bus for the tour and we’re glad he did. Was fun! We figured it’d be nice to give something back to the fans. We’re doing some more giveaways – a hand-painted acoustic guitar and a few headphones.
Venue: Hard Rock Café, Mundhwa Road, Koregaon Park
Date & Time: 31st May 2012, 8.30pm onwards
Entry: Rs. 400