sbcltr spoke to the contemporary folk band about their recently released music and their process

They are the fresh faces on the contemporary world music scene, their sound a reflection of their Gujarati roots perfectly blended with contemporary arrangements of jazz and poetry. Their eponymous debut album last year focused more on musical tones than a specific genre, its nine songs transition smoothly. At the bottom of it all, The Tapi Project is all about sufi existentialism. Currently on a three month tour across Europe and UK, they took time out to speak to sbcltr about their new music video, Paigam and how they hope partnering with Songdew can help them be seen more in India.

What the reasons behind your name? Does nature play an important role in shaping your personalities and the band?
Tapi is the river that flows through our city, Surat. Our music is inspired by nature and the importance of nature, kindness and love J

Tell us about your band
Tapi is the meeting of four people from different thought processes and work towards a common goal. Swati’s major vocal influences are jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and contemporaries like Bjork, Anand comes from background of U2 and Dire Straits, Gaurav loves Snarky Puppy, Pink Floyd, Yogi is a big Radiohead fan.

We’ve been in the scene for almost 8 years now (Anand, Gaurav and Yogi) We had a band called Odyssey and we even released an album which did fairly well considering the fact that we were from a completely non-musical city (in terms of underground music). But it was on an artist residency abroad in 2013 that Yogi, (guitarist, lyricist and founder) realised the importance of bringing Indian influences into the music. Something that kind of comes naturally to us all. So he met up with Swati, whose voice was exactly what he hoped for while thinking of this new project. We composed in our rooms and it all just blended in. It was never about becoming rich or getting popular, it was always about the chance to perform our own music. We eventually started recording an album in Delhi and after its debut last year, started touring—more outside, than in India.

And why is that?
That’s because even the independent scene in India has a commercial element to it. There is no consistency in audience and alternative contemporary is a super niche segment. To make it big in this and get a consistent fan base, one just has to depend on luck. Take for instance, The Raghu Dixit Project, even they made it big abroad before they developed a space for themselves back home. This is because people abroad are more open to new music, the space for world, alternative contemporary is huge, it is already an established market.

What genre would you like to fit your album?
I think we would like to call ourselves Urban Folk, we sing songs from our hearts and about life around us.

Your major music influences
Life and its ups and downs and colours.

Tell us more about your song writing process. Any specific reasons to choose Hindi Lyrics?

Hindi came naturally while yogi was on his artist residency in France. Generally music and lyrics comes together and then one idea becomes a song.

The video of the song Paigam is very cinematic. Did you guys direct it yourself, how was the experience?
Yogi directed the video, he is a filmmaker too. Jaydeep, our friend did the cinematography, We shot it at the surando player Osmanbhai’s place. It was one of the best experience during the album.

You have used specific Indian instruments in the music, how did you decide these were the instruments you wanted to play with?
It just came naturally, we keep meeting different people and they fit into songs.

Artists you wish to collaborate with in India
Indian Ocean, Vinayak Pol, Osmnanbhai, Julien Moretto, Dhruv Bedi the sitar player.

You have played extensively in India and abroad. What was your favourite gig and any specific memory you wish to share with your fans?
The best gigs were in Hong Kong, The Comix Base and The Wanch in Hong Kong, for the kind of audience and support we got even if they did not understand the language.

What are your views on the current indie music scene in India? Do you think the future of indie music in India lies in music being more vernacular?
We think the future lies in being honest. The language won’t matter if you express yourself as who you are truly.

How was the experience of working with Songdew over the project?
Songdew is an initiative that isn’t really seen in the Indian independent music scene and we are happy to be working with them. Without naming names, we’ll tell you that we were signed with someone else, someone we had paid money to help us and they did nothing. Songdew has a plan and they follow it up with their promotions etc. It’s a difficult platform to find in India because most of the music is still Bollywood, we would call it a tremendous initiative.

You can listen to the complete album here.

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