We are in the midst of a crisis, but we are doing everything possible to alleviate some of its consequences. Whilst being in quarantine, many people have fallen prey to various kinds of mental discomfort such anxiety, a deep sense of isolation, and the disconcertedness attached to being alienated from the world itself. The predicament has led many of us to ask a very pertinent question, that being, “How do we spend the days in isolation without losing our peace of mind?” And this is where art comes to your rescue. Many artists would vouch for the same.
If it is any help for your quarantine blues, Whale in the Pond, an indie-folk band from Kolkata has recently released their new album, Dofon, which ideates different ways of ushering in the imminent apocalypse, a narrative circulating in the global imagination for quite some time now. The apocalypse might be climate change, impending nuclear warfare, communal riots in our own country, etc. It is a concept album comprising six songs, that was conceptualised before the pandemic broke. Now, it seems more relevant than ever.
I. What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career & why?
Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz, and countless other projects. The way he jumps from one genre to another and the fact that he never stops producing music, is amazing. I’ve been exposed to a lot of different artists and styles because of him, something I would like to explore myself.
II. How have you been keeping yourself busy during the quarantine?
I live with my cat, Sufjan, and we’ve been isolating for over 50 days now. It was difficult in the beginning, but we have settled into a rhythm now. We both check up on each other in times of need. That is a lot of heavy emotional labour expected from a cat, but she manages it. In terms of music, we made the video for our song Kite/Loon while being stuck at home. 11 amazing animators made looping gifs that showed different snapshots in the video. We’ve also been making some of those splitscreen song covers to keep ourselves busy. I’m also working on some solo stuff. It helps that we’ve always been bedroom musicians. We can keep making music at home.
III. How has your work been affected due to the pandemic?
We were supposed to embark on our first tour outside Kolkata. We were going to tour Delhi in mid-April. That got cancelled obviously. Hopefully, we can try again after things settle down. Other than that, we haven’t had a gig in two months, so a bit of income that we normally get isn’t coming in. We’re extremely happy that we managed to finish the album before the pandemic took over. What we can do now is promote it as much as we can while stranded at home. And hopefully make some new songs.
IV. Have you considered that this could be the beginning of a ‘new normal’? Do you have any plans regarding what you’d do after the lockdown is lifted?
It will get over soon. It has to. The new normal would be increased attention to hygiene which can only be a good thing. Once the lockdown is over and things settle down a bit, we’d like to retreat into the mountains for a week to just band together again. And hopefully come back and plan tours around the country.
V. Are there any Indian contemporaries of yours whose work you admire? (please share Instagram handles)
Rivu and Diptanshu Roy both have features on our album. Absolutely magical musicians. The eleven animators who worked on Kite/Loon, who managed to turn a vague concept into something beautiful: @tokjhaalmishti, @p.ivari, @obontrixx, @amoebak.co, @spentaculous.art, @ayyrjun, @swappy_animates_sometimes, @sen.and.i, @stan.um, @such_an_art and @s.o.u.r.i.s.h We love Anoop Bhatt’s work in the indie scene. That cover and sleeve for Diarchy’s new album is insane. And we love Aswekeepsearching, Parekh and Singh, Aditi Ramesh, Komorebi, Mali. Too many musicians to count.
VI. Which is your favourite piece of work of your own & why?
Dofon, the song. It forms the backbone of the entire album. I don’t normally get emotional over my own songs, but considering the amount of work that went into it, the moment I had heard Dolinman’s mandolin on one of the earlier drafts, it almost brought me to tears. We managed to get the feel we wanted with the song and it’s heartbreaking. The fact that it was supposed to be a four-minute song but we decided to keep Dolinman’s extended solo which makes it seven minutes should tell you how moved we were. Proudest moment.
VII. One track you’re currently listening to?
Recently watched Pablo Larrain’s Ema. The soundtrack by Nicolas Jaar has been on my mind ever since. Can’t find it online anywhere.
VIII. Your favourite midnight munchies?
Lay’s Magic Masala is a classic.
IX. Your greatest vice?
Binging on things with a lot of sugar.
You can check out their new album here.
You can check out their Instagram here.
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