Taking a cue from our Friday staple of Homegrown Playlists—featuring interesting personalities’ moment-specific soundtracks of choice—our community playlists come from a far more holistic space. Rather than purely focus on individuals, we thought it would be interesting to see what creative communities as a whole were listening to. So whether it’s music labels, advertising agencies, small startups or entire bands, we decided to pick their musical brain and get every person who makes up their world to give us one (or more) track they’re listening to right now.
For this 2nd edition in this series (check out our 1st edition with UnMute Agency here) we got indie music’s ultimate mavericks--Shaa’ir & Func—to let us in on a theme of sorts. To list their accomplishments might seem gaudy but it’s a necessary first step towards recognising both the subliminal and overt imprint they have, and continue to leave behind, on the deeply contextualised nature of the independent Indian music scenario. Nine years of music making and rule-breaking courtesy the Monica Dogra X Randolph Correia duet, has left hoards of Indian fans with 4 albums--New Day in 2007, Light Tribe in 2008, Mantis in 2010, and Re:cover earlier this year was a compilation of reworked tunes from the previous three. Considering they’re scheduled to release their 4th original compositions album ‘Align’ this Monday, December 8, our timing was a pre-meditated event. In lieu of the big release, we thought it might be more interesting to see them to synchronize their favourite S &F tunes thus far, with the special moments in their conjoined career’s trajectory that they have a particularly deep connect with. No self-indulgence here, just a nostalgic warmth that lends a feeling of being on the brink of something completely new.
Scroll on the navigate the musical maps of their world.
I. Monica Dogra (Vocalist/ Songwriter)
“Though I hate to choose favourites and view all my songs as my “babies”, this particular one is a cathartic experience for me to sing every single time. I guess I wrote it for myself at a juncture, and I come across these junctures a lot, when I’m feeling exhausted and wishing things would move faster than they are or be better than they are. I remind myself that I am ‘made of stardust from the sky... undisrupted all that’s left is shine.’”
“It was our first “hit” and remains one that I know moves people to lean into each other and sway with their heads tilted back. It was co-written by our friend, Arijit Datta (airport) and demarcated the inception of what is now Shaa’ir and Func. Back then we had no idea how far we’d go. It was all for love... And it should always remain that way.”
[Live at Ziro Festival 2013]
C. It’s Probably That
“I am a big fan of spoken word, as we all know. I remember sitting on the steps of some chapel on the corner of Washington square park in NYC before I made the rash decision to pick up my penniless self, leave my job, my friends and my family, to move to Bombay where I had effectively, absolutely no future plan, and writing the lyrics that precede this song. ‘The city’s got a beat, I can feel it in my feet, as I try and climb higher and reach that unlimited area of unfinished business where I may tire before I retire.’ Still when I sing this song, I go right back to that moment, when that inner me burned with certainty and courage. It’s rare but it’s good when you’re that in tune.”
II. Randolph Correia (Producer/ Songwriter/ Guitarist)
A. Parles and Chai
“It’s the casual, simplistic, yet fierce belief in who we are as Shaair + func in a song. It’s from our first album. It’s the sound of how Monica and I met In a late night jam environment. Also its one of the few gems that has Monica producing her first ideas and refreshing cause I get bored easily with my own beats. It’s beautifully Indian with no pretence, with the truth in your face like a good cup of chai.”
B. Together Again
“I remember writing this in the 47th floor apt Monica and I rented in NYC, which was special. That city influenced a weird kind of disco back in 2007. Monica’s vocals and rhyme on this one will haunt me forever. I could keep making countless disco versions of this song my entire life. People started looking at us as a dance band when we put this out so I love playing it live especially when the band comes together after month long breaks.”
“I don’t know why but this is the only production I am satisfied with till date. I’m a fussy fart. It’s also extremely unique and sexy, and I could sleep inside it whenever I am in need of some space and love. It’s one where we push the boundaries and kill all expectations of what one expects snf to sound like. The lyrics are to the point and I feel good about the fact that I’m an artist, a human being and a guitar player whenever I hear this tune.”
III. Rohit Pereira AKA P-Man (Bassist)
A. Love Love Love
“It was an open mic night, I wasn’t part of the band then, 2008. I doubt Monica even knew me then. This was at Zenzi bandra, Mon was hosting the open mic night and I got on to do the S+F song ‘Love Love Love’ and mid way through the song I forgot the lyrics and mashed up ‘Fever’ with some made-up lyrics to save my ass. Cut to a year later, and I’m on stage with S+F playing that song. Always will be special the 3 Loves wala song.”
“I loved this song the moment I heard it. Beautiful melody and lovely lyrics. I love each and every line in that song, it somehow connects with me on many levels. So much so that I have a line from the song tattooed on me!”
C. Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven & Hard To Forget
“I can’t choose between these two for my favourite song to play live. Intense energy, crazy vibes and just an absolute joy to play them on stage!”
IV. Aditya Ashok (Drummer)
“This is the first S+F song that I fell in love with. I heard it when I was about 18 and I was part of the audience during an S+F set. Getting to play it with them now is quite amazing when I think about it.”
B. Hard To Forget
“This is my favourite song in the set to play live. It’s super high energy and I can have a great time just beating the shit out of my cymbals on this one.”
C. Everytime You’re Around (Medley version)
“This is the third song in the 35 minute medley that we’ve been playing for about a year now. It’s got a four to the floor groove with a lot of reggae-style drumming thrown in. I get to be quite experimental in this one so it’s always a lot of fun.”
Shaa’ir + Func’s New Album releases this Monday. Watch this space to get your hands on it first!
Feature Image Credit: Aneev Rao [Exclusive For Rolling Stone Magazine, India]