Anand Bhaskar Collective Launch Second Album ‘Excuse Me’
The Mumbai alt rock/fusion act talk about Hindi music, tour plans and their “heavy as fuck” new release
Mumbai guitarist Chandan Raina confidently declares we can quote him on this. “I’ve personally felt it wrong that the indie scene sings in English (sic). If you sing in Hindi, it can be heavy as fuck, but people will like it.”
Clearly Raina couldn’t care about what people think – he’s been part of one of India’s most promising Hindi rock bands, Anand Bhaskar Collective. Led by Bhaskar, the vocalist, who began putting together members and recorded his debut album Samsara in 2012, the band are currently on tour to promote their second album Excuse Me with multiple stops through January and February.
In between albums, they’ve gone from struggling to get gigs to becoming regulars on the circuit, juggling college pro-shows, club gigs and corporate events. Besides that, Raina and Bhaskar together also produce and compose advertising jingles; their work has featured in campaigns for brands such as Mahindra, OLX, TVS etc. Ask Raina if the advertising work has influenced them as songwriters and he says, “Not at all. Advertising projects have only influenced me in terms of production. I went into a fuckload of plugins when we worked on jingles. Although Anand and I did have arguments when we came across a part and I would say ‘This sounds jingle-y’.”
As far as Excuse Me is concerned, the band says it’s a more intense record, even though the first two releases — “Malhar” and “Faasle” – were more or less on the mellow ballad-y side. Raina adds, “Those aren’t a snapshot of the album.” Bhaskar explains that while “Malhar” was created out of filling up the setlist for their recording of Kerala music performance show Music Mojo, “Faasle” – made for a Yash Raj Films short titled Koi Dekh Lega last year – was originally presented as a rock ballad. Bhaskar adds, “Excuse Me is heavier from the sonic perspective, it has very breakdown-ish sections. This is the first time we’ve down-tuned our guitars.”
The nine-track album is mixed by Pune-based record engineer, videographer and guitarist Adhiraj Singh and mastered by New York-based mastering engineer Chris Allgood from The Lodge Mastering. Bhaskar reels off a list of artists who’ve worked with The Lodge, including pop artists such as Sia and Bjork as well as rockers Linkin Park and more.
Thematically, Bhaskar says the album got its name from the song “Excuse Me,” which talks about “the uselessness of politics and religion.” The vocalist-guitarist adds, “It’s a commonly used phrase when you want to make your point.” But the album also turns to other stories of gratitude (“Shukraguzaar”), perseverance (the feel-good “Sawaal”) and “Kaanha” a sequel to their song “Radhe” that’s follows the Krishna-Radha courtship from another perspective. Raina adds, “The song is Radha’s response to Krishna, where she says she’s got better things to do.”
Titling the album Excuse Me gave the band a way to tie the songs together with an overarching theme of opinions and perspectives. “By saying ‘excuse me’, you can make a statement, online or in person, and everyone can have an opinion.”
And that’s certainly how it’s gone for the band, where Bhaskar was originally making all the decisions when it came to songwriting. “Every tune we work on is a collaboration. I used to be completely fried when someone told me they didn’t like a part I wrote, but I’ve gotten to grow and get used to the feedback.” says the frontman.
Excuse Me tracklist
- “Excuse Me”
- “Meri Jaan”
Anand Bhaskar Collective Excuse Me Tour
January 10th – Antisocial, Mumbai w/The Mangesh Gandhi Project
January 12th – The Humming Tree, Bengaluru w/Jhanu
January 14th – The Other Side, Hyderabad w/The Experiment
January 18th – Antisocial, New Delhi