BLEK: ‘Recording the New EP Was a Brutal Education’
Mumbai alt rockers on finding their groove back after five years on ‘Break The Beat’
After the release of their debut EP Hexes + Drama and Other Reasons For Evacuation in 2012, Mumbai alt rockers BLEK laid low for a while. Frontman Rishi Bradoo went on to study music and production at Alchemea College in London in 2014 while bassist Jared Creado too pursued a course in production, at True School of Music in Mumbai between 2014 and 2015. The alt rockers are finally ending the dry spell with Break The Beat, their new four-track EP. The record also marks the first time their drummer Linford D’souza (who joined in 2013) has hit the studio with bandmates.
Break The Beat was recorded at Bradoo’s home studio, Theatre 74, all through last year. “Although the recording process was pretty straight-forward, it required finding that muscle memory again because we hadn’t worked with each other in such a long time,” says the vocalist/guitarist. After the band had finished recording the tracks and were about to start the mix, Bradoo recounts how they got second thoughts about their takes all over again. He says, “We were just unhappy and started recording and re-recording. At one point, I think Linford wanted to stab me with his drum sticks. It was a good brutal education!”
All four songs on Break The Beat retain the trio’s signature sound: Bradoo’s no-nonsense vocals on a bed of resilient grooves and feisty guitars. Apart from “Dance With Wolves,” which the band has previously performed at gigs, the rest of the tracks on the record are all fresh material. During the initial production stage, the alt rock trio was helped by Mumbai-based producer Ayan De. The record was then mixed and mastered by Abhishek Ghatak.
BLEK released the EP this January in a piecemeal fashion, releasing one track at a time. “Since each song has its own unique space, we wanted to bring it to focus individually,” says Bradoo. The band worked closely with Pune-based visual artist Nishlesh Patil to design the artwork for the record. Patil did more than just that–the designer went onto create four different illustrations for each song, sneaking in some dark humor along the way. The artwork for “Composure” depicts the body of a person with an ice-cream cone as a head, holding a tiny human doll. For the song “Dance With Wolves,” Patil showcases a smartly dressed wolf, wearing a pair of sunglasses and smoking a cigarette. The EP artwork itself captures an astronaut lounging in a bath tub. “Nishlesh took every song in a different direction,” says Bradoo. BLEK are currently working on putting together a launch gig. The band are also working on a crowdfunded animated music video for their song “Wasting Away” with Patil. The campaign is set to launch on Wishberry, which has previously hosted the likes of Bengaluru psychedelic rock band Parvaaz, Mumbai electronica artist Sandunes and Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Tejas Menon.
Listen to ‘Break The Beat’ below: