Blushing Satellite Prep for New Album
The Bengaluru alternative group has recruited blues singer-songwriter
Mahesh Raghunandan on vocals for their upcoming full-length
Guitarist Ramanan Chandramouli doesn’t like talking over the phone, so when I meet him in a quiet lane next to Bengaluru’s bustling venue space The Humming Tree in Indiranagar, he talks like an enlightened hippie who’s also a seasoned musician. He’s played in rock bands such as The Bicycle Days, Mad Orange Fireworks and Alexis. In May last year, he teamed up with The Bicycle Days’ vocalist Karthik Basker for Blushing Satellite. Chandramouli says, “The primary focus behind the music is healing. Of late, I’ve been dwelling a lot into cymatics and the whole concept of how everything is sound. Even your human body—it’s like an orchestra.”
While their 2015 debut self-titled EP was the kind of mind-bending sonic journeys you expect from experimental Bengaluru bands, there’s a lot of change coming up with a full-length album, due this month. For starters, Basker left the band in July. Chandramouli says despite being the co-founder and very much on the same page with him about the music’s philosophy, Basker didn’t like the entertainment aspect of playing to chatterbox club audiences.
The band’s new lineup now includes singer-songwriter Mahesh Raghunandan and keyboardist Srijayanth Sridhar [who jammed with Chandramouli in Alexis]. What this means is that despite recording drums, guitars and bass [with bassist-producer Leslie Charles, from rock veterans Thermal and a Quarter], the vocals and ambient portions on the album will undergo a complete change. Raghunandan says, “It’s also an inverted experience for me as a songwriter. Everything is much more solid, but I’ve been given the freedom to write whatever I want.”
Unlike his personal work that dwells in angst driven by relationships and the like, the vocalist is staying a little more abstract with his lyrics for Blushing Satellite. He adds, “I guess it’s the sonic environment I’m in. It gets into a trance feel at times.” Chandramouli reels off everyone from The Beatles to alt band Radiohead to Australian prog band Karnivool as major influences for his songwriting, as well as jazz, funk, R&B and African music. “There’s something primal about it. I listen to it—and I can’t dance—but it’s impossible to listen to it and not move. Something inside my body is saying, ‘Dude, you’re being weird if you can’t move to this’,” he says.
Songs like “Dream” are sonic interpretations of what a reverie is like, while its counterpart “Nightmare” gets fittingly dissonant. He adds, “I like music that takes you on a journey. It’s not a formula, it’s a breathing, living entity. You can just close your eyes and let it mean
whatever it wants to mean to you.”