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Faridkot: Starship Enterprise

The Delhi-based pop rock band turn psychedelic on their second album

Anurag Tagat Mar 17, 2013
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Faridkot's current lineup: (L-R) Rajarshi Sanyal, IP Singh, Nikhil Rufus Raj and Sahil Mendiratta

Faridkot’s current lineup: (L-R) Rajarshi Sanyal, IP Singh, Nikhil Rufus Raj and Sahil Mendiratta

Faridkot have been dropping hints about their yet-to-be-titled second album due sometime in April or May this year, with a teaser titled “Project Udan Tashtari” [Hindi for unidentified flying object] and references about “astrosufi ” and the “galactic Hindi pop council.” Vocalist IP Singh says their new sound is influenced by the bigger things in life: “We stopped worrying about ‘What if my heart breaks?’ Let’s talk about the trees and the stars and the seas, and how we are one species.”

Sometimes, a breakup has a strange effect on human minds and Faridkot’s new phase maybe a result of just that. In July last year, Faridkot’s website broke the news of the band splitting up to fans. Bassist Gavin Pacheco and Akshay Raheja, in charge of samples and electronics besides being the manager of the Delhi pop band, not only left the band, but also posted that the band “now ceases to exist” on Faridkot’s Facebook page. Their older website continues to greet visitors with the message “Faridkot has been disbanded.” Frontman and vocalist IP Singh takes a while to reflect on this, before finally explaining, “I was out of the gigging scene for around 30 days [after Raheja and Pacheco left] and there was some misunderstanding, but we are chilled out now.” The new Faridkot fan page has about 2,000 fans and features the band’s groovy new avatar, complete with flower-power motifs, psychedelic band logos and gig footage of new songs such as “Bijli,” which features Singh rapping. “We could make an acoustic album, we could make a rap album, we can write anything,” says Singh.

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Six months on, Singh, guitarist Rajarshi Sanyal and drummer Sahil Mendiratta now form the core lineup of Faridkot. Their current sound does away with electronics. “With computers you can be totally in control, but they don’t have emotions involved,” says Mendiratta. Their first single “Laparwah” takes on a psychedelic edge. As evident from their set at India Bike Week in Goa last month, their live setup now has two backing vocalists, including Meg Dsouza and Sonam Gaychen Wangdi, bassist Nikhil Rufus Raj [from psychedelic rock band Indigo Children and progressive metal band Skyharbor] and guest guitarists including Indigo Children’s guitarist RN Jaidev.

Faridkot’s turn to psychedelic music is inspired by prog rock artists such as The Mars Volta, Puscifer, Tool and Rx Bandits. But Singh insists the change in sound is not just inspired by the music they listen to. “It’s because of the kind of stuff we were drinking, eating and smoking as well,” says Singh. “This [new material] is all about celebrations and partying, not sappy love songs,” says Sanyal, adding that the album may contain nine or 10 tracks. Sanyal suggests that the second album could turn out to be a concept album and Mendiratta adds that the band’s love for geometry might end up influencing the theme of the album. “It’s all about cool patterns through white space, which is kind of like our music.”

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This story appears in the March 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

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