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Gods Robots Shine On

Duo ready their first EP as precursor to album release later in the year

Margot Bigg Mar 11, 2011
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Shweta Chanda

When Shridevi Keshavan (aka Taamara) and Janaka Atugoda (aka Janaka Selekta) first came together to form their electronic act Gods Robots, the two had never met in person. In fact, the duo worked together for nearly half a year – Janaka, from San Francisco and Taamara from Mumbai – before finally meeting face-to-face in India last winter, where they spent a few short weeks tirelessly touring and working on music. “It was a great experience to finally work in the same space,” say Janaka.  “We sort of understood the work progression in terms of bouncing off ideas and actually being able to finish a song without being glued to the internet.” Taamara echoes this sentiment. “The whole build up to meeting in person and making music was something we were both looking forward to,” she notes. “A lot of things changed post the first meeting….we actually wrote songs together rather than bouncing ideas off emails and over Skype.”

However, while their in-person meeting was certainly a big turning-point for Gods Robots, the fact remained that they were still based on opposite sides of the planet. Janaka eventually had to head back to his California home, but this didn’t stop Gods Robots from continuing to refine their sound, virtually. One year and innumerable emails, Skype conversations, and file transfers later, and the pair are now ready to release their first EP, Shine. The EP features four of Gods Robots’ most popular tracks, including the highly acclaimed Stay, and promises to give fans and new listeners alike a taste of what Gods Robots is all about before their full-length album is released later in the year.

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The tracks on Shine seamlessly blend Taamara’s mesmeric English and Hindi lyrics with Janaka’s signature mash-up of bass, breaks, and classical Indian strings to create a unique sound that, in many ways, feels perfectly suited to an era where continents are crossed and boundaries transgressed at the simple click of a button. The two will also put out a remix of the EP, featuring remixes from Cheb I Sabbah and Asian Dub Foundation founding member Dr Das, among others.

They also plan to shoot three music videos before the year’s end, an ambitious feat considering the duo still lives on opposite sides of the planet. Stay will be the first of their tracks to be explored through a video, and the pair plan to use the platform to illustrate their transcontinental story. “When we thought about shooting the video, we had a concept that stemmed from our story of working together across continents,” says Taamara. “Interestingly, the brilliant ad-film director Anirudh Sharma who has directed our video had a similar concept which he wanted to work on six years ago but somehow ended up not happening. So this was a strange and beautiful coincidence that creatively we were all on the same page right from day one.”

Although most of Gods Robots’ work has happened in the virtual realms, the synergy between the pair is most evident at their live shows. Gods Robots will tour India this month, performing a mix of vocalist/DJ collaborations and live performances of their album. They plan to incorporate new tools into their performances, including the Novation Launchpad, an Ableton Live controller that allows for live voice dubbing and effects.  And while it’s only natural that technological innovation would play an important role in any Gods Robots performance, there’s an equally human appeal to their upcoming shows, which is undoubtedly refreshing for artists whose primary interaction with their fan base is online.  As Taamara puts it: “we get to tell our audiences the stories face to face.”

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