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The Hot List 2017: Parekh & Singh (Pop-Rock Band)

The duo are sealing their place as India’s biggest, youngest music export to the world

Anurag Tagat Dec 27, 2017

Parekh & Singh are among the first recognizable names in alternative music from India. Photo: Parizad D

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When an indie label based out of the U.K. fully trusts two musicians in Kolkata, any thing can happen. Peacefrog Records, who’ve given Nischay Parekh and Jivraj Singh a global push and helped mold a new identity, pretty much never met the musicians they were giving money to for their now-famous super aesthetic videos for “Ghost” and “I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll.”

With both videos collectively garnering over two million views, Parekh & Singh (who were originally working under just Nischay’s full name until they signed to Peacefrog in 2016) are now among the first recognizable names in alternative music from India. Parekh said in an earlier interview, “I don’t know a lot of labels that pay for music videos at this stage—we’re not signed to Sony or Warner—it’s still an independent label and not corporate in that sense. It was a leap of faith.”


“We don’t have to do anything; the music is there.”


Of course, when Ocean was originally self-released in 2013, it was still one of the best Indian indie releases that year—for its unmatchable pop hooks and occasional detours into the weird and wondrous neopsychedelic zone. For anyone who had been following the duo since the first album, their global success was just the best opportunity to cheer on a group they knew deserved it. But after their debut U.K. tour and a total shift in management, Parekh & Singh knew they’d be filling up venues in India as well. The elasticity and space for improv in their songs—both old and new—means that every Parekh & Singh set can sound at least slightly different. “With me and Jivraj, it’s like building blocks, it’s like Ikea.”

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Most recently, the duo played a very special set at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House, alongside a pianist (Rohan Rajadhyaksha from alt rockers Spud in the Box) and a string quartet. Any fan would know this was probably a true realization of what Parekh once called The Ocean Orchestra when they were promoting their first album. But in addition to videos smashing the million-barrier, the duo have been teasing new material, possibly for their own sake, considering Ocean has been promoted (and re-promoted) for over four years now.

The funniest part was, the Peacefrog deal came along just as the duo were ready to launch their second album // (Forward Slash) in 2016. While you can hear the moody, existentialist tone on unreleased songs such as “Evening Sun,” “Surgeon” and “One Hundred Shadows,” there’s also a bit of playful pop on songs like “Hello.” It remains future-leaning with all its blips and asymmetrical drum patterns, so all that’s left is for a studio version to be out sometime next year. Parekh says, “We don’t have to do anything; the music is there. It’s weird, it’s like an oxymoron. We don’t have to spend time making music.”

Watch the video for Parekh & Singh’s “Ghost” below:

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