In The Studio: The Fanculos Turn Alibaug Farmhouse Into Recording Space for New Album
The Mumbai ska/reggae/funk band go old-school for their full-length debut record
Our conversation with musician Ramon Ibrahim on the phone is not the smoothest—thanks to the sketchy network, it is punctuated with incessant lags and call drops. The frontman of Mumbai ska/reggae/funk band The Fanculos is speaking from a farmhouse tucked away somewhere in the coastal town of Alibaug in the outskirts of Mumbai. He arrived there the night before with his bandmates to camp in, set up a makeshift recording space there and track their debut album.
But turns out building a temporary studio in an idyllic bungalow is not as romantic as it rounds. “[It was] like a racing driver arriving at the race and finding out that he has to assemble his car before he can race it,” jokes Ibrahim.
Besides Ibrahim, The Fanculos features drummer Jehangir Jehangir, saxophonist Ryan Sadri, bassist Saurabh Suman and guitarist Apurv Isaac.
The band had initially planned on recording their new record at drummer-producer Jehangir’s Cotton Press Studio in Mumbai, but since the facility is in the process of relocating to Bandra, they didn’t want to wait till it was fully functional again. “This meant that he [Jehangir] had lots of state-of-the-art recording equipment lying around at his house waiting to be moved to the new studio. Ryan has a farmhouse that was going to be available around now and JJ suggested the idea.” He adds, “I got an instant feels-right feeling about it and said that we should definitely make this work.” The next thing they knew, the band was moving the gear to Alibaug.
Ever since The Fanculos released their debut EP Gangsta TV in October last year, they’ve been on an upward trajectory. The band performed a series of gigs in the country as well as bagged festival slots at Echoes of Earth in Bengaluru, Goa Sunsplash and last month’s Vh1 Supersonic in Pune. Ibrahim says they’ve also been receiving love from fans outside of India. “There is a huge ska scene in Latin America and we’ve been featured on a couple of cool playlists,” he informs.
For now, The Fanculos are focusing on getting everything right acoustically at the serene Friendship Farm. They plan to record 12 songs, out of which 8 or 9 tracks will make it to the album, which is due around July/August. Says Ibrahim, “Our main challenge–as it was with the EP–is to keep the album sounding very honest, real and live but also ‘radio friendly.’”
While Ibrahim produced Gangsta TV entirely on his own, on the upcoming album, Jehangir will join him as producer and work on some of the songs. “He has great production chops,” says Ibrahim. Ask him if recording the old-school way has been beneficial creatively and he says, “Yes, I think where you physically are definitely has a huge effect on your immediate state of mind. I really hope it comes out in the music.”
Watch a snippet of The Fanculos recording at Alibaug below: