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When Chai Met Toast: ‘We Want People to Listen to Happy Music’

The Kochi folk-rock band on their cheerful debut EP, music influences and future plans

David Britto Mar 09, 2017
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WCMT6_Photo_Jaffer Zadique

When Chai Met Toast. Photo: Jaffer Zadique

A short and sweet jam was all it took for Kochi musicians Ashwin Gopakumar and Achyuth Jaigopal to start a band. The musicians met for the first time in 2015 at Springr, a city-based music and art studio, back when Jaigopal (who plays the guitar and the banjo) was working on his solo material. “We jammed on top of his solo material and that’s how When Chai Met Toast happened,” says Gopakumar.

After a year of playing gigs around the country, the indie/acoustic band, which also features keyboardist Palee Francis and drummer Pai Sailesh, released their debut single “Firefly” in June last year. The cheerful bilingual song pretty much sums up When Chai Met Toast’s music philosophy: “We want people to listen to a lot of happy music,” declares Gopakumar. And if their recently released three-track debut EP Joy Of Little Things is anything to go by, they’re doing a good job of spreading the sunshine.

The three-track EP opens with the tinkling title track which celebrates everything from a good cup of tea to the comfort of one’s home ( “Because Achyuth and I were both away from home for a while and we missed it a lot,” says Gopakumar). “Firefly” is the next track, which is followed by “Beautiful World,” a buoyant ode to travel and wanderlust. The four-piece band draw influence from a variety of contemporary artists, ranging from British neo-folker Mumford & Sons and American folk band The Lumineers to Bollywood and Malyalam folk. “The inspiration comes from a lot of places. The acoustic sound came to be because Achyuth is an amazing finger-style guitarist,” says Gopakumar.

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Joy Of Little Things was recorded at Kochi’s Noise Head Quarters Studio and produced by Vivek Thomas, the vocalist of the city-based rock veterans Motherjane. It was mastered by American engineer Mike Kalajian of Rogue Planet Mastering.

For the past few months, WCMT have been regularly gigging across the country, with festival slots at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune last December as well as Taalbelia Festival held in Rajasthan in January.  The band also has three new singles in the works–“Fight,” “Let It Go” and “Who Are You”–which they plan to release in the coming months, along with videos for each song. A tour is also in the pipeline for later this year. As of now, WCMT want to get their music out for more people to listen to. Says Gopakumar, “We love what we’re doing.”  

Buy the EP on OK Listen.

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