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The Contortionist Plot New EP Following India Debut

The American prog band will play a headline set at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune this week

Anurag Tagat Dec 06, 2018

American band The Contortionist make their India debut this week. Photo: Gobinder Jhitta

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Just ahead of jumping on his first flight to India, American prog band The Contortionist’s vocalist Michael Lessard is talking to us from the airport about their long-anticipated debut in the country. On December 7th, the critically acclaimed band ”“ who released their latest album Clairvoyant last year ”“ will play a headline set at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune.

Lessard says, “It’s amazing to finally get the chance to come. We’ve known about this for quite a while now and now that the time’s finally approaching, it seems pretty surreal. India is always a place we’ve pushed for, for the many fans. Now that we finally get the opportunity to come, we’re very thankful for it.”

The Contortionist began earning a global following ”“ including India ”“ after the release of 2014’s Language, which detailed a technical but breathtaking, emotive sound. Clairvoyant, which came three years later, delved in subtlety while amping up poignant songwriting. Lessard told Rolling Stone India in an earlier interview in 2017, “The band was pretty well-known for having these pretty, uplifting, atmospheric moments and obviously being very crushing as well. But I feel like a territory the band hadn’t crept into too much was the darker tones, the creepier vibes.”

In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone India, Lessard talks about coming to India, recaps his favorites from 2018, plans for a new EP in 2019 and more.

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Are you going to have some downtime while you’re here?

We only have a few days in India. We don’t get too much time to look around but we’re going to adventure as much as we can and take in as much of the culture as possible. Really, it depends on the location of the hotel and what’s around and available for us to soak in.

In terms of a Contortionist show in this part of the world, what has your experience been like coming to new territories?

We’re lucky in that usually when we come to a new area, the crowds are very receptive. We’re hoping that this will be no different, so we look forward to a good show and hopefully the crowd enjoys.

To someone not in the know, how would you describe a Contortionist live performance?

The best way I can describe it would be a rollercoaster of sound, flashing lights and emotion.

In the year since the release of Clairvoyant, what has it been like taking it on the road, especially when you play it to newer audiences?

Clairvoyant has been the most satisfying of all our albums to take to the road because we worked so hard on it. So far it’s been the best received album we’ve taken on the road and it’s really been a testament to how much work we put into it and it seems to show in how the crowds receive it.

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What else is coming up through 2019?

The only thing we have planned at the moment and that we keep talking about is that we’ll be releasing a new EP with a handful of songs we’ve recorded. We’re very excited for people to hear that.


Michael Lessard’s 2018 in review:

Favorite song and/or album?

I think it would be Anderson.Paak’s Oxnard.

Favorite Contortionist show/performance?

It was probably the last one we played in Chicago (on December 2nd). It’s mainly because it was our last show as a headliner and it was a tour we worked very, very hard on and it was kind of a good moment of validation and great way to wrap many months of hard work.

Least favorite thing about the world in 2018?

I don’t know if I can call one of my least favorite things, because I don’t want to push negative things, so I’m going to say one of my favorite things of 2018 was getting a chance to go to a new country and meet new people and create new fans, and continue to grow The Contortionist.

Favorite film?

It was probably Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I thought it was a very interesting movie and I felt the message was very inspiring.


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