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Delhi Experimental Rock Band Begum Release Debut Album ‘Bagh’

The band, which features members from Peter Cat Recording Co., are plotting an album release tour later this year

Rolling Stone India Aug 27, 2014
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Begum. Photo: Saptarishi Sanyal

Begum – (from left) Kartik S Pillai, Karan Singh, Kshitij Dhyani. Photo: Saptarishi Sanyal

Last month, Delhi experimental rock band Begum stumped us with their song “Chinbien,” the second song released from their debut full-length album Bagh. Not only was it mind-bending with its layered guitar work, but no one really understood the song title. Vocalist-guitarist Kartik S Pillai takes a shot at explaining the meaning of the word “Chinbien,” saying, “I guess it means good chin, partly in French.”

Pillai formed Begum in 2013 with drummer Karan Singh [who are both part of Delhi psychedelic rock band Peter Cat Recording Co] and bassist Kshitij Dhyani, a longtime friend. Says Pillai, “Kshitij and I have been writing songs since 2008, but when we finally sat in on a few jams, it just kinda happened.” Although both PCRC and Begum play psychedelic rock, Pillai says the process of ideating songs with each band is different. “With Begum, it’s everything that happens in the moment.” The seven-minute jam “Imposter” is one such off-the-cuff track on Bagh. Says Pillai of the song, “That was not a planned song and neither was it planned on making it seven minutes.”

To capture the spontaneity of their jams the band recorded Bagh in one take at Pillai’s home studio in Hauz Khas. Says Pillai, “What you hear on the album is a product of whatever happens in the jam room.” Although a tour for the album release is slated to take place towards the end of October, Pillai mentions that a listening party might take place earlier. In addition to gigs, Begum is also working on another music video ”“ for the song “Marry Me.” Says Pillai about the video, “It’s edited by my brother ”“ Sachin Pillai ”“ and it was shot by me, Suryakant [Sawhney, from PCRC] and Karan. We shot it in Pushkar, just to document the trip.”

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Listen to Bagh below

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