Exclusive Stream: Bengaluru Band T.ill APES’ Boisterous Debut ‘Scissor Salad’
Fusing funk, jazz, hip-hop and the big band sound, producer and founder Amrith Raghunathan talks about their upcoming debut EP ‘Lift Off’
Comprising instrumentalists who otherwise hammer it out in metal bands, a formidable rising name in Indian hip-hop and a producing ace to tie it all together, Bengaluru neo-soul band T.ill APES (Till All People Evolve Slightly) bring the party straight up on their debut studio single “Scissor Salad.”
Producer Doc.Awes aka Amrith Raghunathan spent two years studying sound engineering at Melbourne’s SAE Institute and returned back home to Bengaluru in 2017. High on his priority was putting together a neo-soul/hip-hop collective. “The idea was to find musicians and artists that I could produce and work with on both my own and their music,” he says. By 2018, he had bassist-guitarist and vocalist Soorya Praveen (part of metal band Tangents and mathcore band Haiku-Like Imagination), drummer Sange Wangchuk (from experimental tech-metallers All Seeing Eye), keyboardist Philip John and rapper HanuMankind. Raghunathan handles synth, guitar and bass duties on occasion and the latest addition is saxophonist Gautam David.
Releasing two live performance videos so far – “World Domination” and “Tribute to the Illest” – T.ill APES has performed in Bengaluru on the regular and brought what Raghunathan calls “a party and a half” to the stage. “Scissor Salad” is exactly that. The producer adds about the song, “[It] came together very spontaneously. Soorya was jamming on a bass line one day at practice and we just got into a zone and by the end of that two-hour practice, we came out with the full arrangement minus the vocals.” A sparkling funk-meets-big band flow is punctuated by HanuMankind’s inimitable vocals towards the end of the song, but clearly the focus is on the instrumentals with this song. Raghunathan says they even added a horn section, comprising Bengaluru trumpeter Vaibhav Sharma and Melbourne-based trombonist Nathaniel Sametz.
Studio versions of “World Domination” and “Tribute to the Illest” are up next (on April 10th and April 17th), followed by an all new set of four tracks on an EP called Lift Off in May. In between recording sessions, all members of the band are involved in their own projects as well. Raghunathan says, “We are lucky to have multi-dimensional characters in the band that it allows us to work together on different projects and keep creating music.”
Listen to “Scissor Salad” below.