FuzzCulture Packs a Punch on Smashing New LP ‘Escape to Where You’re Wanted’
‘This album is a scrapbook of a few tumultuous years I’ve had while producing it,’ says vocalist-guitarist Arsh Sharma
After releasing their debut eight-track album No in 2015 and its follow-up, Twins EP a year later, New Delhi electro-rockers FuzzCulture gained plenty of international recognition and played shows across South East Asia, U.K., the Middle East and even Reunion Island. It was their performance at Singapore music festival Music Matters in 2017 that caught the attention of an international label, vocalist-guitarist and producer Arsh Sharma says, “I won’t name [the label] because I still share a great relationship with them [and they] were interested in our material and wanted to put the new record out.”
Sharma had already completed demos for what was to be FuzzCulture’s second full-length album in early 2017 and sent it to the label which received a positive response. “The aim was to try and target the Asian market and the U.S. where it was felt by the label and the management that it had good scope,” he says. It was at this point when Sharma decided to terminate their contract with Universal Music because he felt “bigger and better things seemed close by on the horizon.” After a lot of give and take between FuzzCulture and the label, the deal fell through and Sharma says, “We realized that after almost two years of back and forth may be the interest in putting out the material wasn’t completely there from the label.”
By the end of 2017, FuzzCulture departed New Delhi for Mumbai and kept pushing for their second LP to get picked up but to no avail. “I’d started to doubt the songs at that point,” says Sharma. As 2018 came and went things had still not materialized and by 2019 FuzzCulture was left without any representation and drummer Srijan Mahajan had also decided to part ways with Sharma. “He [Mahajan] was tired of the entire back and forth and all the drama that had come to become this record and my slightly difficult personality when it came to being stubborn.” Sharma adds, “He also didn’t have the mental energy to put in it and I agree I can sometimes be a difficult person to be with.”
Now with no label, no bandmate and a bank of songs sitting in the vault, Sharma reached a stage of self-doubt and even contemplated deleting all the work he had created over the past three years. The guitarist-vocalist decided to go on as FuzzCulture on his own and earlier this year reached out to Mumbai-based consultancy agency 4/4 Experiences as he heard about them opening a management division. “I just immediately called up Nikhil [Udupa] and Himanshu [Vaswani] and told them I wanted to meet; luckily they were interested and really liked the 12 songs I presented to them as the first release I wanted to put out.”
After locking down on eight songs, remixing and remastering them with the help of composer/songwriter Neeraj Shridhar (vocalist of pop group Bombay Vikings) at their Mumbai studio, Sharma finally managed to complete FuzzCulture’s second full-length album, Escape to Where You’re Wanted, which released in its entirety on June 21st.
Escape to Where You’re Wanted retains FuzzCulture’s glitchy electro-rock sound but is also a very open record in terms of each song having a distinct identity. The opening track “Beautiful & Valid” features roomy drums and a raging riff juxtaposed with clever production elements. The album then runs through the melodic “All My Friends Are High,” the EDM heavy “Birds,” and the acoustic/dub leaning title track, which according to Sharma “is about just one day getting up and leaving everything you had for something else in the hope that it might be better than your present.”
“Kids in the Dark” offers a more melancholic yet rounded sound while the pulsating “Toast of the Town” is a complete contrast. On the glitch-leaning “Ftw” Sharma is at his angsty best, shouting out, “Fuck the world and its fucking games.” The LP closes with an older song and FuzzCulture live staple, the heavy-hitting “Do We Get a Grammy Now.” Sharma says, “For me, this album and sound is very cathartic to put out and I love all the songs with all my heart and it kind of lets me move on to the next phase of FuzzCulture.”
Escape to Where You’re Wanted was produced and recorded by Sharma at his old New Delhi studio, his current home in Mumbai and also while traveling in multiple locations including at Sharjah Airport during a six-hour layover. “Neeraj Shridhar helped me compile and bring together a sound for the whole album which was kind of fragmented,” he says.
With music videos for “Beautiful & Valid” and “Toast of the Town” already out, Sharma has two more clips ready for release soon. On the live front FuzzCulture is also gearing up for an album launch tour and Sharma has recruited drummer Anshul Lall, his bandmate from New Delhi rock band The Circus, to join him on the road. On what’s next after everything settles down, Sharma says, “I’m working very closely with the guys at 4/4 and after this album cycle we really want to put out more material sooner rather than later which kind of steers FuzzCulture in the next phase of our career.”
Listen to ‘Escape to Where You’re Wanted’ exclusively on Apple Music below: