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Gods Robots Ready Debut Album

Mumbai-San Francisco electronic duo plan April to release their 12-track debut album in April

Megha Mahindru Feb 26, 2013
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Gods Robots. Photo: Aditya Mukharji

Gods Robots. Photo: Aditya Mukharji. Background art: Prashast Gautam Kachru

After three years of working different time zones to make music, electronica duo Gods Robots, comprising DJ/producer Janaka Atugoda from San Francisco and vocalist Shridevi Keshavan from Mumbai, finally share a common address in New Delhi, where the two are working on some new material. However, they tell us that they are more at ease working across continents: “By the time I finish work and am ready to sleep, I can send Shri my work and she will work in the morning and send me that stuff at night. So it’s worked pretty efficiently until now,” says Atugoda. “Break The Spell”, from their upcoming debut album, is one such track that the two finished overnight.

Featuring multiple collaborations, their eponymous album took shape in various cities that the collaborators call home. Keshavan recorded her parts in Mumbai’s Arbitrandom Studio and Atugoda along with the late sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan’s son Alam Khan on sarod and Mike Pipes on flute and guitar stepped into San Francisco’s Fishbowl Studios, while Delhi band Advaita’s Suhail Yusuf Khan recorded at Delhi’s Quarter Note Studios. The album also includes musical contributions by LA-based tabla player Robin Sukhadia and pianist Manas Baruah from Delhi. So it’s no surprise when Atugoda says, “What I’m really looking forward to is when we will all be in the same room.” Alam, who Atugoda now calls a “touring member of the band”, has in fact never met Keshavan till date. 

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Fusing Carnatic vocals with dubstep and reggae, Keshavan and Atugoda tell us that their latest album is also a reflection of their career graph.  “The album charts the life cycle of no gigs to getting to this point where Sony Music approached us for a record. It’s definitely about the birth of Gods Robots and our journey since,” says Atugoda. The post-apocalyptic track “All You Have” on the album talks about a way forward even in the midst of a nuclear outbreak, which is possible if people rally up collectively. “Burn It Up”, written before their 2011 tour, when the band had to overcome many hurdles, is about finding strength in one’s self.

The 12-track eponymous album also features all four songs from Gods Robots’ 2011 EP, Story Weather and some of their earliest material like “Shine” and “Stay.” However, with the help of collaborators such as Alam, Pipes and Suhail, the recorded version of their music bears little semblance to their stage set. “”˜Shine’ was one of the first songs we wrote together. Atugoda had written this instrumental and told me about the images that popped up in his mind when he wrote it. The lyrics were spun around it. The song metaphorically implies the cloud moving, the sun shining and finding the silver lining that is life,” says Keshavan. 

Formed in 2009, the duo only met in 2010 for the first time when Atugoda flew to Bengaluru for their debut gig, only to find it canned. “We had a show there, but upon arrival, we figured that the organizer didn’t show up. He had cancelled the show due to some emergency at home,” says Atugoda. The duo, instead managed to get two other shows in town. “It was very disappointing. Initially, we went in without understanding the market and what we were dealing with. We were taking huge risks and getting into situations with people who were taking us for a ride and somehow not getting gigs,” says Keshavan.

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It’s no longer the case these days. Ready with their self-titled debut album, slated to release in April, the duo is deliberately holding back from playing gigs. “The main reason why we haven’t done any shows in January and February is because we don’t want to overplay our music weeks before the album releases,” says Atugoda, who is working on multi-city tours in India, US and Europe for their album launch. Over the coming months, the is also set to grow. Adds Keshavan, “In India, Suhail plays with us. In the US, Alam Khan will be in concert with Gods Robots as well as Mike Pipes on flute and guitar. We hope to perform as a full unit in 2014 when schedules permit.”

 Gods Robots by Gods Robots releases on April 15th and will be available at Rs 199. Digital releases will be available at Rs 15 per song.


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