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Hear Kerala Producer Pina Colada Blues’ Moody Debut Album ‘Once Upon A Blue Moon’

The seven-track Malayalam and Tamil record features collaborations with rising artists like Aromal Chekaver, MC Monk and more

Anurag Tagat Jun 22, 2021

Kochi producer Pina Colada Blues aka Kevin Shaji

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Kochi-based producer Pina Colada Blues aka Kevin Shaji uses his debut album Once Upon A Blue Moon to track the story of a relationship right from its beginning to the end, then delves into moving on and finding hope. Ranging from chill R&B-informed to saccharine production with help from collaborators, the Malayalam and Tamil language record explores feelings of infatuation, happiness, drifting apart, loss, moving on and “finally a new morning of hope,” as Kevin says.

In the works since the latter half of 2020, the album also includes previous singles such as “Akalukayo” and “Thennale.” Working with his go-to lyricists like Abhiram Jithendra, Manu Murali, Meenakshi K. and Mary Liya Paul, there’s a moody selection of beats across eight tracks. There are a handful of vocalists and rappers featured on each track, whom Kevin mostly sourced from Instagram, approaching them with pre-decided lyrics and vocal melodies. “I have an idea about how the vocals should sound and I actually go through multiple artists on Instagram and then I reach out to them once I have found someone interesting,” he says.

While tracks like “Mazhayil” featuring Bleslee and MC Monk and closing, saxophone-driven song “Pularikal” featuring Aromal Chekaver bookend an overall tender mood to the album, the producer does traverse buoyant beats and playfulness in between. “One Side Kadhal” with Mk Musiq and Sai Zakaz ends with a surprising Tamil folk beat. In the narrative of the album, Kevin points out that it could mean the girl accepted the protagonist’s love and thus, a cheery dance emerged. “Or it could be a rejection and the final folk beat could be seen as a beat for the death dance ritual people do in Tamil Nadu, similar to saying our brother has fallen after the rejection,” the producer says with a laugh.

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Kevin taps singers like Nandhagopan V. for “Kamuki” (also featuring rapper Rakz Radiant) and offers pop/R&B on “Ee Vazhiye “ with singers XACHIN and Anohnymouss, plus guitarist Durwin D’Souza (from rock band Madras Mail and prog band Blank Planet). “Omal Poove” brings in vocalist Jahnavi Subhash, but also carries a short sonic nod to “Thennale” vocalist Nikita Uday. Kevin says the track is about the “happy phase in a relationship when it’s all smiles and sunshine.” It’s also crafted as a reminder to enjoy the little things in life, according to the producer. By the time we get through the tumultuous portions of Once Upon a Blue Moon, “Pularikal” harkens back to a brighter sound, invoking the start of a new day. “The song is based on the Arabhi Ragam. It is a Carnatic scale which gives a new hope and energy feel to the song,” Kevin adds.

Listen to ‘Once Upon a Blue Moon’ below. Stream on more platforms here.

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