Hoirong Make It Count on New Album ‘Cow Gives Milk’
The Bengaluru/New Delhi lo-fi/noise rock trio’s frontman Kamal Singh talks about what changed with their fourth full-length album
In August last year, lo-fi/noise rock band Hoirong began releasing songs from Cow Gives Milk, the album title perhaps serving as an ironic jab at the rampage of cow vigilantism across India. Their fourth full-length album comes after 2016’s Mwah, but the band’s frontman Kamal Singh soon got tired of releasing the album track by track.
He says, “After that it became depressing. I might be sounding like I’m joking but that’s part of the truth.” Singh, who is in the midst of a custody battle for his daughter, took some time off in his native Manipur and returned with a renewed interest to make sure Cow Gives Milk would get its due in terms of promotion and listenership. “As much as we can say we’re a punk band and we’re using photos of cows – it’s fun but there’s also truth to it [our intent]. I think we don’t receive as much as we deserve. We expect something in return,” Singh says.
Cow Gives Milk is just as razor-edged with its riffs as it always has been, the buoyant guitar melodies from guitarist Akhil Sood occasionally changing the intent of songs like “Limbo,” while “Don’t Put Nazar” showcases Hoirong at their chaotic, aggro best, backed by drummer Akshat Nauriyal. Singh says about the songwriting process, “I write things here and send it to them. They write stuff and send it back. When I’m writing, I’m doing it alone. The interpretation is always interesting – the way Akhil plays guitar and the way Akshat approaches rhythm – so it always changes the whole idea.”
There’s of course hints of the wistful rock that recalls Kamal’s former band, Bengaluru alt/post-rock act Lounge Piranha, on songs like “Designed For Failure” and “CC.” The lyrics too, as always, leave a lot of room for interpretation. Singh, however, says it’s not necessarily about irreverence or being cryptic. “There are a lot of things going on – many things disturb me, some things don’t affect me, other things I can live with. But these are not concrete things. I think the cryptic element is not intentional but it’s just that there’s no particular thing I’m interested in [addressing in my lyrics] – it’s just a general emotive style of writing,” he says.
Despite favoring an album launch in April instead of the song-by-song release plan, Cow Gives Milk has certainly got a little more limelight – reaching number 17 on the Rock Charts on Apple Music in India (where it was exclusively released). Singh speaks with great interest of Spotify and putting their music up there. He says, “It’s interesting to me, because it’s kind of interactive in a way, like if someone puts you in their playlist. There’ll be some excitement to it.”