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Lifafa To Release New EP, Tour Europe

The electronica sideproject of Delhi gypsy/psychedelic rock band Peter Cat Recording Co.’s vocalist Suryakant Sawhney takes a page out of Bollywood disco

Anurag Tagat Apr 14, 2014
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Suryakant Sawhney. Photo: Monisha Ajgaonkar

Suryakant Sawhney. Photo: Monisha Ajgaonkar

If there was one conspicuous element missing from Suryakant Sawhney’s electronica project Lifafa, it’s that his nine-track debut album Lifafa I didn’t include his lazy, cotton mouth crooning. The frontman of Delhi gypsy/psychedelic rock band Peter Cat Recording Co, who started Lifafa as a side project in 2012, realized that his sound layered with samples and synthesizers needing something more. Says Sawhney about his new four-track EP, In Hi Ko, “Some people use guitars, but I use vocals. It’s the most powerful instrument.”

Sawhney created dark glitch hop on Lifafa I, but on his new EP, there’s a marked turn toward disco and Hindi lyrics. “Irradon,” (Hindi for wishes) which Sawhney has been performing since late last year, sounds like an early Nineties Bollywood song, awash in synth and a pulsing beat. “Tofah” (Gift) and the title track “In Hi Ko” (For just these) remain in line with the glitch and lounge-inspired sound of Lifafa I, but Sawhney’s vocals stand out the most on his remix of “Agnee,” (fire) a track from the first Lifafa album that is completely retooled, minus the hypnotic loop and with verses in Hindi about love and longing. Says Sawhney, “I wanted to do something uncomfortable and sing in Hindi and it worked.”

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It was Sawhney’s audio-visual collective with BLOT for the show The Dewarists, in November last year, that encouraged him to sing in Hindi. Says the vocalist, “It was done in three days and I had never written any Hindi song before.” Sawhney adds that he is working on his Hindi and even brushing up on Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib so that he can write in Urdu next. In fact, his main project Peter Cat Recording Co. will also feature at least three Hindi songs. With both PCRC and Lifafa, Sawhney says he’s not compelled to stick to a particular sound. He adds, “I don’t want to make hipster-friendly music. I want to make music for everyone and there’s big scope for music like that in India.”

Following shows in Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm between November and December last year, Sawhney is set to perform in Europe once again, including club shows in Germany, Portugal and Spain between May and June. He adds, “There are five or six shows so far. There are some festival dates as well in Portugal, but they haven’t been confirmed yet.” Plotting a month-long Euro trip, Sawhney also wants to catch as much live music, even if he isn’t playing. “I’ll probably go to the Primavera Festival. [Freak folk band] Neutral Milk Hotel are the only band I ever wanted to see live.” Sawhney also wants Lifafa to be much more than just a one-man live act, “I want to concentrate on performing and singing. I’ll leave the stems and mixing to someone else. I don’t want it to be just about live looping and synth.” 

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Listen to In Hi Ko EP here

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