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New Delhi’s Zenguin Launch Latest EP ‘Kensho’

Combining psychedelic and electronic rock, co-founder Saksham Gupta talks about how the studio project became a full-fledged band

Anurag Tagat Aug 23, 2018

New Delhi electronic/rock trio Zenguin. Photo: Amby Saby

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How does a band like Zenguin ”“ playing smooth, trippy electronic rock ”“ find a place opening for rock veterans Indus Creed? Chances are the New Delhi act’s guitarist and producer Saksham Gupta is just as intrigued as anyone. But Zenguin are open-minded enough to go along, perhaps finding a shared space in their prog influences.

Gupta, after all, is part of experimental metallers Colossal Figures and decided to indulge his other influences with Zenguin, starting up in 2016. He says, “Playing metal was amazing but there was this other side of music that I loved and it wasn’t getting an output.” Completed by bassist Akash Gupta and drummer Vasu Singal, most of their third EP Kensho was born out of live performances, ever since they debuted on stage last year.

One of the outcomes from debuting last year was involving vocalist Amitabh Mukherjee (formerly of rockers October) for an on-stage jam that led to the creation of “DeadZone,” their dark yet wavy prog track. While “747” was converted from a live rehearsal version into a studio version, they hit the sweet spot with the soaring “Kamar Taj,” which Gupta says was born out of a “strange fucking bassline and time signature.” He adds about the track, “It’s got something mystical about it.” He doesn’t miss pointing out that the song takes its title from superhero film Dr. Strange.

Zenguin are influenced by way-out psych rock bands such as The Mars Volta, but one major influence outside of music are movies. Gupta says, “We’re always driven by the idea of making the whole thing cinematic in some way. There is that element of taking people through some kind of journey. I think everyone in the band ”“ we’re not extroverted or outgoing ”“ so the interaction with people is always through music and thought really goes into that.”

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Despite having a solid repertoire ”“ Binary Breakfast (2016) and the two-track Toska (2017) ”“ Zenguin are giving newer live material all the precedence, finding a vast space between synth, guitar fed through analog pedals and roomy drum work. They wouldn’t have it any other way. Gupta says about learning from playing live more often, “You have a bit of constraint but it’s about making that one synth sound really huge as opposed to getting five synth parts and making them sound like one.”

With the New Delhi launch gig out of the way, there’s a video for “DeadZone” in the works ”“ one that was already shot by photographer-filmmaker Dhruv Kalra even before Kensho was completed. Gupta adds, “We’re yet to hit Mumbai and Bangalore, which is something I’m looking forward to doing soon, hopefully.”

Zenguin and Indus Creed perform at Auro Kitchen & Bar, New Delhi on August 23rd, 2018. Event details here.

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