Peter Cat Recording Co Tour India
Delhi based Peter Cat Recording Co to tour the country this month
Their first paid gig was at a wedding, playing to an audience that was not only unfamiliar with their originals but not exactly the kind of crowd/audience one would expect at any normal indie gig. They won over an odd mix of sozzled uncles – who betrayed any sense of rhythm while dancing – and old couples ”“ who’d break into a waltz to just about any slow-swaying tune. “We were a shaadi band,” laughs Karan Singh, drummer for Delhi band Peter Cat Recording Co (PCRC). The guys in the band have a peculiar sense of humour about them and, what seems to be, a love for oddities and ironic situations. The quirks of this outfit tie in with the sardonic cheek that streaks its songs like ”˜Parquel’ ”“ “I could’ve warned you then/She’s done a hundred men/I could’ve warned you but I lied/She is not yours but mine.” The band released its debut album Sinema in January and is gearing up to a multi-city tour of the country by road this month.
PCRC marks a distinction for itself on the Delhi scene with its curious sound meld. A rich mix of various elements culled from the vintage allure of Hollywood classics of the Fifties and lo-fi, old Hindi cinema music; the dramatic soul of cabaret; the bounce of swing music and the idiosyncrasy of psychedelic folk. When vocalist/guitarist Suryakant Sawhney cites a few influences like Neutral Milk Hotel, Sam Cooke and the Velvet Underground, each influence works on a different level. Neutral Milk Hotel is a common favourite and one of the outfit’s major influences. Sawhney hints towards Cooke, Frank Sinatra and Kishore Kumar on vocal stylings and the Velvet Underground on lyrical inspirations. What’s interesting is that Kulshreshtha, Shankar and Singh also play for metal outfit Lycanthropia and their efficient switch of sensibility on sound from Lycanthropia to PCRC is nothing short of impressive. “We don’t have any preference in music. If it sounds good it sounds good,” says Kulshreshtha about the contradiction in sound. “One thing that’s common between all of us is that we like the simplicity part of our music. We never try to make it too complicated,” he adds. “Well, that’s not always the case; it does get complicated at times,” Sawhney chimes in.
Sawhney had already started moulding the identity of this outfit back when he was pursuing his graduate studies in San Francisco which he also credits with inspiring him to write songs. “I found people there who were really eclectic,” he says. “I found a group of people who liked the kind of stuff that I liked – vintage stuff, old stuff, decayed stuff.” He purchased a cheap keyboard from a Russian pawn shop which, once plugged into an amplifier, generated a strange “fuzzed up sound,” which is incorporated it in the PCRC sound today and hints at the outfit’s inventive instincts. While discussing a few lyrical themes and his general approach on writing Sawhney shares his inclination towards all things debauch and believes levity is key. “I like being a little provocative. We think about disgusting things ”“ rape and all is not stuff you want to write about generally but we can make anything a joke in our heads. I like prostitutes ”“ that is not to say I have slept with a prostitute ”“ but I like the whole visual appeal that goes with it.” Right now the band is gearing up to introducing the country to its sound. Playing at cities like Jaipur, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai, the band will be on the road ”“ driving cross country ”“ through this month.