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Prateek Kuhad Launches Debut Album ‘In Tokens & Charms’

The Mumbai/Delhi-based singer-songwriter is plotting auditorium and amphitheater shows in four cities to promote the album

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Jan 26, 2015
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Prateek Kuhad

Prateek Kuhad at Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Photo: Pranab Doley

If you’ve heard singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad’s full-length album, In Tokens & Charms, then you know that a club is the worst place for his quiet, lyrically-insightful songs. While he played club shows after releasing his first single “Flames” in November last year, Kuhad’s upcoming four-city tour includes performances in auditorium and amphitheater venues, with minimal stage production such as hanging up a few lanterns. Says Kuhad, “It’s a very conscious decision not to play at clubs. For the kind of stuff I write, it’s important to not have people conversing midway or getting drunk on the side.”

In addition to being joined on stage by keyboardist Dhruv Bhola and drummer/percussionist Nikhil Vasudevan [from reggae band The Ska Vengers], Kuhad says he and manager Dhruv Singh specifically picked opening acts for each show, from Khalid Ahamed [from rock band Parvaaz] in Bengaluru to upcoming singer-songwriter Meera Shenoy in Mumbai. Says Kuhad, “For me, songwriting is the most important thing These are all people I admire.”

However, he adds that the best way to listen to In Tokens & Charms is by oneself, so that all the layers and thoughts behind Kuhad’s lyrics can be heard clearly by the listener. Compared to his Hindi language EP Raat Raazi [2013], Kuhad has now composed an album full of English-only songs, which he says wasn’t a conscious decision. Says Kuhad, “I’ve always written in both languages. I don’t see why there should be a demarcation [between writing in Hindi and English]. I’ve always consumed pop culture in both languages, so the songwriting is always decided by the moment I’m in.” Kuhad says the bigger change for him, however, was moving to New York for a month with Vasudevan to record the album in Brooklyn, with friend and engineer Angad Bainz and Chris Montgomery at the latter’s home studio in July last year. Says Kuhad, “This place [in New York] had some really amazing vintage gear. We actually recorded drums and bass on a tape machine.” The guitarist-vocalist geeks out on the gear he used in New York, from a rare RCA Ribbon microphone to real plate reverb system.

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For his upcoming auditorium shows, Kuhad will play In Tokens & Charms in its entirety, along with a few songs off Raat Raazi and other material that was written but not recorded for the new album. Of course, Kuhad adds that following his auditorium shows, he will continue playing anywhere else he can. Says Kuhad, “I’m not going to stop playing clubs, but I just wanted to preserve the sanctity of my music.”

Prateek Kuhad In Tokens & Charms tour: 

January 30th – Akshara Theatre, New Delhi w/ Shantanu Pandit

February 3rd – NCPA Little Theatre, Mumbai w/ Meera Shenoy

February 7th – Kalachhaya Cultural Centre Amphitheatre, Pune w/ Tejas Menon

February 10th – Jagriti Theatre Auditorium, Bengaluru w/ Khalid Ahamed

Buy tickets here.

Listen to In Tokens & Charms. Buy the album on OKListen

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