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Premiere: Colorblind Enlists Cowboy and Sailor Man for Turbulent New Song ‘Devil On The Neon Porch’

Pune-based post-rock artist Kartik Mishra’s new album ‘The Evangelist’ arrives in February

Anurag Tagat Jan 23, 2022

Artists Colorblind aka Kartik Mishra and Cowboy and Sailor Man aka Apurv Agrawal (from left to right). Photos: Courtesy of the artist

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Walls of guitar fuzz and melancholic flourishes power New Delhi/Pune artist Colorblind aka Kartik Mishra’s new single “Devil On The Neon Porch,” featuring Mumbai-based producer and artist Cowboy and Sailor Man aka Apurv Agrawal. The latest song is from Colorblind’s upcoming third full-length album, The Evangelist.

If “Devil On The Neon Porch” is anything to go by, Colorblind seems to dig even deeper into wavy, lo-fi and noisy rock on his upcoming album, slated for release on February 12th. Written in 2020 after Colorblind’s previous single “Wormtamer,” Mishra connected with Agrawal during the lockdowns that year to collaborate.

Among the few Colorblind songs to feature vocals, “Devil On The Neon Porch” may have Agrawal’s wistful, reverb-heavy singing but the lyrics have been written by Mishra. The artists conjure a dreamy world inspired by the likes of The Cure and The Smiths, while also nodding towards shoegaze, post-rock and psychedelic rock. Below, Colorblind and Cowboy and Sailor Man discuss the making of the song, the music video and more. Excerpts:

Rolling Stone India: How did this collaboration come about? Had you heard Colorblind’s music before and what was it like entering that world?

Apurv Agrawal: It came about pretty naturally. I was actually introduced to Kartik aka Colorblind’s music quite a while ago through Sajid [Wajid Shaikh, illustrator], who we’ve both worked with for artwork and illustrations. We’ve kept in touch since, following each other’s projects and along the way realized that we share a lot of similar interests and influences. Not to mention, I’ve been a huge admirer of Kartik’s art as well!

It was during the lockdown in 2020 when we connected again and he told me he was working on a new record. The idea to collaborate on a song just felt like the obvious thing to do and we were convinced that it would lead to something really exciting for both of us. And it did!

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Work on this album must have been quite a while in the making, right? What was it like seeing it through after the release of Post Modern Holocaust in 2019 and then the single “Wormtamer” in 2020?

Kartik Mishra: This album was a nightmare! Not because the arrangement was too complex or anything like that, but because I had to find the right state of mind to record new stuff.

After Post Modern Holocaust, I felt very exhausted. Earlier, I was busy trying to find my own voice as a musician (at least a temporary one) and felt Post Modern Holocaust was the exact point where everything fell into their right place, sonically. But after that I experienced this huge psychological void of ‘Now what?’

So I completely distanced myself from recording or writing new music and patiently waited for some inspiration to come knock on my door, while I focused on my other artistic endeavors such filmmaking and painting.

What did you choose to sing about for this one song that’s definitely a rarity in Colorblind’s catalog, especially with regards to songs with vocals?

Agrawal: It was actually Kartik who wrote the words for this song. He had them in text before we even started working on the song together. I had a strong idea for a vocal melody on my first listen of the demo and Kartik sent me these lyrics that just painted a really vivid and bizarre picture in my head. I loved it! And I just ran with it. But yeah, he’s the right person to talk more about the lyrics.

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When you began working with Apurv, did you go in wanting vocals on this track? How did that side of things shape up?

Mishra: I have always liked the sound of Apurv’s music and especially his work with [post-hardcore band] Pacifist. This song was the first demo that I recorded after “Wormtamer” back in 2019-2020 and luckily this was the same time when we were in touch for a possible collaboration. I sent this demo to him along with some bizarre lyrics that I wrote. He added his guitars and vocals to it, and eventually that demo transformed into a complete different entity of its own.

What can you tell me about the video that you’ve put together for this track?

Mishra: The lyrics video is a small tribute to the Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky.
One night I was revisiting his 1999 short ‘Outer Space’ and felt that his jittery and noisy analog style of filmmaking was the perfect match for this song in terms of the visual tone.

You both run in a sort of parallel wave in Indian post-rock/shoegaze-informed music. Would you agree?

Agrawal: Yeah I guess that makes sense. I mean this type of music is just such a small part of music in India that I’m not sure you could even call it a wave! But that being said there has been a lot of shoegaze and post-punk inspired music from India that’s been absolutely incredible! Artists like Hoirong, Little Whales, Begum, Lo! Peninsula and February 31st have all put out releases recently that are just amazing. Hopefully this goes on and this wave becomes big enough to crash on some shores someday.

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