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Sayak Das and Dayce Bring Prog Rock Power to Pop on ‘Vicious’

Skyharbor guitarist Devesh Dayal’s solo outlet and producing mind comes to the front on the energetic song

Anurag Tagat Oct 04, 2022

Devesh Dayal aka Dayce and Sayak Das (from left to right). Photos: Courtesy of the artist

For Indian-origin artist Sayak Das in Los Angeles and Mumbai-bred guitarist-producer Devesh Dayal, heavy music became the common thread they used to weave their intricate new pop collaboration, “Vicious.”

Part of Das’ upcoming debut EP No Loss Only Change, Dayal — the guitarist from prog band Skyharbor — worked as a producer under his solo moniker Dayce. The result is a flurry of guitar melodies both intricate and shimmering, going over Das’ urgent pop vocals. Das says when he first got into a session with Dayal in Los Angeles, he wasn’t sure what to expect. “We had both grown up in and around the metal scene and had cut our teeth in heavier music growing up. I followed Devesh’s band for a little while before I met him at [music school] Berklee [College of Music].”

Although Das was seeking out a side of him beyond his own rock influences, he says he did suspect that they would end up making something heavy. “We addressed that right out the gate, and our core concept became ‘how can we introduce progressive rock elements to pop structure in a modern way?'” Das says. Dayal refers to his collaborator as an “absolute powerhouse of a musician” and notes that “Vicious” came together after a drum pattern idea came to him, one that Das terms became “the lifeblood of the song.” Dayal adds, “Sayak then started noodling around on the guitar to establish some harmonic context, which I then converted into a simple guitar line that pokes its head in and out of the arrangement.”

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Das counts the momentum of a song as one of the “super important” aspects of making music, which explains the spellbinding pace at which “Vicious” runs, creating an infectious level of energy. It matches some of his previous releases as well, including “Helluva Feeling,” “No Sweat” and “Did U Rly?” Das says of his latest single, “This is one of the few songs I’ve written that’s scratched every level of the musical ‘itch’ that both Devesh and I have, which time and time again I’m told to avoid in this industry. I think we found a nice slice of everything we want in music in ‘Vicious.'”

Dayal delves into the lyrics of the song, which he says Das wrote after they spoke about anxiety disorders and how it’s often a vicious cycle of feeling anxious and how “being anxious about being anxious only makes things worse.” Dayal adds, “Identifying that cycle is the key to breaking it in order to have moments of calm again. So we just decided to make the chorus repeat ‘It’s a vicious cycle’ until the last line: ‘Bring me around before I go too far,’ as a reminder to break the cycle before it breaks you.”

Listen to “Vicious” below. Stream on more platforms here.

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