Shubhangi Joshi Collective Talks New Album ‘Babelfish,’ See Humorous Clip for ‘Surfing With The Times’
The Mumbai indie-pop band’s crowdfunded debut LP releases next month
In 2017, Mumbai musician Shubhangi Joshi released her lush single “Foolish” with violinist Ajay Jayanthi and that same year attended a six-week music mentorship program in Los Angeles. While Stateside, Joshi was mentored by Grammy-winning artists such as saxophonist Kenny G and musician/producer Walter Afanasieff, among others. Ask her about that experience and she says, “Being a self-taught musician this was all very new to me and I got to learn a lot. Simply by working with these musicians, seeing how these producers work, working on songs together, all of that. It was a very eye-opening experience.”
Upon returning to India, Joshi had found her starting point for her band, Shubhangi Joshi Collective’s eight-track debut full-length album Babelfish, which releases on August 9th.
Earlier this week, the Collective – comprising Joshi, bassist Titus Pinto, keyboardist Nishant Nair and drummer Aamir Ismail – dropped their first single for the new record in the form of the polished “Surfing With The Times” which features a funky, feel-good groove and some cheeky lyrics like “Spare me your last minute, crying.” Joshi says of the track, “[It] is pretty much one of our more lighthearted playful songs from the album and it’s actually kind of a tongue-in-cheek take on a little messy or tricky past relationship.” The track’s accompanying video, directed by Heer Ganjwala, is a humorous clip showcasing Joshi battling the thoughts in her head of put-downs in relationships.
Babelfish opens with the exquisite “Last Ticket Journey” which includes a pacing drum pattern and embellished keyboard parts. The charming “Curious Cat” was penned by Joshi about her college friend. The vocalist-guitarist says, “She [the friend] was such an ethereal and eccentric person. She was kind of like a breeze, there is no one place where she belonged. So you can be grateful that she’s in your life and then all of a sudden she’ll pack her bags and say, ‘Hey I’m going to the U.K., I don’t know for how long and I don’t know when I’ll be back so I’ll see you when I see you.’” Joshi adds, “It’s important to remember that there’s no malice in her when she said that, that’s just how she is. When she comes back she says let’s meet. So this whole thing is about forging a very deep friendship with someone and then suddenly they go somewhere. So she’s a curious little person that way.”
The acoustic pop tune “Why Stay Away” is a slow yet flowing song that pulls you in one note at a time. According to the musician, the bossa nova jazz number “Help Me Remember” is about “when we’re growing up we’re told certain lessons to learn.” She adds, “When life starts happening, you start realizing that even though these were taught to you, a lot of the practicality and everything happening to you doesn’t let you apply those lessons. So it’s that conflict between what you were taught and what you think is right and what you need to do to survive in this world and that dissonance that happens in your head.”
The album also includes her 2017 single “Foolish,” the indie pop-flavored “Cynic On The List” and the relaxing record closer and live staple “Ode To The Moon.” Joshi wrote “Ode To The Moon” after reflecting on a bad day while at her corporate job in 2015. She says, “I really wanted to rant or vent what was going on in my head and at that moment I tried a couple of numbers of my close friends but somehow, unfortunately, none of them were available and I just looked to the right and I actually saw the moon.” Joshi adds, “I just looked at the moon and I said, ‘You know what? I’ve had a really shitty day so let me just tell you what’s been going on.’ I spoke a bit and I actually felt better.”
The Collective recorded Babelfish at Mumbai’s Blue Cassette Studios with backing vocals arranged by Arjun Iyer. The LP was produced and mixed by Jayanthi and mastered by Vivek Thomas. Once the record is out, the band has plans to kick off their launch tour around the third week of August. “We are going to hit around six to seven major cities and it’s going to be a month-long tour and the final gig of the tour is something that we’re planning in Mumbai,” says Joshi.
Once the tour is dusted, Joshi has no plans of slowing down this year. The musician says, “We’ve figured out this way in which everything fits so well in terms of how we’re vibing, writing songs and arranging things. We’ve entered a zone where we’re feeling pretty good about how we’re sounding and we’re pretty creative so I don’t think we’d like to stop. We’ll keep making music and putting it out, that’s pretty much the plan.”