menwhopause – Two Steps Ahead
As Delhi band Menwhopause release its second album, material for the third is ready
Menwhopause frontman Sarabjit Chadha has a strikingly sincere method to his madness. Discussing the inspirations on Easy – the band’s second studio album which was released last month ”“ Chadha reveals the narrative that he consciously constructed for the band’s first three albums. Of the fourteen tracks on Easy, three are borrowed from Menwhopause’s debut album, Home, and the band intends on featuring a few tracks from Easy on their next album, Haze. “It may sound ridiculous to you but when we started writing Home, we were sure of the next two albums. So how we planned it was, Home was about finding one’s identity and coming to terms with it; the second album, Easy, was about coming to terms with reality and the third album, Haze, will be about coming to terms with madness,” says Chadha. As he shares his rather fatalistic impression of life and the downward spiral, it seems the stuff of existential dilemmas and metaphysics defined by the likes of Sartre and Nietzsche. While coming to terms with his identity and then with reality were experiences that were more accessible to Chadha, the self-proclaimed alcoholic and insomniac had to simulate the experience of madness for Haze. And he did so by quitting his job, taking to the bottle and isolating himself.
While Easy was being recorded, Chadha was actually working on Haze. “He was already over Easy songs, so it was very difficult for me to grab him to sing them again, he didn’t have any motivation, he simply didn’t want to. He said ”˜I’m over with it, let’s work on Haze,’” says bassist Randeep Singh. “I was also under the spell of madness fuelled by alcohol so there were these outbursts. I’m back to reality now, but those two years were tough on the band,” adds Chadha.
Veering away from the subject of lyrical composition on Easy, the band’s sound has got a substantive boost with star producer Miti Adhikari on board. Easy is the second Indian indie-rock record Adhikari has worked on after having produced The Supersonics’ debut album, Maby Baking. Lending a fresh crispness to the tracks, Adhikari’s sonic sensibility sought to make the album a more trenchant and cohesive listening experience. “There were a lot of these random guitar solos, inspired by the jam vibe, so some of the songs were just meandering along and you couldn’t exactly put that on a record. If you’re jamming in a club or at a festival, the atmosphere welcomes that but with a record, one has a very short attention span. You’ve got to say the most important things and say them quickly and concisely,” says Adhikari, pointing out ”˜Circles’ as one such track which needed some major re-arranging. The producer has also pressed in exciting layers of electronic music which is a first for the Menwhopause sound. “In England, I have worked with a lot of electronic bands so I have an ear for that sound and I think it helps in taking rock music to a slightly different level because two guitars, bass and drums can get a bit one-dimensional.
Electronic music just adds a little colour and sparkle,” he says. Adhikari is very proud of the way the album has turned out and says the tracks ”˜Can’t We Be Dreaming’ and ”˜Puppets and Paupers’ are his favourites on this one. “Miti didn’t just help us technically. He helped with not only the soundscape but the composition as well. He is basically the honorary member of the band,” laughs Chadha.