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Listen: Mumbai Alt Rock Band Unohu’s Second EP ‘Babel’

The band’s four-track record makes political statements and features more mature and “organized” songwriting

David Britto Aug 17, 2016
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(L-R) Yohann Coutinho, Sarthak Karkare and Shashwat Karkare of Unohu. Photo: Parizad D

(L-R) Yohann Coutinho, Sarthak Karkare and Shashwat Karkare of Unohu. Photo: Parizad D

Unohu’s latest EP Babel was born out of a peculiar instance of tragicomedy. The band ”“ comprising brothers Sarthak Karkare [vocalist-guitarist], Shashwat Karkare [drummer] and Yohann Coutinho [bassist] ”“ were recording with Mumbai studio engineer Ayan De earlier this year when luck turned against them. Recalls Sarthak, “We had the songs before going into the studio, we tracked, and then Ayan’s computer just crashed.” The band feels beginning from scratch was a blessing in disguise. They re-recorded the entire EP in a record four hours, tracking everything live, all thanks to De’s valuable direction and perspective. Says Coutinho, “He is like a fourth member in the band.”

Babel is the follow-up to Unohu’s debut EP Asunder which released in 2014. The members say that it has turned out just the way they wanted. Says Shashwat, “I feel our songwriting is much more organized”¦We knew what we wanted and how we wanted to sound like.” In the past two years, the band have focused on honing their songwriting and have successfully outgrown their ”˜college band’ image. Sarthak says, “I think there is a distinctive maturity in terms of our sound.” Adds Countinho, “We are always trying to approach stuff differently.”

Artwork for 'Babel' by Vikram Pradhan

Artwork for ‘Babel’ by Vikram Pradhan

Although all four songs on Babel touch upon different lyrical themes, there is a common strain of political consciousness running through them. While “Waiting For Caesar” is about doing away with “false leaders” and “complacency,” according to Sarthak, “Incognito” and “Call My Name” express how one cannot afford to be “faceless and nameless in a country that’s bursting with people.” The fourth track “Time” also follows a similar sentiment (the band roped in Coutinho’s brother Daniel Coutinho to record guitars on it).

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Having won the Bandcubator competition at High Spirits, Pune earlier this year, Unohu used a bulk of the prize money to invest in new gear for the production of the EP. The prize also secured them a tour with Mixtape. Starting August 24th, the band will go on a four-city run across New Delhi, Pune and Mumbai. Says Shashwat, “The tour is going to be a very important learning experience as this is the first time we are doing something like this.” Apart from playing their released music, the band will also test the waters with some fresh material during the tour.

On their future plans Sarthak says, “I think we’re going to go on a break for a while because I’m going to the UK to study but I’m pretty sure I’m going to come back a changed person.” He adds, “There is definitely a whole lot more we’re going to write and produce.”

Unohu also has studio time with Cotton Press Studio, Mumbai courtesy their victory at Bandcubator but they are in no hurry to record again. Shashwat says, “There’s no point making an LP with just a random selection of songs; there has to be some order to it. When we feel these set of songs have a flow to it and have a similar vibe, then we’ll get to it.”

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 Listen to ”˜Babel’ below.

‘Babel’ tour dates: 

August 24th, Antisocial, Delhi (Headlining Act: Superfuzz)

August 26th,  Bflat Bar, Bengaluru

August 28th, The High Spirits, Pune

August 31st, Antisocial, Mumbai ft. Blek & Black Letters

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