Whatever Happened To Spud In The Box?
The Mumbai alt-rock band last played a gig together almost two years ago
The last time Mumbai alt-rockers Spud in the Box announced that they were playing a show was in late 2017 at camping gig series BandCamp on the outskirts of the city. Since then, we’ve not heard much from their own camp and are sort of missing their robust-heavy harmonious sound and decided to track them down to find out what’s going on.
I’ve been following the six-piece band since their inception in 2011 from them playing restaurant gigs to college events and even prime slots at music festivals around the country. During that time the group also put out their four-track debut EP Attention Please in 2013 and followed that up with 2016’s splendid 12-track LP Lead Feet Paper Shoes. After touring the record vocalist-guitarist Ankit Dayal says, “It felt like we needed some time to explore what we can learn outside the six-person echo chamber that we lived in for about six years prior to that.”
Dayal also tells us that the rest of the band, comprising vocalist-keyboardist Rohan Rajadhyaksha, guitarists Hartej Sawhney and Siddharth Talwar, bassist Zubin Bhathena and drummer Joshua Singh are “all still in touch.” Rajadhyaksha says, “It’s not something we formally discussed but when we stopped doing shows we just had a bunch of discussions about the fact that we needed to take some time off to grow as human beings and individual artists.”
Although the group doesn’t rehearse anymore let alone play shows, they are still involved in each other’s projects. Sawhney says, “I help Sid record guitars, we’re all still very much in this setup and in this industry but maybe we’ve just taken on different roles.” Ask Singh – who joined the band in 2013 – if he misses the outfit and he says, “Yeah, it was a vibe. It was a nice loud vibe. The shows were very fun, it was progressive if anything.” He adds, “But the change is pretty nice too, I won’t lie.”
The change for Singh has mostly gone into running his own studio, Joshua Music, in Mumbai. “I’m producing a bunch of rap artists and myself and other jingles,” he says. The multi-instrumentalist is also releasing his debut five-track solo EP Understudy on September 13th. Bhathena has taken on a role at online music instrument/event agency Bajaao while Talwar also produces jingles and handles guitar duties for Mumbai alt rockers Gumbal who recently released their debut LP Armstrong’s List.
Sawhney is working with a coffee company called Dope Coffee. He says, “Coffee has been a thing I’ve been really into.” He also dabbled as a writer for film and TV but has since taken a break from that. The guitarist adds, “I’ve been making my own music, I just want to get that ball rolling. I basically figured out after Spud ended that I really liked creating stuff. Whether it’s a relationship with a company or whether it’s content for something or somebody, just kind of making something out of nothing.”
Last year, Dayal featured on Mumbai pop artist Saachi’s debut single “Touch and Go” and has also accompanied her at gigs. He says, “I am about to release a single for my own solo material.” As for Rajadhyaksha, he’s been performing live with everyone from Mumbai singer-songwriter Tejas to Kolkata-bred musician Tajdar Junaid while also producing his own music. He says, “I’m feeling the tides change a bit, I feel I will be getting a lot more into my own thing and maybe little less of doing other people’s work as the next year unfolds.”
While it is great that all the members have ventured into new territories, the burning question we want to know is when can we hear Spud in the Box at their full-blown best once again? “If it happens to happen I’d be happy man. I would like to play with those guys, they’re like brothers to me,” says Singh. Rajadhyaksha mentions that it is more down to finding the right moment. He says, “My personal belief is that there’s so much content and so much music in the world anyway, anything that the creator doesn’t believe 200 percent in doesn’t really deserve to be out there.”
Dayal explains that since all the members were in college together, they were meeting practically every day back then for six years. He says, “Now it will take some time I presume to get back on the same page and try to put something together in that voice. Playing in a six-piece band, you kind of try to amalgamate all the different voices and artistic expression – so I think we’re all trying to explore what our personal voices are for now.”