Indian Post-Rockers aswekeepsearching Go Deep On Their Powerful New Track
The easiest thing to focus on about aswekeepsearching is that all of their lyrics are sung in Hindi. But that only speaks to many layers present on the Pune, India, quartet’s music. The band’s sound is an undulating mixture of indie rock, post-rock, and shoegaze that both lulls the listener into a sense of ease and riles them up. Their dynamics and weight make them the kind of built to soundtrack heartfelt scenes, and put them in a unique position to break through to mainstrema audiences. All that, and yes: they sing in Hindi.
Chasing Light, the newest single from aswekeepsearching’s upcoming album Rooh, is thick with atmosphere and disparate influences. The track begins with drawn-out synths and almost poppy moments, but then builds with a slow-burn shimmer that eventually erupts into a flourish of kick drum and throbbing bass. Fans of latter-day Deftones, Russian Circles, and staring at the aurora borealis will find themselves enraptured by the track.
We caught up with aswekeepsearching about their growth as a band, their new album, and the Ahmedabad rock scene.
How has aswekeepsearching’s sound evolved between Zia and Rooh? What are some ways the band has grown?
Robert Alex (bass): There is a distinct sonic evolution with each album, and Rooh will definitely highlight that. Zia was comparatively a more straightforward album to write; at the time we took whatever ideas we had and fleshed them out into songs, whereas with Rooh was a more thought out process. Everything from the approach to songwriting, how we choose what layers and sounds go into the song, the constant back and forth on structuring and arrangements, the decision to have more vocals in this album — everything has been very different from all our previous work. I feel that even though each album has different colours, moods and atmospheres to offer, you will still be able to trace the aswekeepsearching vibe right from the upcoming album all the way back to the first EP.
What would you say is the driving force behind the band’s sound and lyrics? Has that changed over the years?
Shubham Gurung (guitar, keyboard): The sonic identity of the band has been influenced by the kind of music that we’ve listened to over the years individually, especially post-rock, neo-classical and ambient music, because it’s very emotional and deep. That’s what we try to express through our sound and lyrics — emotions, depth, highs and lows from our personal life-experiences. And that’s what the main driving force for songwriting in general has been for us. Although the lyrical content and themes have evolved and changed through time, our origin will always remain the same.
You guys use Indian instruments and Hindi lyrics — is it a natural creative flow, or does it require effort? Do you ever say, “No, this song sounds too traditionally Indian, or too traditionally rock and roll?”
Sambit Chatterjee (drums): It’s not a call or a choice it’s actually most of the times hearing what the song needs. It’s not about Indian instruments or making it Indian — we are Indian and have been growing up listening to these, and at the same time music from around the world. So naturally, when we make our music, we hear space for other stuff and some Indian instruments make their way into our head. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. So we let the song decide. We’re not thinking about anything whether it’s too Indian or too anything else, it’s purely about the song.
Have you ever been pressured or urged to sing only in English?
RA: There were a few instances where, for certain enquires we got for performances, the organiser wanted us to perform in English or even instrumental. I guess they wanted JUST a band to play, not aswekeepsearching. In my opinion, no artist should have to change aspects of their art to cater to external factors. That would be you going against the very reason you decided to have it that way in the first place.
Is there a song on the new album that you’re most proud of, or most excited for bands to hear?
Sambit Chatterjee: Yes there are two songs that I’m really proud of. Aas Paas and Aitbaar, because the first time in Aitbaar I had to come up with a whole chord chart when Uddipan called and set the picture in my head of what the feeling was. With Aas Paas, I feel a weird attachment to the sound of this song, the sarangi and the lyrics and movement also feels so right for the song.
What’s a misconception you think your average American or British listener might have about Indian rock music, or India’s rock scene?
Uddipan Sarmah (vocals, guitar): That India is a land of snakes and the poor. Our country is developing, and the musical taste here has evolved over years and is only getting better, with lot of international artists considering to come and play here. Even currently, Bollywood dominates the country, but there are a great number of underground talents who are making splendid music and have started taking ‘being a musician’ as their profession. We have fewer venues, bad road conditions, less resources in terms of production, yet the bands here are growing and surviving. India is considered to be the next big market for any businesses, and music or entertainment is one of the many. The future is only bright form here.
Listen to aswekeepsearching’s Chasing Light below:
aswekeepsearching’s Rooh comes out Friday, September 27, and is available for preorder.
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