Mumbai art-rock band Daira on their new experimental track and virtual talk series

The Mumbai alternative rock outfit has been keeping super busy amid the slowdown, and talked to us about their creative process  

author_img U.Roy Published :  03rd July 2020 02:00 AM   |   Published :   |  03rd July 2020 02:00 AM

Daira Unmasked brings together people from the alternative music scene for unfiltered conversations (Image: Ashwyn Warrier)

Mumbai-based art-rock band Daira has been charting newer ways to keep the indie community connected, and has come up with a timely new virtual series titled Daira Unmasked. The series was conceived as a way of reaching out to people from the scene, be it musicians, sound engineers, artist managers or podcasters, to do a deep dive into how the alternative music space is coping with the global crisis. So far Daira Unmasked has hosted names like guitarist Ashok Nelson, podcaster Mae Thomas, Zygnema frontman Jimmy Bhore etc who have opened up about the industry to Daira members Piyush Kapoor (vocalist and lyricist), Shivam Pant (guitarist), Vikalp Sharma (guitarist), Pratik Kulgod (drummer), Sourya Mukherjee (bassist).

Daira has also come up with an experimental track titled Habus Rah which calls out discrimination in different stratas of the society. We caught up with the band to know more about their work and their process:

Tell us how the Unmasked series was conceived 

Savi: With the lockdown bringing things to halt, we felt like we needed to do something to stay relevant as the entire world was online. All the Daira members are unique personalities, coming from different cities, different cultural backgrounds, they bring a perfect mix to the band. Unmasked has been a great way to bring out their personalities and also connect with people of the scene who we love and admire. It's titled Unmasked because the conversations are totally unfiltered and unscripted and there is no pressure of being politically correct.

How do you zero in on the line-up of guests?

Shivam - We have a laundry list of guests who have inspired us in our journey and also the ones who are fearless in expressing the truth and with whom we can have unfiltered conversations. 

Tell us about your single Habus Rah and what inspired it

Piyush - Habus Rah is our experimental single which is made by reverse engineering done on our existing song from the debut album 'Har Subah.’ The melody after reverse engineering was melancholy, slightly haunting and hence with the visuals we have expressed the hatred spread in the world, the destruction that's caused by discrimination and how we are headed backwards.

How has your sound changed in the last few years?

Vikalp - Our sound has been changing constantly. We have always been experimental, letting things flow on its own. At present I would say it is cleaner and on the brighter side. I personally don't mind even exploring the pop side of things because I know whatever we do, it will have the Daira flavour to it and things will sound new.

Besides Unmasked, how are you staying close to your craft amid the lockdown? 

Pratik - I feel amid the lockdown, physical distancing has increased but that has pushed people to stay connected in all other means possible. Daira is doing more online live sessions than ever. Our individual live sessions on Instagram, ideated by Savi (our manager), was another way to stay connected, they are more personal and focused. 

Do you enjoy the alternative music scene in the country?

Sourya - There are a lot of promising alt bands coming up right now. Alt is a sound that's always evolving and is always a bit off-center to the regular radio rock stuff. Artists like Corner Cafe Chronicles, Meba Ofilia, GingerFeet, Rounak Maiti etc all have a refreshing style of their own. But one cannot help but miss some amazing alt rockers from the yesteryears like Zero, Cassini's  Division, Superfuzz and Them Clones