As their latest releases climb the charts, The Derelicts invite us into their jam room
Their track, Happy Sad, is currently holding on the #1 spot on Apple Music’s ‘Indian Independent’ chart.
A Korg synthesiser sits precariously atop a PlayStation console box. Defunct monitor boxes double up as footstools. A drumkit rests upon a stained carpet riddled with wires. A dishevelled cornucopia of musical accoutrements. At first glance, this jam pad looks like any other space occupied by a couple of laidback 20-year-old artistes.
However, if one looks closely at this tiny room, within a quaint Vypin household, you’d notice that The Derelicts’ quirky personas have seeped into every corner. This titration of influences is also evident in their fresh-sounding releases. One such ‘alt-rock meets ’80s disco’ tune, Happy Sad, is currently holding on the #1 spot on Apple Music’s ‘Indian Independent’ chart.
On the fringe
“This is what happens when you put four people with diverse musical inclinations and backgrounds, in a room with their instruments,” quips bassist Sreekanth Bhasi, while taking a short break from the jam session. Over the course of a year, Sreekanth and his old bandmate Ashwin Nath (synths/vocals), both of whom were part of Thakara, have been creating close to nine unique tracks alongside their friends Biju Karthik (drums) and Sabarish Menon (guitar).
Upon being asked why their eponymous four-track debut EP, slated for a July release, is coming out on a lesser known label called Overfeed Records, Sabarish explains, “Unlike the ’04-’08 era, many of Kerala’s current indie musicians work solo and just hire session artistes. Sometimes we feel that they are turning into brands first and composers afterwards. To circumvent this dog-eat-dog mindset we decided to work with Overfeed— a collective of like-minded independent players initiated by Black Letters (another act with Kochi roots) .”
As practice resumes, Biju finds a ‘perfect groove’ on the percussions and his infectious energy spreads amongst the quartet, translating into silent nods and smiles. The vibes emanating from Ashwin’s synthesiser—on the unreleased track Introspect—are reminiscent of funky tunes heard on retro TV shows like Street Hawk. Though the sounds are peppy, the tunes are filled with melancholic lyrics that have a socio-cultural message.
“Our latest song, Jennifer, reflects on the ill-effects of people letting their lives revolve around fake social media personas,” states Ashwin, adding that the band is currently preparing to release a new music video and head out on a four-city EP tour outside Kerala.