Satyajit Ray, stream of consciousness and existential crises: In conversation with Disco Puppet about his new album, Aranye Dinratri
When Disco Puppet broke into the scene in 2016 with his EP Spring, via Consolidate Records, his music stood out for its individualist style and introspective notes. Following this release with a TOTO Funds the Arts Award for music, a six-city China tour and two full-length albums, the Bengaluru-based artiste made his mark on the circuit. Now, Shoumik Biswas, as he is otherwise known, releases his third album Aranye Dinratri (Days and Nights in the Forest), named after 1970 Satyajit Ray film. Biswas first saw the film in 2016, after which he began to take an active interest in Ray’s works. These movies became a window into understanding his own personal history and art. The album features songs such as Fever Dream, Eh Baba! and Guess I’ll Die. As he takes off on a three--city album launch tour with Red Bull, we speak to the artiste about the new album, influences and his theatrical gig complete with a visual set and actors:
When talking about the album, you've mentioned a stream of consciousness format. Can you elaborate?
The writing process did not start with any particular ideas that I had in mind. It started with a blank page and I began to fill it in, till I felt I wanted to stop. It was almost like writing one long song, going to different places. But in that, the journey that it took me through was a surreal mishmash of memories, dreams and nightmares.
Tell us about a few of the songs on the album.
I will talk about Somnifer which if one of my favourite songs from the album. In my head, I had displace the entire scene from the film, and put it in this new landscape (which I imagined being in Odisha for some reason). I tried to create a peaceful dream from which I would jump awake.
Overflow is the next song, (in which I jump awake) that I like. It's a song in which I have that still half asleep conversation with myself about where my life is going and whether everything I do has to hold meaning and is that even in the capacity of a single person to wonder. Why do I feel nothing all of a sudden, what is the point really, even, anymore, can I just not be. But alas, I continue to be.
How would you describe the sound of the album?
The way I hear it, the album is scoring a film. A film that is my thoughts. Running seamlessly. Just pure unadulterated, unedited thought. #nofilter
How different is it from your previous album, Princess This?
Well, Princess This was more technology driven. I found autotune and saturated 808s and I wanted to explore those things in a way they had not been explored. And that was essentially the Princess This sound. The lyrical content of course was about break ups and adulting.
Aranyer Dinratri is more a story of self discovery and awareness about what I'm doing and who I want to be. I am directionless in the beginning of it, and by the end I have found my way back inside my head.
Apart from the aforementioned Ray influence, what other influences have seeped in?
Music wise, I had just seen Lapalux play live, and I was always into Lapalux, so I think I tried to get some of that in there. (Lapalux. Lapalux. Lapalux. Lapalux. I've said it too many times now. It wasn't even so important to the album. It means lap of luxury apparently). I was influenced by nothing else really. Just exploring whatever.
Tell us about the tour and the gigs.
We're doing three cities. Mumbai is done. It was a good first show. It felt right. Next up is, The Pianoman Gurgaon on October 11. Then Fandom in Bengaluru on October 12. I wanted to get away from doing the whole person behind laptop thing because I personally find it extremely boring. So I thought I would do a more elaborate show. Almost like theatre. The setup is like my living room, where I work. And as far as the actor goes, it's hard to explain unless one is there. So maybe you, the reader, yes, you matter. Come for the show. We worked hard to put it together.
Hopefully more shows of this production. And wrap up the next album. Trying to put a band together for the next album launch. Another elaborate show hopefully. Need to work it out. But I feel like that's the direction in which I want to go. And I hope I can make it happen.
Rs 300. October 12, 8.30 pm. At Fandom, Koramangala. Details: 9606443394
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