Manas Jha on his EP Trifecta, the stories behind the songs and the unique collaborations on it
NEW YORK-BASED Manas Jha’s upcoming EP promises three songs with three unique collaborations. Titled Trifecta, the album boasts names such as Siddharth Basrur, Keshav Dhar, Warren Mendonsa, Jai Row Kavi and Fuzzculture and is equally diverse when it comes to genres and styles of music.
“I’ve been a long-time fan of each of these artistes. They are some of my favourites from the scene back home,” Manas shares. Born and raised in Mumbai in the late ’90s, the artiste grew up immersed in the indie music culture of the city, from college fests to online forums. The music of the era serves as inspiration to Manas. In Trifecta, each song sits in its own genre, driven by the featured artiste.
Death becomes her
The first track from the EP, Nukkad Closed, was released in late January. The song is an ode to Garima Kothari — a Masterchef India finalist who owned a restaurant called Nukkad in the US. Garima was tragically found dead in her apartment in New Jersey last April. “She died in what is being investigated as a murder-suicide, allegedly committed by her husband. A day after her death, an autopsy revealed she was five months pregnant. Since then, I’ve been by the restaurant several times. The lights are off, the tables and chairs are turned, and an ominous sign hangs outside — Nukkad Closed,” he says. With the song, and the music video by New Delhi-based animator Dhruv Sharma, Manas is paying tribute to her life. The progressive rock song, that has a cinematic and larger than life feel, features a collaboration with Skyharbor’s guitarist-producer Keshav Dhar. Manas has been a fan of Keshav’s since 2014. “I still have Skyharbor’s Evolution on my phone’s playlist. I feel it seeded the whole idea of US/India collaborations in me,” he says.
The other two tracks are titled Myrooh and Liberate. The former features vocalist-guitarist Siddharth Basrur (of rock outfits Runt and Last Remaining Light) as well as electro-rocker FuzzCulture aka Arsh Sharma. The analogue synth breakbeat track is modern and upbeat. The song is about Manas’ two-year-old daughter, Myra. The third number, Liberate is a more grunge-y and dark song about drug and alcohol dependence, and the struggle to break free. It features members of the blues band Blackstratblues — guitarist Warren Mendonsa and drummer Jai Row Kavi. The songs are set to release in the coming month.
Nukkad Closed is available on online streaming platforms