Exclusive: Celebrated singer Palash Sen shares why he intentionally stays away from Bollywood music as he releases his seven-track independent album Sale
The seven-track spectacle, Sale will take you on a ride across genres, sounds, emotions and life experiences
Back in 1988 when a group of medical students wanted to impress girls in Delhi, they formed a rock band Euphoria, which eventually turned to Hindi fusion rock with singer Palash Sen as the front man. In over 32 years, Euphoria has successfully released seven albums with songs like Maeri, Aana Meri Gully and Dhoom Pichak Dhoom with Palash as a lead singer. Euphoria continues to remain one of the highest-selling and heard bands in India and Palash still has a strong fan following for his melodious voice. And now, with the same individualistic and democratic approach, the band dropped the teaser of their new album Sale on Koo and released the songs on YouTube on September 14. Written at various points of time in Palash’s career, each song stands for a real-life story experienced by him and the band. In a world where everything comes with a price tag, this album speaks about the one thing that cannot be bought, “Love or is it? (sic).” With influences of jazz, rock and Indian classical music including sufi and folk renditions, Sale — a seven-song album promises a grand comeback for Euphoria and Palash, with its original and independent outlook to music. The album also comprises one song, Khwaamkhaa, based on Tamil poetry. In this exclusive interaction with Palash, we talk about the album, his take on independent music and why he intentionally stays away from Bollywood music. Excerpts:
What does the name of the album, Sale, mean?
Thank you for asking me this. Nobody actually asked me about my thoughts behind this name. Our lead song in the album is Sale. We were looking for a theme and we realised that we are living in a time when everything is on sale and there are more buyers when something is on sale. Our morals and virtues are also on sale, so we thought of putting our song on sale in a society where there are buyers. Everything sellable is getting sold quickly. This is a great season for sale and so our song is also on sale.
Was this the inspiration behind the album?
There were too many inspirations, actually. But what hit me was when last year we wanted to put our music out and one of the executives in a music company said this music has lost relevance and people don’t want to hear this. I don’t take these comments as a setback, but as a challenge. This was when I realised he was talking about what sells in the market and what doesn’t. So, there was a lot of selling happening in that meeting. I thought if it was only about selling then why not a song for sale?
You have been one of the pioneers in bringing out indie music; however, it has seen an explosion in the last two years.
I have seen the entire journey from cassettes to streaming and podcasts. In the time of cassettes and CDs, people used to be selective and the music was reaching selective people. Slowly, with the trend of streaming platforms music is available to everyone, which is a good thing but the negative part is that there is no quality control. Anybody can put out music no matter how bad it is. We don’t have a music industry, we have a film industry and the pandemic has given time and opportunity to every music enthusiast to put their work across. At the same time, people are realising that this is not the music they enjoy. I think once the pandemic is over, people will become choosy for music as well; just like they have shifted their tastes in films.
You enjoy similar limelight as a Bollywood singer, why did you choose to stay away from films?
The biggest reason is interference. It is difficult for me to be in an industry where everybody is a ‘yes man’. I don’t think it’s a fair playing ground. For instance, Euphoria is a band and it’s not one person’s band. We have a democracy. Everyone will come up with their ideas. I can’t understand that everyone has a say in the making of a song. I am okay if a director or producer has a say, but there is a problem when everyone has a say. You can’t make a song out of so many interventions. Here, your talent is not important but who you know and what your connections are. I believe if you have talent then these connections and influences don’t matter. We are backing ourselves purely based on merit. For me, it was always about respect and not for money.
When you say Euphoria is a democratic band, how do you resolve creative differences?
We respect each others’ talent. Our arguments and differences never go beyond the work. Respecting each others’ words is very important, we are not trying to win a friendship but make a song and everyone in the band knows what is best for the song.