A fusion track that exudes a vibe of Delhi
Anyone who has an open-minded point of view and enjoys being in Delhi, is a member of the Khan Market Gang, and if that is considered a bad thing, then so be it.
In Khan Market Gang—the recently-released track by Delhi-based band Kraken—one will witness a confluence of jazz rock and R&B with a hint of Bhangra. When asked whether the song reflects the EP Club Namaste’s overall vibe, guitarist Moses Koul mentioned, “We were not hell-bent on making this a genre-agnostic EP, it just happened and we are happy with that.”
Launched as a local competition band in 2015, Kraken—members include Suyash Gabriel (drums), Koul (guitar and production), Vipul Verma (vocals), Divij Kapoor (bass), and Reuben Das (keyboard)—has, over the years emerged as an experimental, experiential band in the indie music scene. In this interview, we speak to Koul and Gabriel about Khan Market Gang and its upcoming EP, which releases on September 9. Excerpts…
The term ‘Khan Market Gang’ is known for its political connotation. What was the thought behind this song?
Suyash: ‘Khan Market Gang’ was a term that we wanted to reclaim. It did not stem from any political standpoint but it points towards the idea of acceptance because, like Delhi, Khan Market is a space that is filled with variety, and diversity, and this is the idea we wanted to express to people—that Delhi is a melting pot of cultures. We do not claim to be representative of everyone, but we do accept the fact that people have different views and ideologies. We want people to be able to do the same especially given the political and cultural climate—make acceptance a key part of people's life.
Moses: The thought behind the song is about getting lost in the city of Delhi. We, as a band, are always at Khan Market... all our meetings happen there, our landmark events have happened in the cafes of Khan Market. The song is about accepting that aspect of our lives and telling the story. This is relatable for most people of Delhi—Khan Market is a symbol of congregation, ideas, and acceptance. It is not a politically-driven song; it is a joyous, introspective, and celebratory song about the city and people here who are sometimes overlooked. Anyone who has an open-minded point of view and enjoys being in Delhi, is a member of the Khan Market Gang, and if that is considered a bad thing, then so be it.
How does a blend of diverse genres such as rock, hip-hop, dance, folk and electronica with Bhangra sensibilities come in your song?
Moses: With Club Namaste, we purposely let go of the genre sensibilities and just wrote it with the idea of serving the song. We followed a very subtractive approach rather than the boisterous and rigid sensibilities in our first EP. When it comes to trying out ideas, we did not shy away.
Suyash: We felt the song needed the groove. We let go of the reins of trying to box ourselves. That slightly draggy Bhangra-esque vibe within the framework of rock was something that just happened. That being said, all of us are influenced by different forms of music. Those influences do make their way here and there, but we did not make any conscious efforts to replicate or sound like one of our influences.
After the release of this track, there has been a lot of comparison with Polyphia (progressive rock band based in Texas, USA). What do you think about that?
Suyash: People will always have subjective opinions. If Polyphia is something people think we sound like then sure, no complaints. Polyphia is a great band, I love their music.
Moses: This is how people consume art in the first place; it is always about finding relatability in things and ideas. It is human nature to connect the dots. But it is in the nuances that one finds the difference. We have been doing riffs way before even when Polyphia was working with heavier-shred sounds. Suyash and I have been in hip hop/electronic projects since 2014, where riffs were combined with interesting beats. For example, metal, for the mass, is just distortion and screaming, but active consumers will look into it and see how beautifully varied it is. It is the same thing here, people consume what they hear. To be compared to a global phenomenon is actually disrespectful to them. We are still finding our space; they have carved their own niche.
Club Namaste releases next month. What can people expect?
Moses: The EP is truly written like an EP. It has got everything you want to enjoy. This album is an all-encompassing joyride. It is a quintessentially dance album written from a rock and roll heart that represents where we come from. It is art for all.
Suyash: If one listens to the album they will realise what it is that we are trying to do thematically, which is to build an imaginary club, a club of acceptance that everyone is a part of because at the end of the day, Kraken is like a club. As an experiential band, we constantly try to serve people in the best possible way. Delhi was our muse for this album, which they will witness when they listen to the album and the other stuff we release with it.