Pop band Shor Police duo Clinton Cerejo (composer) and Bianca Gomes (vocalist) are known for breathing a fresh take on contemporary music through their original collaborations, covers and renditions. Ever since the two founded Shor Police in 2018, Clinton and Bianca are blending electro-pop with R&B, folk, Indian classical, jazz, funk and soul and showcasing a diverse sound palette across the streams of interdependent, film and commercial music. They made their live debut at Berklee College of Music in Abu Dhabi to recreate a famous Czech song last year. Given their musical versatility on display Shor Police has carved out a niche for itself in India’s pop landscape.
Apart from their independent music albums, the two have scored some of the best Bollywood songs. Recently, Clinton and Bianca joined hands with Anurag Kashyap to create a trippy and out-of-the-box title track for Dobaara starring Taapsee Pannu. We caught up with the musical duo to talk more about their collaboration with the filmmaker, scoring for Bollywood songs, experimenting with different music genres, working as a team and the present scenario of independent pop music.
Do tell us about your association with Anurag Kashyap’s Dobaara.
Clinton: I have also worked with AK many years ago with Hitesh Sonik on Gulaal and No Smoking. So it was in many ways coming full circle. The film was edgy and very off the beaten path in terms of its ethos so it totally made sense for it to have an unconventional soundtrack which is totally Shor Police’s specialty.
Bianca: It’s been quite exciting. Musically, it’s not every day you hear that you have to compose a score that’s completely electronic. But Anurag was very clear about the experience he wanted the audience to have through this music. It involved a few challenges and experimentation on a compositional and production front to make every scene sound unique and give the film the mood it deserved.
How have you two evolved as musicians with Shor Police over the years?
Clinton: I feel as a musician or any creative artist you cannot stop evolving. You need to be in a constant state of flux to stay relevant. Shor Police was a natural progression to my evolution in that sense. I had been well known in the fusion space due to Coke Studio and Ananthaal and it was time for a perspective shift. Composing with someone like Bianca who thinks like a singer-songwriter as opposed to a composer producer is a different ball game and the results are very different from what I would possibly come up with my own given the same situation.
Bianca: For me having started out as a singer, this is a new exciting journey as a composer and producer although I feel like there were a lot of things that led to this point. I’ve always been drawn to production in general even as a singer but never really got into it. Working on these films has definitely brought out that side in me and I’m finally allowing myself to pursue those areas of my musicality that I guess was hidden for a while.
It wasn’t the same earlier when film music was composed by a musical band, rather there were two separate entities. How do you see this collaboration shaping up?
Bianca: More and more film directors are using Indie musicians for their scores and songs and that’s why I think we are really grateful for the opportunity. We get to put a new spin on Bollywood. There will always be a place for traditional Indian melodies and orchestration, but it’s also refreshing for Bollywood to have sides to it whether it’s pop, electro, or just anything that’s different from the norm.
Clinton: I feel that Bollywood is now being positively influenced by the Indie music scene and that’s a great sign. I think we have a broad palette given my years of experience and Bianca’s very current pop perspective. We’re just getting started and we have great hope for what the future holds, given the way our music has been received lately.
When two creative minds work together there are bound to be creative differences, how do you resolve them if any?
Clinton: I think there’s creative conflict most of the time actually. However, I think over the years we’ve got to a point where we’re beginning to predict each other’s thought processes and tailor our own ideas to fit the combined sound. So it’s less obvious these days. But having said that we’ve both gotten used to the fact that the result of us both working together will mean that there’s bound to be things in the song that reflect the other’s choices more than our own and that’s totally cool.
Bianca: Sometimes yes. But we’ve learned to respect and trust each other’s sensibilities enough to understand where we’re coming from when we do have a difference of opinion. We both have different strengths and knowing that makes it a lot easier to work together.
What are the challenges and opportunities that you discover when composing music for a film score or Shor police’s individual tracks?
Clinton: There’s always the opportunity to make a musical statement which we rarely pass up. And therein lies the challenge.
Bianca: Well, it’s definitely more challenging writing a film song because you have so many variables to consider. The way you may envision a scenario might be completely different from someone else’s. But I guess it’s about finding that balance between your approach to the situation and what the director wants to convey to his audience.
What is next for the band?
Clinton: We’ve got a ton of stuff happening at the moment. We’re composing for a couple of upcoming films, a web series, as well as several brand projects. We’re also working on our own album which we plan to release later this year.