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Faridkot: ‘The term ‘indie music’ doesn’t stand true anymore, it is just mainstream music’

Updated on: 20 April,2024 04:39 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Nascimento Pinto |

Ahead of the release of their latest EP ‘Ibtida’, spoke to Faridkot’s IP Singh and Rajarshi Sanyal to know more about their new music. They also dwell on the evolution of their music, the changing face of the music industry and their collaboration with Jubin Nautiyal and Raghav Chaitanya

Faridkot: ‘The term ‘indie music’ doesn’t stand true anymore, it is just mainstream music’

Faridkot's IP Singh and Rajarshi Sanyal have released five songs as a part of the new EP 'Ibtida'. Photo Courtesy: Faridkot

“There is a Punjabi song with sitar in it. I don’t think anybody has done that before,” says Rajarshi Sanyal, one half of Indian pop music band Faridkot. Regaling us with their new music, the band is set to release their third album a decade after ‘Phir Se?’ in 2014 and ‘Ek’ in 2011.

Like all good things, their new EP ‘Ibtida’, showcases their evolution as singers and musicians. It is also what they are counting on, in what could be considered as new beginnings for them. For starters, the former Delhi-based band, which was formed in 2008, now calls Mumbai their home and is loving every moment of making music here.

IP Singh, the other half of the duo that comprises the indie-pop band, says, “The EP ‘Ibtida’ is an ode to new beginnings and our new studio in Mumbai. Both of us moved to Mumbai - I moved eight years ago, and Raj moved five years ago. In that amount of time, we have our own studio, are making music, and signed with T-Series. There are times when you feel so much love and gratitude but also excitement for all the new things that are happening in your life.” 

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Making of ‘Ibtida’ 
The band, which was signed by T-Series after the lockdown, has five songs ‘Ek Samay’, ‘Tu Dass Kivein’, ‘Main Na Jaan Kyun’, ‘Chhad Ke Na Jaa’ and ‘Aadatein’ with this EP that released on April 19. The music showcases Faridkot in a unique way with Singh’s goosebumps-inducing vocals aided by Sanyal in ‘Ek Samay’ to the richness of the composition for ‘Main Na Jaanu Kyun’ that has been meticulously worked on to produce a contemporary sound with the richness of Indian playback singer Jubin Nautiyal’s voice. It gets even better because they have not only collaborated with Nautiyal but also Raghav Chaitanya on ‘Chhad Ke Na Jaa’ --- all of which has been done consciously to embrace the changing times.  

Sanyal, who says he immediately connected with ‘Ibtida’ when Singh came up with it, shares, “I think every time we write a song, it is ibtida only. We don’t like to make similar music because you know how people say, ‘this band has a signature sound’, whereas most of the bands I grew up listening to always experimented with their sound – be it The Beatles and even Bollywood composers – for us it is a new sound once again. Each of our albums, singles, have been one different from the other. We always think - what have we done till now, and what have we not done.” 

Making of the album only got better with Nautiyal and Chaitanya who added a different kind of flavour to their music or as Sanyal describes it, “You know you add this masala to your songs but you don’t know how it is till you taste it.” Incidentally, last year, they worked on a song with Shilpa Rao, and these collaborations are an extension of that vision forward.

He adds, “Working with Jubin and Raghav has been an amazing experience. Both of them are really fantastic singers with amazing voices. Jubin put out music at a time when the audiences were also different, which is what he told us, that he absolutely loved working on the song with us and loved how different it was compared to all the other music he has worked on till now, and it shows. 

The fact that they were two different personalities made it even better, shares Singh. “Jubin is the wise Babaji who is very centred and on the other hand Raghav is a ball of energy. It is not a collaboration with two artists, but two different human beings, who bring two different experiences in our lives. Both of them are ace in their skills, so it was lovely and heartwarming to see people lending their voices and art to our songs to make this colour that has never been seen before,” he adds. 

This freedom and growth evidently come from the fact that they have chosen to classify themselves particularly as a pop music band, which allows them to experiment with their music, says Sanyal. He explains, “We love pop music. The term has remained the same but every decade it has a new sound and I love that. That is why we held on to being called a pop band because then we can keep changing our sound and keep having fun. Nobody say that ‘this is your genre’. If you make pop, it can be rock ‘n’ roll, it can be metal, it can be love songs too.”

Changing face of music
So, what really took them a decade to release new music beyond music for films? Sanyal believes it was a combination of everything. He explains, “We were changing as musicians and going through different transitions. One important factor was that the audience was changing after 2014. I don’t think they were listening to albums like they did before that. There were listening to just one song or one single, which is how a lot of independent artists were looking at music. Like very few would focus on albums, and even with albums, people will look at one song, and ignore the rest.” 

However, he says the lockdown changed the way people were listening to music as a lot more people were spending time at home and listening to a lot more music, and things just fell into place for Faridkot, who has put out 40-minute albums and 60-minute albums in the past. It made the time ripe to release the EP that eventually came to fruition.

While they did work on film music during this same time, Singh says it all comes down to if the artist is in tune with how the trend is going. “If you take a look at Diljit Dosanjh, Badshah or Karan Aujla – all of them have albums coming out. If we are in music for the business, we have to be aware, and if you are aware of the business aspect of it and what is going around, you can adapt your approach accordingly, rather than saying, things are not artist friendly anymore. That will always keep changing. No business in this world is stable. If you are in the entertainment business, you have to keep your eyes and ears on the ground and adapt around it while keeping your core in music.” 

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Sanyal immediately reminds how American rock Red Hot Chili Pepper’s (RHCP) first album and last album are so different. “They are still relevant, because they are understanding what is going around and change and adapt their music accordingly. The good part is they are all great musicians, so doesn’t matter which genre they are playing, they will almost make great music,” he adds. 

It is not only the nature of the artist’s releasing their songs as singles, EPs or an album, but also how Hindi pop music has changed over the last 16 years since Faridkot came onto the scene -- with Channel V Launchpad being one of the highlights, as they hypnotised music listeners around the country with ‘Laila’ among others. Most recently, one of their songs ‘Jehda Nasha’ went viral in 2022 and showcase how being released in a different time of consumption can make quite the difference.

Singh explains, “Hindi pop music has only gone from strength to strength. The diversity is just blooming, and democratisation of music consumption and music-making has just opened up people’s mind. People are able to understand, accept and connect with such different kinds of music because they are getting exposed to it. Rather than asking the question ‘Aise thodi hota hai’ they are saying, ‘Oh wow, aise bhi hota hai’. You also see indie music getting placed in films and OTTs; the term ‘indie music’ doesn’t stand true anymore, it is just mainstream music, it is just the music industry where anything can be done anywhere.” 
Sanyal adds, “I have discovered so many songs just scrolling on reels. ‘Jedha Nasha’ was actually released in 2019, but it blew up in 2022. We were really shocked to see the reels and our own song in it. The unpredictability of it is a good thing. Back in 2008, I dropped out of engineering college to pursue music. Nowadays, people are leaving their jobs left right and centre to pursue music. The possibilities are endless. Art getting democratised and the power is back with the listener is the best thing. It is not about appearing in a movie or how much you are spending on advertisements.” 

With this new EP, they are on course not only creating more music but also releasing it sooner than before. Sanyal shares, “It is still in a very early stage, but we are definitely looking at releasing an album before the year is over. It is only a good thing. That is the model we like, just put out a bunch of songs.” Among other aspects, it can also be attributed to the city of Mumbai, which the artists have now made their home. “I personally fell in love with the vibe of Mumbai. The beauty of the city is that it gives you the space when you need and it is there for you when you need it,” says Singh. It is no wonder that they have songs inspired by the city. “The first song and the latter part of the EP is inspired by Mumbai because there is so much chaos and funny noises that are coming from the city all the time,” concludes a giggling Sanyal, showcasing how much the city amuses him every day. 

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