For many, the subcontinent of India and it’s surrounding regions aren't exactly locations that are synonymous with thriving music scenes and cutting edge artists. However, this has proven to be a misconception. India is now host to a thriving national scene that champions contemporary and heavy music, with large scale events now gaining attention on the global festival circuit. One of the most prominent bands that have emerged from this blossoming national scene are the phenomenal Aswekeepsearching.
Amalgamating traditional Indian soundscapes and sensibilities with contemporary post rock practices, the quintet have been making waves on a global scale following the release of their 2017 record Zia. Spellbindingly beautiful and majestically elysian, Aswekeepsearching radiate authentic spiritualism with their craft, amplifying the mystical quantities of both post rock and their native heartland and culture with effortless ease. With the group now on the cusp of releasing their third full length record Rooh, we got in touch with the band to discuss the record, their history and their native musical scene.
For our readers not familiar with Aswekeepsearching, could you give them a quick history on the band?
The band started as a bedroom project by Uddipan (Vocals/Guitars) and Shubham (Guitars/Keyboards) back in 2014 in a sunny Ahmedabad. They composed a few demo tracks that would fall in the post rock domain, and only got aware of the genre many months later when exposed to bands like God is an Astronaut, Explosions in the Sky, 65daysofstatic etc. They were in search of a drummer and a bass player at the time, which inadvertently led to the band name 'aswekeepsearching'. Five years, two albums and several domestic and international tours later, we are here at the eve of release of our 3rd full length Rooh.
You're now on the cusp of releasing Rooh, your third full length record. What was the writing and recording process like in comparison to your previous releases?
There is a distinguishable sonic progression with each album, and Rooh will definitely highlight that. Everything from the approach to songwriting, how we choose what layers and sounds we want to add, the structuring, the decision to have more vocals in this album, everything has been very different from all our previous work. I feel that even though each album has different colours moods and atmospheres to offer, you will still be able to trace the aswekeepsearching vibe right from the upcoming album all the way back to the first EP.
Rooh has been proven to be one of the most highly anticipated post rock records of this year. Could you tell us about the concept of the record?
Rooh is the simplest and best musical representation of who each of us are, as of this point in time. Fully inspired by our tour, with all the experiences and conversations we had, we started work on the basic ideas for Rooh right after returning from our Europe tour in June 2018. There were a lot of hurdles we had to overcome, both professional and personal, and that has reflected in the music. We have a lot of stories to tell with each song, each of them personifying experiences and inspirations that led to composing the base ideas of the song.
For many, India isn't an area commonly associated with post rock. Can you tell us about the country's scene?
Post Rock is still a very new scene out here in India. Ours is a country that predominantly has an audience for commercial Bollywood music, but the culture of independent music has been growing over the past decade, and has been growing rapidly. There has been an increase in the frequency of large scale music festivals that have been happening over the past decade, and have had the likes of God is an Astronaut, 65daysofstatic, Explosions In the Sky, Tides from Nebula, Tiny Fingers visit our shores. The day's not too far away where we have a post rock dedicated festival here.
What are some common misconceptions about the country and it's musical history?
That there is no Rock music in India. People confuse music in general in India to Bollywood. It's not the case, Rock is highly appreciated in our country and there are so many amazing Rock & Metal acts who are releasing music constantly and even touring abroad.
Finally, what do you want listeners to feel, experience and take away from Rooh?
An experience, a personal memory and calmness. Sometimes it's important to absorb silence, we believe this album will make everyone realize how beautiful silence is!
Rooh is released Friday 27th September. Pre-order the record here.