Peter Cat Recording Co. is an Indian band, based in Delhi. With a very interesting oeuvre, the band is fast gaining tracks with both the Indian and the global audience. The band is coming out with a new album called Bismillah in June 2019, of which they recently released the first single called Floated By. Gypsy jazz, psychedelic rock, Bollywood – they aren’t afraid to experiment, and their music seems straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Our editor Tanmay Raj Anand, interviewed the band for Issue 24.
Why do you call yourself Peter Cat Recording Co.?
Well, we’ve had the name for almost a decade, so it seems sensible to continue using it in 2019.
Who have been your influences?
By this point, we feel who is less important than what. The answer to that is pretty much everything that one can experience in life, be it personal emotions, events, music from all parts of the planet and beyond.
How do you approach the song creation process?
It varies from song to song but so far, it’s generally been Suryakant bringing forward the skeleton of a track with a melody and lyrics, sometimes more, and the band adding to it. Sometimes, there have been songs which have spontaneously happened between different combinations of the group.
Your album covers are very interesting. Your upcoming album Bismillah seems to try for a similar cover, as that of Portrait of a Time – captures moments of joy. Is there a specific reason behind that choice?
Such covers seem to hold the power of expressing a complete spectrum of emotion (not just joy) within one image. That spectrum represents the band’s views towards music and art in general. Celebration of this life and everything it can hold is what we aspire to.
Their upcoming album Bismillah
Do you plan on writing songs in Hindi or any other native language? When you started out, did you assess your audience, given that majority of Indians converse in their native language, or did you start writing out for a global audience since inception?
We have a Hindi song “Kya Farak Padega” out there. But, there is indeed a plan for a Hindi album, something we’re quite excited about. There was no real thought given to this topic when we started. English was a more comfortable medium to write in, considering our influences back then, but its all changed.
The world is financially hostile to music in general unless you’re making the most mass-oriented music possible
You call the world (financially) hostile to your kind of work. But I feel you would do incredibly well in the West. In India, people are yet to appreciate the importance of art in life. There is social hostility in addition to the financial hostility. What do you think?
The world is financially hostile to music in general unless you’re making the most mass-oriented music possible. Not simply because it’s become harder for musicians to become millionaires but because it’s become harder for music to be expressed as a wave of emotion as opposed to being labelled as “content”. What’s scary is the fact that people don’t really want to have the music on them as much. Imagine a day when all your streaming platforms are gone. That’s basically ending so many lines of communication between an artist and his audience. It feels totalitarian. We do hope there is a general movement to build these connections, similar to what Bandcamp does. When it comes to India, there’s a whole other set of challenges, ugh.
Given a choice, should the art prevail or its commercialisation?
Its a never ending cycle. Nothing can really prevail. Art which is borne out of a response to commercialisation eventually becomes commercialised and so on.
Are you looking at creating a particular music style for the band or are you open to trying different kind of music as well?
We are expecting to do just that post Bismillah. There is now a desire to truly explore music in all its infinite possibilities.
Bismillah will be the end of an era for us
Tell us more about your recent release Floated By and the album Bismillah.
We felt Floated by would be a nice gentle single to fade into the release of Bismillah. The video is of course real footage from Suryakant’s wedding last April. Bismillah will be the end of an era for us.