Sounds from a time gone by
Sourjyo Sinha’s voice sounds different over the phone. Awfully soft spoken, his voice has a tinge of excitement to it when he speaks about the songs he has written. But it’s when he sings for Whale in the Pond that Sourjyo becomes a different man, holding the microphone.
Sing to me a song you know,
If it’s the end now, I won’t go anywhere,
You’ll find I’ve lost my mind,
I’ll put my blinkers on tonight.
These four lines from The Call, are one of the five tracks on the band’s debut EP, Marbles. And, Sourjoy calls it a ‘happy song’. The Kolkata-based dreamfolk band has a relaxed vibe to it, and is more a reflection of the three-member set up they have going.
Sourjyo recalls how he moved to Kolkata from Assam for his graduate studies, and met multi-instrumentalist Shireen Ghosh, at an annual play. “We were both composers, and began performing together. At the Sofar Sounds concert, we met Deep Phoenix, an acoustic guitarist.”
The name of the band, laughs Sourjyo, came from a childhood incident of his. He believed, as a kid, that he’d seen a whale his mother told him about; one that resided in the pond of their compound. “It got me excited everyday; the possibility of seeing the whale in the pond one day. It was kind of a stupid thing to hope for, but then I was just a kid,” he laughs.
With Marbles, the sounds too seem to come from a long time ago. Sourjyo explains that it’s possibly because he has many influences from early ’90s rock. “This particular EP has influences from Blur and Radiohead,” he elaborates, adding that he’s a fan of the former band’s vocalist, Damon Albarn, who also happens to be the frontman of English virtual band, Gorillaz. The three of them have taken the EP as independently as possible, says Deep. “It was recorded in the bedroom of a friend’s place!”
The title track, Marbles, finds its roots in Shillong, where Sourjyo grew up. The song talks about reminisces of watching people who grew up together eventually growing apart. Araby, the short, one-and-a-half minute track, that has merely four lines, is based on a short story by James Joyce, of the same name. “It’s about the dependence on another person becoming an addiction,” he tells us. The Call, for its happy vibe, is still about the end of the world. Quiz him on this, and Sourjyo laughs. “That’s the humour,” he says, mystically. In both Marbles and The Call, the one thing that strikes any listener is the melodica, which brings a folk sound to the songs.
Autumn Winds was written on a rooftop, while the last track, Gadha’r Baccha, meaning ‘child of a donkey’ shows the youngsters’ political take. “It’s about the supporters of certain world leaders, not the leaders themselves. It’s against all the idolising and worship.”
Gadha’r baccha, can’t you see? We’re the same, you and me, Heed the faith until you fall, I’ll punch you in the eye/I don’t want to.