With their third EP, Madboy/Mink, a duo comprising Imaad Shah and Saba Azad, bring a ‘grown-up’ vibe to their cosmo disco music. Titled Persons. Elastic. Superior. Fantastic, the EP with four new tracks that explore various themes in the minds of the artists, is set to release exclusively on Apple Music on July 18, post which it will also be available on all other streaming platforms including Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Saavn and Spotify.
“We just love playing with guitars, synthesisers, drums and things like that and what emerges organically forms part of the songwriting. I don’t think one ever changes consciously, things happen. We’ve always explored disco a lot, and we just love the subtler, more sensual side of it. Of course, it can have a raw power too, but there are so many sides to a style of music,” says Imaad, pointing out that disco, in a way, gave birth to all of the electronic music as we know it now. “So it’s fun to have a vantage point from 2018 and try and reinterpret a classic genre in our own way,” he adds.
The unusual title makes one wonder if they are words that describe the songs, but among three adjectives, you have a noun. “It’s definitely more fun to leave the interpretation part up to the audience, but I think it’s (for me) something to do with elasticity, empathy, and open-mindedness,” explains the artist.
Of the four songs, one has already been released — Comets. The song has Saba’s vocals against a backdrop of lush synths and old-school drums. “The four tracks are part of the same family of songs. But having said that, we’re constantly exploring and experimenting with sounds,” says Imaad, adding, “We don’t really want to analyse our songs in too much detail right now, but apart from the one about comets and asteroids, we have a ‘60s psychedelia-influenced electronic track, a funk song about a dog in space, and another angry punk-funk number which takes a more political direction.”
The EP also features the late Karan Joseph in a song. The 29-year old pianist died in September last year. Though reasons for his death are still unclear, there have been many theories regarding his alleged suicide and why he jumped from the 12th floor of a building in Bandra.
Joseph has played with musicians like Louis Banks, David Binny, Gino Banks and the band Soulmate. Due to his talent, he earned the nickname ‘Madfingers’ in the industry.
“Karan was a dear friend and he died under tragic circumstances. He was also an absolute genius — musician and a master of his craft. The song Plastic Elastic shows a side of his which has rarely been heard before. His jazz, soul, blues and gospel music is what he’s famous for.
But this one is a psychedelic-electronic track and it’s got his music all over it. It’s incredibly unfortunate that we didn’t get around to making more music with him,” says Imaad. Ask him whether there are any specific lyrics in any of the songs that are dedicated to the late musician, and he replies, “The entire EP is dedicated to him. That guy was a shooting star!”
The duo will kick off a tour to promote their EP from July 20 with a gig in Mumbai. They will perform in Pune on July 26 and New Delhi on August 2. While they will be backed by their touring band which includes Jehangir Jehangir on drums, Rahul Joshua Thomas on trombone and saxophone, Nitish Rambadhran, James Miranda on trumpet and Anand Bhagat on percussion, in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, the duo will be playing a special set by themselves in Shillong on August 3 and Guwahati the following evening.
“We’ve been working with our band a lot of late and are going to take them with us on this tour. It’s a special bunch and they really make the music come alive. We’re going to be releasing more music with a band set up and are looking forward to all the cities that remain. We’re, of course, trying to go to as many smaller cities as we can,” says Imaad, adding, “We have a lot of music in store for this year. There’s a lot of material that we’ve been playing live and developing over a period of time. We can’t wait to get in the studio with the band. There will be more electronic-oriented stuff as well as live disco, psych-funk influenced material that we are working into this set. We are basically creating a live show that we will perform at the end of the year at festivals and larger stages that is immersive, full of raw, live musicianship and performance. We’re going to be going into rehearsal and studio tracking once this EP is out and the tour is done.”