Sounds of summer
Kolkata-based duo Parekh and Singh, the only Indian artists to be featured in VH1 Summer League, a competition to find the summer anthem for 2019, talk about their hot track Summer Skin from their latest album Science City
If one had to paint a picture to describe what Parekh and Singh’s Summer Skin sounds like, I would imagine the scene with the grass in Kolkata’s Maidan glowing in the warm sunshine of late afternoon, swaying with the cool evening breeze, and somewhere close, the tram taking its own sweet time to get to its destination. No hurry, no worries. What a perfect summer that would be.
The easy-breezy track is all set to battle it out against other chart-topping hits from all over the world in the VH1Summer League. This epic music showdown has some most popular hits going head-to-head in a three-staged knockout competition to ultimately win the title of ‘Vh1 Summer Anthem 2019’. The songs include Sunflower by Post Malone and Swae Lee, 7 Rings by Ariana Grande, I Can’t Get Enough by Benny Blanco, Tainy, Selena Gomez and J Balvin, Boy With Luv by BTS featuring Halsey, Giant by Calvin Harris and Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Me! by Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie and Sucker by the Jonas Brothers along with an entry by the only Indian artists — Summer Skin by Parekh and Singh. Listerners can vote for their favourite track this summer on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and points will be allotted according to how many likes, retweets and comments the track receives. The track with the maximum number of points wins the title and becomes the summer anthem for 2019.
The Kolkata-based duo have just come out with their latest album Science City, and their songs already have more than 200,000 views online. “Summer in India may be oppressively hot, but it is also the season for fresh new life in nature. Our album is full of contrasts to the heat — the music is sometimes a cool breeze, sometimes a sunset, and always refreshing!,” says Nischay Parekh, who sings, plays guitar, keyboards and synths.
The other half of the outfit, Jivraj Singh plays drums, drum machines and effects. He talks about how the album is somewhat inspired by the amusement park in the city by the same name — the one with the giant dinosaur at the entrance and science-themed fun activities for kids inside. “The album is inspired by the amusement park called Science City in a symbolic way — the music is an ode to the power and importance of the human imagination,” says Singh, referring to the way science opens young minds to endless possibilities.
But it’s not just this venue that inspires them, but the whole city contributes towards their creativity. “Kolkata is a generator of many feelings — timelessness, nostalgia, magical realism, and surreal comedy. We thrive in this unique tropical city,” says Singh.
The two balance each other out — while Parekh brings the stuff of dreams to the table with art and imagination, Singh keeps things realistic with maths and logic. While they love to wrestle, play table tennis, eat, think, argue, play chess and roam the streets of good ol’ Kolkata, above all they love to make whimsical, beautiful, magical music.
Their debut album titled Ocean, which released in 2013, was inspired by the majestic underwater creatures, and Science City takes their imagination to a whole new level — into a retro-future world of doctors and scientists, quantum mechanics and plans to unlock the secrets of the universe through Parekh’s crisp vocals and Singh’s happy musicality.
Talking about Summer Skin, Parekh says, “It is about the change of seasons in the macro world of nature and the micro world of human personality and relationships. It has a vibe which is introspective and lighthearted — a tricky balance! It is inspired by the process of letting go.”
Apart from Summer Skin, the album has 10 more songs — Sunbeam is about a robot blinking in the sun thinking about the time it too will be obsolete, Down at the Sky searches for truth, Hello is a song you must listen on a long drive through the quiet streets as the city sleeps, Be Something takes you into the world of what-ifs, Evening Sun celebrates the warmth of summer awaiting the cold and unknown, Monkey makes you feel like a primate swinging on branches through the jungle but in a video game setting, Forward Slash has notes about particle physics, aerodynamics and that sort of thing, Surgeon dissects the dark heart of the infosphere, One Hundred Shadows journeys below the surface of our troubled world, Crystalline brings the album to a suitably sublime conclusion.
Being the only Indian artists in this line-up featuring global popstars can be daunting. But just like their music, Parekh and Singh are calm and cool. “It’s a big compliment to be featured in the running for this contest. We are glad and a bit bemused to find our video amongst the other huge contenders. We’ve made the best video we could have made for Summer Skin. The rest is up to the fans,”says Parekh.
ST Reader Service
The competition between Giant by Calvin Harris and Rag ’n’ Bone Man and Summer Skin by Parekh and Singh is on till May 12. Voting for Vh1 Summer League will take place across the official social media handles (Facebook, Twitter, Instgram) of Vh1 India.