'Still as You' by Black Letters Out Now.
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
If you haven’t listened to Black Letters before, this is the right time to dig in this rock quartet from Bangalore.
Because in the words of Sarang, the guitarist of the band, their latest offering “Still As You” is their best work yet!
Why so? “Because it is with Still As You that we have been most experimental and honest, as musicians. We were not chasing a particular sound unlike how we did with Shapes On The Wall or Petrichor which is probably why in hindsight it took us 3 years to complete it.
We always drift towards new sounds individually and that's what inspires us to make music. So it's relatively easy for us to be fresh with each release. We try and be natural and do what we like to do without thinking of external pressures of trying to sound a particular way.”
Still As You, if personified, is a person trying to find a foot, staying ‘still’ through the myriad number of emotions like loneliness, greed, doubt, dependency and the multitude number of themes and issues that can be seen all around. Being too trapped in the turmoil of everyday morbidities yet trying to stay still, accepting it and using it productively to drive oneself creatively. To put it succinctly, Still As You talks about how the external world affects a person and how the inward journey happens as a result.
The theme is reflected in the psychedelic, trance-like artwork by the much-celebrated designer illustrator Noopur Choksi from Ahmedabad. The rapport between the band and Noopur has resulted in their one of a kind listening sessions with an exhibition of Noopur’s artworks to boot.
Listening sessions are in vogue among bands right now and Black Letters have received some rave response to the new songs at sessions in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kochi.
“It’s been surreal to watch people respond to the songs. Real appreciations like this bolster our faith and make the whole effort and process worthwhile”, Sarang feels.
So what exactly is the process of music-making like? “A subtractive process of music-making is what has worked best for the band. Pushing in as many ideas as possible while recording and then polishing off the rough edges, that’s how each of the Black Letter creation reaches the listener. As a group, the band tries to do what’s best for each track instead of trying to push in individual inputs.”
The album was recorded at Cosma Recording Studio in Bangalore, owned by Sharath, the band’s lead vocalist. The brilliant audio engineer Justin Colleti of SonicScoop has done a stellar job mastering the album. Everyone in the band agrees that he pictured the album in a way the band couldn’t have done which took the album a notch higher.
Things are interesting in the camp as of now, because the band has roped in Superpolite a.k.a Harikiran Menon to bring in a fresh new perspective to their live performances for the new album. Not just that, Arjun, has left the band to pursue other opportunities in Germany and has been replaced by Jeevan Antony on the bass.
The boys who have stuck together as a family instead of being just bandmates ever since the inception in 2007, feels that the streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify is finally beginning to provide the right impetus for independent music to reach a wider audience in the country and hopes things are going to be better for them personally and for the scene as a whole.
Still As You is available on all online stores.
Black Letters in conversation with RANJINI ACHUTHAN