We spoke with Jivraj Singh, from the duo Parekh & Singh, about their upcoming appearances at Dot to Dot Festival, their quirky music videos and their love of their hometown, Kolkata
Since you’re a band from Kolkata, India, have you experienced any challenges on your journey to becoming an act that tours internationally?
J: We are bang in the middle of one such challenge! Our passports have been stuck in the complex and opaque machinery of the visa services for so long that we’ve had to uproot our initial travel plans. A mix of diligence and levity seems to be the key to navigating this new ground.
You’re set to play Dot to Dot Festival at the end of this month, which is an urban music festival, but what do you think about this new kind of festival?
J: It’s an interesting format for sure, and not one we’ve ever been a part of before. However, we come from a city famous for urban religious festivals bursting with music, food, installations and optimism. There are few things more energizing and we have a feeling Dot To Dot will be the same!
In your music videos and press shots, you’re both always suited up! It’s impressive, but why do you choose to always wear suits? Do you wear suits during your live shows as well?
J: We like the idea of a uniform, on stage and off. The suits are cut sharply for focus, but coloured irreverently for fun. That mix is a good description of who we are.
Who inspired you to write music in the first place?
J: The music we listened to with our parents in our childhoods. It was all the good stuff: James Taylor, ghazals, Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Weather Report.
There are subtle electronic elements in your music – what make you want to combine this with more traditional sounds such as guitar?
J: We’re quick to use any tool for any use. Flexibility is one of the most enjoyable things about making music today. It helps that we are geeks.
What’s your favourite thing about Kolkata?
J: Kalboishakhis (nor’westers); a storm which produces gloriously cool and fresh weather.
Conversely, what’s the most annoying thing about Kolkata?
J: That it seems to be losing its mild-mannered, civil ways of old.
You use a lot of stop-motion animation in your music videos – what inspired this style of filming?
J: Wallace and Gromit!
I’ve heard that you’re inspired by the filmmaker Wes Anderson, what is so inspiring about his films?
J: They’re filled with oddballs. We could easily live in one of his movies.
Can you pick a favourite Wes Anderson film and say why you like it?
J: I’m currently feeling Rushmore again. I watched it one afternoon after a rough day at school. Formative and therapeutic stuff.
Is there any new music that you’re loving at the moment?
J: It’s not new, but Frank Ocean – Blonde. Also, Bad and Boujee just won’t quit.
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of this year?
J: Doing the things we love!
Parekh & Singh will appear at Dot to Dot Festival in Manchester on Friday 26th May, in Bristol on Saturday 27th May and in Nottingham on Sunday 28th May.