The matching suits, the dream-like vocals and the oddly satisfying symmetry of their music videos make Parekh & Singh immediately recognisable on the independent music scene. Their most popular track, I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll, has garnered over half a million views on YouTube – a phenomenal feat for an Indian band and just desserts for the last six years they’d spent making music together. Parekh & Singh’s debut album, Ocean, first did the rounds in 2013, but was picked up by British indie music label, Peacefrog Records, only last year. The move saw the duo’s popularity skyrocket, culminating in a six-city tour of the United Kingdom last month.
#QueMag caught up with Jivraj Singh to see what makes Parekh & Singh tick when they’re on the road.
You have just returned from your UK tour. What was that experience like?
It was amazing to be possibly the first English-language Indian pop band to do its own headlining tour abroad. Playing to totally new audiences is challenging and energising. We can’t wait for the next round.
What’s the one thing you’ve learned from touring abroad?
How to be on the ball and give your best energy to every situation. And, also, how good we have it in India! Touring forces you to keep moving and exploring new avenues for growth.
How many places have you been to on tour so far?
Close to 20 cities, towns and villages.
Do you have a favourite?
We have good experiences everywhere so I can’t pick a favourite but Kolkata is always surprising and relaxing to return to. We’ve spent years exploring the city because there’s not much else to do!
And what’s your worst touring experience?
Honestly, they’ve all been great. Things in India are pretty sorted for musicians and we’re always taken care of very well by the organisers. Even in the UK, our itinerary was planned for us and all we had to do was pack everything up and drive to the next city on the tour. So, it’s been great so far.
Name a city you’d love to perform in:
Tokyo! Both Nischay (Parekh) and I are slightly obsessed with Japanese culture, so we’re eagerly looking forward to touring there.
What kind of travel team do you and Nischay make? Do you have assigned roles when you tour?
No, no, it’s nothing like that – we both just do a bit of everything, you know? That’s something else that I noticed when we were on tour in the UK. I think there’s something inherently Indian about being able to adjust on the fly to things as they pop up.
Speaking about being Indian, there’s plenty of press on how “un-Indian” your sound is. What do you have to say about this?
We don’t think about it. India is such a complex place that even I don’t really know what it means to be Indian besides being an enthusiastic pluralist and having the passport.
Something lighter next – where are you planning on shooting your next music video?
I can’t say much about that right now since there’s something in the pipeline.
Okay, we’ll wait – but we aren’t going to let you off so easily. Here’s a tricky one: Parekh & Singh seem to spend so much of their time together, so where do you go when you’re fed up of Nischay and just need a break?
(Laughs) Thankfully, we have a healthy relationship and spend time apart to make sure it stays that way! We live just a minute away from each other on the same street, but we can easily go a couple of weeks without seeing each other. So, I’ve never really felt the need to have to escape and go elsewhere. That being said, my family has a home in Kasauli and it’s a special place for me.
One last question. Since the comparisons to Wes Anderson aren’t going to stop any time soon, could you settle the debate once and for all and tell us which is your favourite film from his oeuvre?
We’ve been asked this question so many times that we’ve made a little game of it. Nischay and I have both agreed that we’ll always give a different answer every time we’re asked this question. This time, I’m going to say Rushmore, because it doesn’t seem to get as much love as it should.
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Images Courtesy: Parizad D