Comprising of Sahil Samuel (Vocals), Akshat Kakar (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals), Garry Singh Arora (drums) and Aashish Kalanta (bass), Hindi rock quartet Naalayak from Chandigarh arrived to redefine the music scene for the young and reckless and their growing popularity at leading college and music fests stands as a testament to their craft.
The band has just released four tracks out of a nine-songs compilation titled, ‘Hindi Gaane’ across leading music platforms to help in securing much of the cost incurred in its making. Having spent a whopping 9.9 lakhs in its production, the band, whose elaborate release plans with music videos and the works were foiled by the outbreak of a global pandemic, decided to release a sizeable chunk of their labour of love in order to stay connected with their listeners.
I spoke to the band to learn about their influences, the release plans for the remainder of the album and the presence they enjoy amongst their fans, for Radio City Freedom.
'Hindi Gaane' comes across as a celebration of nostalgia. How instrumental were your growing up years behind the making of this album?
Naalayak: Hindi Gaane” the album name as well as the songs are heavily influenced from the 90s music scenario. The most apt nostalgic moment will be writing track names on a cassette or a DVD during those days, hence we can clearly say that it belongs from the 90s.
Why did you choose to release only four songs from an album consisting of nine tracks? How do you plan to showcase the other songs?
Naalayak: Yes, the album has 9 songs and we were planning to release the entire album in the month of November with music videos but at this point of time we wanted to stay connected to our fans and release a positive energy through our music. Right now all the four tracks are available on OK Listen! And after 5th of June it will be available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and Wynk music.
'Todke soch ki zanjeerein aaj nikle hai' from 'Befikre' and 'Baaton ka kya hai, judne ki yeh wajah hai' from 'Dil-E'Raza' are exceptional songwriting. Where do you source your influences from while writing verses for a song?
Naalayak: When it comes to songwriting frontman Sahil Samuel has always been upfront about it. He doesn’t read any poems or novels but mainly he writes observing other people and the environment around him and he accumulates it with his life experiences and later pens them down in a piece of paper. Eventually it becomes a song. And artists like Billal Maqsood from Strings, Ali Zafar and Atif Aslam have been quite an influence in the process.
The album art is quirky and very interesting. How was that conceived?
Naalayak: The theme of this album has this very rooted Indian-ness and by heart this band is full of it. Which is what we wanted to depict in the name as well as the album art. Along with that we tried putting an element of Mughal Art just for fun and the amalgamation of desiness and Mughal Art worked out joyously well.
How do you look back at your journey as a band from the time you began in 2015?
Naalayak: Sahil had a vision of forming a band with the name Naalayak since second grade and after being a part of various music projects he started searching for other musicians and that then he met Akshat in a club and then Aashish and Garry via social media. On 21st October 2015, the band was officially formed. Since then we haven’t stopped and after releasing ‘Bawra’ we could see the drastic difference from fan following, subscribers, gigs etc. Initially we faced a lot of hardships; the road wasn’t smooth at all such as jam pad issues, financial constraints, accommodations etc but it was all an experience and now when we think about it, it's all worth it. Since then till January 2020 we have played in over 25+ clubs, gigs and 150+ college fests and music fests. Perhaps, we couldn't ask for a better journey.
We believe work has started on two more albums that are in the pipeline during the quarantine period?
Naalayak: The pandemic is not going to end very soon and live shows aren't happening for a very long time hence we can all just think about making music and share it with our audience. And with that we are working on our upcoming albums, one is ‘Sexy Bhaiji’ and as of now we haven’t thought a name for the other, but we will be announcing about it very soon.
You can listen to Naalayak’s new songs, now playing on Radio City Freedom