This year has so far been extremely kind to independent music in India and its listeners. There has been a dearth of good music from Bollywood, which has further made the average music enthusiast in the country take a notice of independent artists who deserve more attention than they have received so far.
Paloma and Adil’s EP ‘Alonely’ has been one such album this year. It featured in the ‘Artist Spotlight’ section of Apple Music, giving the Kolkata based duo further publicity on this debut effort.
The two musicians from West Bengal’s capital got together in May 2016. Adil Rashid is a well-known musician and the lead guitarist of Underground Activity. In a rather poetic musical meet-cute, Adil saw Paloma Majumder singing at Jadavpur University in 2013 and encouraged her to sing more and work with him. She initially didn’t follow up, but one year later they ended up working on a play where Adil was doing the production. After this remeet, Adil once again encouraged her to create originals. It took another year for Paloma to show Adil her compositions, but the duo has been working together for one-and-a-half years and their debut EP Alonely hit the stores in late February.
Alonely is unique in that the artists don’t restrict themselves to containing the sound through the album. Talking about the same, Paloma expatiates, “The sound of the EP was deliberately crafted. Although, it did come after almost a year of performing these songs live and experimenting in the studio (which is basically Adil’s room). Over time, we discovered where our music took us sonically and we’re very happy with the fact that we can’t be put in a box as far as genres are concerned which was the intention all along”.
This makes sense and Paloma agrees that the EP doesn’t have a particular theme. “Alonely doesn’t embody any one theme in particular. It has a multitude of themes running through it. The songs are personal and each song talks about a different feeling”.
As with the theme or sound of the album, the lyrics also vary with each track. Elaborating on them, Paloma says, “The lyrics, if you delve a little deep into it is mostly storytelling. While ‘Fly a Little’ is about escaping mundanity and worries of day to day life, ‘Keep Me in Mind’ talks about living your life with violence in the background and remembering lives lost in “collateral damage” of countries at war right now. All the songs are pretty personal and weaved from stray thoughts that occupy our minds. ‘Alonely’ as the title track binds everything together and celebrates individuality and speaks about how it’s okay to not be in a box, stand out in a crowd, be lonely even if you’re not alone”.
Speaking about inspirations behind the music the duo create, Adil chimes in, “I actually “see” music. I relate to everything in a visual manner. So, inspiration comes from just looking around. I observe things and create melodies in my head”.
Could this be the best time for an independent musician in the country? Paloma doesn’t agree completely. She explains, “Times are better than before but we cannot wholly agree to this. Independent music has always survived no matter what the conditions have been regarding their acceptance and commercial viability. It’s true that the times are better than what it used to be but we still have a long way before indie music isn’t just a niche genre and becomes something that listeners easily accept as just good music”.
The talented duo from Kolkata is working on music videos for all the tracks in Alonely, along with new material for another EP that they can release this year. “The goal is to translate everything in our heads into material that people can connect to,” Paloma concludes.